"You're not bad, Miss Jeffers," he comments about half way into the song.
"Well," I reply, "I haven't done much dancing so don't expect much."
Smiling like a shark eyeing a meal, he informs me "It isn't your dancing that I'm complimenting, my dear."
Chapter 37: Threats and Success
A shiver runs up my spine as I begin to panic. What exactly does he know about me?
“Uh, Mr. Rana,” I ask hesitantly, “Just what am I ‘not bad’ at?”
With the smile—actually it’s starting to look more like an evil grin—still on his face, he replies, “Miss Jeffers, I’m on to your little game. Don’t think you’ll get away with it.”
Now I’m really starting to panic which results in a misstep—I accidentally step on his toes. It’s a good thing he’s leading or I’d have stopped in my tracks.
“Oops, sorry about that,” I apologize with a wan smile as I recover my balance. “I told you I’m not very accomplished at this dancing thing. What game exactly is it you think I’m playing?”
I’m trying to act innocent but it’s not working. I’m sure that there’s guilt written all over my face.
“Ah…” he replies, “you’ve got that guilty look, my dear. You’ll never dig up dirt on my client—Dr. Lang—for Mrs. Harrison to use against him. I’ve done a little background check on you, my dear, and what I’ve found so far does not add up. While you have some recent school records in Alaska, I have not been able to find any record of the Jeffers having a daughter outside of a questionable birth record. Exactly who are you? And why has the Lab brought you in undercover? I haven’t discovered the answers to those questions yet but, believe me, I will—eventually. I suspect it must have something to do with my client. Why else would you be working in his division and why would you be chasing after his son who seems to have more interest in being a girl than in dating one? He’s not exactly the kind of guy who your normal popular young teen girl would find attractive. Would you care to enlighten me on any of these questions?”
This is too much for me, so I just plain stop dancing as I try to regroup my thoughts. He invites me to walk out to the patio with him.
I hope my handlers are listening to this closely. I’m not really sure what to say. I’m just relieved he hasn’t connected me with Chris. He is, however, right on the mark about my being undercover, investigating Dr. Lang, and using his son to get into the household. As Aunt Jen once pointed out—I’m not a very convincing liar. I decide the best thing to do is to keep my mouth shut.
Interpreting my silence as an admission of guilt, he continues: “What I was complimenting you on, my dear, was your success in ingratiating yourself to young Lang. You’ve also made quite an impression on his meddling mother. I’m sure both of them will change their opinions of you when they learn your true reason for working your way into their lives. You look pure and innocent but I’m convinced you’re just a good actress using people for your own purposes. Actually, your whole effort is a waste of time. My client is innocent of any wrong doing so there is simply no incriminating evidence to be found. However, I will not stand by and watch you hurt the family of my client, so I suggest that you break things off with Andy before they go any further and stay away from the Lang household. In fact, my son seems to be taken by you. Why not date him instead while you’re here?”
You knew this job was dangerous when you took it on, I remind myself as I gather my thoughts.
“To answer the last question first,” I begin, “your son is a very egotistical ass. Dating him is the furthest thing from my mind. I’ll admit he’s a good looking boy, but the image is destroyed when he opens his mouth.” I’m starting to see where Aban got that particular character defect.
From the frown on his face I see that my observation doesn’t go down too well.
“As far as the Lang’s go,” I plow boldly ahead, “I’m not any more impressed by Dr. Lang than I am with your son. He treats people with contempt and is unpleasant to be around. I would be happy to forego any further interaction with him. Mrs. Lang, however, I find to be a kind, caring, and ambitious woman who has finally seen her self worth. I honestly like her and hope to be her friend for a very long time. And what’s this comment about Andy? He may not be the hunky testosterone-emanating jock who gets a girl’s hormones raging. Sure he wears his hair a little long and is interested in the arts, but what’s wrong with that? Anyway, once you get to know Andy he’s a real treasure. He may not be girl crazy but that’s okay. The two of us have found that we have an attraction for each other which neither can readily explain. I wasn’t looking for romance this summer and neither was he. In fact neither one of us really wants the burden, but we feel compelled by our hearts to explore the relationship. For what it’s worth, I only got entangled with him because my cousin decided to ask Andy for painting lessons as a summer distraction while her boyfriend is away and I happened to tag along. Somehow, Andy and I just clicked.
