Episode Five: Exes: Scene 18

Bruce was as much of a breath of fresh air as I had hoped, and I returned to the city in rather better spirits, if rather late. He had even bought me dinner, which I felt slightly guilty about, but he had been insistent. We’d eaten at a southern style place in Old Town. Red beans, rice, hush puppies and catfish. Very southern. Probably not very good for me, but once in a while it’s good not to worry about that. Once in a while it’s good not to be safe.

When had I last been that? Sunday, I slept in, finished my homework, and then looked for Kanesha. I found her in her room.

“I couldn’t get close to her. She told me she didn’t want to see any of us any more.”

“She’s trying to protect us. One of his buddies has his eyes on me, though.”

“You’re good looking.”

My lips quirked. “I can’t help it.” Maybe I should try harder not to be. Except that I was making money from being pretty, so I was stuck with it now. “But if he tries anything with me, he’s going to get his butt handed to him.”

“Good.” Kanesha let out a breath. “She’s protecting us, but I’m not sure it’s going to help. I don’t think she’ll convince him we aren’t at least a bit of a hold on her.”

“I don’t think she will either, but I can’t blame her for trying. We should probably try to let it lie.”

“Probably. At least Thea’s ex has vanished.”

“Don’t say that. He’ll show back up now.”

She punched my upper arm. “Don’t be superstitious.”

“You’re telling me not to be superstitious?” I made an effort to sound as exaggeratedly incredulous as possible, and she laughed.

“Let’s go do something.”

“Like? It’s too cold for ice cream.”

“This may sound weird, but I feel like going to the zoo.”
The zoo was better on cold days. I found myself acquiescing and we took the Metro to the zoo. We had all afternoon and admission was free. Kanesha wanted to see the lions, so we headed down the hill.

I somehow felt unsafe, though. Watched, and not by any of the people normally watching me. There he was. Miguel’s friend. Undressing me with his eyes, as the cliche went. I finally understood why people used that term.

Asshole. Well, he couldn’t try anything in the crowds and I couldn’t either. It wasn’t packed the way it would be on a summer day, but there were plenty of people.
And besides. The lions were watching.

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