Almost Dead

Almost Dead by T.R. Ragan Read Free Book Online

Book: Almost Dead by T.R. Ragan Read Free Book Online
Authors: T.R. Ragan
“Why don’t you come in and tell me what else she said.”
    “Are you sure? I know you’re busy.”
    “I’m sure, and, besides, that cake looks delicious.”
    “Great,” Jenny said, making quick work of getting inside the apartment, relieved when Terri shut the door behind her. “I’ll just give you the details,” Jenny told her, “and then skedaddle out of here.”
    Terri Kramer seemed to be in a daze, which was understandable, considering the news Jenny had just dumped on her.
    Get this show on the road! Get some plates.
    The apartment was small. The kitchen, dining, and living areas were all lumped together. Jenny pointed to the kitchen. “Where do you keep your dishes?”
    Terri pulled two plates from a cupboard. “Would you like hot tea or milk?”
    “Milk would be great,” Jenny said as she took a seat at one of four chairs surrounding the dining room table. There was no time for awkward silence. “Wait until you get a taste of this chocolate miracle. My grandmother passed the recipe on to me. It’s to die for.”
    Really?
    Terri seemed to be in her own world as she poured them both glasses of milk and then took a seat at the table across from Jenny. Since she hadn’t cut into the cake yet, Jenny took the knife and did the honors.
    In a matter of minutes, Terri’s demeanor had transformed from a confident woman in a hurry to an apprehensive woman awaiting execution.
    “Are you all right?” Jenny asked. “You look sort of pale. If it’s about Jenny Pickett, I wouldn’t worry too much about anything she says. Everyone at work thinks she’s a bit strange, if you know what I mean.”
    “No, I guess I don’t understand.”
    The cake. Make her eat the cake and then get out of here!
    “Before I explain further,” Jenny said, “I insist you try a bite of chocolate heaven. I want to know what you think.”
    Terri did as she was told. She nodded her approval and even took a second bite before chasing it down with some cold milk. “That is quite good.”
    “I’m glad you like it.”
    As Terri ate, Jenny rambled on, making up stories about her coworker. “Jenny is so reserved. Beyond reserved, really. Strange, like I said. She doesn’t have any friends that I know of. She brings a brown paper bag lunch to work and keeps to herself.”
    Terri shrugged as she took another bite and followed it with a sip of milk. “I’ve met a lot of chemists over the years and most seem to be introverted.”
    “Really?”
    Terri nodded. “I don’t think Jenny Pickett ever realized how brilliant she really was and is.”
    “Brilliant?”
    “Definitely. But the one thing she always lacked was confidence. It was sad, really, the way she let people walk all over her.” Terri took another bite. “This cake is delicious—dense but so moist.”
    “I’ll give you the recipe before I go.”
    What’s taking so long? Why isn’t she dying? Don’t tell me you fucked this up.
    “Shut up,” Jenny said under her breath.
    “What?”
    Jenny touched her throat. “Sorry, I was just trying to clear a tickle.”
    It was quiet for a moment. Terri had put her fork down and appeared to be staring at her plate.
    “I’m sorry if I upset you. I never should have told you about Jenny Pickett in the first place.”
    “No, I’m glad you did.”
    “You didn’t really steal the formula from her, did you?”
    Terri looked across the table at Jenny. There was a defeated look about her. “I think I need to call Jenny. You wouldn’t happen to have her phone number, would you?”
    “Why? What would you tell her?”
    “I would tell her—” Terri put a hand to her chest. “I don’t feel good.” She pushed her chair away from the table and stood. “You’ll have to excuse me. I think I’m going to be sick.”
    Jenny watched her stagger away. She got halfway across the living area before beginning to topple. She took hold of a cushioned chair and was able to fall gracefully back on the carpeted floor. As she lay faceup,

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