N is for Naples (#AtoZChallenge)

Naples

Naples

Two hours later, we were in another car and on our way. We pulled over at a rest area down the road when I realized my magic still churned under the surface. I needed an outlet, and from the miles of water that lined the interstate, I figured that was the best way. Under the impression I was going to try to get ahold of someone at home, Jason stayed with the car, and I walked to the fence that lined the parking lot.

Basic magic is elemental. Every witch is born with the inherent ability to control each of the five elements—earth, fire, water, air, and spirit. The lessons are to help new witches hone their control over the elements so that they can combine them better and create better spells. And among the elements, water is one of the easiest to control.

I pulled my phone out of my back pocket, held it up to my ear, and concentrated on the water five feet away. Warmth spread through my veins as my power flowed out of me. With a little nudge, the magic dove into the water and swirled it until a small whirlpool formed. As it grew in size, I created another and another until five of them twisted around each other in a dance.

“Wow.”

I jumped at the sound of Jason’s voice and spun around to see him standing behind me. He stared at where the whirlpools had been moments before. “You scared the bujeezus out of me!”

“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to.”

“I thought I asked you to stay in the car.”

He frowned at me. “You’ve been out here for a while, and I wanted to see if you talked to anyone.”

I shook my head and closed my eyes. I’d planned on trying to call Mom after I bled off some of the magic anyway. “Not yet.”

“Here.” He handed me his phone. “Maybe someone will pick up if they don’t recognize the number.”

It was a genius idea. “Thanks.”

The phone rang twice before Mom picked up. “Hello?”

“Mom,” I said as I walked a little away from Jason. “I’ve been trying to get ahold of you. Why haven’t you answered?”

There was a long silence before Mom took a deep breath. “I didn’t think we had much to say to one another. You seemed pretty adamant about killing yourself.”

My mouth popped open. “Mom, there’s no guarantee this is going to kill me, and I can’t just let him die.”

“You don’t know that he will, but you’re risking your life anyway.”

“He’s dying as we speak.”

“How would you know? You’ve run off to Florida.”

“I was with him when he turned for the worse,” I spit through my teeth. “Where were you? Where have you been? You haven’t been to see him in days, and you’re trying to guilt trip me?”

“I think it’s time for you to forget this and come home.”

I clenched my fist and shook it at the phone. “My brother is dying and this is the only way to save him. I’ll be home when I have the flower.”

“Come home without the flower or don’t come home at all.” Her voice was hard and cold, and she emphasized each word as she spoke. “That flower will not help you, Ashley. It will only get you killed.”

She hung up before I could say anything back.

I stood there, unable to move. I didn’t know what to do, what to think. My mom had just laid down the worst ultimatum possible. She’d just asked me to let my brother die. My body went cold and numb, and when my hands fell limp to my side, Jason’s phone clattered to the concrete.

His feet pounded against the pavement as he ran toward me. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

“She… She just…” I shook my head as if that would somehow dislodge the shock. Tears blurred my vision and streaked down my cheeks. “She told to come home without the flower or don’t come home at all. She wants me to just let my brother die.”

He took me by the shoulders and pulled me in for a hug. I let him squeeze me until he’d lent me enough strength to hold myself together.

“I’m sorry,” I said as we separated a couple of inches. “I know this is a lot to pile on and we only just met—”

“Hey, don’t apologize.” He swept a lock of hair off my face. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

He had such a sincere look in his eyes, as if he was more than willing to let the world—let me—see him as he was. His hand was still on my cheek, and he wiped the tears away with his thumb. My heart skipped, picked up speed, and pounded in my chest. The world dropped away and the only thing left were his lips, only inches away, and his arms around me. He leaned his head down. Slowly. Tentatively. Asking my permission.

I must have given the right signal because all at once his lips were on mine. My body took control as fireworks went off in every cell, and my arms went around his neck. I pulled him to me until we were wrapped in each others’ arms. One hand gripped his hair and the other gripped his shirt, and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get him close enough. I gasped when his hand found the bare skin at the small of my back where there was a gap between my shirt and jeans.

An eternity seemed to pass in those few stolen moments before an eighteen wheeler blared its horn on the interstate. As we pulled away, Jason’s eyes widened. He stepped back and put his hands up, palms out toward me.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

I blanched. The elation that coursed through me hit a brick wall. “What?”

