Anyhow, here's another snippet. Duncan has managed to smooth talk his way into the Compound as Ellie is about to find out.
“Here’s where we store the produce from our Community Garden.” Elder Ezikiel’s voice echoed across the small yard, hidden behind the tractor. Ellie kept working, assuming that someone was getting the Grand Tour. There were visitors, now and then, usually people seeking admittance into the Church and, occasionally, guests from other branches of Enos’ empire. She knew that spare produce ended up in restaurants in Show Low, along with beef from the Community’s herd and fish from the pond.
Ellie kept working. It always made the community look good if everyone pretended that it was business as usual. She also knew to keep herself as inconspicuous as possible. Obidiah had told her that it was best that way. It wasn’t as if anyone was going to walk boldly into the Compound to rescue her.
“We sell our surplus to restaurants in Show Low.” The guide said, his voice ringing through the shed.
“There’s a lot here.” The other voice tugged at Ellie. She paused, her hand curled around the handle of a basket. A little nagging memory, something good and impossible. She shook her head. He’d be long gone, back in his London apartment, no doubt writing a book about his travels. She sighed, ignoring the regretful twinge in the pit of her stomach. She tried not to think about how those two promised days might have turned out. Ellie bit back a sigh and turned back to the tomatoes.
“We’re lucky. We have good soil and the garden is in a sunny place. We manage to get the best out of it.”
“So I see.”
Something inside Ellie swooped. There was no mistaking that voice. She took a deep breath and bent to her task. It wouldn’t do if he recognized her and made a fuss. She hated to think of the consequences. It’s not like he’d be able to do anything to help her. Her hands shook as she pushed the punnets along the table. She counted them under her breath. Footsteps whispered across the floor of the shed. A raven wheeled above in the open sky, calling out before it fled towards the trees. The two men left the shed and stood on the edge of the garden. Ellie watched them out of the corner of her eye, trembling. He wore jeans and a white shirt, sleeves rolled up in the heat of the day. The sunlight glanced off his hair and she couldn’t stop herself from admiring the shape of him, the long thighs and narrow waist.
“We are lucky to have very skilled gardeners.”
“Indeed.” The voices were getting closer. Too close and Ellie knew if she kept her head down it would look all wrong. She kept working, sorting through the tomatoes.
“Mrs. Freeman, how are you today.”Fuck. She lifted her head and smiled. “I’m very well, thank you Elder Ezikiel.” Of all the damn days for Elder Ezikiel to actually talk to her on one of his tours, he had to pick this tour. She forced herself to look at Duncan. For a moment, she thought she saw the briefest flicker of recognition in his dark, unreadable eyes, before he nodded, wished her a good day and moved on. Moments later, she heard the golf cart whirr into life. She covered her face with her hands and sat, trembling for a long time.