Eve stopped at a discount clothing store to purchase a few things that were different in style from her normal attire. She was in a hurry, but found a few skirts and some tops that would mix and match with each other, giving her an enhanced wardrobe. She had only a few minutes before meeting Sandy, but Macy’s was just down the street.
She was careful to not draw attention to herself when she glanced around the store, making sure there were no faces she knew. Then, her turn came, she handed the sales lady the items and gave her a money scanner. Her heartbeat was distraught.
Each minute seemed like many, Eve watched the woman scan the tickets from the clothing. Finally, she processed the money scanner. Eve froze. Watching, hoping there wouldn’t be a problem. Then the clerk moved her body to hide the cash register. She was taking too long. Eve saw her pick up the phone, her back still to her. The woman then turned around, and said something, what was it?
“Sorry, Mrs. Hart. I’ll be right back with you.”
Eve’s instinct was to run. But she stood, frozen, thinking. What shall I do? Then she heard the girl talking.
“Yes, the sale is good through today. We’re open until 9pm tonight.” She turned around with a ticket for Eve to sign, “Sorry about that, Mrs. Hart. We’re shorthanded so I have to help with the phone as well as the register.” She laid the receipt on the counter, “Please sign and you can be on your way. Oh, let me see… yes. You saved eleven dollars on these items,” she smiled proudly.
Eve rushed out of the store and down the street to Macy’s. She was on time. She found the toy department in the basement where she looked for Sandy.
She picked up some toys and turned them over, inspecting them as a serious buyer would do. She couldn’t read the price tag with the glasses she was wearing, everything was blurry. Then she heard the voice. She looked up to see Sandy, a short distance away, talking to a clerk. Eve slowly walked toward her friend, carrying a little electronic toy.
When she was next to Sandy, Eve held the toy out to the clerk and asked, “Sorry for interrupting, but I’m in a dreadful hurry. I can’t find the price on this. Could you check it for me?” Eve stood next to Sandy, looking ahead as if they were strangers while knowing her friend had recognized her voice.
“Eve. Don’t look at me. I’m supposed to lead them to you. They’re watching me now. God, I am so sorry. You know how I love you, but I have to take care of myself first.” She took an envelope out of her purse and laid it on the table next to the dolls. “Take this, and please forgive me.”
Sandy put her hands in the air and said, “Lady, I was here first!” She turned around and left. A man in a hat followed closely behind, working his best to stay inconspicuous.
Eve waited for the clerk to return with the Wizard Electronic Game. “It’s on sale for $89.99. These are popular, you’d better get it now or you’ll have to wait for months.”
Eve gave her a money scanner and asked her to wrap it for a young boy.
Outside, Eve walked until she found the bus that would take her to Latino Town. Once boarded, she finally felt safe enough to look at the contents of Sandy’s offering.
I would do anything for you, but my hands are tied. You’ve become a problem to Jonathan and the others, and they know I’m the one you’ll contact. Here is $10,000 dollars. It’s money I’ve saved over the years, so it won’t be missed.
You need to dump the money scanners, they’re tracing your steps by your charges. Do not come near the neighborhood again. These men are angry and who knows what they will do to you.
I’ll tell your boys that you’re fine, and that you will contact them when it’s safe.
This is all I can do for you. If I see you again, I will alert them. I can’t live with the idea of turning you in so please stay away!
Forgive me for Conchita and for what I am doing to you now. I wish I had your strength.
Eve put the letter back in its envelope and shoved it in her purse, she put the glasses back on after wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes. She hadn’t noticed that the bus had entered Latino Town, her mind had been elsewhere.
She was on her own. Her past was gone. Her actions could put innocent people in danger. She looked out the window, seeing the police station in the distance, pushed the buzzer to stop the bus.
She walked to the front of the bus, and handed the wrapped toy to a woman sitting with her young son. “This is for you.”
Stepping onto the street, Eve took a deep breath and walked toward the entrance of the police station.
Inside, she went to the counter. She looked the officer in the eyes and said, “I need to speak to a detective who speaks English.”
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