Circle of Lies
Sean and Paris tumbled out of the car and walked to the store entrance.
Raz pulled Sandra closer. He examined her face, and the back of his hand settled on her forehead. Satisfied with the results, he relaxed. His hands lingered on her skin.
“I’m better,” Sandra said.
Raz brushed his thumb across her lower lip. “Tell me again the moment you feel anything strange. Anything.”
“What’s wrong?” she whispered.
A light flashed in his eyes. He closed them, and his forehead touched hers. “There’s so much you won’t understand, but Paris is right. You need to know.”
Sandra waited for the truth, but the touch of his lips on hers destroyed any need for explanations. This kiss was innocent, loving but had the faintest sweep of heat. The touch woke a dark hunger in her body.
He opened his eyes.
The raw need reflected back scared the bejesus out of her.
Raz jerked back into the driver’s seat, back into the shadows. “Go clean up. This stop will be short.” He got out of the car and shrugged into his jacket. Inserting a credit card into the kiosk, he pulled the gas cap off the tank.
Sandra opened her door, and the cold night shocked her. Her uneven breaths puffed like smoke before her. She wished she had something warmer to wear, hot days and cold nights left her unprepared. She pulled the collar of her blazer around her neck and followed Paris and Sean inside the building.
The ladies’ room spanned three stalls, and Sandra entered without the walls trapping her. She grabbed paper towels and ran hot water over her hands. They shook. Sandra examined herself in the cracked mirror.
Stress, anxiety, and lack of proper food for the entire day all added up to what she saw reflected back. A tired thirty-one-year-old woman who decided on a whim to run off into the sunset with her lover and a questionably contagious friend. She ran the moist paper towel across her face. Raz knew more about Paris’s illness than he let on. I’m infected. It’s the only reason they hadn’t left her behind at HUP.