Jenny didn’t even try to be quiet as she stomped up the stairs back to her room. Every step on the stairs might as well have been a ball peen hammer knocking masonry off the wall of an abandoned home for all the force she put behind each foot.
She barely acknowledged the two people in her living room as she went to her door without bothering to put on the light; she could guess which of her floormates it was by the lack of odd smells.
“Hey, you mind?” she heard her floormate’s guest pipe up, his voice slightly reedy from the surprise. She ignored him as she worked the padlock on her door and entered her room.
Tia was sitting on the floor, reading Captain Blood. She looked up and said nothing to Jenny, waiting for her to speak.
“Get yourself packed, we’re going,” Jenny stated.
“But I thought you wanted me here,” she waved her hand at a stockpile of instant noodles, snack cakes and a bucket with bags and a bottle of glutaraldehyde sticking out of it.
“Changed my mind. C’mon, get up.”
“That’s good to hear, but I hope you still don’t expect me to use that thing where we’re going,” Tia nodded at the bucket. “So now what?”
“Change of plans.”
“Considering how mad you were earlier after we hobbled back ashore, that surprises me. I thought the way you were looking at me, I was going to be taken out somewhere quiet and shot.”
“Don’t tempt me.”
“Are you seriously sayin-”
“Look!” Jenny cut her off quickly. “Ever since you showed up, it’s been one bad connection after another. So yeah, count yourself lucky that we’re some of the nicer people on the lake and that you’re still f’n’ alive, got it?”
Tia seemed stunned to Jenny, slightly.
Only slightly; the way Tia looked at her, the way her knee bent…
“No,” Jenny said.
“No, I’m not going to shoot you. If it’ll make you relax a little, you’re not getting driven out somewhere to disappear, okay?”
Jenny eyed Tia carefully as she changed her stance and gathered up what belongings she had.
“You finish that?” Jenny pointed to Captain Blood. “Take it with you if you haven’t.”
Tia kept her eyes on Jenny the whole time as she scooped up the book.
As they left the room and Jenny snapped the lock shut, the guy her floormate brought in said, “Hey, so wha-”
Jenny shot him a look, and his companion took him by the elbow and tugged at him to keep him quiet.
Unhindered, Jenny and Tia left, Tia asking when they got downstairs, “Why’d you go after him like that?”
“Last time one of her ‘dates’ tried to talk me up,” Jenny replied, “he hit on me while she was there in front of her. I think he was trying to make it a threesome.”
“I didn’t ask before I bounced his ass down the stairs. She’s been keeping them from talking to me ever since, but this guy must have wondered about the lock and you coming out the room.”
“Let me ask,” Tia queried, “would you have shot him if he was like the other guy?”
“In a second.”
“So do I have anything to worry about from you or not?”
“Ask me in a few minutes,” Jenny finally replied before they got in the car…
All content Copyright © 2012 James Ryan