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Our eyes fought to determine who was the prey and who was the predator. As she crossed her arms, I slowed my approach, the flyer tightened behind my back in my right hand. I was able to catch her just before she entered her car. The numbers wouldn't stop mocking me on the back of her Jersey license plate.

"Can I help you? If you're a saleswoman, aiming to sell products to me, I suggest you don't. I'm already in a bad mood and I don't have time for shenanigans. So, you can just turn your pretty little head and leave." Venom clung to her tone like glue. Her feet pondered the ground impatiently.

I ignored her stale greeting and cleared my throat. "I'm so sorry to bother you! But you dropped this in the store the other day and I tried to give it to you but you left in a hurry. I didn't think I'd run into you again."

Her eyes widened at the flyer. "Well, I'll be damned. You found it!" she squeaked.

"Yeah, you're welcome," I said, handing over the flyer. She examined the front and back as if she was afraid something had gone missing. When she was finished, she turned and shot me a look.

"Hey"—her eyes narrowed, a scornful gaze lighting me on fire—"you ain't touch anything, did you? I can't afford any of this information to be ruined."

I drew my eyebrows together, slightly taken aback by her sudden outburst. Something about her tone didn't sit right with me. Maybe it was the accusation she forced upon me with her question. I was nice enough to save her flyer and she spat my kindness right back in my face. It took everything in me not to let my eyes twitch. I hid my annoyance behind a forced smile.

"Then, maybe you should hold onto it tighter. You know, so it won't get into the wrong hands." I shrugged. Her face scrunched up, her eyes quietly assaulting me—probably wishing I wasn't pregnant so she could use her hands instead.

It was official. Her mean mug had beat all the other judgmental beings I'd ever met in the world. This only caused a real smile to meet my lips. One that dripped with innocence to irritate her. And it seemed to work. At first, a simple thank you would have done. But now I didn't even care for that. It was obvious this woman had a stick so far up her ass, she wouldn't even be able to shit it out. It didn't matter to me anyway. I had a job to get to. And judging by her choice of attire, she had one to get to as well. Or at least something important, I guess.

"Anyways, I'm glad I ran into you, and could return that. The next person might not be as kind as me. So, make sure you're a little more careful with that. . ." I let my sentence hang, awaiting her response. She caught on and held her hand out.

"Veronica," she asserted. Soon, my eyes landed on the ID clipped to her pants. It dangled whenever she shifted footing. But I managed to catch sight of her full name. Veronica Mitchell.

"Well, thanks anyway"—she gestured to the flyer—"for this."

I complied with a nod and went about my way. I could feel her eyes remaining on me. Her stare burned a hole in the back of my head. But I didn't spare a second look back.

* * *

"Good afternoon, Rick!" I entered the building, greeting him at the door.

"Afternoon, Angie." He gave me a nod and smiled. "Oh! And one of the ladies has been standing in the hallway staring at a few paintings for quite a while now. I think you should check on her and make sure she's okay. I tried but she was zoned out," he said.

"Oh?" I stopped and sent him a look. "Um, thank you, Rick. I'll be right back."

Had I taken that long to get here? I raced over here fairly fast. It was the fastest I could rush myself. Or so I thought I did—I came to an abrupt stop.

Mary's Bones ✓Where stories live. Discover now