“That was wrong. I’m sorry.”

My emotions were already frayed, and that one statement was all it took to snap them. “What the hell is wrong with kissing me?”

He opened his mouth to respond, but I cut him off. “You know what? I don’t really care. Let’s just get out of here.”

I spun on my heels and got in the car.

The whirlpools from earlier had done enough to calm my magic so I wasn’t in danger of overload anymore. The rest of the drive to Naples passed uninterrupted.

And silent.

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go  *H is for Held  *I is for Innocent  *J is for Jason  *K is for Knots  *L is for Landing  *M is for Madness and Magic  *A to Z Challenge

M is for Madness and Magic (#AtoZChallenge)

Madness and Magic

Madness and Magic

Madness. I tried to convince myself that was the answer to why I was so completely attracted to this guy, but it didn’t matter. I liked him hard and I wanted him to like me, too. If his eyes were any indication, he was at least attracted to me. Still, doubt crept up like a snake and swallowed me whole.

What if the look was sympathy for a nutjob and not the desire to rip said nutjob’s clothes off.

What if the extreme sexual tension for the following half hour before he leaned the seat back and closed his eyes was nothing more than my imagination?

I was so distracted by my insecurities, I didn’t notice when the engine light went on. Five miles down the interstate, smoke poured from the car’s hood. I pulled over in time for the engine to stall.

“I’ve called the rental agency and let them know they gave us a faulty car,” Jason said minutes later as he walked back toward me. “They’re sending a tow truck and another car for us.”

“Okay.”

My biggest weakness was fear. It always had been. While anger fueled my magic, fear of any kind caused it to glitch. It would surge and sputter, and that’s why the car broke. As much as magic was handy sometimes, this is why I hated it. I had so much to fear with Charlie sick and dying, it was a never ending push and pull just to keep it in control.

Jason put his arm around my shoulders. “It’s going to be okay.”

“Yeah,” I said as I pushed away from him and walked down the road a ways. Cars flew by—some honking, most ignoring us—and I wished so much that I could be in one of them. Instead, I had to stand on the side of the freaking road and wait who knows how long for a tow truck and another car.

“Listen, it’s shitty that they gave us a broken car, but they’re going to fix it. It will take a little longer, but we’ll get there.”

“I don’t have ‘a little longer,’” I said. “My brother is dying; My mother won’t speak to me no matter how many times I call; Elsa tried to have me arrested just because we got into a fight; and there’s no guarantee I’m going to actually find the flower. A little bit longer may be the equivalent of my brother’s death. So, please just stop trying to cheer me up.”

“When was the last time you talked to your mom?”

“A few days ago.” I deflated. I leaned against the guard rail and scrubbed at my eyes with the palms of my eyes. “We got into a fight.”

“You get into a lot of fights.”

I sneered at at him, but he had an eyebrow raised and a smirk on his face. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth, but quickly fell away. “Yeah, well. She thought it was a bad idea for me to go looking for the flower.”

From the way Jason’s mouth formed a thin line, I could tell he didn’t think so either.

“Look,” I said. “I wish I could explain it to you, but I can’t. Okay?”

“You don’t have to explain anything to me.” He sat on the rail next to me. “But I do hope that the flower helps the way you think it will.”

“It will,” I said. “I know it will.”

We sat in silence for a while and watched as cars passed by. The smoke no longer poured out from under the hood, so we grabbed our things and waited for the tow truck.

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go  *H is for Held  *I is for Innocent  *J is for Jason  *K is for Knots  *L is for Landing  *A to Z Challenge

L is for Landing (#AtoZChallenge)

Landing

Landing

Somehow, Jason was able to get a seat right next to me. The flight itself was uneventful and allowed for me to get a couple hours of sleep. It was the best way for me to quiet the magic under the surface without an outlet like the candles at home.

He nudged me awake when we got over Miami and handed me a cup of coffee. I’d had so much over the last couple of days, I was going to be addicted to caffeine like no one’s business. Still, I was glad for the boost it gave me and thanked him. The view as we circled for landing was beautiful. The city ran right up to the shores of the ocean which disappeared in the horizon.

When we disembarked, I went straight to car rental and waited behind the seven people already there.

“What are we doing?” Jason stood next to me. They were the first words out of his mouth since we left Chicago.

“We need a car.”

