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Underestimated by Jettie Woodruff, Soraya Naomi (1)

Chapter 1

Of all of the thirty-six alternatives, running away is best.



 I couldn’t hold my eyes open for one more second. I had just driven 2,954 miles, 57 hours, not including the 6 hours I tried to sleep at the Motel 6, twice. Thirty-four more miles, according to the robotic voice coming from the box stuck to the windshield of my not so new, used car.

The closer I got, the more my nerves began to stand on end. What the hell was I doing? Who does this? Who walks away from their life to start all over? Maybe walk isn’t the best word choice. When I say all over, I truly mean all over. My entire existence had been nothing but an illusion.

My name is no longer Morgan Kelley. That one would take some getting used to. I spent many hours of my long drive going over the aspects of my new life with my invisible friend in the passenger seat. We actually had hours of conversations, okay, so they were one sided, but they were without a doubt, conversations. I’d even given my new friend a name and called him Slash, after the three-inch gash in the cheap vinyl seat.

Now, my name is Riley Murphy. I moved to Misty Bay, Maine, from Carson, Indiana, when my company downsized, and I lost my job as an advertising rep. The small two bedroom cottage was a gift from my late grandmother. “Wow, a small cottage in Misty Bay, population, 1,075.” I interrupted my life studies when reality set in for the millionth time since I had left Las Vegas. I mean Indiana.  “Dammit Morg Shit, I mean Riley.” I need to sleep. I just need sleep. I can’t function. I know this. It’s all embedded in my brain. I’m going to be fine, and there is nobody from Misty Bay, Maine, looking for me. I had to stop. I couldn’t repeat details of my new life out loud or to myself anymore. Not if I intended to keep my sanity intact. It was already on the verge of toppling over.

“Turn right in one-point-seven miles,” the robotic voice instructed. I turned right and was on a curvy blacktop road barely wide enough for two vehicles. The coast was absolutely breathtaking and did wonders for my nerves. I reached over and cranked the handle, rolling down the passenger side window. My nerves calmed when I heard the waves crashing onto the rock walls below me. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to be living by the ocean. I could walk along the beach anytime I wanted, and I would too, I promised myself.

‘Welcome to Misty Bay,’ Finally, I noticed the homemade wooden sign, that read Welcome to Misty Bay, situated in the fresh spring, green leafed trees off the side of the road. Driving through the small town, I looked out every window of the car. My head spun around until it wouldn’t rotate any further. One bank, a post office, one grocery store, and one small library which looked like it would fit inside the one I used to go to in Las, I mean Indiana, at least ten times.

 As I pulled to the curb I saw Reminiscent; this is where I’d be working. Me, working in a coffee shop slash hippy store. I’d never had a job in my life. I felt a little whimsical thinking about it. I looked in the rearview mirror, still seeing the bruise just below my right eye, but I had four days to get settled before I started work. It should be gone by then.

I waited for the school bus to pass and continued on my journey, excited to reach my destination, finally. “Turn right,” the voice instructed again. I made a right and was on a one lane gravel road. It was a quaint little neighborhood, and an older gentleman waved as I passed him retrieving his mail. “Arriving at destination, on the right,” I was informed. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The cottage was sort of by the beach, and I hoped there was a strategy to get off the mountaintop to enjoy it. The aqua blue color of the house had to go. Who in their right mind would paint a house that color? It was the ugliest blue I’d ever seen. I actually had a sundress pretty close to that color. I wouldn’t be wearing that, I decided when I got out of the car. It was the beginning of May and the temperature might have been sixty. When I left Las I mean Indiana, it was ninety nine.

I opened the gate, just off the driveway. The picket fence was nice, and I liked the white but would unquestionably be changing the color of the house. I walked up the small porch and unlocked the door, the door to my new home. “Wow,” I said out loud to no one. The living room was open and led to the small dining area. I walked across the hardwood floor to the other side. The French doors were great and led to a nice deck, although it was farther from the beach than I had hoped. Every wall that I could see was painted bright yellow. The kitchen wasn’t bad and the appliances were updated and modern, but the bright paint was already giving me a migraine. The countertops were a dark gray. I thought they were some kind of fake marble, but I could work with that.

