Monday, October 19, 2015

Joe was late. Joe had been late every day for the past few weeks, and Diana had been losing her patience. Her lips curled inward as she rapped her manicured fingers on the glass counter. She was no longer paying attention to the sounds and sights around her, for her irritation had grown to anger as it boiled inside of her. That horrible excuse for an assistant. He couldn't even sweep correctly! He started from the outward in- who did that?

Her breath quickened. She didn't care if he was Betty's nephew, she didn't care that he was still a teen. He had committed to a job and he had to stick to it.

"Shit." She mumbled, ceasing the rhythmic tapping of her fingers. Deep breaths. That's right. Calm. Think calm thoughts. Anger consumed her on a daily basis, plaguing her thoughts and surfacing in innocent conversation.

It wasn't like this before, not before Eleanor came. She was happy, she was so, so happy, she couldn't deny that. But she couldn't help but surface the thoughts in the back of her head that wanted to scream and shout and cry. Why did you leave me? Why did you choose your father over me? Was I not good enough? But she knew the answers for all of them. And that's what infuriated her.

The bell jingled slightly, and her head jerked up. In came an auburn haired girl, followed by a pale hooded boy in her wake. Joe. Her eyebrows furrowed.

Diana reached for the broom leaned up against the counter, and tossed it to the boy. He caught it on instinct. 

"Better get workin', Joe. Doing nothin' won't pay you anythin'." She said in attempt to hide the harshness that threatened to be heard.

He looked confused. What a clueless ass.

It wasn't Joe. No, it wasn't Joe at all. Diana wondered how she even mistook the stranger for Joe at all. The hood of his filthy sweatshirt had slipped from his head as he crashed into a shelf, toppling hair products left and right. Dark hair, not even close to the shade of sandy blonde that donned Joe's head. Blood rushed from her face.

Shattered glass littered the tiled floor. "Shit." That phrase was beginning to become one of her favorites.

As she looked from the floor to the boy, she expected him to start apologizing profusely or something, but nothing happened. He continued to stare at the girl.

Something about his face was familiar. Perhaps the papery skin and green eyes were what triggered her recognition. Perhaps it was the circular scar on his cheek, barely visible.

Circular scar.

That was it- she had seen him before. His face. On television, maybe? Certainly not someone she'd seen around town.

"You're that kid, aren't you? That kid who- who burned down that school? In that one place?" She stuttered, her jumbled thoughts exited her mouth in the most vague ways possible. The only reason that his face struck her memory was that her niece Gina taught at that school. She had been absent that day, Diana had discovered after many frantic phone calls.

"Shit, shit, I gotta call the cops- I gotta do something." Her thoughts were moving at a mile a minute. And as she rushed towards the counter, towards the phone, her foot slipped on the hair that Joe had neglected to sweep. Her head slammed onto the corner of the glass counter, and after that, there was nothing.