Page 12 of For Us

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"Got it," Derik said, his tone equally resolute. "Be careful, Morgan."

Morgan's heart pounded in her chest as she pushed through the concert hall doors, leaving Derik behind. The urgency to find Roger Walter fueled her every step. Her breath came out in short, rapid bursts as she jogged towards her car.

She couldn't afford to waste a moment. This was her chance to pull back the veil of deception and expose the truth, not just for herself, but for all those affected by this heinous criminal. The lives of innocent people were at stake, and she would not let them down.

"Damn it," Morgan muttered under her breath as she fumbled with her keys, trying to unlock her car door. "Get it together."

Finally, she managed to get the door open and slid into the driver's seat. In seconds, the engine roared to life, and she sped off into the street.


The heavy bags of groceries threatened to topple Lisa over as she struggled up the walkway to her front door. The paper handles dug painfully into her fingers, and she cursed under her breath.

Her arms felt like they were on fire, the weight of the groceries straining her muscles to their limit. But she couldn't stop now; she was so close to the safety of her home.

"Almost there," she whispered, gritting her teeth and taking another step. "Just a little further."

As she finally reached the front door, a bead of sweat trickled down her forehead, and she blinked it away. She knew that once she was inside, she could set the bags down and take a much-needed break. But first, she had to navigate the seemingly insurmountable task of unlocking the door without dropping her precious cargo.

With a deep breath, she steadied herself and carefully inserted the key into the lock. Just a few more agonizing seconds, and she'd be home free.

Just as Lisa was about to turn the key, a figure jogged into view from her peripheral vision. She startled slightly, her heart skipping a beat as she glanced over at the newcomer.

"Hey there!" the man called out, slowing to a stop beside her. "You look like you could use some help with those bags."

Lisa blinked, taking in the stranger's friendly smile and disheveled brown hair. There was something vaguely familiar about him, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. He looked harmless enough, but she hesitated for a moment, her instincts warring with her desire for assistance.

"Um, sure," she finally said, her voice uncertain. "Thank you."

"No problem," the man replied cheerfully, reaching out to take the heaviest bag from her grasp. Lisa felt a wave of relief wash over her as the strain on her arm lessened, and she offered him a grateful smile.

"Really, I appreciate it," she told him, unlocking the door and pushing it open. "I didn't think these bags would be so heavy when I picked them up at the store."

The man laughed, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "Yeah, I've been there before. It's always a surprise how much groceries can weigh."

As they stepped inside the foyer, Lisa couldn't shake the nagging feeling that she knew this man from somewhere. She studied his face as he set the grocery bag on the floor next to hers, trying to place him.

"Have we met before?" she asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

"Maybe," he said, evasively. "I feel like I've seen you around town."

"Could be," Lisa muttered, still puzzling over his identity. She brushed the thought aside for now, deciding it wasn't important. What mattered was that this kind stranger had helped her carry her groceries inside, and she owed him her thanks.

"Anyways," she said, forcing a smile. "I really appreciate the help. So, thank you."

"Of course," he replied, his eyes meeting hers for a brief moment before glancing away. "It was my pleasure."

"Alright then," Lisa said, feeling slightly awkward now that the task at hand was completed. "Well, have a good day."

"Hey, um, do you mind if I ask for a glass of water?" the man said suddenly, his voice strained. "I've been walking all morning and could really use some."

Lisa hesitated, feeling a tinge of discomfort surge through her. Was it safe to let this stranger linger in her home? She shook off her paranoia, chiding herself for being overly suspicious. The man had helped her, after all; getting him a glass of water was the least she could do.

"Sure," Lisa said, forcing another smile. "Just give me a moment."

As she filled a glass at the kitchen sink, she couldn't help but steal glances at the man by the front door. He stood there, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, looking almost as uneasy as she felt. A part of her wondered if he sensed her apprehension, but she dismissed the thought as soon as it entered her mind.

"Here you go," Lisa said, handing him the glass of water. Her hand brushed against his as she did so, and for a split second, she felt an unsettling chill race up her spine. The man's eyes locked onto hers, and she quickly looked away, her heart pounding in her chest.

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