“Jesus! Mary, you scared the crap out of me.”
“Sorry,” she shouted from the other side of the glass. “Can you let me in?”
Thoroughly grumpy now, Jane went to unlock her front door. As she opened it, she asked, “You couldn’t have used the doorbell like a normal person? What were you doing in my bushes?”
“A car drove by. I thought it might be his so I ducked for the nearest cover. That’s when your dog started barking. Hey, buddy.” She bent down to pet the dog, who had stopped barking and was now wagging his tail, having recognized the intruder.
Jane let out a heavy sigh. “What is it now?”
“He found out.”
Mary didn’t extrapolate and Jane’s sleep-addled brain couldn’t decipher what she meant. “Found out about what?”
“About the money I’ve been stowing away.”
“Christ! And you’re still here to tell the tale?”
“So far.” Mary snuck a peak around the curtain to look outside. “I can’t stick around, though. I have to get out of town. Now. Jane, I hate to ask this of your, but could you possibly lend me some money? You know I’ll find a way to pay you back as soon as I get on my feet.”
“What happened to all that money you were saving up?”
“Like I said, he found it. He has it now. All of it.”
“You hid it all in one place?”
“Of course not, but once he found one wad of bills he started tearing up the apartment looking for others. Each one he found made him madder than the last.”
The gravity of the situation finally hit Jane. She was fully alert now and had gone from grumpy to concerned in an instant. “Of course I can help you out. Just wait here and I’ll see how much cash I have.” She disappeared into the back room while Mary checked the window again.
When Jane reappeared she asked Mary, “Do you need a ride? I can take you as far as the state line.”
“Oh, Jane, I couldn’t ask that of you. Just take me to the nearest bus stop.”
“Nonsense. He’ll find you there for sure. We at least have to get you out of the county.”
“Thanks, Jane. I owe you for this.”
Jane waved it off. “Don’t mention it. I’ll just put it on your tab.” It was a long-running joke between the two of them. Jane was always getting Mary out of scrapes like this and Mary was always insisting she would find a way to pay Jane back, though she never did. Jane was too sensible to get herself into any kind of trouble and Mary’s debt just kept mounting, though nobody actually kept track of it.
True friendship doesn’t come with a score sheet and Jane knew that.