My mouth was parched.
Digging a bottle of water out of my bag, sweat trickled down my neck underneath a mound of steamy hair.
Somehow in seconds this stranger had keyed into my wrecked state of affairs.
I dropped onto the bus bench.
Dizzy. Trying to get grounded.
I clenched my butt cheeks on the bench and felt the hot sidewalk under my soles.
I am here now. What do I know, what do I know.
A good head on my shoulders, everyone always said so. University degree in French literature. A loving family. Performing talent. A leader.
Not a sad story. Not a charity case. Not someone known for her bad judgment.
But here it was. An offer from Mephisto.
He appeared groomed, well-spoken and sympathetic. Successful. He was even handsome in that older man kind of way, sleek and tan.
I glanced at my watch.