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Sadie slowed her steps and observed the scene with a little more interest. The woman Shawn was talking to was a light-skinned black woman with hundreds of long thin braids pulled back into a bulky ponytail. Some of the braids were dyed hot pink. She wore a black cotton sundress and was very engaged in whatever it was she was explaining to Shawn, who had his arms crossed over his chest and a scowl on his face.
The woman was gesturing with her hands, but the expression on her face was somewhat pleading, as though she was trying to convince Shawn of something. As Sadie got closer, she realized the woman was older than Shawn; but it was often hard to tell with women of color, they held their age so well. She was thickly built and at least six feet tall. The two of them completely blocked the hallway.
Sadie stopped about twenty feet from them, not wanting to be rude and interrupt, but not inclined to back away either. Why was Shawn upset? Who was this woman?
The woman said something, then leaned forward slightly, awaiting his answer. Shawn shook his head and began to speak, then saw Sadie out of the corner of his eye and pinched his lips together. She smiled, but he didn’t smile back and instead turned to the woman with some urgency. Sadie couldn’t hear what he said, but the woman looked at Sadie too. She didn’t smile either, and Sadie found herself taking a step backward. Were they angry with her? What for?