Savannah, Georgia, Free States of America
It was the night before Tricia's wedding. Jean Wyatt was not thinking about what she did yesterday, not thinking about what she was going to do tomorrow, just thinking about the job she was doing right now. There were things she had to do, and she was doing them, that was all.
Rosa was taken care of. Jean made sure she was ok earlier today. There would be no problems there, not for a while at least. Now she was finishing dinner: a light meal so that her mind would be clear. Dad taught her about that. Fresh greens and fruit salad, and water, that's it. No alcohol, not a drop. Maybe tomorrow night. Maybe never again.
And she was going down her checklist. She wasn't looking at the things she'd already crossed off, because if she did she wouldn't be able to sleep. She was just looking at the things she had left to do. Not much left on the list.
After dinner she carefully washed the dishes, thinking only about washing dishes. Then she went to her luggage and took her gun and checked it. It was cleaned and ready. She put the gun and ammunition in her purse and left the house, locking it behind her with Rosa's keys.
She drove Rosa's car up the street to the florist's shop. It was very late, and of course the shop was closed, but she unlocked it (after all, she was one of the managers) and went in. She didn't turn on any lights. She went to the back and opened the big refrigerator and located tomorrow's bouquets. And there was the particular bouquet she was looking for.
Her hands were barely shaking. She took the gun and ammunition from her purse and loaded the gun.
She'd loaded this gun so many times. She remembered loading her father's gun when it seemed so big, and her father's hands so strong and rough, cradling hers. She remembered loading this gun just this morning, and then, before she could rein in her thoughts, she remembered Rosa's face.
But it was way too late to stop now.
She placed the gun in the bouquet and carefully adjusted the flowers so that it was completely hidden. Picking it up, she tested the weight: it was a small gun, not heavy enough to be noticed.
She put the bouquet back, locked up the shop, and went back to the house. I should sleep, she thought; I should be well rested for tomorrow. She couldn't bring herself to sleep in the bed, though. She lay down on the couch and stared up at the dark.