Last week, Eli revealed that his job isn’t exactly what he led Kate to believe. On top of that, he led her to believe that her part in all this has something to do with who she knows.
Who exactly? Well, that part I left up to you.
“These half-responses are getting old, Eli. Who do I know? Seriously, I am the least connected person, well, ever.”
Eli rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head. “It’s not important, Kate.”
“It may not be important to you, but it is to me. I mean, really, who do I know other than…”
I looked at Eli to see him grimace, eyebrows raised, as he waited for me to finish. I shook my head.
“No, no, no. Not Meera?”
“Judging by the types of people involved in whatever this is, I can tell you now, you are chasing the wrong person. Meera wouldn’t be involved in anything sketchy.”
“I don’t know what to tell you, Kate. There are bank records and documents that connect her to what I’m looking for.”
“You’re wrong. Records can be faked. “
“Trust me. These are real.”
“Even if they are real, that doesn’t mean she’s a part of all this.” I sat for a moment, shifting in my seat as my stomach turned. “Eli, Meera could be in danger. If she’s been tricked into being part of whatever this is…”
“Look, Kate, this was supposed to a simple research trip for me. I was going to gather information and move on to the next step. Obviously, there have been some complications. Maybe it would be best if we got you away from here for a bit–”
“Are you serious? No way. Someone needs to warn Meera.”
I jumped out of my chair and headed for the restaurant exit.
Eli called after me, but I kept walking. Quickly.
The uneasy feeling that began in the restaurant turned into full on nausea. I tried to slow my breathing as I ran down a crowded escalator, hoping to get lost in the crowd. I turned as if I was heading to the next escalator, but changed course, ducking behind a group of pregnant women power walking through the mall.
I spied a maternity store just ahead and ducked inside.
“Can I help you?
The bubbly clerk walked up, a big smile on her face. I grabbed her arm, watching her smile quickly disappear, and ushered her to the back of the store with me.
“Yes, you can actually. My ex is here and I think he’s following me. He didn’t handle our break up well, and someone told him about the baby,” I placed my hand over my slightly beer-bloated stomach, trying my best to look desperate, “and I’m just afraid of what he’ll do.”
“Oh, you poor thing! Sit here. I’ll call security.”
I watched the entrance as she walked over to the phone next to the register. Only a few minutes had passed when two security personnel walked into the store. The three of them stood up front, talking quietly, as Eli walked through the door.
One of the men approached Eli, shook his hand, nodding as Eli spoke. Eli and the security guard made their way to the back of the store towards me, while the woman and other guard stayed up front near the door.
“Darling,” Eli said softly, placing his hand on my shoulder, “I’ve been looking all over for you. You can’t wander off like that.”
“What? I’m not your darling.” I jerked my shoulder away. “Officer, keep him away from me. He’s going to hurt me,” I paused, being sure to hold my belly again for the full effect, “and the baby.”
Eli gave the officer a knowing look, while the officer nodded.
“Katie, sweetheart, we’ve talked about this.” He sat down next to me, slowly. “There is no baby. We need to get you home to take your medication.”
I glared at Eli. He one-upped my pregnant girl act by declaring me insane.
“Come on.” Eli eased an arm around my waist and made me stand up. “Let’s get you home. Thank you for your assistance, Officer Clarke.”
The security officer nodded. I watched as the clerk and other guard shook their heads as we left the store.
“You can let go of me now.”
“Not until we are out of their sight.” Eli smiled as we stepped onto the escalator. “Pregnant lady in distress, eh? Well played.”
“Would’ve worked if you hadn’t convinced them I was insane. I can’t believe they bought your story over mine.”
“It’s the accent. I can be quite charming, you know.”
I pushed his arm away as we stepped off the escalator and headed to the next one.
“Yeah, well, I’m not so easily charmed.” Eli raised an eyebrow. “Anymore. And I’m not just going to disappear until you’ve determined it’s okay for me to return. So, you have two choices, either you deal with me getting in your way for the rest of your ‘assignment’ or you fill me in and let me help you.”
“You want to help me now?”
“Helping you seems to be my best option for proving Meera isn’t a part of all this. So, yes.”
Eli paused for a moment. “It could be dangerous.”
“Ya’ think?” I replied, rolling my eyes.
“Yeah, I guess you know that already.” Eli sighed as we walked across the floor to the exit. “Alright then. Follow me.”
Looks like Kate is going to find out the details of this “acquisition” Eli is involved in. So, let’s play Mad libs this week!
Give me a verb, noun, and two adjectives and I will work them into the next installment.
Thanks to everyone who continues to read, participate, and send me lovely little emails and tweets about the story. You guys are the best!