“Yes, Mrs. Harrison is my supervisor at the Lab but that’s only because my Aunt got me a job there this summer when my parents decided I need a change of scenery. They seem to think that my Alaskan friends are leading me astray. So now, I’m just a teenage girl trying to keep out of trouble and make a little money this summer. What’s a sixteen-year-old girl going to be able to do to Dr. Lang? Like, I only recently discovered that Mrs. Harrison doesn’t really get along with him—and I learned that from Andy. In fact, in the past week I’ve learned that a lot of women at work don’t get along with Dr. Lang, so she’s hardly alone in this. My association with the Langs is only by circumstance, not by design. I’m not trying to do anything to Dr. Lang, but I am trying to get to know his son.”
I can tell from the look on his face that I’ve sown some seeds of doubt in his mind.
“Your past has some holes in it,” He finally states. “How do you explain that?”
“Do you know what my father does for a job?” I ask him.
“He’s an army officer,” he replies.
“Do you know what he does for the Army?” I ask.
“He’s a Major in the infantry,” he replies.
“Is that all you know about his work for the Army?” I ask. “If so, then you may need to dig a little deeper.”
“Is there more?” He shows interest.
“Yes,” I reply, “but I don’t know what it is. I probably shouldn’t have even told you that. I’ve been told that our family records are rather incomplete for reasons of national security, but you didn’t hear that from me.”
“So why did you really come to California for the summer?” he quizzes me. “I’m sure you could have found a good job in Alaska.”
“Why do parents ever send their kids away for a summer?” I ask in reply.
“You’re not pregnant, are you?” he looks at me with surprise. At least he doesn’t think I’m a slut.
“No,” I roll my eyes, “it’s because they’re trying to keep me from the influence of friends who they think are bad for me as I already told you. They hope that the wholesome influence of my Aunt and cousin will keep me from doing something stupid to mess up my life. I guess I’m just one of your typical messed up teenagers.”
He looks out over the city lights further down in the valley as he digests my comments.
“You’d better be right,” he says finally. “I’m not convinced you’re telling the truth, but your story seems plausible—like all good cover stories. You don’t seem like a screwed up teenager either, by the way. I’ve watched you tonight and you’ve behaved yourself like a proper young lady with unusual maturity. The results of my investigation, however, are pretty convincing that you’re not who you say you are, I’d still like to see you stay away from my client and his family, however, I won’t disrupt your game right now because I don’t have sufficient proof that you’re out to do my client harm. If you so much as breathe wrong, however, I’ll expose you as a devious manipulator and you’ll find yourself unable to complete your mission. I shall still warn Dr. Lang to be wary of you.”
“The only mission I’m on,” I tell him, “is to figure out why I’m attracted to Andy. That is, if you discount my parent’s mission to screw my head back on straight.”
With that, Mr. Rana escorts me back into the ballroom.
Andy finds me by the refreshment table where I’m sipping on some punch and trying to analyze what just happened.
“Where’ve you been, Tina?” he asks. “I saw you dancing with Mr. Rana then you disappeared.”
“Sorry, Andy,” I reply, “Mr. Rana escorted me out on the patio to give me a few words of advice.”
“What did he have to say?” Andy asked with concern.
“Oh, nothing much,” I try to wave off his question. “He wanted me to know that my boss and your father have an adversarial relationship and he wanted to stress that I’m not to use your family to allow Mrs. Harrison to get to your father.”
“In other words,” Andy said, “he threatened you and wants you to stay away from me.”
“Something like that,” I allow.
“That guy’s a bastard,” Andy begins to get riled up, “just like his son. Actually, like my father too.”
I look at him with surprise.
“Let’s face it—Dad’s an egotistical sexist jerk,” Andy says emphatically. “You look surprised. I’ve known it all along—after all I live with him. I’m sure he’s the same way at work too. Don’t get me wrong, he is my father and I do love him—after a fashion. Just the same, I can’t turn a blind eye on how he treats other people—particularly women. Someday, he’ll get his due and then maybe he’ll change, but I doubt it.” Visibly attempting to relax, he takes a deep breath and changes the subject, “The next song is the last of the night. My Lady, may I have the pleasure of this dance?” He completes his request with a bow.
“Why, yes, kind sir, I’d love to dance with you,” I reply as I smile and curtsey.
As Andy takes me in his arms for the slow dance, I whisper to him, “Please, Andy, hold me close.”
He willingly complies with my request. The warmth of his embrace thrills my heart.
