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Part I: THE AGE OF INNOCENCE


"....how shall I explain? I - it's always so. Each time you happen to me all over again."

~Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence


One


Wendy Thomas sighed as soon as she exited off the interstate, anticipating how good it would feel to get out of the confines of her car and really stretch. She'd been on the road for the better part of the day with minimal stops.

Better yet, I'll just shower and hit the sack, and unpack tomorrow. Yeah, much better plan.

Something caught her eye in the rearview mirror, and she turned to look over her right shoulder to see a car barreling past her on the exit ramp toward the turn lane. She edged her car farther to the left protectively. "What...?"

The car passed and entered the turn lane, barely stopping to check traffic before speeding on.

"Idiot," Wendy said under her breath, clenching her jaw in anger and disbelief.

One thing I didn't miss--Milwaukee's insane, defensive driving. More like offensive! She'd lived in Milwaukee all her life and she'd learned to merge, dodge, edge out, rev on the line like a race car driver, shoot forward and barrel down with the rest of them. But it'd been nice for a little while to be in a town where everyone drove the speed limit, sometimes slower, and actually obeyed safety and traffic laws instead of creating their own, like those in Milwaukee, so they'd become the rule instead of the exception.

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