Hailey glanced over her shoulder as she walked. Her heels clattered on the concrete under her feet, echoing loudly in her ears. The two men from earlier passed through the doorway exiting the building. She reached the crosswalk and impatiently hit the walk button. The two men had nearly reached her when the light turned. She ran across the street. When she reached the other side, one of her heels got caught in the grate. The men followed her onto the crosswalk. She slipped her foot out of the heel. The concrete was slippery under her bare foot, and she kicked off the other one.
Looking behind her one more time, she ran into the nearest alley, counting on her ability to navigate the back alleys of the city. She swiped her wet hair out of her face as she ran down the alleys. The rain drenched her clothes and made it hard to see in front of her. Ducking into her worn down apartment building, she slumped against the wall. Today had been much too close for her liking, but at the same time the risk had been worth it even if she almost risked her secret. She grinned happily at the thought of Daniel. Wringing out her hair, she climbed the stairs to her three floor apartment.
Her kitten, Jack-jack, greeted her at the door, rubbing against her bare leg. Hailey laughed and bent down to pick up the kitten. The gray tabby purred as he settled into her owner’s arms. Hailey walked over to her kitchen counter and flipped through the mail she brought in. A letter with a return address from Los Angeles made her freeze. Jack-jack jumped from her arms as she leaned against the counter. Her hands shook as she opened the envelope. A small wallet sized picture fell out at she took out the letter. Tears filled her eyes as she looked at the golden haired toddler in the picture.
Wiping her eyes, she opened up the letter from her step-mother. She slid down to the linoleum floor and clutched the letter to her chest. Jack-jack brushed against her leg repeatedly before Hailey moved from her spot on the floor. She hung the picture on the fridge and tossed the letter onto her desk. Peeling off her soaked jacket, she made her way to her bedroom at the back of the small apartment. Jack-jack followed her, dodging the wet articles of clothes. She piled her dark hair on the top of her head and glanced in the mirror. She needed to recolor her hair soon, especially with Daniel getting suspicious.
Her cell phone buzzed on the top of her desk. Grumbling, she reached over to grab it.
“Hailey Canton,” she answered.
“Did you get my letter?” her step-mother barked over the phone.
“Good afternoon to you too, Abigail. And yes, I did get your letter. I just finished reading it.”
“And I will do my best, Abigail. It may take a week or so, but I will send you the money.”
“You better. She is draining my wallet.”
“It will only be a few more months before I’ll be able to come get her.”
“I need her gone by summer.”
“Of course, Abigail. I’ll talk to you soon.” Hailey hung up and put her phone into the charger. She had nearly saved enough to move to a bigger place where there would be room for her daughter.
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