As I walked toward the bedrooms, I peeked into the bathroom, and was pleasantly surprised. I was happy to see a rather large, claw foot tub. Thankfully the walls were a pleasant, neutral, olive green color. I liked that room, and it only needed a good cleaning. The first bedroom would make a nice office. It was small but had a reasonable size window overlooking the ocean. I could even live with the light blue walls. The next room was bigger, but nothing like what I had in Indiana. I smiled to myself when I remembered that I was from Indiana and not Las Vegas. It too had a marvelous view, overlooking pine trees and also the Atlantic Ocean. The walls were a soft, subtle gray, and I loved it. One less thing to do. I noticed how rocky the yard was, and then it dawned me; I would have to mow and take care of the yard myself. At least there was a small shed to keep a lawn mower. Lawnmower? I didn’t know how to buy a lawnmower. Where do you even buy those things?

Okay, so maybe I didn’t think this through that well. I had no bed. Where was I supposed to sleep? The only furniture left in the house was a table and four chairs. The table was one of those round, plastic outdoor tables with a hole through the middle for an umbrella. The four plastic chairs didn’t even match: one was green, one was white, and two were brown. No couch either. This was just brilliant. I had the money and had planned on buying everything new. That part I was looking forward to, however, it didn’t help much at seven o’clock on a Thursday night. Food! I had no food either. I was so tired. I honestly didn’t want to go back into town, although it would have taken me a full three minutes to drive. I decided to unload my car and at least get a much needed hot shower. No. I wouldn’t be doing that either. Well, I could, but I had no soap, shampoo, wash cloth, and not even a towel.  I didn’t even have a blanket.

I unloaded the few clothes I had. Nothing was mine, not even the ones I was wearing. Ms. K had made me change them and put on the ones that she got for me. I didn’t even take any of the expensive items from Drew. Ms. K told me not to, afraid that if I pawned them, they might be traced. That was a chance I wasn’t willing to take. I didn’t even get the one framed picture of my Grandma Joyce, the only person who had ever cared about me or my well-being. The pictures of my life after Drew could have gone up in flames, and I wouldn’t have cared.

After I had my clothes carried to the room that I would call mine, I dragged myself back out to the car. I remembered seeing a Dollar General Store in town. At least I could get a pillow and a couple of blankets to sleep on. I desperately wanted some bathroom supplies, and I supposed that I should go to the grocery store.

I went to the Dollar store first that was my first mistake. By the time I had bought $212 worth of supplies, enough to get me through until I could go shopping the next day, the grocery store had closed. I bought a coffee pot and had no coffee for the next morning. My new adventurous beginning wasn’t in accordance with my plan…at all. What was I supposed to eat? I hadn’t had anything since around noon. Wanting to put the miles behind me and just get there already, I didn’t stop. Get there, to an ugly blue house, close to the beach, if you could get down the mountain. Get there, to a house without a bed or food. Get there, to a house that required me to wear sunglasses inside because the bright yellow paint hurt my eyes.

I unloaded my new belongings, but I didn’t put anything away in the bathroom. It seriously needed a good scrubbing. Why didn’t I buy cleaning supplies at the Dollar store? At least I could have disinfected the tub. I used the cheap strawberries and cream shampoo and a new washcloth to clean the tub, then filled it with hot sudsy water. It was sensational, and the tension that had begun to build again started to evaporate. I tried to think about my new life and how to make this house my home, but my mind kept drifting back to Drew. It had been four days since I had vanished from his life. I wondered about his reaction when he realized that I’d disappeared. What went through his mind when he dialed my cell phone? I didn’t even know where it was. I wondered if anyone would answer it. I knew Drew was probably beyond irate, and I was sure that a few things had been broken during his discovery.


 I woke to the sun pouring in through the window. My homemade bed must have been sufficient because I slept the whole night without waking once. I didn’t waste time stretching and lingering around in bed the way I was used to. Instead, I got straight up, brushed my teeth and pulled my long dark hair into a ponytail. I still had a difficult time looking in the mirror without doing a double take. My hair had been blonde for the past six years, and my natural brown seemed distant and foreign now. My bruised cheekbone also looked better. You could barely see it once I applied the foundation.

 I pulled on a pair of hand-me-down jeans and a sweatshirt. That was the part about Las I mean Indiana, that I was going to find the most difficult. It was May, and the weather was so diverse. I could handle it, had it been a bit different, but forty degrees different? Come on. Why didn’t I get a choice? I surely would have chosen a warmer climate. How was I supposed to enjoy living by the beach with a continuous layer of goose bumps?

I ate breakfast at Millie’s Diner. Millie waited on me herself.

“Good morning. Can I start you off with some coffee?” she asked.

