Katie's Hellion (Chapter Six, page 1 of 27)

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"Blood puddin'?"

She almost lost her stomach at the innocent question from the middle-aged matriarch of the bed and breakfast.

"No, thanks," she managed. "More coffee, please."

She ate gingerly, her head aching from both her hangover and her mental breakdown. She'd cried herself senseless before falling into a sleep too heavy to bring her any real rest. Five cups of coffee later and a full Irish breakfast --without the blood pudding --settling in her stomach, she still couldn't shake the throb. The breakfast room had cleared out an hour before, but the patient matriarch kept her coffee cup full and left her alone.

Because she looked like shit. She knew it. She wore a jumper that reeked of her own body odor. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot, her hair in a half-assed braid.

"I need to get some clothes," she said, turning to where the woman read her paper. "You know a cheap place around here?"

"Consignment store down the road."

"Thanks. I'll bring this back."

She carried the mug with her down the street to a store that smelled like an attic. The sun was too bright, the people around her too friendly. She sorted through the clothing, finding a pair of jeans, another pair of cargo pants, a scarf, and a few shirts. She paid the cashier with the remainder of her Euros and returned for a hot shower.

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