This was absolutely the last time was going to do this. The final time she would ever put herself at risk. She'd been lucky up until now. Very lucky.

But, there were so many things she wanted. How could she give it up when merely entering the department store made her heart beat faster and her forehead perspire.

She did it for the rush.

She did it for the goods.

The racks and racks of beautiful designer clothing were too tempting. All her life she'd worn hand-me-downs. Not anymore.

She dreamed of owning a rainbow of make-up and perfume that smelled like money and now she did.

Which section should she hit today?

The shoe department was bustling and shoes were easy. All you had to do was keep walking.... straight out the front door.

The allure of the jewelry counter was as sparkly and shiny as ever. If that dizzy blond was working today, that would be a cinch too.

Keep your cool. You've done this dozens of times.

She gotten away with it before, in fact nothing she was wearing was paid for. She was slowly filling her closets with cashmere and silk and her ears, wrists and neck donned diamonds and other precious gems.

She wanted more.

"Sir, do you have these in red in 7 1/2?"

"Right away, miss."

And there was nothing standing in her way today.

As soon as the salesman walked away, she let out a deep breath and thought, You've got to be kidding, $715 for a pair of shoes?! It would take me 10 shifts to make that much dough.

"Here you go, I brought them in gray too."

"Wonderful, thank you. I'll just take them for a little stroll."

"Very well, I'll be here when you get back."

As soon as she slipped them on her feet and made sure that the sales clerk was a "safe" distance away, she casually picked up her over sized handbag and turned on her heel.

Keep your cool. You've done this a million times.

She walked right past the handbags and scarves and finally saw sunlight through the large glass door.

You're almost there. This will be the last time. Just keep walking, you're scot-free.

Heavy footsteps.

"Excuse me, Miss? Miss? Excuse me, do you have something you'd like to pay for?"

She was wrong.

This post is fiction and was written for The Red Dress Club's writing assignment, Red Writing Hood. This week's prompt: Write a short piece that begins with the words, “This was absolutely the last time” and ends with “She was wrong." Constructive criticism is welcome.

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