“Yes. Thank you. That would be great.” I sat at the bar and thumbed through the newspaper.

“Here you go sweetie. Do you need a few minutes yet?” The friendlier than I was used to lady asked.

“No. I’m ready. Could I get gravy and biscuits and two slices of bacon?”

“You sure can, coming right up.”

I read through the local paper, smiling at its size. It was a full four pages. The Vegas Sun was a dictionary compared to the Misty Bay Daily News. The front page contained articles about the events planned for the year’s Summer Fest. There would be apple bobbing, greased pole climbing, corn hole tournaments, and a wood chopping competition. The list went on and on about the weekend-long celebration. Saturday night would be no-kid’s night, and the article described the street dancing and wine tasting events for adults only. I flipped the page and read about the new breast milk flavored coffee at ‘Reminiscent.’ Are you kidding me? Where the hell was I going to be working? Where the hell would you even get breast milk? I kept reading and learned the benefits of breast milk coffee. I would not be trying it. I was sure of that. Gross.

“Here you go, honey,” Millie smiled, setting my plate in front of me. It looked mouthwatering. Either that or I was so hungry, it would have looked mouthwatering had it been a plate of gravy and worms. It was delicious, and I ate it in record time. Millie probably thought I hadn’t eaten in weeks. She refilled my coffee cup, and I thanked her. The diner was fairly empty of people, than again it was getting kind of late for breakfast.

 Almost eleven o’clock, and I hadn’t even started my long list of shopping yet, let alone the cleaning that needed to be done. I was, however, feeling a little less uneasy. I had plenty of time to do everything. It may not be finished in the next three days, but I would mostly be working days, so I would just have to work on projects in the evenings. I was going to need something to do in order to keep my mind from thinking too much anyway.

“Is there a furniture store around here?” I asked Millie when she slid me a small strawberry Danish.

“There’s one over on Long Road. Is there something particular you are looking for?”

I took a bite of the cheese Danish. “Hmm, this is amazing,” I told her as the warm contents of strawberry and cream cheese teased my taste buds. “I kind of need everything,” I smiled up at her.

“You bought Clara Bliss’s little cottage, didn’t you?”

Clara Bliss? How was I supposed to answer that? No. I live in a house that my grandmother left for me. That was what I was supposed to say. That’s what Ms. K told me to say. Who is Clara Bliss?

“Clara lived there up until about ten years or so ago.” Millie started to explain. I breathed a sigh of relief. “She moved to Portland to be closer to her grandchildren. The house has sat empty for a good many years. You can thank her for the lovely colors,” she winked, and it made me smile.

Phew, I didn’t have to explain anything.

“Where is Long Road? Do they have pretty much everything? Do they deliver?”

Millie laughed at my run-on sentence. I didn’t mean to cut off her answer. I was just happy we weren’t talking about my house anymore.

“Yes. You can get furniture for every room in the house, even curtains.”

I was glad she mentioned curtains. I had neglected to add them to my long list.

“Thank you,” I said, taking a ten dollar bill from my purse. I liked Millie, and I hoped we would become friends. She was probably twenty years or more, older than me, but nonetheless she was a very nice lady.

“Can I offer you some more advice?” she asked.

“Yes, of course.”

“There is a place about fifteen miles from here called Potters. It’s a warehouse full of housewares. I’m sure you could buy everything you need there, and they only sell American-made,” she added, proud of that fact.

I took out a piece of paper. “Thank you, Millie. I will definitely go there. Do you know the address?”

Millie laughed a short laugh. “You don’t need an address, sweetie. Turn right at the stop light and drive till you see a billboard on the left that says Potters. You can’t miss it.”

“Thank you. I better get going. I have a long day ahead of me.” I smiled and left the ten dollars on the counter, leaving her a three a dollar tip.

“Come back this evening. Tonight is meatloaf Friday,” she invited, and I left with a nod and a smile.

There was no way I’d be back. I had too much to do, but I would come back and have meatloaf Friday sometime. I hadn’t had meatloaf since before my Grandma Joyce passed away.

I drove to the furniture store first. I couldn’t believe the prices. I had twenty-five thousand dollars in pre-paid visa cards to buy everything that I needed, and I wasn’t going to spend near what I thought I would. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. The dining room table that I had picked out would have cost me probably five times as much back in Las I mean Indiana. I ended up buying more than what was even on my list. I hadn’t planned on buying an area rug, a desk, a television, or coffee and end tables. I got everything that I needed for a fraction of what I had planned on spending.

