This entry is part 6 of 17 in the series Doing Laundry

     “Wait…what!?” Eli raised his hands defensively.
     “I’m sorry Eli. I’m not who you think I am,” she offered, holding up her badge.
     “Oh? Really!?A…a liar? Cruel? A fraud? Not someone I can trust? And I guess we should probably break up with you being in the F.B.I., already engaged, and seeing as how I’m about to be arrested.”
     “Wait. Break up? Break up?” Detective Osprey splurted. “You convinced this weasel you two were dating?” He said before sending waves of laughter through the department store. “Here, let me ‘cuff him for ya. Wow. That’s evil,” he chuckled shaking his head as he gathered Eli’s hands behind his back.
     Eli heard the click of the handcuff lock as the detective shoved him towards the woman he had just tried to buy an engagement ring for. Her body language held a detached sense of professionalism, but her eyes rebelled with pity. He stumbled past her before she grabbed his arm and pressured him towards the exit.
     “I’m an idiot,” he said to himself as they broke into the sweet light.
     It was all a lie. All of it.
     He faltered in the disbelief that so much of his life, so much of what he planned, what he wanted, was based on a complete lie.
     He saw a black sixteen passenger van parked at the end of a long row of cars. She stopped.
     “Eli…,” she began.
     “Don’t. It’s okay,” he cut her off. “Gosh, I…thought. I hoped, rather, that this. That we could work. But this whole time…and even when we were at dinner and you accused me of hiding something from you,” his voice trailed off into an exhale. “I felt awful after that night. Sadi…Haley. Agent. Haley. I felt awful. Because I started thinking you were right. That, maybe I should have told you sooner. That I should have been thinking about marriage sooner,” Eli gave a sharp chuckle.
     “I didn’t think it…”
     “And…that…that comment of yours. All to keep me off the scent? All to get me thinking… Keep me a million miles away from truth. I can’t believe it…No. No I can believe I fell for it. Do you know why I was hitting Dillards, and Bergdorf in the same day? Risking my credit, in the same day? I’ll give you a hint: 6.5, round cut, and something about a bunch of c’s.” Eli spoke broken. One tear chased another. Haley took a breath, held it, and closed her eyes in thought.
     “That’s it,” he cut in. “Convince yourself it’s just part of a job. That I don’t matter because I’m just a criminal, and a criminal isn’t a person,” he said, trying to ignore the sunlight filtering through her hair.
     “I’m. Sorry. I had to do it this way,” she shook her head.
     “No. No you didn’t,” he said staring at her blankly.
     Eli knew she wanted to say more, but he shattered the eye contact before the words came. Neither said another word as they approached the van. Suddenly, one of the double doors opened and four hands pulled him inside throwing him to a makeshift plywood floor.
     He opened his eyes to the blackness of a heavy sack. The van lurched forward.

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