Home > Requiem (Providence #2)(9)

Requiem (Providence #2)(9)
Author: Jamie McGuire

Chapter Three

Four Feet

“Please?” Bex asked, holding open the passenger-side door.

I rol ed my eyes. “Fine. Don’t tel your mom.”

“I won’t!” he said. He took my backpack and threw it in the back as I col apsed into the seat. Within seconds he was beside me, starting the engine.

“You’re so cool,” he said with a wide grin.

“The only reason I’m letting you drive is because you completed your driving course at Cleet. If you can out-drive cops, I’m assuming you won’t wreck the only thing I have left of Jack.”

Bex frowned. “Buzz kil .”

He pul ed away from the loft, using his blinker and obeying every traffic law along the way. I watched the trees pass, the reds and oranges signaling the arrival of Fal . Jared’s whereabouts lingered in the forefront of my mind, but the wal I had learned to form around my feelings had long been routine. I didn’t want Jared to make a mistake. or get injured because he sensed my anxiety.

“Coffee shop, Oh-seven-hundred,” Bex reported, pul ing behind Kim’s dilapidated Sentra.

I shot him a look of disbelief. “Seriously?”

“Jared said you were to meet with friends Kim and Beth, to be prompt, and keep watch one block north, with front door in sight.”

“It’s me, Bex. Don’t act like a military robot. It creeps me out.”

Bex smiled. “I just want to do this right.”

I returned his smile and gave him a hug. “You’re doing great,” I said before stepping out onto the sidewalk.

Shoving my hands in my pockets to ward off the frosty morning air, I walked toward the front door of our favorite coffee place. The green door swung open and shut with patrons coming and going several times before I reached the handle. Just as I walked in, someone ran into me from behind, nearly sending me to the floor.

A familiar giggle tittered behind me. “Geez, I’m sorry!” Beth said, undoubtedly putting forth every bit of her southern charm. “I was trying to catch you,” she breathed.

My brows turned in. “Okay…why?”

She shoved a piece of notebook paper at me. “This. Josh got this in the mail yesterday, and he gave it to Chad. It’s from Ryan.”

I ripped it out of her hand and scanned it. Everything seemed to be fine. He had completed boot camp, and was now in specialized training; something about explosives and being a weapons expert.

“Great,” I said.

“But he’s doing wel ! He seems okay, right?”

“Yeah,” I said, returning the paper.

Kim shoved me from behind. “Hey!”

“What is with you two today?” I said.

“I saw Beth do it. Looked fun. Can I kick you later?” Kim said, her expression void of humor.

“No, you most certainly can not.” I turned to order, craning my neck once more at Kim to prove I was not in the mood for her antics.

We settled in at our usual table, grumbling about upcoming tests and papers. Beth shared Ryan’s letter with Kim, and complained about cutting back more hours at work, making their cupboards more bare than usual. As Kim and Beth discussed Chad’s foul mood due to his feeling that his man-of-the-house status was at risk, I had an epiphany.

“What are you getting paid now?” I asked.

“Beans,” Beth said.

“Wel …I am the CEO of Titan Mercantile. I need an assistant.”

Beth immediately perked up. “What are the hours? My classes are at quirky times, ya know.”

“I know,” I nodded. “If you can swing at least an hour a day, whenever you can get in, I’ll match the pay you were making this summer. You had a little breathing room then, right?”

“That’s robbery!” Beth squeaked.

“Oh, shut up,” Kim snapped. “Nina has money to burn. She doesn’t even get paid to work there,”

“Yet,” I interceded.

Kim continued,“She’s your rich friend, Oklahoma, take advantage.”

“You have interns for that stuff….” Beth said, shaking her head dismissively.

“They’re busy.”

After a short moment of thought, Beth’s mouth spread into a wide smile. “Real y?”

“Real y.”

She threw herself across the table, wrapping her arms around my neck. “I can’t wait to tel Chad! I’m sorry…I have to go!” she picked up her things and took a few steps, turning on her heels. “When do I start?”

I smiled patiently. “When can you start?”

“Next week?”

“See you Monday.”

Beth’s already broad smile stretched to its limit. She pul ed the door open, walking with renewed energy in her step.

“Public displays of generosity make me a little queasy,” Kim deadpanned.

“Why do you think I did it?” I asked.

“You’re sick,” she said, winking. “So, what do you think about Ryan’s note?”

“He wrote Josh and didn’t write me, that’s what I think,” I sniffed.


“I know,” I said, looking out the window.

“You don’t know. You thought he’d stick around, pine for you for years until he’d final y moved to the mountains, vowing to be a hermit until he died of a broken heart. He was in love with you; he did something drastic. Let it go.”

“I do not want him to pine for me. I don’t want him dying because I hurt him, either!”

Kim watched me for a moment, unaffected by my anger. “You don’t look as tired today. Did the dreams go away?”

“No,” I snapped.

“But you slept last night?”

“Yes. Jared left town, and it’s like I fel into a coma or something.”

“Interesting,” Kim said. I turned to look at her, but she was staring out the window as if she were searching for something.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she said, turning to face me.

“You’re acting weird.”

“So?” Kim said in her unapologetic way.

“You’re right. It’s no different than any other day.”

We gathered our things, and then Kim offered to drive me to campus. I nodded in Bex’s direction as subtly as I could, and then yanked on the passenger door of the Sentra. It opened just a crack, and then it was stuck.

“Real y?” I complained.

Kim patiently walked around the front of the car, shooing me out of the way. With a light tug, she opened the door without effort, and then returned to her side. We both fel into our seats, and I waited for Kim to go through her routine of a fake Catholic prayer before she started the engine.

“How this car stil runs is beyond me. How did it survive your summer road trip?”

Kim shrugged. “She stayed behind. I rented a car.”

“Oh yeah? That far? Pretty expensive. How’d you afford it?” I asked.

Kim slowed at a red light, and waited before answering. “I told you, I robbed a few liquor stores on the way.”

“The truth this time.”

“I just told you,” Kim said, stoic.

“You robbed a liquor store. Like with a gun,” I said, dubious.

“And pantyhose.”

The light turned green, and we rode in silence until we reached campus. Kim helped me with the door, and then we walked together, our first class being in the same building. As we walked, I felt a burning question bubble up inside of me. The answer was potential y something I would forever regret knowing. Regardless, I had to know.

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