Lora rested her forehead against the glass of the freezer case in front of her, finding herself dismayed that the coolness did not rush throughout her entire body as she had expected it would. Instead, it just made her forehead feel damp; scowling, she stood back up and wiped her brow with her sleeve. As she did so, she realized she smelled; she looked to her reflection in the glass, and could just make out the image a woman who looked very disheveled. Herself–and should she really be surprised? She hadn’t showered in days, and the clothing she wore had been unwashed for far too long (and was far too stained for her preferences).
It was as she stood there, hoping nobody was around in the small grocery store she was in, that the enormity of Lora’s situation actually registered in her mind. She was on the run with a couple of accidental jewel thieves, missing work (she’d likely be fired, given her recent state), and hiding out in her own foreclosed house! It was ridiculous! She was ridiculous! Nothing had been going right for months, and now her life would surely be ruined… why hadn’t she thrown Dean and Roger out of her car?
No. She couldn’t think this way–she could work through this. She had to. Sniffing a runny nose absently, Lora looked down at the basket in her hand; nothing was in it. She hadn’t even begun shopping yet. Lora was torn between laughing, crying, and throwing away the basket in rage for a moment before she came back into herself, frowning at nothing in particular and focusing her gaze back on the freezer. Why was she in front of a freezer? Frozen food would be useless in a house with no electricity.
Lora turned around, looking at the rows of shelves and ignoring the puzzled stare of a fellow shopper. She walked down the aisle in front of her just to move, only barely registering the food around her; she couldn’t shake that feeling of despair, despite the relative clarity of her mind.
“May I help you?” came a voice from behind her.
Lora whirled around abruptly–it was just a store employee, dressed in the dark green uniform usual for this chain.
“No–thank you.” Lora spoke as calmly as she could.
“Right.” The employee stared at Lora a moment before stepping past her. “Call me if you need anything–the name’s David. Apparently we can’t afford name tags here!” He raised his voice for the last words, eliciting a loud chuckle from an unseen person.
Lora sighed to herself, grabbing a bag of chips and dropping them into her basket. Deciding she might as well do something, she continued shopping, ending up with a small assortment of snacks and vegetables. Now: how to pay? She had a meager amount of cash in her wallet, enough to buy what she had picked out, but she wanted to save that for an emergency. So it was a credit card, then; she had been careful of using it lately, but if she could sell the jewels it wouldn’t really matter.
“Find everything well?” asked the cashier when Lora set her basket on the counter; he began to scan the items.
“Yeah, yeah…” Lora grabbed a candy bar from a small rack on the counter and tossed it in the basket. The cashier quickly rung up the items and Lora paid him, anxious to get back to Dean and Roger.
“So what now?” Dean asked, nibbling on a carrot.
“I think we’ll need to be finding that man, yeah?” Lora said, taking a carrot from the open bag on the table in front of her, Dean, and Roger.
“We already went over this, Lora!” Roger said. “It’ll just cause more trouble.”
“Well… I mean, we could…” Lora popped the carrot into her mouth, munching it without thinking. “May I see the jewels?”
“Yeah, sure.” Roger looked confused, but he reached into a bulging pocket in his jacket and pulled out a small cloth bag, tossing it to Lora.
“Hmm…” The bag was a draw-string; Lora opened it, only just ignoring the faintly glittering diamonds inside and instead looking at the rim of the bag’s interior. “Well, we could try calling this number.”