After getting into her room, she locks the door and puts a chair against it just in case the manager decided to pursue her. She takes a long, hot shower and lies down to calm her nerves. Somehow or someway I have to get through this. Thinking about her parents and if they’d heard anything only heightens Alexandria’s anxiety. Will they be disappointed in her, or will they understand? She picks up the room phone and puts it back down, knowing that contacting them would only make matters worse for everyone. Tomorrow will give her more time to figure out her next move.
The blinding sun wakes her up at 7:00 a.m. on the dot. Even though hiding out in her room would be a lot easier, she forces herself out of bed to get dressed. When she looks in the mirror, she’s a little surprised at how puffy her eyes are from all the crying. She puts on some makeup and fixes her hair to avoid looking like death. On the way over she remembers seeing a shopping center, so she heads out to get food and clothes. The moment she thinks about her family her eyes well up. She and Cash have been through a lot together, but this is by far the worst. One of the most hurtful parts is that they’ve tried so hard to shield Amelia from their past, and now she’s stuck right in the middle of the storm, with a monster. She kneels down behind a bush to keep from drawing attention to her sobbing eyes and angrily pulls herself together, vowing to stop breaking down, because crying comes with a lot of baggage she can’t afford.
“I have to stay on top of my game,” she sighs.
When she reaches the grocery store, her nerves try to take over. Naturally, there are people all over the place, which could be a good thing if she doesn’t freak out and bring attention to herself, so she keeps her head down and shops quickly. She rushes through the aisles, grabbing anything that looks practical without stalling too long. She finds the breakfast aisle and grabs Frosted Flakes and oatmeal. Once she throws them in the buggy, she feels someone tap her on the shoulder.
“Alexandria, is that you?”
It’s all over. Someone must have recognized her and wants to turn her in. She turns around and starts crying.
“Cora! Is that you?”
Cora smiles and gives her a hug. “Yes, it’s me! How are you?”
“How am I? How are you? You disappeared.”
“It’s a long story, girl. I had to leave urgently because my ex-husband escaped from jail, and the authorities told me to get out of town until they found him. Luckily, I had family here in Kansas and was able to settle down. I wanted to call you, but they said not to tell anyone just in case he threatened people to find out where I was.”
“Wow, that’s awful. I really missed you,” Alexandria admitted.
Alexandria can hear the nervousness in her voice. She looks away and takes a deep breath. The adrenaline is still going strong and is keeping her energized just in case she needs to run.