Sally stood outside of the coffee shop on the bustling sidewalk. She could still see Barnabas towering above the rest of the passersby towards Larson Street station. She smiled to herself and began walking the other way.
It was a gorgeous day. The sun was bright and buckets of fresh flowers lined the shop windows. The whole mood of the city lifted when summer arrived. As Sally passed a gaudy french boutique filled with clothing that no normal human being would wear she caught a glimpse of her reflection.
“Good grief,” Sally groaned. Her unruly hair was a mass of tangles and her coffee soaked yellow sweater had an air of homelessness. Her grubby once-white tennis shoes aged her. The only thing she didn’t detest were her purple glasses. They were a splurge during a weekend getaway to St. Augustine last fall. She’d always worn purple glasses.
Sally’s bemoaning was disrupted by a rapping on the boutique’s window. A thin woman with bright red lips and a frilly top waved her inside. Sally held up her hand apologetically and turned around to cross the street.
Time froze. Sweat broke out across Sally’s forehead and beaded into the palms of her hands. She’d recognize those lifeless eyes anywhere. Her ex-husband and convict, Clint Savij, stared with a face like flint from across the street. Sally’s vision started to blur. A city bus rumbled by hiding Clint behind it. Seizing the moment Sally ran into the boutique and watched from the window. As the bus rolled away Clint was nowhere to be seen.
“May I help you Ms?” The woman with the filly top had a voice that matched her shirt.
“I, uh,” said Sally nervously,”Yes I’d like a new outfit please.” The boutique woman’s eyes shined as she weakly concealed her excitement.
“But of course!” she replied, “We have some stunning new numbers in for the summer.” She paused for a moment to slowly study Sally from head to toe. Sally kept her eyes on the window.
“Blues, ” the woman piped, “blues are your color.” Sally nodded in agreement though she couldn’t care less what color the frilly voiced woman thought she should wear. All that mattered was killing time and making sure Clint stayed out of the boutique.
“My name is Francine,” said the woman. “If you’ll make yourself comfortable in the dressing lounge I will collect some options for you.” She smiled exposing a mouth full of pearly white teeth, two of which had a smudge of tomato red lipstick.
“Thanks,” said Sally. As she hurried towards the dressing lounge she noticed, for the first time, a glass door leading into what looked like a salon.
“Francine?” Sally called out.
“Yes, my dear?” Francine chimed, emerging from between two thickly packed racks of clothes.
“Is that a salon next door?” asked Sally.
“Yes, it’s our sister shop,” said Francine. “Lucy and I co-own the boutique and salon. If you shop at one you get a discount at the other. Lucy does wonders with hair. She styles to kill.” Francine raised her eyebrows, yet again failing to conceal the eager desire for a sale.
“Excellent,” said Sally. “That’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
To be continued.