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Jessica R. Murphy took another long drag on the cigarette. She had happened upon this shady niche in the museum garden and decided to take advantage of it. Even though smoking might not be prohibited here, she still kept a wary eye out for the museum staff. Last thing she needed was some snob hassling her over the “filthy” habit. She had dealt with enough pretentious bullshit today.

But, this wasn’t so bad. Leaning against a fountain inside the small shady nook, she had a good view of the garden’s length. The sun streamed through the overarching trees. Soft yellow light dappled the grounds and marble statues. This she could appreciate. Better than the last two hours of paint splatters, color squares, and portraits of dead guys. She had no idea why Emily got such a kick out of it.

Murph had reluctantly agreed to join Emily and James on this outing. She knew being around the two lovebirds would make her feel like a third wheel. However, it was better than sitting around the apartment moping. If only that prick James wasn’t around she ruefully thought. Then they might actually be able to have some fun. As fond as she was of her childhood friend, she really did not care for Emily’s friends. And, no matter how many “subtle” hints Murph dropped, Emily kept trying to incorporate her into her clique.

“ I think she’s out here. She was near the garden exit last time I saw her. “

“ Emily, maybe we should leave Jessica alone for a while. We’ve been virtually dragging her through the gallery. She clearly is not enjoying it. Come on, we’ll text her when we are ready to go. “

“ The whole point of bringing her with us today is to keep her mind off of Dean. I don’t want to give Murph enough time to crawl off into a corner to mope. “

“ Sigh, why do you even bother with her? You two have nothing in common. “

“ Don’t be an ass James. “

Murph dropped the cigarette and ruthlessly ground it out. She’ll show that jerk. She is about to be very interested in colored circles, shoelaces, and bent clothes hangers.

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