Jennifer couldn’t stand it. Simply couldn’t stand it. She could have screamed at the top of her lungs. She had wasted her time being nice to another person.
She had actually given up the last clean edge of that miserable tablecloth to clean one of this Amelia’s wounds, when it could have been put to much more important use cleaning Jennifer’s shoe.
Only, of course, to keep a ratty old homeless person from correcting a lie that provided an alibi in a murder case. But the smug bitch had already paid herself for supplying that lie, by stealing a phone she knew the beneficiary of that alibi didn’t dare complain about!
People were so unreasonable.
Still… A charge against her credit card for a new phone or a charge against her for first-degree murder. It was one of the hardest things she had ever done, but she managed to twist her lips into a smile. “I’m going to have to leave now, Amelia…but I’ll come back…and help you later…if you still need it.”
Bitch looked even more smug, as if she pitied Jennifer for stuttering through her last speech. But how was she supposed to know what to say when pretending to be nice? Meanwhile Amelia even had the nerve to reach up and touch her lips, as if trying to straighten them out. “Relax, Sweetheart. You need not trouble yourself. I’ll be okay.” And, speaking of smug, there it was again, that beautiful voice. “You need not come back.”
Oh, so that’s it, she thought. Afraid that if I come back I’ll have worked up the nerve to ask you to give me back my phone?
But no helping it. She had no choice but to put her inadequately-cleaned shoe back on, get to her feet, and head back to Martin’s where all her precious stuff was. Including all her boxes from the storage space except the one Martin had sent her back for because he said he’d left it.
Martin… She was so proud of herself for persuading him to take her back. Good thing he’d killed that Frank so she’d had something to work with. Maybe things weren’t so bad: It would be nice to upgrade her phone, and Martin would pay for it.
Phone… She was halfway down the block before she remembered just what she had on her phone. Stuff she absolutely, positively couldn’t let anyone else see. She wheeled, not even caring that she scraped her shoe in the process, and started back to get her phone from Amelia after all.
Another homeless person… Out of thin air… Judging from his head-to-toe layer of garbage, she guessed he’d been dumpster diving out back somewhere. Tall, not at all humble, somehow very menacing… Standing between her and Amelia… Staring straight at Jennifer…
A cold shudder went up her spine. She pretended to check her scraped shoe, not even caring anymore when she discovered it was ruined. But she was trying to look casual, unafraid, while she strained to watch this tall guy in her peripheral vision. Go away, she thought at him. Go away so I can get my phone!
But he didn’t. He just stared at her, starting to approach.
Another shudder went up her spine.
“Excuse me.” It was that beautiful voice again. Amelia.
The tall man spun on a dime, arms positioned funny, like he was trying to be The Karate Kid or something, then squatted at Amelia’s side. “How could I? How could I have failed to notice you and your need?”
Jennifer risked looking straight at them.
The homeless man gently examined Amelia’s injuries with an expertise that suggested medical training, then scooped her up in his arms and started to carry her away. But he paused to look down at her. “Whoever did this to you will be forced to eat several dinners consisting of their own body parts before I allow them to die.”
She could see that even Amelia shuddered at that one. But, again, Jennifer had no choice. She followed them. She just had to get that phone back. At least, she consoled herself for the time-being, it was password protected.