It’s almost midnight when we pull up at the Mercer home. Andy hurries around to open my door and help me gracefully exit the small SUV. We hold hands as he walks me to the door.
“Andy,” I say, “thank you for a magical evening. It was absolutely wonderful to spend it with you.”
“I had a great time too,” he replies. “I still can’t believe that the prettiest girl in town would go out with me. Can we get together again?”
“I’d love that,” I reply, “What’ve you got planned tomorrow?”
“I’ve got to open the store for Mom at nine,” he says. “I’m supposed to work until four. What if I come see you after I get off?”
“Oh… shoot,” I exclaim in frustration. “I almost forgot. Laurie and I have some plans in the evening. Let me see if I can change things around and get back to you on that.”
We stand there looking awkward as we both want what’s coming next but each is too shy to initiate anything. Finally I look shyly at him and ask, “Andy, would you kiss me goodnight, please?”
He turns beat red before leaning over to give me a quick kiss on the lips. I have to admit that I’m more than a little disappointed, but it does remind me of the first time I kissed Laurie. I just didn’t know how to do it. We’ve practiced a lot since then so I have better idea of how this is supposed to work.
“You’ve never kissed a girl before, have you?” I ask gently.
“Ah… no,” he is embarrassed to admit. “Did I do it wrong?”
“Well,” I admit, “I don’t have any experience kissing a guy, but I’ve watched a lot of movies. What I’ve imagined is that I put my arms around your neck like this, and then you put your arms around me. Yeah, something like that. Then we slowly put our lips together then simply enjoy the moment like this.”
The second kiss is infinitely better. I start to go all gooey again and I noticed part of his anatomy coming to attention as I press my body against his. I don’t really want to stop, but we finally have to come up for air. When we break the kiss we don’t let go of each other. I guess I’m really thinking like a girl now as I look into his beautiful eyes. I realize it never even occurred to me that kissing a guy was a strange act for a former straight guy. Right now, it just seems so right in addition to being so wonderful.
As I catch my breath, I tell him “Yeah, that’s more like what I was thinking of. How about you?”
“That was incredible,” he replies with a slightly glazed look in his eyes. “But I think we need more practice before we get it totally right.”
“So,” I ask with a playful pout, “what’re you waiting for?”
Kiss number three is even better. Yep, more practice sounds like just the ticket—particularly if the quality continues to increase at this rate with each kiss.
Unfortunately, someone turns on the porch light just as we get ready to start kiss number four. Embarrassed that we might get caught, we quickly step apart.
“Uh—well,” I say as I reach up to wipe some lipstick off his lips, “we’ll have to practice more later. I have to get some sleep before tomorrow’s race.”
“Yeah, later,” he says in a daze. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
I give him another quick peck on the lips before heading inside.
Aunt Jen, Mrs. Harrison, and Laurie are waiting for me in the living room with silly grins gracing their faces. It’s with a great sigh of relief that I kick off my shoes and collapse on the couch trying to ignore the knowing looks on the faces of the other women. Laurie offers to give me a foot rub which I’m more than happy to receive.
“So,” Laurie comments with a twinkle in her eye, “judging from state of your lipstick and your flushed face, I’d say your practice is going rather well.”
Ugh… I forgot about the monitoring device. I hide my face in my hands. “I can’t believe you were eavesdropping.”
“Just doing our job,” Aunt Jen grins in reply.
“As was I,” I point out.
“It sounds like you really sacrificed yourself for the job. It’s a good thing,” Mrs. Harrison adds with a playfully evil grin, “we recorded it. Your kids should really enjoy this one. It’s not everyone who as a recording of their first kiss.”
“I’m sure,” Laurie points out teasingly, “You could give up your day job to give kissing lessons like that one. It sounded pretty effective. I’m sure boys’d line up around the block for lessons. I just wish we’d made a video of it. Nevertheless, it was pretty impressive coming over the stereo system.”
‘How much abuse does a girl have to take?’ I wonder to myself. “I’d tell you all about my date,” I inform my audience, “but it seems you know all the details.”
“You know,” Mrs. Harrison mentioned to Aunt Jen, “I wish I could use this thing whenever Ben goes out. Maybe I could keep him out of more mischief than I do.”
Laurie looks at her mom who is wearing a thoughtful expression on her face, “Don’t even think it, Mother. I will not wear that sneaky bug when Chris gets back.”
