Chapter 3:

Free Day One: The Hobo

Sasha walked down the deserted street with her hands shoved in the pockets of her pants. The sky above was cloudy and menacing. Such a depressing day...

She stopped in front of a shady looking food store to see the "O" in "OPEN" flickering on and off. She strolled in and went to the cashier.

"How may I help you today?" the cashier asked. Sasha wordlessly slapped a five dollar bill on the counter and pointed to a cigarette pack behind him on a shelf. He accepted the five bucks and handed her the pack of cigarettes. Sasha muttered a "thanks" and stepped out of the store to see the clouds parting, allowing the bright sun to shine in the sky. Sasha blocked the harsh rays of the sun with her hand before sliding on her Ray Bands. She ran her hand through her hair that was, for once, not in a high ponytail or messy bun.

Sasha went to the back of the store in an alley and leaned on the brick wall, taking out a cigarette stick and a lighter. She flipped the lighter's lid and a small flame ignited. The smell of burning tobacco filling the air as she spent a few minutes smoking and thinking peacefully to herself.

Well...today's boring, she thought indolently. She took a long drag on the cancer stick and puffed out a cloud of smoke. An image of her partner suddenly flashed through her mind. She felt the side of her mouth twitch upwards.

Lauren was simply amusing. Like the times she would accidentally hurt herself... Sasha let out a small chuckle, recalling how her partner tripped over her own feet and almost fell down the stairs before their first mission. If it wasn't for her Lauren surely would've been in the hospital.

Being honest with herself, Sasha admitted that she actually missed the annoying presence of her partner. She frowned at her shoes when she thought that. She was getting too soft.

Sasha peered at the sky above her to see all the clouds have vanished. She only saw a bright blue sky. She pushed herself off the wall with her back and walked off towards the city park to enjoy the now beautiful day.

Her thoughts drifted back to Lauren. She wondered why her partner was actually trying to improve their teamwork. They weren't that bad. Or was it something deeper than that? Like...what? Trust?

Sasha faltered in her step and stopped walking altogether. The latter seemed more like it.

Trust, she scoffed inwardly with disgust. What trust? She lost the capability to trust seven years ago when she was a teenager. Now she was a mature twenty-four-year-old woman who wouldn't make the same mistake again. But...if Lauren was willing to give it a shot then she would too.

The sound of a bitter voice snapped her out of her reverie.

"Well Bob," Lauren snarled, "forgive me for trespassing on your property."

A smirk broke out on Sasha's face. This was hilarious. Didn't Lauren know who "Bob" really was? How could she not notice? What kind of an assassin was she?

"Lauren sure is weird," Sasha mused to herself.

Lauren plopped down on a creaky wooden park bench. She leaned back, looking at the cloudless blue sky. She gave a depressed sigh. Today was so boring. She had absolutely nothing to do.

Her and Sasha didn't have a mission today. She found it somewhat lonely at the missing figure of her enemy/partner.

Lauren spread out across the bench, lying on her back. She had her hands under her head as she thoughtfully gazed into the never ending see of blue. She thought her despised Sasha with a passion, but she believed the both of them acted like arch enemies was to shield themselves from a mutual friendship. To shield themselves from fully trusting one another. To shield themselves from getting hurt...again.

A small smile crept on Lauren's lips. They both had something in common. They had trust issues.

"Hey lady," a voice said. Lauren turned her head over to see a disheveled man with long hair and dirty clothes. Her eyes skimmed over him, registering that he seemed to be a middle-aged man.

"Do you need any help sir?" she asked hesitantly. The man's hateful glare surprised her. What did she do to make him angry?

"Yes. Get off my bench," he demanded spitefully. Lauren raised her brows at how the hobo stressed on the "my".

"I'm sorry," Lauren apologized insincerely. "I don't see how this bench is yours. It's not like it has your name on it."

He sharply pointed to the leg of the old bench. He impatiently tapped his foot as Lauren got up with a groan to inspect it. Lauren stretched then crouched down to where he pointed. She felt her mouth drop to the ground. She couldn't believe her eyes! There was actually a name!

Three letters were deeply etched into the wood. Lauren incredulously traced each letter with her fingers. The name "Bob" was spelled out in capital letters. She narrowed her eyes. For all she knew the hobo could've just spotted it and have a different name.

"Well Bob," Lauren said bitterly," forgive me for...trespassing on your property."

