Rachel should have expected she’d be kept waiting. There was no one left in her life that respected her time. It wasn’t as though she had things to do. Not anymore.
She brought the teacup to her mouth and drank. Bitter. Cheap swill. She could name half a dozen cafes in the area with a better selection. But she hadn’t. If there were going to be any chance of this going smoothly, she couldn’t afford to be anything but deferential. She’d been told when and where to meet, and she’d obliged.
Like a dog waiting for scraps.
Perhaps no one was coming. It would be petty, but maybe it was what Rachel deserved. After she’d thrown everything away, there wasn’t much anyone could still take from her, save for her dignity. And even that was in short supply these days.
Stand up. Rebuild.
She could hear their voices in her head, echoes of her past mentors. What did they know? Dead, all of them, leaving behind a legacy of lies. At least Rachel had escaped that fate. She had her life. For whatever that was worth.
Maybe that was something like justice. A courtesy paid for her one good deed. Even then, all she’d done was correct her own mistake.
For everything she’d done, all the maneuvering and manipulating and clawing for power, what was left to show for it? What had she been reduced to? Prostrating herself before the ones she’d once looked down upon. Begging for a second chance, not for a position of power, but something new. Something she’d never known.
But would they forgive so easily? If they could accept a killer, then surely…
No. Pity was all she could hope for. She was something to be pitied now.
The door opened. She walked in.
Rachel’s entire body tensed as she watched her approach, grab a seat across the table.
Rachel took a deep breath, let her thoughts dissipate into the air.