I was on cloud nine, up until it was time to pay that is. I was standing at the counter, and the older man asked for my last name.

Dammit. What is it? I was drawing a blank. I had the Riley part, but the last name just wasn’t registering. I could feel my face becoming flush when I didn’t answer right away. He stood in front of me, awkwardly wondering why I wasn’t responding.

“Murphy,” I almost yelled, when it finally came to me. He gave me a funny look and turned back to his computer screen.

I finished giving him my information, and we had delivery scheduled for the following day. One more night of sleeping on the floor, but I was okay with that. I would much rather clean in the empty rooms than try to clean around furniture, and at least I would have curtains covering the windows.

Next stop was Potter’s, and I spent more time there than I should have. I was so thankful that Millie had told me about it. The prices there too surprised me, and I bought everything I needed and then some. I found the cutest set of dishes and couldn’t help thinking about the exquisite china back in Indiana. Drew would have never eaten off plates like that. They were white with- although I hated the bright yellow walls in the house - cute little yellow ducklings circling the plates and saucers. How adorable. I wondered if I had bought everything that Drew would hate on purpose.

 I was so excited. I could hardly contain myself. I had stolen, well, not actually stolen; we were married. I had taken a microscopic amount of his money. Drew probably hadn’t even figured that part out yet. I honestly didn’t want anything of his. I would have walked away and slept on the floor for months had Ms. K not convinced me to take what was rightfully mine.  Boy was I ever grateful that she did. Now that I think about it, she didn’t really give me a choice in the matter. I was taking the money.

Buying a house was a little more difficult. It took me almost six months to embezzle the $80,000 that Drew would never find. I had added $15,000 to $18,000 to various overhead expenses for six straight months. The first couple of months I was paranoid. No, I was terrified that he was going to catch it, but he never did. Stupid bastard shouldn’t have been so credulous. I knew exactly where the key to his office was. It was rather simple to add bits and pieces to his overhead, donate to a made-up worthy cause, and a delightful fat scholarship, sending me to the University of Misty Bay. I had actually found a couple of ways to change things a little to save him some money, without his knowing of course.

I counted. It took me nine trips to unload my overstuffed Honda Civic. I stacked everything in the corner of the living room and would move it as needed. It took up half the room, and once again I forgot to eat. I wondered if there was a pizza place that delivered. Why would it even matter? I didn’t have a phone book, and the pre-paid phone that Ms. K had given me only had seven minutes left on it. Ms. K had already told me that we would end all contact once I had left Indiana, so I wasn’t planning on using the minutes. I was supposed to throw the phone out the window before I arrived.

All of a sudden my heart dropped to my feet when there was a knock on the door. Nobody knows me here. Who would be looking for me here? What did they want? I was pulled from my frozen paranoia by the second knock.

“Stop it, Morg I mean, Riley,” I said quietly, but out loud as I made my way to the door.

“Hi. I’m Lauren. I live in the uglier-than-your blue house, across the road,” my new neighbor said, introducing herself.

I shook her hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Riley, but everyone calls me Ry.” I was smiling to myself when I remembered that aspect of my new life. I had forgotten to mention that to Millie earlier.

“Wow, it looks like you have your work cut out for you,” she observed, peeking around me.

I suddenly realized that I was being rude. “Come in,” I offered. “I really don’t have a seat to offer or anything to drink,” I teased.

Lauren walked through the door. “Wow, the inside paint is worse than the outside,” she stated, and I laughed. “I forgot how bright it was in here.”

She must have been in here before.

“That will be altered tonight,” I assured her.

“I have a friend who does construction if you want his number.”

“Maybe for the outside, the inside has got to be done tonight. I have furniture coming by noon tomorrow.” All of a sudden I comprehended how much I had to do and what little time I had to do it. I was happy to have a neighbor, and I hoped Lauren and I would become friends. I just didn’t want to be her friend at that moment. I had too much to do.

“Well, I won’t keep you,” she said, and I was glad.

The first thing I did was fill the mop bucket with hot sudsy lemony cleaner. I smiled. The yellow paint with the citrus, lemony smell made perfect companions.

It was almost four o’clock in the afternoon, and I really wanted to get the yellow painted over before my furniture came the next day. I had planned on painting the living room as soon as the walls were washed down, but decided to go ahead and wash the kitchen down as well. That way I could continue painting and get that done too.