“Don’t you have to be, like, twenty one or something to rent a car?” He scrunched his eyebrows and studied me. “Wait. How old are you?”

“I just turned eighteen.”

“So, how are we going to get a car? If you were hoping I’d be of help, I’m only nineteen.”

“It won’t be a problem,” I said. I couldn’t help the smirk that popped up.

“Again, I ask how?”

I shook my head. “Just trust me.”

Half an hour later, we drove out of the rental lot. Jason did a good job of schooling his features while I convinced the attendant to rent a car to me. He didn’t need to though, since I compelled the guy. It was easy to do, even with other people around. They’d never know that the confident air, wink, and flirting at the right moments were just for show. Only other witches could see my eyes change at the use of magic, and they wouldn’t have said anything anyway—if they were around.

“I can’t believe you did it.” It was the third time Jason had said that since getting in the car.

I just shrugged and drove on with the GPS guiding me where I needed to go.

“How?”

“Confidence,” I said. “And persuasion.”

He shook his head. “I still can’t believe it, but okay. So, what’s next?”

“We go to Naples, get a hotel room, and hunt around for a guide.”

When he didn’t say anything for a while, I glanced at him. He had a smirk on his face and his eyebrows hiked up.

“What?” I asked.

“We’re getting a hotel room?”

“Oh my God! No, we’re getting two rooms!” Heat rose up my neck and into my cheeks. The butterflies returned, and I couldn’t stop my mind from running with the idea. After only a few seconds of silence, I’d already imagined what it would be like to kiss him, feel his hands on the bare skin of my waist, and his breath on my neck. Instead of allowing that train of thought to go any further, I turned on the radio to the first station with music.

It didn’t work very well.

After hitting our exit out of Miami, I peeked at him again and gasped.

His stare was intense and smoldering, and everything but those ocean blue eyes disappeared. My imagination sparked anew, my breath caught, and the heat spread throughout my body.

“You might want to watch the road.”

“Huh? Yeah. Right,” I said, and returned my attention to the freeway.

I need a cold shower, I thought.

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go  *H is for Held  *I is for Innocent  *J is for Jason  *K is for Knots  *A to Z Challenge

K is for Knots (#AtoZChallenge)

Knots

Knots

We agreed to meet back at the coffee shop in an hour. That would give him plenty of time to buy his ticket—I offered, but he refused—and a few supplies for the trip. I’d only met him the night before, but the butterflies that fluttered in my stomach every time I thought about him didn’t care. He was cute, smart enough to find an elusive flower on the internet, and willing to go to Florida for someone he’d only just met and her sick brother. I strolled through the shops half paying attention to what I looked at and half thinking about the dimples that popped up every time he smiled.

It wasn’t until I settled down at the café again that I started to wonder what I was thinking. Why had I agreed to let this guy come along? What if he really was a serial killer? I mean, with my magic, fending him off would be easy if it came down to it, but the only thing I knew about the guy was his first name. And for that matter, he could’ve lied about that.

I rested my head in my hands as I sat and waited for him. There was no way to get away from it now, no matter what. I couldn’t just up and leave him behind—he’s on the same flight. I couldn’t leave or go for a different flight either. I needed to be in Florida already and Elsa had done her damnedest to make sure I didn’t make it at all. There was no way I was going to delay finding the flower any more.

“You look like you’re about ready to fall asleep.” I peeked out at him as he sat across from me with a backpack slung over one shoulder.

“I am pretty tired,” I said. I put my hands down and studied him for a moment. “That probably explains why I’m so willing to let someone I just met tag along with me.”

“How do you know I wasn’t thinking of going to Florida anyway?”

“I’m serious. All I know about you is your name, and not even your full name at that.”

“If it makes you feel better I cou—”

“And who just up and volunteers to go to Florida with some girl they just met?”

“Well, it’s not li—”

“I mean, this trip is crazy if you think about it from a normal perspective.”

“Listen, I—”

“This flower is supposedly for a story for my dying brother, but I just have to go and get one even though it’s probably impossible to find. And you’re willing to go along with that? What is wrong with you?”

His eyebrows had slowly risen throughout my tirade until he looked ready to jump out of his seat and flee for his life. Instead, he waited a few beats to make sure I was done. “What was that about?”

