Rustles – Chapter 8

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She was short of breath, when she finally got to work. Entire hour after her shift began.

The sleep drug had worn off less than a quarter an hour before she usually stepped out of home and it took her another half to understand she had to get up and go to work. For what it’s worth, she did feel much better. Hadn’t there been the pill case on the table and all the bloody clothes on her floor, she could have brushed the entire incident away as some seriously horrific nightmare. But the evidence was there and thus she decided to deal with it when she got back home instead. When she had time and didn’t have to apologize her ass off, promising god knows how many shifts to Matteo.

“Mat, I have new phone number!” she shouted to her partner in the back. The first two quiet hours were always filled with unloading the mercantile and refilling the bar.

“So that’s how you disappeared!” she heard Twin’s voice behind the hidden bar corner.

She let the jacket she was still holding fall on the rack and slowly peeked around the corner cabinet. The soldier had grey raincoat pulled over his dark attire. He smiled like trying to wheedle a child and played with the glass of juice.

“You were easy to find.” William nodded, coaching her to go closer.

“I wasn’t hiding.” She retorted, tossing her bag on the chair they kept under the counter It flew over and landed behind it, but she didn’t stoop there to pick it up. She instinctively pulled her skirt lower with shiver remembering the past night’s disputes.

“You’re shivering and you switched off your phone! Of course you were hiding!”

“It’s none of your business if I shiver and what’s the cause of it!” her voice lapsed low.

“Aa! But it is!” he leaned over the counter.

“I am not military!”

“That you are not,” he nodded with testosterone filled falling stare over her skimpy outfit.

“I have sworn to your chief – or whoever he is – I will keep my mouth shut, but that is how far I will go!” she took a big step back and dug out for the black waitress apron. They never used it, but tonight it seemed very attractive shield.

He pulled back and sat more firmly on his chair and pushed his juice away.

“I saw you on the field! You care about those soldiers as much as I do! You’re not someone, who can walk around in wishful thinking this didn’t happen!”

She gnashed her teeth together. “And this’ suppose to make me get involved in your fight? I don’t know of those soldiers! I have no idea how many you are talking about, but I will not become your bloodhound! You have sonar, GPS, seismographs, scientists! Use them!”

“If it was a cruelty against animals, you wouldn’t think twice!” he growled, “Have you any clue how long it took us to track my friend down in that alley? Six hours! Six fucking hours while you just stood there for a minute and knew immediately where he was! That’s why we need you! Help us keep track on them!”

“So I’m supposed to stay on call 24/7 and wait until my hair turn grey, because you can’t keep them locked up? Oh, this is ridiculous!”

“They are dangerous to society!”

“My down floor neighbor is danger to society – she smokes fish in her bedroom! Her grandmother can be dangerous for wondering off six times a day ‘cause of dementia! I am dangerous to society! Probably the safest place in your sense of society” she mocked, “would be 6th on Harkof!”

“Loony pin is hardly safe!”

She thought on her circus life. “You’d be surprised!”

“Why?” he suddenly smiled openly, kicking her off the track. “Have your own personal experience?”

“What? No!”

He laughed. “Don’t worry, I won’t reveal your secret!” next he leaned closer again. “That is, if you don’t tell mine.”

“I don’t care if you play hide and seek with the Devil in Hitler’s personal pickup truck! I will not be your personal sniff dog!”

“Squad’s sniff dog will do!”

“Serge sent you, right?” she asked suddenly, he nodded. “Well, if you climb back in his lap to purr, purr him my answer to his request – prrrrrrobablllly nevverrrrrr!”

Crease between his two brows were wrinkled up so fast, she didn’t even recognize the moment when it really happened. “Probably is good enough for me!” his rugged voice had no echo. He finished his drink in one turn and left.

Right in time when Matteo came back with two crates of beer.

“I thought I heard yelling?” He placed them down on the counter and gave her a bottle she could put away.

“Yeah, some guys just can’t hold their arsenic!” She began putting them away.

“We serve juice and booze.”

She took her apron off and hanged it back up and dived after her purse.

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