When I came to relieve my work mates, they told me the story and made sure I was okay before leaving. Apparently Lucas had already been here asking about me, but as the guys had never heard me talking about a boyfriend I had, so they clammed up immediately and refused to tell him anything, turning him away instead and barring him from the shop for causing a disturbance. I do love my workmates.We really do become like brothers and sisters.
My shift went without a hiccup. Charlie sat in all four hours to keep watch and then took me home when my shift was over.
As I climbed into the car again, Charlie turned to me. "Look. You know this Dreamland business?" I nodded. "Well... You see... I need to... I think...I..." He paused for a moment and then seemed to give up. "I don't think you should stay in the usual places. You need to stay hidden, yeah?" On his face was a look of defeat.
"Of course." I said quietly. It intrigued me to see what he actually wanted to say. Instead, with a sigh, he hung his head and started the car.
The entire journey home was silent apart from the constant, soothing hum of the engine. It took us fifteen minutes to get back to the flat. When we did, I immediately went to shower (working hard over all the coffee machines on your own can be exhausting). I was only ten minutes in the shower, then I realised I had just dumped my bag in the living room area and I needed to charge my phone. I also wouldn't mind some music to calm me down after all the shenanigans and goings on of the past few days.
Wrapping my towel tightly so it wouldn't fall, I headed to where I'd left my bag. Charlie was sitting on the couch next to it with a cup of tea and he blushed deeply when I walked in.
"Erm..." he stuttered.
"Don't worry, I'm only in here to get my bag." I said, sticking my tongue out childishly.
"Well that isn't very nice." he retorted, putting his tea down.
"Oh, putting the tea down now?" I mocked gently. "This must be serious. I didn't realise sticking my tongue out was a criminal offence."
"It's not," he replied. "But I'd like to get my own back." With an unexpected swiftness, he wrapped his arms around my waist and swung me onto the couch playfully.
Giggling, I shoved him off, rearranged my towel and replied. "Yeah yeah. Anyway, I need to dry my hair and get dressed."
He raised his hands in surrender. "Feel free. You might be better off in your room though, I don't think it'd be sensible to get changed in here with me." he mocked.
I laughed. "You wish." With a wink, I picked up my bag and left the room.
I heard Charlie whisper as I left. "Damn..."
* * * * *
I didn't want to go anywhere near the regular places Lucas would be. Instead of taking the main roads, I took the alleys where the rats scuttled across the cobbles and the light was scarce. I hurried along, wanting to get to somewhere I could hide through the night. Barely anyone used these paths, so why was I getting the feeling someone was following me?
I turned around, peering into the dark. I couldn't see much, but I could see one thing. It was the one thing I think I expected least.
A shadow in the alley.
But not who you might think of first.