This was written in response to Thain in Vain’s weekly flash fiction challenge where this week the prompt was: Two convenience store employees are stuck at work during a blizzard.
I’m a little over at 517 words, but I hope you enjoy.
Rand was at the counter when the door flew open and Gyllian stumbled in along with a flurry of snow that coated the floor a few feet past the door. The storm was getting worse.
“Gyllian! I’m surprised you’re here. That drive must have been brutal!”
She was slowly taking off her gloves and scarf, shaking off the lingering snow that had piled on her head and shoulders during the short sprint from her car.
“It was horrible. But honestly, I’d rather be here than home.” Her eyes looked pinched around the edges, haunted.
“Everything okay?” Rand didn’t want to pry, but there had been other days, other things he’d noticed in the six months they’d worked together.
His question was met with silence as she disappeared into the back room to deposit her layers in what was strangely called the employee lounge. It was a small, stark room filled with dirty linoleum, a table with a few broken chairs and a counter with an odd assortment of kitchen appliances, stains and garbage.
She returned quickly, knowing she was late for her shift.
“You can go, Rand. I’m sure it will be dead in here tonight.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, right! No way in hell I’m driving in that shit.”
Her smile didn’t quite reach her eyes as she busied herself tidying counters that didn’t need it. “Well, I hope you brought a good book. It’s going to be a long night.”
He watched her work, wondering what was so bad at home that she would venture out into the storm. He could only imagine how bad it must be, but he wasn’t sure how he could possibly help. He’d been attracted to her from day one. With her long blonde hair, soft green eyes and killer smile, it was hard not to be, and the attraction had only intensified after working with her. Her kindness and generosity touched everything and everyone around her.
He wasn’t sure if she felt it too, the electricity sizzling between them whenever they were close, but it didn’t matter. She had someone at home and he wasn’t a home-wrecker.
The trouble was, he knew she wasn’t happy. He also suspected it might be more. Makeup hid a lot, but it didn’t hide everything, and today was no exception. He hadn’t ever crossed the line into personal territory, but for some reason, the whiteout had started a tempest inside him and he boldly left the counter and walked over to her.
“Gyll?” He stopped only a few feet away from her and waited for her to turn. “I don’t want to pry, but I couldn’t help but notice…” His voice trailed off as his hand lifted and traced the slight discoloring underneath her eye.
She flinched as tears welled in her eyes.
She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. They both knew the truth, but it was too raw. Too real.
They spent the long cold night in the deserted convenience store, the storm raging outside not half so violent as the storm he started when he decided to cross the line.