The two older women just laugh.
Putting the silliness aside, we spend about half an hour reviewing my chat with Mr. Rana. Everyone is convinced that he knows even more than he let on. It also appears he knows more than he could find from a simple search of public records. There’s no indication that he thinks I’m anything other than a life-long genetic female, so wherever he’s getting the information from, his source either doesn’t know about my change or they’re not telling him. There’s also the possibility that he’s holding back from tipping his connection to the security team as they’re almost the only ones who know about my sex change.
In the end, we decide to sleep on it. I get the distinct impression that Aunt Jen’s up to something and she’s working on an investigation of her own. I bet Mrs. Harrison is in on it too. The night’s recording is not forwarded to the security team as it did not come from my cell phone. My cell phone was in my purse most of the night, so the security team doesn’t end up with much.
After helping me out of our dress, Laurie gives me a sisterly hug before heading off to her room. I have a quick shower as I get ready for bed.
Despite being tired, I have a hard time getting to sleep as I relive that last kiss. I find myself looking forward to more practice. To hell with Chris—I decide—I’m Tina this summer and I’m going to enjoy it. That’s why I’m wearing my incredibly sexy see-through pale blue baby doll lingerie to bed. I bet Andy would like to see me dressed like this.
Six thirty seems to come earlier than usual. Note to self: don’t plan a race the morning after a late night date. Even after last night’s decision to be Tina, it’s still disturbing that my priorities seem to be shifting. It occurs to me that my note-to-self put the date before the race. Chris would have said: ‘don’t plan a late night date the night before the race.’
Staring in the mirror this morning is a frightening experience. My hair is a mess and I have bags under my eyes. The only bright spot is the silly grin that comes to my face as I recall how my date ended. A touch of makeup almost hides the bags and a few quick brushes brings the unruly hair into enough compliance to get it into a pony tail. Grabbing a bagel and a small carton of orange juice I get out front just in time to catch a ride with the Harrisons to the school where we are to meet the rest of the team at seven o’clock. I feel pretty exhausted.
“Get in late last night?” Mrs. Harrison asks with a grin—as if she didn’t know. She’s obviously keeping Ben out of the loop on our joint activities. What I’d like to know is how come she looks so fresh and perky this morning.
“Yeah,” is my tired one word answer.
“It must have gone well judging from the smile on your face,” she comments.
Glancing at Ben who is sitting in the front seat with his mother, I decide to not to play along by getting into the details. I’m not sure why she’d want to torture Ben with that kind of information. It’d be bad form for me to gush about my date when I know Ben’s wishing he was the one I’d dated last night.
“Oh, yeah,” I reply. “It was nice. Very nice. Very educational too.”
“You’ll have to tell me all about it,” she says with interest.
“Later might be a better,” I remind her while glancing at Ben who is studiously looking out the side window.
Caitlin assaults me as I climb out of the car when we get to the school.
“Hey, girl friend,” she observes, “you look like death warmed over, but that grin on your face tells me things went well last night. Like, you just have to tell me all the details on the way to the race. You are definitely riding with me, girl.”
Caitlin has a stack of new running shirts in the back of her bug which she disperses to the runners as they arrive. She apparently lost the bid for the fancy shirts and we have normal T-shirts with Laurie’s polar bear artwork on them. The shirts are in the school colors—green and gold. The girls get the gold—actually more like bright yellow—shirts with the artwork in green while the guys get forest green shirts with gold artwork. They actually look pretty good. I make sure my runner necklace is hanging out for the world to see. The rest of the girls have all managed acquire similar necklaces and have theirs on display also.
I’m not the only one looking as if they should still be in bed. Several of the other runners look pretty much the same way—both girls and boys. I’d seen most of them at the dance last night so I know exactly how they’re feeling. Several of the girls join us and we start talking about the dance. You know the normal stuff: Who had the hottest dress, who was dancing with who, and all the normal gossip. I received quite a few compliments about my dress. There were a lot of questions about my date as well. I just smile when they ask if he kissed me goodnight. As it turns out I’m not the only one who scored a first kiss last night and those of us who did are over the moon.
Coach Arnold notices the run down looks and excited chatter amongst the girls. “Did we all have fun last night?” he asks with a touch of friendly sarcasm. “Somehow I don’t think partying the night before a race is good training technique.”
