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  • By day she seemed to have a whole new identity, more of the Rose that Smitty described than the one Max had witnessed in Chinatown. Max stopped by Stacey's Bookstore with the pretense of buying a book from her as he continued to follow her and try to uncover the mystery. As he approached, he noticed her scent and was surprised by it. Maybe he expected the smell of wheat fields or fresh baked bread. Instead he experienced the smell of the ocean, like fresh linen hanging on a line when the breeze blows it, with a slight sensation of salt when an ocean wave splashes your face. His mind was somewhere else, in a mix of confusion. He received a letter once in prison that exuded a scent. He had lifted the paper to his nose and breathed in and the metal bars that contained him opened to freedom. Now his mind went on a similar journey.

    His focus slowly returned to the present and he noticed she was staring at him and smiling in an amused way. His cover, if he ever had one, had been blown. He felt the heat rise to his face as he quickly put the book down and left.
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