Tucker joined her shortly thereafter, and they made quick work of the dishes. They returned to the living room, and the guys one by one made their way back to their new work stations.
When Tucker noticed her gazing out at the sky, he turned the entire couch to face the French doors so she would have a better view. Their conversation came easily, and he of course touched on the subjects he seemed to find the hardest to understand.
“Do you always eat like this?” She giggled, “No. I haven’t had this much food this often in years. It’s kind of nice.”
“Please tell me you’re kidding” he chided, aghast.
“I wish I was. It wasn’t always this way. Back when things were going well I dined out more often, had a well stocked kitchen, and I had a bit more of a waistline to show for it” she punctuated the final part with a laugh.
“How have you been able to afford living on the run for so long?” has wondered aloud.
“I didn’t always temp. I had my first big client before some of my friends even graduated high school. I had the cash to buy what I wanted, when I wanted it even through college. When I ran the first time, I took out a large cash withdrawal and intended to live off of that for a while. When he found me the first time, I knew someone had been in my home office because all of my cash was missing.”
She paused, emotion creeping back into her conversation. “He had taken it all. I was sick, and willing to abide by his terms in order to get it back. Worst decision of my life. In promising to ‘complete my contract’ so I could have back ‘what I had earned’, aka my cash, I basically set myself up for some of the worst days of my life.”
He pulled her a little closer. “He did that to you. It was not your fault.”
“I fell for the tricks. I lost a large portion of my life savings. I know I can get myself back again someday, so I just remind myself this is just temporary. A temporary housing arrangement, a temporary job, and I’ll only be hungry for a bit. I try to stretch money, because I have no idea how long I’ll have to run. I could easily spent $30 per day just on food dining out for each meal, or I could spend three dollars on Ramen, or I could skip meals for a few days and afford a new pair of tennis shoes or hair brush or whatever I had to leave behind the last time I was forced to run.”
He took her hand and traced the lines of her palm.
Listening. Ever listening.
“We’ll get him, you know. You don’t deserve to live like this.” He said in a tone as easy as if he were talking to his grandmother.
“The last I heard he was on the loose.”
“Oh they found him all right. They just couldn’t touch him. Not yet. He will have some vandalism crimes to own up to when the time is right.”
She was confused. “You mean you have him, you caught him doing something illegal, but you’re just going to let him walk around free? While we’re holed up here?”
“Oh, my heart!” he said as he dramatically withdrew an invisible knife from his chest. “I thought you liked it here.”
She playfully swatted his knee. “You know what I mean!” she giggled.
“He hasn’t been caught doing anything that will get him any time behind bars. Just letters on a record.”
She let out a long breath. “I do like it here. Just not under these circumstances.”
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