The living room took fifty-seven minutes. Five o’clock. I was hungry. Why the hell did I keep forgetting about food? Oh yeah, because I am used to having meals prepared and waiting on me. That was another aspect I would have to get used to.

The kitchen took longer than anticipated because of having to clean all of the cabinets. It was now almost seven. I was still hungry, and I sat on the floor leaned up against the glass door. The ugly plastic tables and chairs were already moved out to the deck. I was eating crumbs from the bottom of a two day old Cheetos bag when someone was at the door again.

Once again my heart sank. Why didn’t I lock the door? Lauren didn’t wait for me to answer and opened the door, causing me to freeze in a panic.

“Relax,” she said, seeing my shocked paralyzed face and stiff posture.

I smiled when I noticed her carrying a large pizza and a six pack of beer. She had changed clothes and was now wearing old jeans with a pink checkered flannel shirt. Her strawberry blonde hair was pulled back and hiding underneath a tied bandana.

My mouth was already salivating. Pizza, just what I needed. Not so much the beer. I had never liked beer. I was more of a wine kind of girl. No, wait a minute. I drank wine because that was what Drew drank. Have I ever had a beer? Yes, I did. I was thirteen, and some friends and I hid under a bridge when I drank one. Did I like it? I didn’t remember.

“You are my new best friend,” I told Lauren, patting the wood floor next to me. I didn’t mind wasting twenty minutes. I needed food, and pizza was just what the doctor ordered. That would definitely make me feel better, and I would probably work faster, having some nourishment and regenerated energy.

We sat side by side, leaned against the glass doors, and shared a pizza. Lauren probably thought I was a pig. I think I swallowed the first piece whole. I did drink a beer, and I didn’t mind it a bit. I wouldn’t say that I loved it, but it was okay.

“Well, we better get busy,” Lauren stated, closing the pizza box.

I looked at her with a little bit of confusion mixed with hope. “I am not going to let you help me paint,” I insisted with my head tilted.

Please help me paint, please help me paint.

“The way I see it, you don’t have a choice. I’m doing nothing but sitting at my house watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy. Now where are the paint pans?” she asked. I smiled, happy that she wasn’t giving me a choice. There was one problem, however.

“Paint pans?” I asked. I hadn’t bought paint pans. I just bought paint and brushes.

“You don’t have any pans?” she asked. I shook my head.

“What about rollers?”

I shook my head again, and she laughed. “Come on. Let’s take a walk.”

She removed the opened lock from her shed door, took out the two pans with four rollers, and handed them to me. “Do you have any drop cloths?” she asked.

Where was my mind? I had forgotten everything. I’d never painted a day in my life. How was I supposed to know that you needed more than paint and brushes?

“Nope.” I smiled.

I was so grateful for Lauren’s help. I would never have finished with a paint brush. She trimmed while I rolled on the light gray paint. I liked the color so much in my new room that I decided to use it in the living room as well.

“Do you have a radio?” Lauren asked.

I ran over to my list and jotted it down along with other things that I’d remembered throughout the day. Like a microwave. How could I forget that?

“I’m going to run home and do number two and get us one,” she announced. I laughed out loud at the number two comment. I actually laughed and it felt great. Could this truly be happening? Could I really pull this off and not be found? My thoughts were all over the place, and Lauren was back disrupting them ten minutes later.

“Everything come out okay?” I teased.

“Do you really want me to elaborate on that?” she provoked right back. I shook my head. Nope, don’t need to hear that.

Lauren turned the radio to a country station. I hated country music. Brakes. Wait a minute. Drew hated country music. I had never actually listened to it. How could I hate it if I had never even listened to it?

“Where’re you from?” Lauren asked as we painted and listened to something about somebody digging their keys into the side of somebody’s souped-up four-wheel drive.

“Indiana,” I remembered.

“What part? I have a cousin in Indiana.”

And the questions began. “Carson,” I answered with only that.

“What brought you to Misty Bay? I know you didn’t come all the way here just to work with Starlight Scarlett in her weird little coffee shop.”

“Now you’re scaring me,” I stated, hoping to get off topic.

She laughed. “You will absolutely love Starlight. She is as bohemian as they come. I just know that you didn’t move to this sectarian town for that purpose,” she assumed.

“Are you calling this town a cult?”

“Are you going to avoid my question all night?” she retorted with her own question.

