I wake the next morning, Friday, feeling particularly refreshed. I did not wake up screaming from a nightmare, nor did Lyle have to wake me up. I am downright cheerful on my walk to work. I have put on a green blouse and white slacks because I feel so good. I even whistle a bit as I walk. The weather is sunny with no wind for a change, so it seems as if even the heavens are smiling on me today. At work, nobody is overtly friendly towards me, but no one pointedly ignores me, either. I pour myself a cup of coffee before sitting down at my desk. I drape my jacket on the coat rack, then power on my computer. I like to execute the same movements every morning as my own little ritual. I have emails from my sister and from Vashti as well as a voice mail message from Vashti. There is nothing from Ursula, however, which surprises me a bit. I decide to try to call her again during my lunch break. I read the email from Libby.
Rayne, thank you again for the advice. I appreciate your unique point of view. Really, I do. It’s so hard to do the right thing sometimes, isn’t it? I know I love Wallace; I just wish I loved him more. I haven’t made a decision yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.
“Hey, Rayne!” Jamal grins at me as he bounces around. I am glad that he’s gotten over being mad at me as he’s my favorite kid. He is munching a Snickers bar, and it’s probably not his first this morning. “How’s your homey?”
“He’s awake, Jamal,” I say, grinning in return. “He’s going to be just fine.”
“That’s great,” Jamal says softly, standing still for a minute. He’s lost his grin, and there’s something wistful in his eyes. “You lucky, you know?” He waves at me with the Snickers before disappearing up the stairs. I watch him fondly before turning back to my computer. I’m immersed in my work for the rest of the morning.
“Hey, Rayne!” Quinn McGowan, my coworker who used to be a quasi-friend until she started avoiding me like the plague because of the rash of murders I’ve been involved in. She interrupts me just as I’m about to take my lunch break.
“Hey, Quinn,” I say pleasantly. Even though she’s a basket case with more than a few issues, she’s still attractive. Five-feet two with generous curves, pure green eyes and glossy dark brown hair cut pixie-style, she dresses to accentuate her positives. Today she’s wearing a tight green sweater that matches her eyes and a short black skirt. I’m cautious, however, as the last time she talked to me it was because she wanted me to have a threesome with her and her boyfriend. “What’s up?”