All he gets are groans as we load up in the cars for the trek to Castro Valley. The short half hour drive is not near enough time to discuss the date with Caitlin as she is full of more questions than I’d have imagined possible—and we’re talking at typical girl fast pace. I’m feeling much more awake by the time we arrive at the race venue.
We arrive with plenty of time to get familiar with the course and do a little warm up. The way I’m feeling this morning, I’m starting to wish I’d signed up for the 5k race instead of the 10k—another odd thought from the supposed running fanatic.
It turns out that I’m the only girl from our team who’s doing the 10k. Three of the boys—including Dan and Ben—are also. We spend some time together jogging through parts of the course to ensure we don’t get lost. The race is going high tech this year with the introduction of disposable timer chips for electronic timing—that’s cool. The weather is cooperating as well. There’s not a cloud in the sky and it has yet to get warm as it’s a chilly sixty degrees out—I’m going to hate taking off my sweats. Perfect running weather.
Eventually we line up for the mass start. Unfortunately our little team of four starts in the middle of the pack, but our small group manages to stay together as we work our way up through the pack. I actually find it easier to wiggle through the crowd as a girl. Nobody seems to take me seriously. The start is pretty flat and narrow so it takes a while for the pack to spread out. By the time we get to the first of several aid stations two and a half kilometers into the race we’ve pretty much established our rank. There are number of serious runners in the college and higher age brackets who’ve left us behind from the very start, but we find we’re doing pretty good in our own age groups. We’ve passed a lot of our age peers. I’m managing to keep up with the guys but it’s a struggle. As we reach the shores of Lake Cabot, the rubber band snaps. Ben and Dan leave me behind with the other boy. Eventually he drops back as well because he can’t keep up with me. On a long straight stretch I notice a couple of girls about my age up ahead. I use them as a goal and settle into a pace which slowly closes the distance.
Before long we make the turn back towards the finish and pass through the second aid station. I forego the fluid and focus on catching my two rabbits, passing a number of other runners in the process. The girls appear to be evenly matched. One—she’s wearing yellow running shorts—glances back when she hears my approach with three kilometers to go. She looks surprised to see some competition and let’s her cute partner in black running shorts know they have company. We’re all feeling the strain by now but the adrenaline rush the girls get from the surprise competition raises their pace. The sprint doesn’t last long and I’m able to pull even with them with two kilometers to go. I give them a smile and a little wave as I join them. They just each give me an evil stare. We settle into a fast pace as we run together for a little while. I can see them getting ready to make their move. The girl in the yellow shorts crowds me at the last corner in a thinly disguised effort to push me off course while the other takes off in a sprint. I’m able to side step the block and actually gain an advantage. Deciding it’s time to end the game, I pull out the stops and quickly catch and pass the other girl when she can’t sustain the sprint.
As I near the finish line, I see a number of our team cheering me on. The other two girls are within striking distance but don’t have what it takes to catch me. Giving it a great last push, I cross the finish line a full ten yards ahead of the girl in black shorts to finish first in our age and gender group. Her friend is only steps behind her.
I almost collapse as I try to catch my breath after crossing the line. A tired but happy and sweaty Dan grabs me in a big hug before we’re swamped by most of the rest of the team. They help me walk it off as they excitedly congratulate me on a great finish. I look over at the other two girls I beat at the end. They don’t seem very happy. Excusing myself from the victory party, I go over to them and give each a little friendly girl hug and congratulate them on a great run. They want to know where I came from as they thought they knew all the top runners in the area. I detect some relief when they learn I won’t be competing against them in the school competitions.
It turns out that Dan finished fourth amongst his peers and Ben finished a surprising eighth. Ben’s finish was surprising because he’s always been an under achiever in the past and he proved it by beating his personal best time by several minutes. His mom finished fifth in the very competitive older women’s category. She had left us behind early in the race. Caitlin was also surprising. She finished first among our girls in the 5k and fourth in her age group. The other kids also did well and everyone is happy. All in all, it was a great first outing for our little team.
We hang around for the awards ceremony where I pick up my medal. I am announced as Kristina Jeffers from faraway Anchorage, Alaska which garners several oohs and ahhs. After the awards ceremony there’s a barbecue with live music. The organizers really turned the event into a party. Quite a few of the runners congratulate me on my run as we mingle with the other participants.
Unfortunately, Caitlin had to leave early to make it to her shift at ‘McHell’—as she affectionately calls her employer—so I get a ride home with Mrs. Harrison. Ben went to ride with Dan who drove himself and some of the other runners, so Mrs. Harrison and I are alone in her car.
