“Leo?” Allison tapped the door to her friend’s basement apartment. “Leo? It’s me, Allison, I’m home.” She heard the radio, set to classic rock, turned up loudly. That meant one of two things: either Leo was home and working on a project, or he was out and trying to fool potential burglars into thinking he was home. Either way, it was unlikely that he would hear her tap on the door or her voice, so she turned to head out on a walk. The evening was cool and breezy, with a few clouds visible in the darkening sky.
“Allison?” The voice reached her a few steps down the sidewalk. “Hey, welcome back!”
Only it wasn’t Leo. Allison turned and saw David walking her way.
“Um, hi.” She wasn’t sure about David, ever.
“How’s your mom?” David asked. Allison felt a chill. It could have been the wind or the way David was pretending to care.
“Oh, good. That’s such a relief. How’s Leo? I haven’t seen him in a long time, either.”
“I just got home, actually. I haven’t seen him yet.” Allison immediately questioned her judgement in giving David this information. If she wasn’t so tired from traveling, and care taking, and all of it, she’d be more on her guard.
“Oh, well, sure. I’ll leave you to get reacclimatized, then, Allison. And don’t worry. I’m sure Leo’s fine. Precious, too.” David smiled that disingenuous smile of his and turned to walk the other direction.
Ugh, thought Allison. My recovery walk spoiled right away. Should I be worried about Leo? And Precious? Of course not. David’s just trying to stir up trouble.
And yet. What if?
This “what if” niggled at Allison as she tried to focus on the summer evening around her, stealing the potential for relaxation, replacing it with visions of all kinds of potential minor disasters.
“Hey, welcome back!”
Now that voice was certainly one she wanted to hear.
“Kassandra!” Allison stepped quickly to give her dear friend a hug that warmed her to her core.