Catching Smoke: Ch. 50

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It feels like it takes forever to convince the clerk to take her home.

Emmalee is exhausted. She just wants a warm bath to relax in and gather her thoughts. She thought for certain Colin would drag her back to the agency, and corrupt her plans of escape. 

But he didn’t.


Was he letting her get away?

How could he? After all the trouble he went through to bring her in to the agency?

She’s so confused, but too tired to find clarity within the muddled thoughts in her head. She needs to sleep. And bathe. And feel safe again.

She needs a new identity.

But first, the essentials.

“This way, Señorita,” the clerk says, flashing her a gap-toothed smile as he holds the store door open for her.

The clerk had called another employee to cover the shift, and the young man’s eyes droop heavily behind the counter, his nod slow and almost imperceptible as Emmalee waves him her thanks.

The clerk’s fingers poke sharply against Emmalee’s spine as he leads her toward his car. It’s surprisingly clean and nice, American made, and for a moment Emmalee wonders if perhaps she has been too quick to judge the clerk. Perhaps he’s wealthier than she thought. Perhaps she’s gotten lucky, and a new identity won’t be so hard to find. The wealthier a person, the more likely they are to protect their secrets, and Emmalee’s greatest strength is the ability to reveal the hidden.

But Emmalee’s hopes come to a screeching halt when the clerk’s fingers turn suddenly into the unmistakable feeling of the barrel of a gun against her spine. Her eyes widen, and her posture stiffens.

“Get in,” the clerk says, his native accent suddenly absent.

With a long drink of breath to hide her growing nerves, Emmalee reaches her hand out to open the car door, and slides in with exhausted resignation. 

She hasn’t gotten lucky after all.

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