So far, no one had noticed Kathryn standing by the door, a witness recording every sound and image in her perfect memory. She was used to that sensation of being invisible. She always took it as a gift from God. It made her job easier, most of the time.
"I could use a little company on the road," the second man said, his grin gleaming with spit. He looked Nikki up and down and raked a grubby hand through his tangled red mop of hair. His chuckle had a greasy sound when she turned away from him.
"Kid's working her way home the straight way," Ralph said, his voice taking on a protective growl that cheered Kathryn immensely.
Shrugging, Nikki turned and gestured down the long counter. "Okay if I use the bathroom before I go?"
"How about lunch, on the house?" Ralph offered. "Looks like you could use it."
"Thanks, but--" Another sideways glance at the two men.
Kathryn fully expected her to say no, she wasn't that desperate.
Time stood still as Nikki's expression, tight and wary and calculating, and painfully familiar, cut through the block in her memory. That was Joan's expression, when she assessed a dangerous situation. Kathryn almost laughed aloud when she made the connection -- Nikki James. The hair was longer, but there was no mistaking the shape of the girl's face, her eyes, her stance.
"That'd be nice. And yeah, I could use it. I'll just…" She gestured at the bathroom.That decided it. Kathryn was staying for lunch. She would need the time to figure out how to approach Joan's runaway sister without spooking her.