Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness by Lisa Verge Higgins Read Free Book Online

Book: Random Acts of Kindness by Lisa Verge Higgins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lisa Verge Higgins
on the other side of this building.” Claire dipped her hand into a wrinkled paper bag, pulled out a little blue pill, and popped it in her mouth. “But it’s only open for another hour.”
    “Let’s give her a few more minutes.” Nicole watched as Claire rooted through the bag. Nicole knew those questionable meds had come from Jin’s office—Jin, who spent dinner that evening exhorting the therapeutic benefits of legal marijuana. “Shouldn’t you be more discreet about that?”
    “These? They’re just herbal supplements.”
    “I’m sure police officers have never heard that excuse.”
    “Honey, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t have at least one run-in with the police before this vacation is over.”
    “Well, just assure me that none of those pills are contraindicated with your meds.”
    “They’re harmless, Paulina.”
    Above the lip of the water bottle, Claire’s brown eyes danced, but Nicole sensed the rising of high, thick walls. “It’s not like you just recovered from a tonsillectomy. All these miles we’ve traveled and you haven’t once talked about your surgery or your treatment.”
    “Believe me, I’m taking pity on my captive audience.” Claire dropped the bag and the water bottle back into the canvas tote that served as her purse. “Once you get me started, I’ll be spilling things you don’t want to know. Like how my extended simple mastectomy started with a cut just above the nipples and how they removed my lymph nodes like a trail of stringed grapes all the way up both arms—”
    “Wow. What were you saying about a museum?”
    Claire laughed as she pulled out her phone and checked for a signal. She waved in elaborate figure eights in the sunlight pouring through the glass, stopping periodically to check the face.
    Nicole swayed back so she wouldn’t get hit. “You know that’s a myth, right? Waving your phone like that is not going to help you get a cell phone signal.”
    Claire tsk ed. “Oh ye of little faith.”
    “Did you check your map for reception before you left?”
    “No, but clearly we’re in a dead spot or something.”
    “So, what are you going to try next? Incantations? Killing a squirrel?”
    “All right, I give up.” Claire dropped her phone in her purse and held out her palm to Nicole. “Hand me your interstellar communicator, Captain. It’s the only way I can call our good friend Sydney again.”
    Nicole made no move toward her smartphone, which was tucked neatly in her back pocket. She had hoped Claire had given up on this idea. Visiting Jin had been a smart move because the good doctor had been on the direct route of their travel. But Sydney was a two-hundred-mile detour and thus one more way to delay their arrival at Pine Lake.
    “Claire,” she said, “we’ve already left Sydney a voice message. And two texts.”
    “So let’s call again.”
    “There’s this unwritten rule: if she got the messages and was able to host us, she would have called right back.”
    Maybe it was because Claire was unmarried and childless, but she just didn’t seem to understand that people had complicated lives, things they needed to do, responsibilities they can’t rearrange on a dime when a friend called from out of the blue asking for a bed—or three. Yes, Nicole knew Claire’s financial situation wasn’t so great. The new pink cowboy hat was a moment of minor extravagance, but Nicole had watched Claire refill her water bottle at public taps, perk up at the sight of a roadside cantina, and joke about sleeping roadside in Nicole’s pup tent. But driving two or three hundred miles round-trip for a free bed didn’t even make financial sense.
    The sudden scream of a ringtone made Nicole jump. Jenna wandered toward them clutching a handful of pamphlets. Lucky trailed on a leash in her wake. The shower music from the movie Psycho screeched from Jenna’s purse.
    Nicole’s chest tightened. It was none of her business why Jenna had chosen such a ringtone—or

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