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Wade moved quickly through the streets, making sure not to meet eyes with anyone . She tried to look as inconspicuous as possible, as she kept her head down and walked along the sidewalk. She reached her destination as soon as the owner was opening the shop. There may have been other stores in town, but Brooks Sisters was the closest one to the park, and at this hour, beggars couldn't be choosers.

She entered the store and exchanged a smile and a "Good morning" with the sales lady. Wade began browsing through the store, but to her frustration, she couldn't find what she wanted. She hadn't wanted to talk to the sales clerks any more than necessary, but it looked like she was going to have to ask for what she wanted. "Excuse me," she asked the clerk. "Where are your large size clothes?"

"Large size?" the clerk asked, looking Wade up and down.

"Oh, no--they aren't for me. My ..my aunt and her friend are in town. Their luggage was lost-- you know the airlines--and I told them I'd pick up a few things to tide them over until the luggage is returned. They need larger sizes..." Wade's voice trailed off. She hoped that sounded believable.

"Oh, of course. That happened to my mother once. Now, we don't have a very big selection of styles, but what we have is right over here," the clerk explained, showing Wade to a small corner of the store in the back.

"That's OK. These will do fine. Thanks," Wade said, as she sifted though the racks. The clerk wasn't kidding--the selection was small, mostly long dresses with obnoxious prints. But Wade wasn't looking to outfit two models for the runway, so the dresses suited her needs perfectly. She grabbed two of the plainest ones she could find, and grabbed two pairs of sensible flat shoes that looked like they'd fit as well.

As she headed for the counter, she realized she couldn't just pull out Quinn's wallet to pay--the clerks might wonder why she had a man's wallet. She deposited the dresses and shoes on the counter. "Can you hold these for a sec? I'm going to look around for something for me." The cashier nodded and smiled, and Wade grabbed a top and pants in her size off a nearby rack. "Can I try these on?" Wade asked. The salesclerk smiled and unlocked a dressing room for Wade. "If you any help, just ask," the clerk said as Wade entered the dressing room.

Once inside, she pulled Quinn's wallet out and looked inside it. Quinn had about $50 in cash inside--they hadn't had much luck working on the last world. Wade decided to save the cash for food. Along with the cash was about a million little scraps of paper. "Quinn is such a packrat... he saves *everything*", she thought. There were scraps of paper covered with mathematical equations, and a couple of phone numbers from two girls who had tried unsuccessfully to pick Quinn up in the Lamplighter a few worlds back. Why he was saving those, Wade had no idea. He also had a few small wallet sized pictures : his mom, Rembrandt and Arturo, and a couple of pictures of herself and Quinn from one of those photo booths in the mall . She couldn't believe he still had those--they'd been taken months before they slid from home. She also found a strange picture of a woman she didn't recognize. It was folded in half and way in the corner of Quinn's wallet. She looked vaguely familiar, but Wade couldn't place her. She was an older woman, but was still beautiful. She was smiling happily at the camera. Wade figured she was perhaps a relative of Quinn's.

Wade slid the picture back into the wallet and turned her attention to the four credit cards. She wasn't sure if she should use her own or not. She was pretty sure her credit was less than stellar on this world...after all, she'd failed to return the rental van the last time they were here. She was suprised to see Quinn still had Arturo's card. She remembered the indignation he'd displayed when turning his credit card over to Quinn. They had all decided that it would be easier if one person was in charge of their money--that way, they wouldn't run out of it as quickly. Arturo grumbled, but had gone along..although he refused to relinquish his American Express Gold Card, citing it as a matter of principal. Wade smiled sadly at the memory. There were so many times that she wished Arturo was still here. He'd become a surrogate father to her, and she missed him immensely.

A knock at the door startled Wade. "How did those work out for you, Miss?" the saleslady asked.

Wade glanced over at the clothes, still on their hangers. "Oh, great," she responded. "I'll take those too," she said, picking out a credit card of Quinn's and closing his wallet. As she did so, she noticed the leather was getting rather worn. She made a mental note to pick up a new wallet for Quinn on the next world..assuming they got out of this one intact!

She exited the dressing room and headed for the counter, picking up a couple of scarves along the way. She noticed a display of medium sized tote bags next to the counter. She grabbed one of those as well, and tossed it onto her pile, along with two pairs of rather large sunglasses. As the cashier slid Quinn's card though the machine, Wade prayed it would accept the card. It did. One problem solved.

On her way out, Wade noticed a sporting goods store. She remembered Quinn's clothes were covered in mud, and he was going to need something to wear. She headed across the street to the store, hoping they had something in the way of sweatpants and T-shirts. She was in luck--the store carried basic unisex gray sweats and white T-shirts, mixed among all the more feminine colors. She selected some in what appeared to be Quinn's size, and paid for them. Her luck held out--Quinn's card went through a second time with no problems.

Wade then hurried to the Dominion Hotel. The hotel was almost full, and she had to settle for one room. She was able to get a cot for the room as well, but only one. The three of them would have to fight it out to see who would sleep on the floor.

Wade left the hotel, still carrying her bags. She thought it might be quicker to grab a cab...but she didn't want to risk it. It was better to stay with a crowd..she could blend in better. She managed to catch a cable car that was headed for the park. As she turned around, she swore she caught a glimpse of a familiar face getting off the car. She turned to look, but the person had disappeared into a crowd of people. Wade wasn't sure, but she could have sworn the woman was the same one from the picture in Quinn's wallet.

The cable car approached the edge of the park and slowed down, allowing the passengers to disembark from the car. Wade hopped off and headed back toward the place where she'd left Quinn and Rembrandt, hoping they were still there and hadn't been discovered.

read part 4