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Having been startled into confusion, Ayola glanced at her companion with a frown. ”What do you mean?”
”I mean you just gave me the key to your house, to your personal belongings. I’m, like, a total stranger, and on top of that an ex-con.”
The frown fell smoothly from Ayola’s face to be replaced by an amused smile. ”Why, you think I shouldn’t trust you with my belongings?” she said with the same teasing quality in her voice as was in her smile.
”Absolutely not! Who gives strangers a key to their home?” Bette spoke with sudden ardor.
Ayola shrugged, her lazy nonchalance driving Bette’s mind crazy. ”I have no problem trusting people. There’s no point in doubting everyone and everything on the planet. It doesn’t give you a chance to enjoy life,” the woman explained. ”Besides, you seem sweet.”
With her mouth slightly ajar in bewilderment, Bette let out an incredulous laugh. ”Sweet?” she then laughed even harder at the absurdity of it all. ”Oh my God, nobody has ever described me like that.”
Ayola joined Bette in her laughter, the laughter that was so light and pure. ”I dunno, I’ve always been good in reading people. There’s just something about you that feels authentic,” she added.
Bette shook her head, still smiling in amusement. ”I should give you credit for your ethics. I’d never trust anybody so freely.”
”So, you don’t trust me then?” Ayola teased.
”Of course not.”
”Why not?!” Ayola played along, mocking offense. ”I’m so nice and pretty, how can you possibly not trust me?”
”THAT is exactly why I don’t trust you,” Bette smirked.
Ayola glanced at the brunette, their eyes met, both women obviously enjoying the banter on the same level.
When Ayola pulled over near the parole office building, Bette took a soft breath and opened the door.
”Good luck, Bette. See you later?” Ayola gave her the warmest smile.
Bette turned her head over her shoulder and looked at Ayola for a moment. It seemed her new friend knew just what exactly she was going through. The support Ayola was giving felt new to Bette, having been bereft of any support and encouragement for many years. And how good it felt to be supported again, to have someone who wanted her to succeed.