Bethany Kendrick was having the worst year of her life.
Bethany was still sitting on the ground, crouching, holding her pants up by the belt loops with one hand, wiping blood from her mouth with the other. She stared at the newcomer, wild-eyed, ready to lunge and knock him off-balance if he made a move.
Bethany walked over to where Adriel was sitting, his slender fingers wrapped around a mug, staring out the window at the early-morning sunlight.
All the while she was aware that Adriel was watching her, and he was delighted to see her enjoying the food. The gratitude she felt, he seemed to absorb it, and it made him almost glow.
Ten minutes later, Bethany was in the shower with all the enticing nozzles she had seen earlier. The hot water felt great. In the bag of assorted toiletries, she had found a ladies’ safety razor, lotion, scented soaps, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, and a box of pads and tampons. That last item had given her a chuckle. Adriel, for all of his kindness, really did try his best.
Bethany did not remember falling asleep, but she woke up in the same midnight blue room from before, wrapped in the same heavy comforter in the same bed. She sat up and stretched and looked around. Sunlight was pouring in through the open curtains, and it seemed like a bright day outside.
When Officer Barrett finally entered the precinct, she checked in with the desk sergeant, who pointed over to where Bethany was sitting patiently, thinking about all the things she wanted to ask Adriel if she saw him again. Barrett approached her.