"You better be," he sneered. Lauren grimaced at the man's attitude. She couldn't help but feel that she's seen this guy somewhere before. Now that was completely strange... Remembering an encounter with a hobo? She must be nuts. His eyes were familiar though. They held secrecy and amusement behind them even though he was acting harshly. Was that expression even possible?

"Well that certainly was amusing," an all too familiar voice commented. Lauren snapped her gaze to see Sasha walking towards her with a smirk. Lauren eyed the cigarette Sasha had pinched between her index and middle finger. The smell of smoke filled the air as a gust of wind blew, sending the scent in her direction.

"Since when do you smoke?" Lauren asked with her nose scrunched up. She wafted her hand in front of her face futilely.

"Three years ago," she replied.

"You are aware of the fact that you can get lung cancer, right?"

"I know," Sasha said dismissively. She took a long drag and blew the smoke in Lauren's face. "Everyone knows."

Lauren coughed and wheezed, stepping back a few steps. She saw Sasha comfortably slide next to the hobo on the bench. She offered him a cigarette, which he gladly accepted. Then Sasha took out a lighter and lighted it for him.

"What the hell?!" Lauren barked. The two on the bench peered at her curiously. She pointed a finger at Sasha. "How come you didn't tell her to get off?!"

Sasha arched a brow. Lauren scowled at her, hating the look she was getting. She could feel it was the are-you-stupid-or-what look even though Sasha was wearing Ray Bands. She then looked at the hobo who was just smiling and giving her a look of disbelief. What was going on? Was she supposed to know this hobo or something?

"You don't recognize me?" the hobo inquired, incredulous. He and Sasha shared a look then gazed back at her.

"Am I supposed to?!" Lauren exclaimed. "Why would you be an acquaintance of a hobo?!" she then yelled at Sasha with a horrified look.

There was a silence as the hobo and Sasha had their attention on Lauren, who was silently fuming with her fists shaking at her sides. The hobo then chuckled with Sasha following along.

"What's so funny?!"

"You really don't know?" Sasha asked rhetorically. Lauren shook her head vigorously. "You're so slow," she muttered.

Before Lauren could give a feasible retort the hobo ripped off his beard. Sitting in front of her was none other than Sean, the Knight Industries best stalker and known for the best disguises.

Lauren fell to her hands and knees. No wonder the eyes were so damn familiar! It was so depressing that she didn't catch on to it.

"Are you done brooding?" Sasha asked apathetically. Lauren immediately stood up in front of them trembling with anger. She was infuriated. She suppressed the urge to smash their heads together. She knew she'd be stalked and beat up in return.

Sean blew a puff of smoke and tapped the burnt tobacco of his cigarette. "That was funny. The look on your face was priceless!" he laughed.

"You guys are despicable," Lauren grimaced, crossing her arms over her chest. Her pissed off attitude suddenly changed into one of interest. "So who were you stalking?"

Sean adjusted his beard back on and tilted his head to the side. "That guy in the black coat with his back turned," he replied. Lauren and Sasha glanced where the man was situated. He was currently feeding ducks from the pond with crumbs of bread. He was a young gentleman, about their age, which was twenty-four or twenty-five with a mysterious aura.

"That creepy," Sasha stated. "A twenty-five-year-old guy feeding ducks. The guy has to get a life."

"Sa-sha!" Lauren scolded. "Don't judge!"

"No, she's right," Sean said.

"She is?" Lauren asked, aghast. "That guy can't be the same age as us. He looks thirty!"

"Nope," Sean shook his head. "Definitely twenty-five."

"Bad with numbers, are we?" Sasha taunted with a smug smile.

"Shut up!" Lauren growled, raising a fist. "You just had a lucky guess that's all! Right Sean?!"


"Sean?" Lauren turned around to see the spot where Sean was sitting before was empty. "What the- Where'd he go?" She whirled around, not seeing him anywhere. How the hell did he do that?

"He left," Sasha said simply.

"I can see that," Lauren bit out acidly. "Thanks for the observation, Captain Obvious."

"Thanks for the sarcastic remark, Sergeant Sarcasm," Sasha shot back with the same tone. She got up and dropped her cigarette to the ground and smothered it with her foot. Then she left.

Lauren glared at her retreating form. Her glare softened ans she smile gently and shook her head.

"You surely are unusual, Sasha," Lauren said.