I dig in my day pack and extract the brooch from last night. “Here’s the brooch. I should have returned it last night. Everyone was impressed by it.”
She smiles as she accepts it from me, “I know. I heard them all.”
“Tina,” she says with motherly concern in her voice, “I’ve been thinking about last night. I’m worried about Mr. Rana’s threats. He knows something about you that he’s not telling and I’m not sure what he might do were you to cross him. I’m thinking we might have to find another way to investigate Dr. Lang. In fact you’ve gathered enough circumstantial information for us to take over the investigation on him. We don’t want you to be in harm’s way.”
“So,” I ask for clarification, “what you’re saying is that you want me to quit seeing Andy and stay away from Dr. Lang at work?”
“Umm—yeah,” she squirms a bit, “something like that. I’d hate to see something bad happen to you. I’m also thinking of transferring you.”
Tears come unbidden to my eyes. “You know if I found some hard evidence of espionage it’d really cut short your investigation and maybe save more information from leaking out. I think I should stay on the case. I don’t think he’d do anything physical.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Mrs. Harrison contradicts me. “We didn’t tell you this last night after you got home, but while you were out last night we learned that Mr. Rana has been in the shadows of some really nasty incidents resulting in physical harm—including death—of some key people. No one can connect him to anything but his name keeps popping up on the wrong side of the investigations in a tertiary form. We don’t know what his involvement is, but his client base consists of several suspicious people and others who’ve been the brunt of a number of bizarre accidents.”
“Are the Langs in any danger?” I ask.
“We don’t know,” she honestly responds, “as I said, the picture is pretty fuzzy right now. While we have a good team working on the investigation, it will be a while before we get more definitive information. I’m just worried that if Mr. Rana thinks you’re getting in his way, he might just try something more drastic than just exposing you as a spy.”
“Look, Mrs. Harrison,” I plead in my best little girl voice, “please let me continue. I’m just now getting into the Lang household where I can do some real good. I promise to keep my cell with me at all times so you can track me. I’ll let you know what I’m doing. I’ll do whatever you want, just please let me continue. Pretty please?”
She laughs, “The pleading puppy look won’t work on me, Sweetie. Remember, I was once a young girl too. I know the tricks and had a lot more practice at than you’ve had. By the way, the sad little girl act works better with a frilly dress and a bow in your hair. The sweaty track suit kinda’ destroys the image. Anyway, don’t you think you might just be letting your new hormones cloud your judgment? Any relationship with Andy can only end in heartache and you know it. My advice is to break it off now before things get really serious. You’ll end up hurting each other more if you keep this up.”
“Too late,” I reply.
“What do you mean, ‘too late’?” she asks.
“I mean,” I explain, “that we’ve already formed a strong bond and even breaking up now will be painful. Plus, I don’t have a reason to give him for the breakup.”
“Girls don’t need a reason to break up,” she says. “We just do it. It’s part of what keeps men guessing. Believe me, it’s a good thing to keep men guessing about what we’re thinking.”
Taking a deep breath, I plead my final case, “Mrs. Harrison, if the Langs are in any danger, then I’m probably on the same list. Mr. Rana made it pretty clear that he associates me with the Langs. Pulling me now might limit my exposure, but it won’t eliminate it. I might as well stay in the game. You really need someone on the inside to keep an eye out for things which will help the investigation. My attachment to Andy only strengthens my case. As an accepted part of their lives, I’m in the best position to discover any wrong doing. Also, pulling me now—both from the Langs household and from work—will send a message to Mr. Rana that he was right about me and might expose the whole operation. It’ll be essentially admitting guilt. It’ll expose your role in the investigation more fully. As I see it, you have more to lose by pulling me out than leaving me in.”
She thinks about my arguments for a few minutes before commenting. “You make some significant points, Tina, but I’m still worried for your safety. Let me talk to a few people about this.”
“So, you’ll let me continue?” I inquire hopefully.
“Yes,” she sighs, “for now. Just make sure you keep your ‘practice’ sessions with Andy under control.”
“Ah—” I smile back, “that might be the hardest part——”
The current drought is over. We're back as ChrisTina's adventure continues. I'll TRY to finish it before the next break. Honest!
Thanks again to the fabulous Gabi for preserving the English language from an assault on its character by my writing efforts.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.