The butterflies had returned in droves and my stomach twisted in knots. “It’s just… Gah, I don’t know. I’m nervous about this flower, scared I’m not going to get back in time to save my brother, and now there’s this cute boy I just met willing to go with me. Add that to the crazy morning I had, the lack of sleep last night, another witch dream, and this need to move, move, move and I’m so far out of my league the world might as well be inside out.”

When I got done talking, my head dropped to the table with a loud thunk. It must of knocked something back into place because I realized what I had just told him. The butterflies turned to lead. Shit! Shit, Shit!

I sat motionless and refused to lift my head I waited for him to say something in return. I had no idea how I was going to talk my way out of this one. Last night, I’d come close to revealing too much but caught myself. I could blame the latest lapse on the two hours of sleep I got and the exhausting events of the day, but I didn’t know if he would buy it.

“Look,” he finally said, but I refused to look at him. “You’re obviously under a lot of stress and very tired. I can’t just let you go off on your own like that.”

I kept my eyes closed, but lifted my head and rubbed at the spot of my forehead that hit the table. “You really don’t have to.”

“Yes, I do. You obviously have no one else to help you and you shouldn’t do it alone.”

He hadn’t said anything about the witch dream. I opened my eyes and studied him. Whatever was in his eyes last night—the earnestness, the honesty—it was back and I believed all he wanted to do was help me. The flutters came back.

“Thank you.” My voice was just a whisper because of the lump in my throat.

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go  *H is for Held  *I is for Innocent  *J is for Jason  *A to Z Challenge

J is for Jason (#AtoZChallenge)

Jason

Jason

I had way too much time to kill before my flight. I should have already landed in Florida, but Elsa had other plans. I was just glad her plans didn’t pan out.

What am I going to do for two hours? I wondered. I didn’t want to chance falling asleep and missing my plane, so I decided to grab a cup of coffee and look around the airport shops. The café was filled with people at every table and a line extending to the exit, but I didn’t care. I took it as an opportunity to call Mom.

She didn’t answer. Again. At this point I didn’t know if I should be worried or pissed. I hadn’t talked to her in two days, and now I had to leave her a message about what Elsa did instead of having an actual conversation about it. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and dropped my phone back in my bag.

A male voice startled me from behind. “What is it with you and coffee?”

When I turned around, a smile split my face. “Hey, Jason. What are you doing here?”

“I work here.” He pointed to his shirt. It matched what the barista at the counter wore. “What are you doing here?”

“Uh…” Heat rose to my cheeks. He’d helped me research the Ghost Orchid, but he thought it was for a story. “I’m going on a trip,” I said a little too brightly.

“I gathered that.” He smiled and his dimples appeared on his cheeks. “Where are you headed?”

Crap, I thought. My cheeks burned again. “Florida.”

His smile faded and he scrunched his eyebrows. “Isn’t that…”

“Where the flower is,” I finished for him.

“I thought it was just for a story.”

I sighed. “It is for a story, but it’s also kind of complicated.”

The line had moved forward while we talked and it was my turn to order. He greeted the barista and gave me his employee’s discount.

“When does your flight leave?” he asked as the barista made my white chocolate latte.

“In a couple of hours. I should have left already, but there was an issue.”

“What kind of issue?”

“The kind that goes with a long story.”

He smiled again. “Well, you’ve got two hours and I just got off of work. I think we’ve got time.”

With my drink finished, he led me to a table and I filled him in on Elsa, the fight, and the subsequent investigation. By the time I was done there was a dark look in his eyes and his mouth was set in a grim line. “That’s despicable.”

“Yep.”

“I’m glad they figured out what really happened.”

“Me too. I don’t have time for that kind of bullshit.”

He sat back in his chair. “Because you have to go to Florida and get a flower for a story.”

I nodded and stared at the drink in front of me. “I need it,” I said.

“For your brother. You think getting a flower for him is going to save him.”

“Am I really that transparent?” I asked. I still refused to look at him, but his silence made me curious. When I peeked up at him, he stared at me and there was something in his eyes. They were wide open and accepting, and there was no sign of judgment. He didn’t think I was crazy.

He leaned forward, rested his elbows on the table, and clasped his hands together in front of his face. “Elsa was supposed to go with you, right?”

“Yeah, she was.”

“How long do you think you’ll be in Florida?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “How ever long it takes, which hopefully won’t be that long.”

“Do you still want some company?”

I waved my hand in dismissal. “I don’t really need anyone to—Wait are you offering to come with me?”

