Twenty-EightMature

I’m waiting outside of Tommy’s place, keeping to the shadows of the building next door where I can see his entrance without too much worry of being seen. I’m going to have to be careful not to spook him when he shows up - I don’t know if he’s carrying that gun around or not.

My breath slips out in white clouds as I try to shrink into my black wool coat; along with a pair of old jeans and a few long sleeve shirts, it makes up my new wardrobe from Chateau Karl. I’m going to have to find a wool hat to go with them – my ears are freezing. This is a night I’ll be grateful for the extra blankets he gave me as well. Maybe I’m getting soft, maybe I’m getting too old for this street life.

Work went flying past today - I can’t remember ever being so busy at any point in my entire life. Between the arrival of three boxes of new albums that needed to be shelved, regular visits from Officer Strickland, more customers than any two previous days put together, and getting things ready for DJ’s return I don’t know how I found time to breathe.

It’s probably... no, it’s definitely a good thing I was running around all day. It kept my mind off of Ashes and Tommy and kept me focused on what was right in front of me. Even when Officer Strickland came by we only talked about the store and music; I even suggested a few albums for her to check out when she was off duty. Officer Cruz stayed in the car, to everyone’s relief.

Karl came by to help me finish stocking the shelves after closing and then escorted me to the bus that took me here. He had offered to accompany me but it was a token offer – we both knew I had to convince Tommy to talk to the cops on my own.

The air is getting colder, the night darker, and still no Tommy. Maybe he’s abandoned this home in favour of one that Ashes doesn’t know about. I couldn’t blame him if that was the case; I know I would have done the same if I was in his ratty sneakers.

That is one of the perks of living life the way we do – if you need to move, you move. No mail to worry about, no change of address forms to fill out, no notice to be given. Just pack up your things and find a new place to settle down. If this thing with TJ works out that might be the only thing I miss.

While TJ took her turn in the shower this morning I was finally able to ask Karl about the money. He was pretty relieved to hear I finally had a plan for it... I bet he was figuring that money would gather dust and never see the light of day again. But it sounds like, if I can get some sort of steady work with DJ when he gets back in two days, it will be enough to convince a landlord to rent a place to me and TJ.

Which is a bit of a scary thought... and a bit of an exciting thought... and...

The sound of gravel being disturbed by slow, steady footsteps brings me back to the moment. I remain hidden as I wait for the source of the noise to appear, knowing there’s no guarantee it will be Tommy. I damn well hope it is though; I’m ready to go home and crawl under all the blankets I can find. Maybe stop for hot chocolate on the way.

A figure veiled in shadow appears around the corner of Tommy’s building and pauses to look around. I hold my breath and stay still, pushing away an urge to call out his name until I know it’s him. Then the person steps out of the darkness and everything slows down, until time is frozen and all my thoughts are silenced. Except for one.

Is this woman Ashes?

The End

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