“Ahhhh! Fresh, clean clothes!” Tray said as he slid across the floor in his socks, “I could use a haircut, but..it is what it is,” he said as he shrugged.
He smelled like an entire box of laundry detergent and dryer sheets.
Quinita just laughed at him.
“Hey, while you laughin’, I thought my clothes was gonna fuse to my skin! I feel so much better!” he said, sighing.
“Well good!” said Quinita, “I’m so happy you feel better, now!”
Tray was beaming as he did his little dance.
“You a mess, you know dat?” Quinita said.
Tray laughed out loud.
After joking around for a while, they gradually got back to business.
“Okay, so, look…” Quinita said to Tray, “Lexi is supposed to be briefing us soon on where we’re going next,”
“She should be calling by now,”
Something hit the window.
“And you’re sure those windows are bulletproof?” asked Tray.
His eyes were so big that they filled up the glasses on his face.
“Uh…yeah,” Quinita replied.
They were both looking at the window when Quinita’s phone rang.
“Lexi, what’s happening? There’s bullets hitting the windows!” said Quinita.
“Mamita don’t worry, we got you. Walk in your room, open the window and climb out. There’s some stairs you guys can let down,”
“Mira, you have to hurry, the SWAT team and everybody is trying to get in. Grab the cat, you, Tray, and the briefcase!” Lexi was frantic, “Out the window, down the stairs, black BMW…go, go, go, go, go!”
Quinita hung up the phone and gathered Twelve and the briefcase.
Tray was waiting for her at the window in her room and had already carefully pulled down the stairs that led down into the back alley.
They moved as fast as they could, the three of them running down the alley to the roadway.
Tray had made his way to the wooden gate and opened it when gunshots were being fired toward them from behind.
Quinita was screaming as Tray wrapped his arms around her and threw his weight, along with them, into the backseat of the black BMW.
“Q, you alright?” Tray said as he held her to calm her down.
Quinita was crying and screaming.
“Q, it’s alright…it’s gonna be alright, baby,” he said, now gently rocking her, “Lawd, have mercy!”
All Quinita could think about was how horrible her life had become overnight…just to save humanity.
“That’s, right!” the driver’s voice piped up “Everything is going to be fine! You got me behind the wheel!”
“Xuan!!!” Quinita cheered behind her tears.
“The one and only!” Xuan said as he handed her a box of tissues, “Don’t cry, Q. You got this!”
“That’s right!” Tray agreed.
“Meeeooowww…” Twelve chimed in.
Xuan made his way through the back roads and on their way out of Georgia.
They continued to ride in silence.
Quinita was still in shock over what just happened.
Tray watched over her. He wanted to say something more to comfort her, but he couldn’t think of anything. So, he just watched his dear friend, Q, as she cleaned her face, wiping away tears that seemed to never end.
“Where are we going?” Quinita asked, sniffling.
“Drew said to go to Tennessee. He gave me the address, it’s outside of Chattanooga.”
“Chattanooga is beautiful!” said Tray, “You ever been to Chattanooga?” he asked Quinita as he tapped on her shoulder.
Quinita made a snorty noise as she wiped her face, “Uh…no,”
“No?” asked Tray
Quinita shook her head.
“You gotta get out more, Babygirl!” said Tray, trying to get Quinita to cheer up, “I think you’ll love it! Well, I mean…in spite of the circumstances.”
They continued on their way north to Tennessee.
“I figured you’d like these,” Xuan said after about an hour of him driving.
He tossed a large bag of cheese puffs back toward Quinita.
“Wow, thanks, Xuan!” Quinita said happily.
Tray had a weird look on his face.
“What?” asked Quinita, “It’s our inside joke.”
“How do you know him so well?”
“Oh! He’s my designated driver from down in Tampa at the university!” she said as she popped a few puffs into her mouth.
Tray was starting to notice that food made her happy.
“Ohhhh!” he said, “I was just worried you’d lost your mind talking to a stranger like that!” he said, laughing nervously.
Quinita accidentally dropped a cheese puff on the floor of the vehicle, which allowed Twelve to have at it.
“Well, wouldya look at that? A cat eating a cheese puff!” Tray said in amusement.
“You want some?” she asked Tray as she offered him the bag.
“Why sure, with all your snot, spit, tears, and all!” he said as he grabbed a fist full of puffs.
The entire car burst into laughter.
“They’re magically delicious!” he said.
“You’re so dramatic!” Quinita said.
“Me? No way!” joked Tray.
The journey continued for another 2 hours before they’d finally made it into Chattanooga.
Xuan followed the GPS the whole way.
Quinita fell asleep with Twelve in her lap, leaning on Tray’s shoulder.
Tray didn’t mind, though. That’s why he was there; to support her.
He was looking out the window at all of the beautiful mountainous scenery and waterfalls.
Everything was so beautiful and filled with life.
“Just like you,” he thought to himself as he looked at Quinita soundly sleeping on his shoulder.
“Wooooaaaahhh!!!” Xuan said from the front, “This is gorgeous!”
“Oh, my God!” said Tray, “Y’all got hookup like this?! Aww, man!”
The men were making such a fuss that they woke Quinita up.
She sat up to see what was going on, “What the fuck!?”
That was all she could get out.
They were entering a heavily guarded and gated 10,000 square foot mega-mansion.
“It’s a castle!” said Quinita.
“Fit for a queen!” Tray said, smiling at Quinita, squeezing her arm.
Quinita felt bashful and just looked down at her shoes.
Her phone rang as they pulled into the underground parking lot.
“What now, Lexi?”
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