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Chapter 3

I slept terribly. Nightmares plagued my sleep all night, making me toss and turn, even waking in a sweat. My anxiety forced me to get up and check all the locks again. Then laying in bed trying to go back to sleep, my mind wouldn’t stop questioning if I really checked the lock on the windows or the door making me paranoid so I would check again. When the noise of my alarm blared loudly next to my head, I felt like a zombie. Dragging myself to my feet, I made my way to the bathroom and turned on the facet. Only nothing came out. The pipes shuttered and groaned, but no water. “Fuck,” I scream annoyed, realising the water had frozen in the pipes overnight.

The one morning when I need a shower to wake myself. Walking into the kitchen, I pick up the jug to find it empty.

“Not today, Satan,” I yell, flipping him off with both hands as I march to my room and grab a fresh blouse from the cupboard and some black slacks. Quickly getting dressed, I threw on my flats only for my toes to go straight through the end. “Really? Could this day get any worse?” I groan before getting up and digging through the kitchen draw.

Duct tape. Duct tape, fixes everything. Grabbing a role of black tape, I tape my flats that now have a mouth for my toes to play peekaboo. Giving my toes a wriggle, they seem to hold, but just in case, I wrap more around the end of my shoe to make sure they hold in the snow. Buttoning up my blouse, I go into the bathroom and brush my teeth. Looking at my reflection, I look like shit. Like I haven’t slept in a good week as I have huge dark bags under my eyes. Any bigger I could smuggle my wallet in them. Thinking of my wallet, I duck out to my handbag and dig around for it.

Panicking, I tip my bag upside down. The contents spilling on my bed. My wallet was gone, and I don’t remember picking it up. I could try going back the way I came and see if I can find it. The thought alone makes me shiver in fear. Chucking my phone in my bag, I toss it over my shoulder before grabbing my jumper and pulling it over my head. Pulling my hair into a high ponytail, I unlock my door and take a deep breath, willing myself to actually leave the safety of my van. When I swing the door open, I quickly rush out before locking it. As I turn around, I see something sitting on the top step. Looking around, I eye the package suspiciously.

It was a cardboard box. Bending down, I pick it up before opening it. My blood runs cold and my heart hammers in my chest so hard I thought it would bounce out. My breathing comes in short pants as panic takes over. Anxiety is my biggest weakness. Takes nothing and everything to set it off, and nothing feels worse as adrenaline pumps through your veins, just because your brain becomes a little irrational. I knew I wasn’t being irrational this time though as I looked down at my wallet.

They know where I live. What if they come back to finish off the job? I look around in panic to make sure they aren’t lurking around. Gripping on to the handrail of the stairs, I try to ground myself. Something I can feel. Check the wooden handrail. Something I can see. Snow, check. Something I can taste, my toothpaste check, check, fucking check. Yep, very much alive still. I will my heart to stop racing and beating erratically. Forcing my feet down the stairs, I practically run the entire way to work, bursting through the glass door. The bell jingles loudly as Lisa spins around from serving someone and stares at me bewildered.

“Geez Evelyn, the way you burst in I thought we were being held up again,” she said, coffeepot in hand.

“Sorry,” I gasp, trying to catch my breath as I place my hands on my knees. Standing up, I look around. The cafe was retro, with its red and white checkered flooring and brightly coloured bench seats and table decorations. Looking around, I notice the person Lisa was serving was watching me. I drop my eyes. I could feel his eyes on me as I walked behind the counter and grabbed my apron. Lisa set the coffeepot down, and I grabbed a mug, filling it before gulping down the liquid gold. “Rough night?”

“You have no idea,” I tell her, finishing my cup and pouring another.

“Vick isn’t in yet. Hopefully he doesn’t stop in at all today,” Lisa says, walking past and squeezing my shoulder. The morning was abnormally quiet. Like no one came in except the man that Lisa served. Watching him from behind the counter, he looked up, and I averted my gaze. Something was off about him. He was gorgeous with dark hair and thick lashes and a strong jawline. He was bigger than most people in this area, too. This man clearly worked out, by the size of his biceps alone I would assume he lived at the gym. He was dressed nice too, which was a little odd for this side of town. He didn’t fit in at all, stood out like a sore thumb. His button-up shirt hugged him tightly, and I could tell his chest was just as muscular as his arms. Lisa pulled me out of my daze though when she tapped me on the shoulder.

“It’s quiet, I am going for a smoke. You right on your own with the Mr Hotty?” she said with a wink. I chuckled and watched her duck out the front, placing her apron on the empty table next to the door. As soon as she walked out, the man moved, making my eyes snap to his. They were emerald green, and I couldn’t look away as he approached and sat on the stool at the counter. I watched his lips move but didn’t hear a word he said to hypnotised by his eyes.

“You okay?” he says with a smirk on his face.

“Huh?” Good going, Evelyn.

“I said can I have some more coffee,” he said, pointing to the jug behind me.

“Shit sorry, I spaced out,” I said, turning around and grabbing the pot before refilling his cup.

“Evelyn,” he says, looking at the name tag attached to my shirt.

I nod before looking to the door for Lisa, hoping she would be back in soon to save me from my awkwardness.

“I’m Orion,” he says, making me look at him. What a weird name, I thought.

“Nice to meet you, Orion,” I tell him, and Lisa walks in. She places her apron on before tossing me her smokes and giving me a wink. I take my apron off before walking outside. The chill in the air blasting my face, walking around the side. I sit on the milk crate before lighting up a smoke and inhaling deeply.

“Smoking is bad for you,” I hear his familiar voice, making my eyes snap open. Not creepy at all.

“Gotta die of something,” I tell him, waiting for him to leave. He leans on the side of the building, watching me.

“Can I help you with something? Are you lost?”

