Episode Twenty-Four Molly Meets Tarek
“Yes, your co-workers thought you were great. They said you were absolutely amazing with numbers, a true genius, that you could make sense out of any jumbled mass of numbers, and that since you started working there, they had better routes, less expenses, and more time to eat and rest. They said Mr. Trafford was thrilled because the company was making a much bigger profit and he was in a better mood, even talking about giving them all raises. They all thought you were terrific.”
“They did? You’re kidding me! They hardly spoke to me.”
“The boss, Mr. Trafford, told them to leave you alone, let you work, and help you any way they could, but without getting in your way.”
“Well, that’s interesting.”
“Do you remember the night you went out for a drink with them?”
“Yes. One beer was my limit, so I said good night and left. But I got scared walking home. I felt sure that someone was following me. Was that you?”
“No. I was the one who knocked out, tied up, and gagged that clumsy, threatening bloke who was following you.”
“Well, then, I thank you.”
“We met for coffee one evening after work.”
“You mean, like a date?”
“Yes. And not just one. We were together every day after that first coffee shop date.”
“Why don’t I remember that part?”
“Because… we had to erase your memory.”
“You erased my only good memories of all the time I spent in Demby?”
“Yes. I’m sorry, Sam…” Jaks winced at the shock.
“You will refer to her as Princess,” said the king. “She is not your familiar.” Jaks nodded.
“I’m sorry, My Princess. I had to.”
“Well, now I want to hear all about it, every word, every single detail. Father?” The king groaned, but hit the bypass button so Jakson was free to speak without shock. Jakson began the story.
Six months earlier:
Molly turned out the lights and walked out the office door, locking it behind her. She walked down the steps and toward her tiny one-bedroom apartment above the only legal office in town. She heard footsteps behind her. She shifted her purse to the other hand, ready to drop it. There was nothing of value in it. Tissues, a crossword puzzle, lip gloss, a comb. She spiked her keys between the fingers of her right hand to lash out at her assailant, should the need arise. She listened closely. One set of footsteps, matching her pace. Not heavy footsteps. The coffee shop was just up ahead on the corner. The footsteps quickened. She considered making a dash for it.
“Hi there,” came a voice from behind her. She turned toward the voice, keys ready to jab. “Molly, isn’t it? Don’t be frightened. I’ve seen you around. At the grocery store. The drug store. At the coffee shop. I’ve been waiting for a chance to finally get to meet you. I… I’m Tarek.” He walked up beside her, hands in his pockets, smiling down at her, looking very shy.
“Hello, Tarek. Yes, I’m Molly.”