9:23pm.

Where was she?

I knew her schedule now. She’d finish work at nine and be here about ten past. Every Sunday without fail.

I’d worked the Sunday shift for about eight months now and had grown accustomed to some of the regulars but Sophie was my favourite.

She’d sometimes be rushing in or sometimes she’d take her time. She always made time to chat though.

I’d seen her ridiculously hungover laughing about the night before and I’d seen her down, stressed about work.

It was about three months after I had started before I met Sophie. Her long brown hair and striking green eyes had left me infatuated.

But where was she tonight?

I paced behind the counter and pretended to fix a display as I stared longingly out the window. It wasn’t like Sophie not to visit me on a Sunday night.

Bright lights poured into the window and I impulsively jumped up to check. It was only a young guy. He began using the pump and opted to pay at there.

I sighed.

I always got strangely excited when it got close to the time she came in. I could tell she enjoyed our chats too because she would give me a big smile when she walked in.

9:34pm.

I tidied some of the shelves, trying to distract myself. A screech of wheels braking immediately captured my attention. My eyes flew to the petrol pumps.

Sophie.

Adrenaline kicked in as I caught a glimpse of her messy brown hair and I attempted to turn away and look busy. She had gotten out the car and started to fill up.

I waited eagerly for her to enter.

I dared to look again without trying to look to keen. They younger guy was approaching Sophie. I clenched my teeth, uncomfortable with my perception of his intentions.

They spoke for what felt like a long while and I fixated my gaze on them.

He was irritably handsome and dressed casually. His whole body language indicated he was very comfortable with himself. I placed my hands on the counter, taking a deep breath. I could feel myself getting annoyed. Sophie was here to see me.

The guy leaned on her car and talked away. I could see her laughing. She was clearly being nice – I could tell.

They finished up chatting and she walked in to pay.

“Hi! How are you?”

I blushed, unable to control myself.

“Yeah, good.” She smiled in return and picked up mints. I stared at them as she placed them on the counter, trying not to make the connection.

“You’re late.” I stated, rather more abruptly than intended.

Sophie’s face flashed to a ‘doe in the headlights’ look. She quickly changed to an eye roll and explained her tardiness.

“I had to stay late tonight, there’s so much going on at work. Honestly, I think they think I’ve not got anything better to do!”

She laughed in a goofy manner and I smiled.

I smiled until my attention was drawn to outside. The guy was waiting beside his car.

Sophie was paying on the pin pad and I turned back to her.

“So how’s it been this week then? Any stories for me?” She was looking at me expectantly and I completely ignored her.

“Why’s that guy just waiting there?”

Sophie followed my gaze and ended when she found the creep who was standing outside.

“Oh he’s waiting for me.”

She was trying to brush it off.

“That’s a bit strange is it not?” I really hoped this was completely innocent.

Sophie placed her bag back in her purse and shook her head.

“No no no, it’s all good.”

She turned and walked towards the door. I leaned forward over the counter in an attempt to not allow this guy any chance with Sophie.

“I could walk you back to your car if you want? I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.”

She looked over her shoulder and waved bye.

My stomach dropped.

Impulse kicked in and I closed the shop so quickly I managed to see their tail lights still in the distance.

I jumped into my car and started the old battered engine. I had to speed to keep up with her car.

I had to see Sophie. Show her that he wasn’t the guy she wanted to spend time with.

Her car was stopped at the lights I was pulling up to and I could see his in front. My heart was pounding but I had to see her.

I followed them a while longer and they eventually pulled into an apartment car park. I parked at the side of the road, not wanting to follow them straight in.

I could see Sophie leave her car with a bag and meet the guy at his car. His arm placed itself on her shoulder leading her to his door.

An overwhelming anger flared up in me. How on earth did this happen?

Sophie wasn’t like this.

I had to see her.

They had reached the door by now and he had turned to face her. He cupped her face and leaned in to kiss her.

Everything seemed to stop at this point and I was paralysed in my car, watching them kiss.

I saw red.

Grabbing my baseball bat from the backseat of my car I flew out my car, bounding towards them.

They hadn’t noticed me until I was right behind them. By that point it was too late.

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