I’ve edited the opening to my bad side again, for the 30th time? I’ve lost count. I might have it now. It’s focused and clear, emotionally charged, paced, punctuated by effective dialogue; it has the right cadence. I watched my face in the window, fading in and out with the shadows, my eyes and mouth against the doorways, my neck and chest over the slumped scaffolding, the empty street and then Bowling Green, a rectangular line of light sliding down my arm, vanishing in a flash across my dress. The cab rattled heavily over a rutted grate and stopped in front of my building. The driver watched me through his mirror. “$9.40.”
“It’s a $7 fare.”
“What do you want with me?”
I gave him $8.
He snapped around, his white collar tip jutting up like a tiny paper airplane. “I’m not a beggar.”
“And I’m not a tourist.” I didn’t have time to close the door before the car lurched ahead, its wheels catching in a sudden threatening jolt.
“Are you all right?” George wore his uniform perfectly, tie tight, shirt sleeves just out from his jacket.
“Oh, he charged me out of zone.”
“I’ve heard about that.” He walked me up the steps to the apartment doors. “Mr. Walter looked very official tonight. I thought we were being inspected.”
“He said he would give Apollo some company.”
“He’s here now?”
George frowned. “I hope that’s all right, Miss Sinclair.”
“How long ago?”
“It must have been around 2:00, maybe a little after.”
“Thank you.”My hand reflected ghostly in the silver elevator panel. Derek knew that I didn’t want him near me. I had told him exactly that. When would he go back to his sad drunken life and leave me alone? I rotated my heel back on the stiletto, my foot angling sharply up, and thrust myself through the door before they were half open, my key already out, and pushed the apartment door in too hard.
I’ll go over it one more time tomorrow. Just once. Maybe twice.