His dimples made an appearance when I perked up at the realization. “I am.”

“I don’t know what to say.” I shook my head out to clear it. “I mean, we don’t really know each other…”

He spread his hands out in front of him and leaned in, a glint in his eye. “You’re not a serial killer are you?”

I laughed and slapped his arm. “No.”

“Well, that’s a load off.” He smiled. “I was worried there for a minute.”

“Are you a serial killer?”

He scrunched his eyebrows and pursed his lips in mock solemnity. “Not the last time I checked.”

“Well, keep checking,” I said, unable and unwilling to get rid of the smile on my face. “Because if you’re coming with me to Florida, I’d like to know before you try to kill me.”

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go  *H is for Held  *I is for Innocent  *A to Z Challenge

I is for Innocent (#AtoZChallenge)

Innocent

Innocent

My jaw dropped open as I stared at the two bottles in front of me. It was impossible. There was no way for those to get in my purse.

“You seem shocked,” Detective Harris said. His voice was tinny and far off.

“That’s not… I don’t…” I shot up out of my chair and scooted myself away from the table. “I didn’t take those!”

Detective Harris picked one up in each hand and read the labels out loud to me, but I already knew what they said. “Do you know someone named Elsa?”

My fists clenched at my sides and the magic within me swirled to life, begging to be released. My skin vibrated with the need to do something, to let out the magic and destroy something. The lights in the room flickered. My power was close to taking over so I closed my eyes and counted to ten.

“She came here with me,” I said when I was done. My anger ebbed, but an orange-red rage simmered under the surface of my skin and ignited every cell of my body.

He cocked his head to the left. “Where is she now?”

“I don’t know. We got in a fight and she left.”

“Was she ever alone with your things?”

“No,” I replied while I thought about it. “I was always right there with her.”

“So, how did her medicine get in your bag?”

“That is a very good question.”

The magic pushed against the walls I’d erected to keep it at bay, and I thought about compelling the detective to let me go. I was certain they were recording all of this though, and they’d question his sudden decision to let me go without an investigation. But there was so much power just waiting to explode from me, it was almost overwhelming. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep it in check. I closed my eyes again.

“It just doesn’t fit,” he said after several minutes of silence. I opened my eyes.

He put the prescriptions down and ran a hand over his head. “I’m usually pretty good at reading people, and you don’t seem like the type to steal drugs.”

My entire body froze. Only moments before I was faced with going to jail and failing in my mission to find the flower and save Charlie. But with his words, hope sprung up and instantly quelled the churning magic inside me.

“I’m going to do something,” he said as he stood up. “I’m going to go over the security feed and check things out for myself. Before I do that, is there anything you think you should tell me?”

I shook my head, walked over to the chair, and collapsed into it. “No,” I said as I crossed my arms on top of the table and dropped my head onto them. “Just let me know as soon as I can go.”

The events of the last hour caught up with me. It was bad enough being exhausted from lack of sleep anyway, but now I had the fatigue hangover of what seemed like gallons of adrenaline. I closed my eyes and immediately fell asleep.

I knew immediately it was another witch dream. I wore the same blue dress and velvety cape from the last dream, but instead of standing on the edge of a deep crevasse, I ran through the swamp. Ahead of me was a clearing where Charlie lay in his bed, but no matter how far I ran, he remained too far away.

And I was being chased. I couldn’t see who. It was just a shadow, but it canvased the entire swamp behind me in darkness. I got closer and closer and closer, and no matter how fast I ran, it gained on me.

I jumped when a hand rested on my shoulder. Detective Harris had returned and woke me just as the shadow swallowed me up.

“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

I wiped slobber from my cheek and yawned. “That’s okay.”

“We went over the security footage.” He handed me a tissue from a box on the table.

I took the Kleenex and wiped while wondering how long I’d been drooling. “And how did they get in my purse?”

He sat in the chair opposite me and slid a picture over the table to me. “Do you recognize this person?”

“That’s Elsa.”

He nodded and leaned back in the chair. “It seems she set you up. Not only did she place them in your purse herself, she’s the one who called in the theft.”

I’d already figured that out, but how she did it.

“During your argument while waiting at the gate,” the detective explained. “You were intent on the flight boards and she slipped them out of her purse and into yours.”

I shook my head, grabbed my purse, and shoved my stuff back into it. “Now what?”

