Monday, April 7, 2014


      "Come here often?"
      Fortunately, Dani turned around before she shot back with her elbow to connect with the male form looming up behind her. It was a natural reaction, after putting in a full day working at the Mission, with Rich Thomas breathing down her neck every time she left the classroom. There was a reason she surrounded herself with children whenever possible, while at the same time avoiding the classroom where Rich's daughter, Aurora, spent her days. She hoped one of the first changes Nikki made at the Mission was to either fire Rich from his position as custodian, or make him wear a bell around his neck -- or issue pepper spray for all the single, female workers. The problem with complaining about Rich was that he never said or did anything that could be specifically pointed to as threatening. He worked at the Mission, he was the janitor, hence he was everywhere.
      If that slime-dog had followed her from the Mission to Heinke's Grocery, she could lodge a legitimate complaint with Pastor Wally, at the very least.
      The problem was that Dani didn't want Rich to get into too much trouble. He had a daughter to support, after all. Then again, he had been an absolute jerk, romancing Nikki when they were in high school, giving her a pledge ring when he went off to college -- and then jumping into every bed he could as soon as he got half a state away from Tabor Christian Church. That was how he ended up being a single father. Her broken heart had been the main reason Nikki had fallen for Brock Pierson.
      Now that Dani thought of it, maybe she wouldn't have to say anything to Nikki to get her to fire Rich. There was no way Nikki could have any feelings -- at least, not any good ones -- remaining, where Rich Thomas was concerned.
      Then she finished turning, prepared to defend herself with a plastic shopping basket to the mid-section.
      The man grinning at Dani and the basket she held out in front of her was definitely not Rich.
      "What?" she finally said.
      "You must be as tired as I feel." Kurt gestured with his half-filled basket. At a glance, it looked like he was taking advantage of the prepared meals-for-one that Heinke's Grocery offered in the deli area. "Busy day? What do you do, anyway, in between concerts?"
      "College. And Jill-of-all-trades at the Mission," she added after a moment's hesitation.
      "Doing what?"
      Somehow, they ended up heading down the outside aisle of the store, moving from the bakery to the produce section.
      "Anything and everything. Fixing office equipment, filling in on the playground, helping the nurse, replacing light bulbs, helping in the kitchen."

      "Sounds like you spend all your time making life easier for everybody else, so they can get their work done." Kurt snagged a box of chocolate-frosted chocolate donuts as they rounded the corner.

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