The drive to the mall took less than twenty minutes, and Sheila took great interest in the cars in the parking lot as they pulled in. She knew it was silly – paranoid even – because if there really were killers staking out the mall in the off chance she might show up there for no particular reason, chances were they weren't going to be thirty of them stashed inside a windowless work van with NINJAS FOR HIRE emblazoned on the side. She wasn't sure whether or not it was good or bad news the mall was so packed on a Wednesday night, either. On the plus side, many shoppers would provide excellent cover for her to blend. Negatively however, any one of the hundreds of people in there might be waiting to kill her. That was a BIG negative.
She tried telling herself that she was being too paranoid, and that she should relax, but the truth was, her cover was blown. No two ways about it. She didn't know why and she didn't know how, but she had two dead ninjas back at the house to present as her argument.
She and Josh made their way inside and meandered from store to store. Josh looked at video games and sports equipment while Sheila assessed sight lines and credible threats. Finally they arrived at the food court, where they found a frozen yogurt place and talked for a while, all the while Sheila checked the reflections of passers-by in the windows. They checked out the restaurants upstairs and settled on a steak place with a waiting time of ten minutes. They sat at the bar until their name was called, then sat at a table in the center.
“Can we have a corner booth?” Sheila asked the waiter, who told them that it would be an additional thirty minute wait.
“No way,” said Josh.
“We'll wait, “ Sheila told the waiter, and settled back in at the bar and sipped her lemon water while Josh worked on his rum and Coke and dabbled at the pretzels. He gave Sheila a scowl, “What was that about?”
“I'm simple. Dumb it down.”
Sheila chuckled, then smiled coquettishly, “I wanted something romantic, in the back.”
“Oh did you?” he laughed, “cuz I didn't know tonight was going to be romantic. I thought we were just going to chill at the Callahan place. I'm wearing my Duck Dynasty T-shirt, for God's sake.”
She pouted and bit her lip seductively, “I think camo is sexy.”
Josh laughed loud enough for the lawyer sitting next to him to shoot him a glance, then downed his drink in one satisfying gulp, “Sheila, you know the reason I like you is because you're kind of different from the other girls I've dated. But tonight is way different... even for you. Is something wrong? You seem... distracted or something.”