“Now, we’ll get you back out to the gate where you can purchase another ticket.”

“Thanks.” I stood up and straightened my clothes. “You didn’t have to take my word for it, but you did.”

He chuckled. “It’s my job to figure these things out. And, like I said. I’m a pretty good judge of character.”

We left the room, went back through the gray hallways from earlier, and out the same “Authorized Personnel Only” door I entered through. On the way, he told me a warrant would be issued for Elsa. What she’d done was illegal. At the counter, he handed the customer service rep a piece of paper.

“Good luck on your trip,” Detective Harris said as a farewell and walked away.

“Thanks,” I called after him.

The woman at the counter was the same woman from before. “I’m sorry for the delay on your trip. I hope everything was figured out.”

“Yep.” Conversation was the last thing on my mind. There were planes on the tarmac and gates being prepped for people to board their flights. I needed to be one of those people, and soon.

“The airline has given you a discount on a new round-trip flight. Would you like to book your return trip today?”

My foot tapped on the floor as I handed her my credit card. “No thanks.” It grated me that the last flight was nonrefundable, but there was nothing I could do about it. I decided to be grateful for the discount.

The ticket printed out. The next flight to Florida wasn’t for another two hours.

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go  *H is for Held  *A to Z Challenge

H is for Held (#AtoZChallenge)

Held

Held

It was ten minutes before departure when my name echoed over the intercom. I grabbed my carry-on and walked up to the counter. A woman in the black vest signifying the airline stood there. Her fingers flew across the keyboard, as a security guard lurked behind her and watched me approach.

“You called for me?”

“Ashley Prince?” the woman asked.

“Yes.”

“I need you to come with me,” the guard said as he came out from behind the counter. He gestured toward a set of double doors marked for authorized personnel only. He placed a hand on my shoulder blade and led me toward them.

“What’s this about?” I asked. Every nerve buzzed with warning.

“Just come this way, please.”

He withdrew a key card from his front shirt pocket, slid it along the security panel, and punched in a long code on the number pad. With a quiet click, the door unlocked, and he ushered me through to a long gray hallway. Several security guards and airport personnel passed us as we walked down the the length of the hall. We turned a corner and entered into a room with a mirror on one wall and a table in the middle with a chair on either side.

“What’s going on?” I asked again.

“Have a seat,” the guard replied as he grabbed the door handle. “Someone will be with you shortly.”

I let my head fall back and glared at the ceiling. There was no way I was going to make my flight. Every second that ticked on the clock was another lifetime wasted just waiting. One thousand three hundred and ninety-two lifetimes later, a man in a suit walked in and identified himself as Detective Harris.

“Please take a seat,” he said as he claimed one of the chairs at the table for himself.

The chair was plain and gray, just like everything else in this section of the airport. It contrasted with the bright red tie he wore and his mocha skin. I sat down opposite him, my back to the wall and his to the mirror. “I’ve missed my flight by now.”

“I’m sorry about that, but we’ve received a complaint.”

“What kind of complaint?”

“Stolen prescriptions.”

I scrunched up my eyebrows. “What does that have to do with me?”

“You were named as the thief.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” A single burst of laughter escaped me.

He shook his head. “I assure you, I’m not. Would you mind if I checked your bag?”

“Sure. Go ahead.” He caught it in midair when I tossed it to him.

I watched as he withdrew item after item and placed it on the table in front of us. He was meticulous about placing everything just so and I got the feeling he took his time to annoy me. It worked.

I huffed out a breath. “Can we please get on with it? I need to go buy another plane ticket.”

He raised an eyebrow and silently studied me. “There’s something I don’t quite understand,” he said.

“And what’s that?”

“You don’t seem to be nervous about anything.” He pursed his lips. “In fact, you seem to be more angry about this than anything.”

“Really,” I said. “And what gave you that impression?”

He ignored my sarcasm. “You should be nervous, but you’re not.”

“Listen, I just want to get out of here and on a plane to Florida. So, if we could hurry this along, that would be real great.”

“It’s going to be a while before you can go anywhere.”

“And why is that?”

“Because of these,” he said as he pulled two prescription bottles out of my purse and put them on the table between us.

 

*A is for Ash  *B is for Brother  *C is for Cure  *D is for Dream  *E is for Endeavor  *F is for Flower  *G is for Gotta Go

*A to Z Challenge