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Chapter 4

  • I took a deep breath, put the check face down on my lap, and blinked several times. Hard. Okay, look again. Yep. It said, Pay to the order of Freya Lomie, in the amount of twenty thousand dollars and zero cents. At the top left of the check was the payer: Trn, Inc.
  • And there, in the bottom left-hand corner, on the single line opposite the illegible signature, was a single word. YOU. All caps, all in the same bold, neat script that appeared on the envelope. I examined the signature again, but it was little more than a squiggly black line, but there was no way to be sure. I guess that would make sense, given the fact that the payer was TRN Incorporated. But that didn’t tell me much.
  • No note, nothing in the envelope except the check. For twenty thousand dollars.
  • What the hell was I supposed to do? Cash it? Twenty thousand dollars would pay current rent due, as well as the past due amount; it would get the electricity turned back on after paying what I owed them…twenty thousand dollars would pay all my bills and still leave me enough to get the brakes on my car fixed.
  • Twenty thousand dollars.
  • From whom? And why? I knew no one. I had no family other than my mom and brother. I mean, yeah, I had Grandma and Grandpa in Florida, but they were living off Social Security, and were about five minutes from moving into a nursing home…that I couldn’t pay for. They’d asked me for money last year. And I’d given it to them.
  • What if I cashed this, and it was…like, the Mob? And they’d come for what I owed them, and they’d break my kneecaps. Okay, that was stupid. But, for real, who on earth would send me money at all, much less this much? I had one friend, Kelly, And she was almost as desperate as I was.
  • Nonetheless, I called her. She answered on the fourth ring. “Hey, bitch. What’s up?”
  • “Did you—this is going to sound really dumb, but you didn’t mail me a check? Did you? Like, you didn’t secretly win the lottery?” I laughed, like it was joke. “I mean, you didn’t, right?”
  • Kelly guffawed. “Have you been drinking? Why the hell would I mail you a check? I don’t even have checks. And if I did, and if I had money to give you, why would I mail it to you?”
  • “Yeah, right. That’s—that’s what I thought.”
  • Kelly caught the tone in my voice. “What’s going on, Frey?”
  • I wasn’t sure what to say. “I. Um. Can I come over? For a few days?”
  • “Your electricity got shut off?”
  • “I also got evicted.”
  • “No,” she breathed.
  • “And fired.”
  • “What?” she shrieked. “Didn’t you just tell me you were going to get the permanent job?”
  • “I was sexually propositioned by Mr. Trevor.”
  • “Shut the fuck up.”
  • “He said I could keep my job if I sucked his cock. I mean, he didn’t say it in so many words. But he made it clear…by pulling his dick out.”
  • “Freya, You’ve got to be kidding me.” Kelly's voice was flat, disbelieving.
  • “Wish I was. I’ll never get that mental image out of my head. Ugh.” I didn’t fake the shudder of revulsion. “Know what I did?”
  • “What?”
  • “I head-butted him. Broke his nose.”
  • “You did not!”
  • I nodded, and then realized I was on the phone. “I did. I totally did.”
  • Kelly was silent for a minute. Then, “Damn, Freya, That’s a hell of a shitty day.” I heard the light bulb go off. “What was that about the check?”
  • “Can I come over? You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” I had to force my voice to stay calm.
  • “Of course. Bring your blanket, bitch. Let’s have us a sleepover.”
  • Kelly would never let me down. I mean, she couldn’t pay my rent for me, but she’d let me stay on her couch until doomsday if I needed to. She lived with her boyfriend, Tom, so we couldn’t be roommates anymore, but she would always welcomed me.
  • I changed, packed my bags which didn’t take much time and left my shitty, third-hand furniture where it was. Either I’d be able to come back for it, or I wouldn’t. Nothing to do about it now.