I do want to make a positive difference in the world. But why couldn’t I be useful in a normal way? Other people write books or start charities. Why did I have to see harmful critters on people? I don’t even know if I will be able to help like I did back then.
During my walk from the train station to the converted Victorian mansion, I peered into the shadows to be sure nobody waited to jump out at me. Not that I’m paranoid by nature, but I’ve had to run from would-be troublemakers more than once in the months I’ve been in the big city. Tonight could be one of those times, for all I knew.
All right, time to admit it to myself. I was spooked.
Well, who wouldn’t be?
The apartment felt safe and cozy, a welcome relief after the commute.
“I thought you’d never get home, Kass.” Julie bounced in from the kitchen.
As I expected, Julie was still doing her version of the Snoopy happy dance. I gave her a big hug and asked her what had happened.
Demon check. Whew. No critters chomped on her. No weird colors.
She kept repeating, “I can’t believe it.”
I opened the fridge and got myself a soda. “So, what’s this all about?” Seeing her dimples and the sparkle of happiness in her eyes pleased me. She’s a sweet person who deserves good news.
“You remember that book I read about healing after a broken heart?”
“Yes,” I fibbed. Both of us were avid readers, but with wildly different interests. Whatever book she meant, it would be on the book shelf. I could figure it out and sneak a peek. An image of my father scowling at me came into my mind. It’s hard to overcome being a preacher’s daughter, but I suppose it helps keep me honest. Well—closer to honest anyway, most of the time.
I asked, “By the lady Christian minister?”
“You had to send an essay about why you should be chosen to be in the audience, right?
“I made it!”
Whether it was good or bad, I couldn’t say, but Julie decided to try out going to church after she read the book. I never wanted to set foot in another house of worship as long as I lived, but I loved my friend and kept my thoughts about organized religion to myself.
“That’s great, Julie. I’m happy as a hound locked in a smokehouse for you.”
She cocked her head. “I can tell you came right off the farm.”
Putting on an exaggerated country accent, even more than my usual, I declared, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t never take the country outta the girl.” I am an Ozarks hick chick to the bone. God help me if I ever use grammar like that at the paper.
“So I’ve noticed.” She brushed a stray hair out of my face. “They only sent me one. I wish I had a second ticket for the show.”
“Why, so you can bring your ex along and publicly humiliate him for dumping such a bright and beautiful woman?”
Her blue eyes sparkled with joy. “Hey, you know, that’s not a bad idea. But if I had another one, I’d rather bring you.” She hugged me again. “You’ve put up with all my crying and complaining for so long. You’re a good friend, Kass. Thanks so much.”
“You’re like a sister to me.” Julie had not let go, so I squeezed her. A lump formed in my throat and a tear spilled onto my cheek. I didn’t have a sister, but if I had one, I’d want it to be her. The fate that brought us together as roommates during a mutual time of need had been kind enough to make our growing friendship work, despite our differences of background and interests.
So why did terror seep into my mind and clutch at my senses during this time of joy for my friend?
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