The idea was working exceptionally well. Jane never imagined that she would get away with this. She crept down the warped wooden stairs, stopping every now and then to listen. The stairwell was quiet except for the beating of her heart. Almost there.
She was a few steps above the third floor landing when someone burst through the door. “Jesus Christ!” she shrieked. The man jumped into the brick wall as if Jane were standing there with a bloody axe rather than a banker’s box.
They stood there frozen for what felt like forever. Say something. You’re acting like a crazy person. “Hi.”
“Hi,” said the man. They went back to staring at each other. The man bobbed his head at the box. “Did they let you go to?”
“No,” said Jane. Say something else. No, liars tend to give too much info. Don’t say anything else. Act natural. “Um…after you?” Jane forced a smile on her face that she hoped was charming. Judging by his reaction, she must have missed her mark completely and landed on terrifying. He took off down the staircase without so much as a thanks. “Asshole,” mumbled Jane.
She continued on her way. Maybe she should just take it out of the box and put it in her purse. No one was going to demand to search her purse. It would seem odder that she was walking around with a banker’s box.
When she got to the ground floor she peered out the tiny window. A few people were milling around outside and there was the usual foot traffic. Jane flipped the lid from the box and stared at her calculator. The tape had come off of its arm and was starting to unspool. This was ridiculous. Seriously, no one would even care. She was making a much bigger deal of this than she needed to.
Jane tucked the box under her arm and flung open the door. She stepped out onto 11th Street just as she had every weekday for the past twelve years.