He waited for his mother at the table the next morning. She got up around 8:00, a couple hours before he went off to Geil’s and she left for the hospital.
“Hey mom, did you hear that weird noise last night?”
“Yes, what was that? It must have been some sort of animal. I don’t know what makes that noise though.” She entered the kitchen and poured herself and her son a glass of orange juice, then proceeded to place two pieces of bread into the toaster.
“Do you think it could have been a fox?”
“I suppose. Something wrong with it’s voice, though.”
“Mmhhmm.” He took a sip from his orange juice.
“It scared me, to be honest.”
“I know what you mean.”
As he took another swig of juice, the phone rang. He got and intercepted it on the the third ring, answering politely.
It was Linda. “Yeah, hi! What’s up?”
“Hey there. I know this is really short notice, but could you do something to help me out tonight?”
“Sure, I guess. What is it?”
“I need to change your shift from 3:00 PM to midnight for a while. We just got a new girl, she could use some training. You’re the sweetest person I have on the team, and she seems very…well, skittish I guess? I figured you’d be willing to help out. You don’t have to outright follow her, just sort of keep an eye on her, and if she needs help with something, you can assist. Cruise was put on the afternoon-to-night shift for the next couple days. I switched your schedules. I think he’d scare her.”
“Yeah, I understand that…But why did you hire her if she’s like that? I thought grocery stores needed ‘happy people’?”
“I guess she’s tried everywhere to find a job and couldn’t get accepted. I figured we could help her out a little bit. She’s only on from 6:00 to midnight Monday through Thursday, anyway. We won’t be losing much.”
“Alright. Is this Hannah, by any chance?”
“How did you know?”
“I ran into her last night.” He laughed lightly. He didn’t intend to choose those words, but they fit perfectly. Linda wouldn’t understand how literal this idiom was, unfortunately.
“Thank you so much, Tommy. I’m sorry to do this to you right after yesterday. I know that was hard on you.”
“Oh, that’s okay. I lived.”
She laughed. “I’m glad. I’ll see you at 3:00 then.”
“Sure. Bye Linda.”
“What was that?” his mother asked as he hung up the phone.
“I got a shift change. There’s a new girl.”
“The girl you ran over.”
“I didn’t run over her, mom…Besides, she’s obviously fine.” He rubbed his own wound on his chin, thinking back to the incident the night before. He wondered if Hannah really was okay, or if she was just saying that. She seemed to want to get away from him pretty fast. I wonder how she’d react when she realized he was to train her.
The weird thing was she didn’t seem to dislike him. She seemed honestly concerned about his well-being after the crash. As well, while it was very dark out, he could see her face, and she didn’t look at all disgusted by his presence. She looked worried, partially for him, and maybe for something else, he didn’t know.
He looked at the time. It was 8:15.
“What time are you leaving then?” asked his mom.
“My shift starts at 3:00. I think I’m still gonna go by the coffee shop, though, to see Taylor and all them.”
“Okay. Well, I guess I won’t see you until late.”
His mom got off work around 7:00. He probably wouldn’t see her until the next morning. She was always asleep by 10:00, and he was coming home at midnight.
He gave her a hug before leaving.