“No, I was looking for you actually,” he replies looking down at me.

“Well, you found me, so you can leave now.” I wave him off and he chuckles.

“That’s not very nice,” he says, raising an eyebrow at me.

“Last I checked you’re invading my personal space. I don’t need to be nice,” I tell him, quickly finishing my smoke and putting it in the ashtray. Walking back toward the entrance, I groan when I see my boss’s yellow car pull up out the front. Orion opens the door and waits for me to enter.

Quickly stepping past him, I chuck my apron on and quickly warn Lisa that he showed up. She walks out to the front counter while plastering a fake smile on her face. I don’t bother hiding my disgust for the man, especially after yesterday when he told me if I wanted my tips I had to blow him. Filthy asshole. I am the same age as his daughter.

The bells go off and in walks Vick. He was a middle-aged man who was overweight and balding, his white shirt covered in grease probably from last night’s dinner. Oh, and he was ripe today. I had to fight the urge to gag when he walked past and I caught a whiff of his body odour.

“Ladies,” he says, walking out the back. I roll my eyes and Lisa groans loudly once he is out of sight. I notice Orion watching us and a strange look on his face as he watches Vick walks out the back. I suddenly hear Vick sing out my name, and I look past the kitchen to his office with a groan.

“Maybe we can make a run for it,” Lisa jokes light heartedly.

“Evelyn,” Vick screams from his small office. I grab a mug filling it with coffee to take to him, hoping with coffee he will distract him from me calling him a perverted pig before I stormed out of work yesterday.

Vick is sitting at his desk. He runs his hand over his bald head a cruel grin on his face. “Shut the door,” he snaps before reaching forward and snatching the mug from my hand. Coffee sloshes all over his desk. I grab the tea towel that is tucked into my apron, mopping it up.

“Have you anything to say about yesterday?” he asks, raising his mono brow.

“Nope, I am pretty sure what i said was pretty accurate,” I tell him, crossing my arms over my chest and glaring at the vile man before me.

“You should watch who you are talking to, girlie. The only reason I am not firing you is because we understaffed, but as punishment I am cutting your shifts.”

“Who are you punishing, me or Lisa? She can’t run the place by herself,” I state.

“She will manage, unless” he says uncrossing his legs and looking at his pants Zipper. I walk out. No way was I degrading myself for my shifts. I need the job, but I will manage without it. I have some savings to last a week or two till I find another job if need be. Slamming the door, I walk back out to Lisa.

“What he want?” she said, staring at me worriedly.

‘He is cutting my shifts because I wouldn’t blow him,” I whisper, and she frowns. She knew what he was like, but mostly he left us alone. He used to only be touchy feely but since his wife passed he has really stepped it up to an entirely different level or disgustingness. 

“So quiet this morning,“ she says, looking out the door front windows.

I turn looking out to and notice Orion glaring at the office door. His anger confused me as he shot daggers at the door.

“Probably because they spotted the dark ones,” I tell her, taking my eyes off him and turning to Lisa. 

She nods. “Yeah, I heard they destroyed the north side of the city. They need to just fuck off. This world is hard enough to live in without them killing everyone and destroying everything. I heard a hundred people died when the bank collapsed because of that psycho,” she whispers. Suddenly the office door opens, making both of us look toward the kitchen. Vick strolls out, a cruel smile on his face. He walks over to the till and retrieves the tip jar before walking out.

“Vick, that’s bullshit,” Lisa calls out to him, but he ignores her and keeps walking out. We both huff.

“Not like much was in it. I haven’t seen one customer besides him,” I say looking in the direction of the man Orion, only he is gone. I look around, but he isn’t anywhere. “Where did he go?” Lisa looks up, noticing him gone too. She walks over to the table he was at before coming back.

“I have no idea, but he left a $500 tip,“ she says waving the cash in front of my face. I chuckle before going to clean down the table. Once he left after an hour or two, I noticed the place filling with customers. We were run off our feet for most of the day. Lisa and I took turns at cooking and serving, seeing as the place had no cook after Merander left. She was sick of Vick’s constant harassment.

By closing time, both of us noticed Vick never came back, which was odd considering he always stopped by before the dinner rush. When closing time came, Lisa emptied the new tip jar before giving me half. I placed it in my wallet. Before helping her lock up. Lisa caught a bus to and from work, which pulled up out the front as we walked out the door. “Shit,” she says.

“I will lock up,” I tell her.

She chucked me the keys and quickly raced over just before the doors shut. Pulling all the shutters down, I quickly placed the padlocks on before locking the screen door. Once I was done, I turned around. It was dark now, being that it was nearly nine o’clock. Wrapping my arms around myself, I started walking. I had this strange feeling I was being watched, which made me pick up my pace. Looking over my shoulder every few minutes convinced someone was following me. When I came to the alley, I froze, looking down it. I looked further down the street, trying to decide whether to take the shortcut or go the long way which added twenty minutes. I opted for the streetlights, taking the long way home. When my van came into view, I started jogging, wanting to get inside to safety. Closing the door, I quickly lock it. The first thing I do is check the taps.

I do a little victory dance when I see the pipes are no longer frozen. Tossing my bag on my bed, I walk into the bathroom and turn the lights on.

Just as I went to hop in the shower, I heard my phone bing. Letting the water heat up, I walked over and picked up my phone where I left it. The message was from Vick.

Going on vacation, you and Lisa take over the cafe till I return.

Wow, I thought, a little taken aback after the events of the day. Yet I was glad I wouldn’t have to see him for a while. Lisa and I were more than capable of running the cafe. At least for now we wouldn’t have to put up with his sexual advances. 

Sure, Vick have a pleasant holiday. I reply before dropping my phone on the bed and walking to the bathroom so I can have a shower.

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Lyia
Well duh it’s on your ID
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