Stuck in a jail in 1898...
A door opened and Ted and Megan turned their attention to the marshal who stepped into the building with two women in tow. The women gasped. One placed her hand over her eyes and the other put her hand over her mouth.
The woman who held her hand over her eyes also held an ankle-length brown dress. She crept forward until her outstretched hand hit the bars of Megan's cell. -Please, put this on.
Megan grumbled but snatched the dress from her.
-Tell me when you're decent, the woman said.
-Aaron, don't you dare look at her!
The marshal shrugged and turned around so his back was to them. -I wasn't looking at her.
-Well, there's no need to fight temptation.
When Megan finished buttoning the dress, Ted hid his laughter as she grunted in disgust. The dress hung on her like a frumpy blanket. He knew she hated it but to her credit, she cheerfully announced that she was decent.
The women breathed an audible sigh of relief. The marshal also turned but gave no indication as to what his thoughts were.
Esther pointed to the marshal. -Send for the preacher at once.
I am a thief. The self-accusation hit Cole Hunter hard as he slipped the time travel device into his suit pocket.
Ignoring his racing heart, he glanced at his two partners who sat at the table in the center of the room. They read through the contract that Christian Jacob gave them to sign. They might've been the ones who created a time machine the size of a cell phone, but Christian Jacob would take the credit. Though to be fair, it was his theories that made time travel possible. Once the world found out, Christian would be the richest man on earth.
Cole quickly shut the empty case and shoved it into the safe. He slammed the safe shut and spun the combination lock.
There. No one would be the wiser. It was Friday afternoon. As soon as Monday morning came, he'd return the time travel device and Christian could see the fruits of their labor. Cole just needed to borrow it. One weekend. One weekend with the device and all of his problems would be solved. That's all he needed. Surely, that didn't make him a real thief. Not since he planned to return it.
-Hey Cole, come over here and sign line two, Blake Landon called out from where he was sitting at the table. -You won't get paid without your signature.
Clearing his throat, Cole nodded and walked over to Blake and Janet Cummins. Hoping they wouldn't notice his trembling hands, he leaned over the table and signed the document. A momentary flicker of guilt swept through him. Maybe he should put it back.
-Are you okay, buddy? Blake asked him, a concerned look on his face.
Cole straightened up and adjusted his suit jacket, hoping no one saw the bulge in his pocket and suspect the truth. Shrugging, he replied, -Oh, you know how it is. Ex-wife, alimony, riding on the edge of bankruptcy. What more could a man ask for?
-Once we get this to the boss, all your troubles will be over. We'll be loaded.
Not when Evelyn finds out and takes my part of the profit away. Deciding to keep the thought to himself, he simply nodded. -I better head out. I have a meeting with the lawyer.
Janet smiled sympathetically. -Hang in there. Things will get better.
He adjusted his suit jacket again. Did they see the sweat lining his brow? He hoped not. -You're probably right. He said it to appease her. She seemed to think that everything worked out for the best, no matter how dour the situation actually was. What was the point in reminding her that real life was nothing like the romance novels she read where people found their true love and lived happily ever after?
After saying good-bye, he slipped out of the room and hastened down the long, sparse corridor. A guard sat at the end of it, his chair right by the door and the security camera. Cole swallowed the nervous lump in his throat. Did the guard see him steal the time travel device?
The guard held an automobile magazine, his gaze focused on the article he was reading.
Cole breathed a sigh of relief. Good. Once again, the guard was showing the world just how lazy he could be. This time, it worked to Cole's advantage. As long as Blake and Janet didn't check the safe, he was going to pull this off.
Once he reached the door, he pulled out his identification card and swiped it. The door unlocked. He gladly left the 23rd floor. He was free to use the JIC Time Machine. A couple of hours and he would be done. He'd be rich enough to retire at his own private island where no one would ever bother him again.
Then, maybe then, he could finally be happy.