I smiled down at her from my step stool, which thank god she owned too. “I lost my job when they downsized, and my grandmother left me this house. I just decided it was time for a change.” I lied, hitting it right on the money. I smiled inside, proud that I remembered until I saw the look on her face. She knew I was lying. She knew my grandmother didn’t leave me this house.

“If we’re going to be friends, you can’t lie to me,” she stated, being exceedingly blunt. “My aunt owned this house up until last month. She owns mine too. That’s why they are both ugly blue.”

I walked down the step stool to face her. “Lauren, please don’t ask me too many questions about my past. I am not running from the law or anything like that. I just need to keep a low profile,” I tried to reassure her.

“Well, you need a better story,” she said, as she turned and started painting again. “People around here know that my aunt has owned these two houses for years.”

Thanks a lot, Ms. K. Nice investigating skills.

“I’ve got it,” she stated matter-of-fact. I looked down at her with a peculiar stare. Why would she be so enthusiastic about helping me? I didn’t get it.

“How old are you?” she asked, again bluntly.

“I will be twenty five next month. Why?”

“Perfect,” she alleged while I continued to look at her as if she had two heads. “We went to college together, and when you lost your job, I told you about my aunt’s house, and you bought it,” Lauren exclaimed excited. “You didn’t tell anyone else the grandma story, did you?”

I shook my head.

I was happy that Lauren stopped asking questions, and we talked and talked while the room was being transformed into a whole new domicile. We painted the living room and kitchen with the light gray almost silver tone paint. The walls around the French doors and the front door were painted in a darker shade of gray, and I absolutely loved it. I tried to get Lauren to quit and go home just before midnight, but she wouldn’t. I was glad she didn’t.

She washed all of the new dishes and put them away while I hung curtains. The only thing left to do was clean the hardwood floors and wash down the two bedroom walls. I could do that the following morning. The furniture wouldn’t arrive until around noon.

“I’m done.” I stated. I couldn’t do any more. My energy was gone, and my body was telling me that it had enough. “I can’t thank you enough, Lauren.” I couldn’t. I would have never gotten that much done without her, let alone with limited tools.

“Yes, you can. You can thank me by going there and getting some clean clothes and coming home with me. I have an extra bed.”

“I’m fine here, but thank you just the same.”

“I insist. If I leave, you’re going to continue to work, and I can tell that you are exhausted. Now move it.”

I smiled at her. We just met, and she already knew my intentions. I was thinking that I could have the walls washed before I went to bed. “I’m going to take a shower, and I’ll be over.”

“Promise me.”

“I promise.”

I didn’t wonder anymore why Lauren had picked the house on the other side of the road, rather than the one by the ocean. Her house was quite a bit bigger. She decorated it with modern décor. The walls were similar to mine and painted two-toned but with beige and chocolate brown. There was a black and white, female country music singer picture hanging behind the couch. I knew I’d seen the woman before, but couldn’t recall her name.

“You play?” I asked, eyeing the guitar on the couch.

“Yeah, I mess around a little,” she said, modestly.

She was dressed in flannel pants and a t-shirt just like me. She yawned and showed me to her spare bedroom. It was a queen size bed with a fluffy green comforter. I couldn’t wait to crawl into it.

I lay in bed and stared at a branch blowing back and forth outside the window. I had a million and one thoughts going through my mind and they wouldn’t seem to settle. I thought about decorating my new house and making it my own. That thought led to the mansion that I had just fled. My whole house was the size of my suite there, but already it was more inviting than the ice cold castle. That thought led me to thoughts of Drew, and I bet that he had at least five private investigators looking for me.

Would he find me? Was there any way that he could trace my whereabouts? I wondered what my friend Jena had told him. She knew nothing. I made sure of it. She had no idea where I was either. I talked to her the night before I’d disappeared, and we even talked about the weekend charity event that we would attend, tomorrow. I wondered if Drew was sly enough to report me missing. I had made my intentions perfectly clear with my short, to the point note, informing him that I hoped he rotted in hell. It was a good possibility that he never even found the note I had typed in my e-reader. I told him not to try to find me, but I knew that was like pissing in the wind. Most likely he had everyone he knew working on it, and then some.

I thought I had covered my tracks well enough. I didn’t talk to Ms. K, not even once on my cell or the house phone. The only telephone that I ever used to call her was the pre-paid one she’d given me, and once from Drew’s desk phone, but that was months ago. He made so many calls from that phone he would never put it together, not to mention I didn’t even know Ms. K’s name. All she ever told me was Ms. K.



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