encounter, part 1

LaJean brushed her tangled short hair out of her face, setting her purse down momentarily to tuck the strands behind her ears. The breeze continued to brush across her floppy hat and disturb the skirt on her printed floral dress as she worked up the nerve to knock on the door. The mud-encrusted and faded welcome mat beneath her feet had likely been placed there quite a few years ago from how crusty it was on the sides.

As LaJean silently prayed that her brand new tennis shoes wouldn’t get scuffed up, a monstrosity of a man approached the foggy glass door and unlocked it so that he could peek his head out. Taking one look at her, he pointed towards the property entrance and stated, “The sign at the front gates said no solicitors. Do you have an invitation from Anders that would explain why you had to jump the garden gate and knock on the side door?”

“What’s going on, Giles?” LaJean’s eyes fluttered as a familiar voice shouted from behind Giles. The older version of the college boy she’d come knocking for took one glance at LaJean and then took off running in disgust.

“Anders!” Giles took off running after him, leaving the woman at the door. “Where’s your decor? Your manners? Your professionalism?”

“I don’t have any manners for that woman,” Anders explained, slowing down to a slow walk with Giles near the suite staircase. “She bilked me out of a few thousand dollars in college and almost convinced me to purposely flunk a class.” He crossed his arms, dotted with small dots of rouge through the translucent silt shirt he’d donned that day, and turned away from Giles. He focused his gaze on the sticker on the door near the staircase announcing a unisex bathroom. “Please just go back and make her go away.”

“You should have gotten a restraining order, Anders.” Anders shouted something incomprehensible about the police as Giles jogged back to the glass door, where LaJean was still waiting with an apologetic smile on her purple lips. He wiped some of the sweat off of his forehead and leaned against the open doorframe. “I’m so sorry, miss. Anders doesn’t normally act impulsive and juvenile like this. What was your name again? Mahjong or something?”

“My name is LaJean.” She held out her hand, which Giles quickly shook. “Is the beloved Miranda up to a conversation with me today?”

Giles’ eyes narrowed, and he took a step backwards into the building. “What business do you have with Miranda?”

“She’s missing a regular appointment schedule with her doctor.”

“That’s in the works. Do you have any other business? Or should I consider going into lockdown? Because you don’t seem like the type who just goes away on command.”

LaJean fidgeted with the handles of her purse, twirling the braided yellow ropes around her fingers. “I absolutely must see her today.”

“And I must ask you to vacate the premises. You are welcome to return once you have a valid pass from Anders, which I would highly bet against happening.”

LaJean crossed her arms, one hand on the purse and the other on her shoulder. “Not until I see Miranda.”

“This is private property of the city. Do you want to be arrested?” Giles reached for the  walkie-talkie on his belt. “I can call Anders and have the police here in five minutes. You won’t even make it out of the front gates.”

“No, sir.” I know no bounds, but I’ll leave. LaJean turned towards the deformed portion of the garden fence where she’d broken in. “Miranda, I guess I’ll see you in a few days.”

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