Delilah took a deep breath. She couldn’t believe it. How had she not recognized Cassandra? She’d been the quiet redhead who sat behind Delilah in Ms. Timm’s 3rd grade class. She and Cassandra had been friends for a little while, until Cassandra’s family moved her out of town when her dad got a job in New York.
(Did you miss Episode 2?)
“Do you remember Cassandra?” She asked Mari.
“Who?” Mari asked. Delilah could tell she was half asleep.
“I didn’t wake you up, did I?” she asked.
“What? No, of course not. I mean…well. Kind of. But that’s okay,” Mari said. “I like to pretend I’m still a real grown up sometimes. Ack. Did I just say grown up? I mean adult. Anyway, you were saying…”
“Cassandra. Ms. Timms’ class. Third grade. The redhead. Remember?”
“Oh yeah! She moved away. I heard that she’s a criminal defense lawyer now.” Mari said.
“I saw her. Tonight. At Foxhole.”
“Wow!” Mari said. “Did she recognize you?”
“No...but she seemed to know the guy I met. Richard.”
“Interesting. I wonder what that’s about.”
“She said she was his ex’s sister.”
“Interesting…wait.” Mari said. “Enough about Cassandra. What about the guy? I’m married with a three year old. I have nothing going on but toddler drama. Entertain me.”
“He was…cute. Very cute. I barely talked to him before he ran into Cassandra. I don’t know. He probably won’t even call me.”
“Whatever,” Mari said. Delilah could almost hear her rolling her eyes. “He’ll call.”
“Maybe. I don’t care that much anyway.”
“Whatever,” Mari repeated. “So…nothing exciting happened, huh?”
“Other than almost dancing and then drinking tequila alone, no.”
“Oh well. So much for me being able to live vicariously through you,” Mari said.
“I apologize for my boring night,” Delilah said. “Next time I’ll try to live up to your standards.”
“You’d better,” Mari said. “Anyway, I gotta go. Greggie just woke up. Mommy duty calls.”
“Goodnight,” Delilah said.
“Night, hon. Talk tomorrow.” Mari hung up.
Delilah peeled off her red dress and laid down in bed. So much for a comeback anniversary night.
The next morning, she woke to her phone ringing. She rubbed her eyes. It was 8AM. “Seriously?” she grumbled.
It was an unknown number. She shut off the phone and tried to go back to sleep.
Her phone rang again. The same number.
“Hello?” she said. “Whoever this is, it’s 8 in the morning on a Saturday. Seriously.”
“Uh, hi Delilah,” she heard. “This is Richard. From last night.”
She paused. “Oh. Hi. I didn’t expect to hear from you so…soon.”
“Me neither. I mean, I didn’t expect to call you so soon. But unfortunately, I have a…situation.”
“What kind of situation?”
“I kind of…need a place to crash.”
“I…well…I don’t exactly have anywhere to go right now.”
“I’m…can I just come over?” Richard asked.
“No!” Delilah said. Then, realizing how mean that probably sounded, she took a deep breath and continued. “I mean…we just met. Can we go for coffee or something first?”
She pulled on some shorts and a loose, silky shirt. Then she applied her favorite lip gloss, Blinker Illuminating Lip gloss by 42 Dubonnet, before heading out the door.
They met at Panther Coffee in South Beach. Richard bought her a latte and ordered a black coffee for himself. He paid in cash.
“So…what’s this about?” Delilah asked. “Don’t you have an Air BnB or something to stay in? What about Cassandra? It seemed like you two are…close.”
“I’m…uh…” Richard stopped, cupping a white mug filled with black coffee in his large hands. He coughed.
Delilah just stared at him, raising her eyebrows. He was still wearing the same thing he had on last night, the jeans and the blue button down shirt, now a bit rumpled. She was struck at how attracted she was to him. Despite all the weirdness. Or maybe because of it?
“Look,” Delilah said. “Let’s…just talk for a bit. I know pretty much nothing about you.”
He grinned. Rubbed his head. “Okay, well. I just moved here from New York, lived there most of my life. I’m an attorney at a small firm up there. I’m sure you haven’t heard of it. I like bagels and I love pizza. Typical New Yorker, I guess. I have a cat named Moe. He’s black. He’s actually in my car right now...” he trailed off.
“What kind of law do you practice?” Delilah asked.
“Criminal prosecution,” he said.
She raised her eyebrows. “So you go after the bad guys, huh?”
“Pretty much. That’s uh...kind of why I’m in this...situation.”
“Where you have to ask a woman you just met if you can stay at her place?”
“Yeah.” RIchard blushed. “I...a murderer I prosecuted a few years ago just escaped from jail. And…”
“And…” Delilah prompted.
“And I’ve been getting threatening messages on my phone. He and his gang are after me. Delilah, I need a place to go where I won’t be found.”
(Did you miss Episode 2?)