But the unadulterated smile on her face betrayed the truth. That smile became Julie’s avatar for the next few months, the way he remembered her when she wasn’t present. Unfortunately, after so many months, that smile had been lost. The girl walking in front of Tim now bore no resemblance to the one who’d opened the door for him or walked him out. Perhaps she’d merely succumbed to the sorrow of burying her brother. Deep down, though, Tim feared that smile had not died from natural causes—he’d killed it with negligence.
Tim trudged onward as they entered town. They passed the familiar sights. Like usual, just about everything in the small town was closed. Except for Chris’ Ink Creations and Mary Sue’s Diner. Julie stopped in front of these neighboring stores. A twinge of pain ached within Tim’s heart when he saw the red neon light advertising tattoos. Julie glanced back at Tim. For a minute, he harbored hope she might announce an unfortunate tattoo selection. But Julie never said a word. Instead, she opened the door of the tattoo parlor and walked inside.
“ Julie, where are you going?”
She didn’t answer. Once again, Tim followed.
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