The cycle of Strangers

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Chapter 6

“Rosa!”

“Rosa!”

“What?” I yawn whilst turning around from the shelf I was stacking. Excuse me for my harsh tone, but I’d rather get the job done, before Molly barks at me(in an awfully funny way) for wasting time.

His face beams with excitement as he stands proudly showing off his appearance. All his features stand out, due to the winter morning’s sudden burst of light. Before now, I had only spoken to him when the store lights , alone, were on.

I narrow my eyes at him- taking in his washed out black pair of jeans, his blue hoodie with the words ‘West Coast’ printed, a white T-shirt hanging out a little from under his hoodie, along with a plain tote bag with some words on and other pieces of jewellery.

Give him a month.

I bet you. Give him a month and he’ll turn up in joggers and a plain white shirt. Nonetheless, at least he puts effort into his appearance, that’s something Molly will praise him for.

“You need something?” I ask, letting out an exasperated sigh.

Gio, however, doesn’t seem to be taking my response too nicely. I mean, from the furrowed eyebrows and gaping mouth, I really can’t tell his confusion.

“What do you think?” He says, pointing down at his outfit.

“Of what?”

“My- You know what, never mind.” He throws up his arms.

What a big baby? What a big baby? My days, I hope he doesn’t think I’m into mommy/son kinks. Gosh, maybe I should tell him, just to clear things up. Who knows, maybe he’s trying to hypnotise me? Maybe.... maybe, I’m already the mommy?

“Gio.” I facepalm.

“Uhuh?”

“I just- I just want to clarify, that I am not into kid kinks.” I let my mouth run wild, before thinking about how stupid I sound.

“Um, that’s cool.” He shrugs me off. “Anyway... Moll-”

“No, wait. Let’s not skip past that.”

“Past what?”

“I only said that, cause I thought you wanted a mommy/son type relationship. That’s cool I guess, you do you, but I’m sorry. I just can’t bring myself to-”

“Rosa, when did I say I wanted a mommy/son kink? If anything I’d rather it be a dadd-”

“Okayyyy.” I drag on, covering the words he was about to finish off with, “What did Molly say or do?”

He chuckles lightly, “She said you should teach me how to stack shelves.”

“You’re joking.” I deadpan him, scowling on top of that.

“I’m new.” He protests.

“You’re a stalker, that’s what you are.” My index finger points itself at him, without me realising I had done so. I guess even my finger acknowledges the creep he is.

“Can you just get over that? Please just teach me how to stack a shelf. I’ll leave you alone!” He puts his hands in the air.

“Come with me.” I nod slowly.

I walk to the back of the store, opening up the door leading to storage. I flick the lights on, bringing the place to life. Every book on every shelf, glistens with it’s new untouched cover. There’s something about new books. A lot of people talk about it’s scent, something of which I don’t like, myself. However, for me, it’s the luxury of being able to close the book, without the front cover lifting. Everything seems so neat, so delicate. It’s weird, but I like it.

He follows me behind, as I take the two of us to the furthest wall at the back. Re-thinking myself, I walk around him, so that I’m the closest to the door. Who know? He could try to kill me, right here, right now.

“Alright, so this is the storage room. Every book out on the shelves have other copies in here. No matter the genre, the books are arranged in alphabetical order, by the authors last name. When you can’t find the book a customer asks for, or once you have taken the last book, you have to use this machine to log it in.” I point over at the desktop monitor.

Tapping a few touchscreen tabs, I explain how to use the system and how to find a book a customer asks for. I really have to thank the Lord, that he’s not slow. Because if he was, I honestly don’t believe I’d still be here. I’d have quit by now.

“Grab that pile.” I wave my hand over at the books besides the middle shelf.

He does as asked, so I edge for him to follow me out.

“All shelves out here, have a tab above with the genre name written. From the top to bottom, left to right, the books are ordered alphabetically. Order those books for me, then come over to the front counter.”

“I feel like I’m doing your work.”

“You are.” I give him a smile, then return to the staffroom.

When I enter, I spot her light blonde hair, curled over her shoulders. As I move in, I notice her body straighten up, clearly aware of what’s to come, despite her back facing me. I giggle to myself, inside my head of course. If I were to do that out, I would most definitely appear to be happy with this new addition.

“Molly.”

“Yes, dear.”

Walking around the middle table, I face her from the opposite place. Molly’s blue eyes, look around frantically, already ignoring what she did wrong without me having to put her in the wrong. I really like Molly, but it’s times like this when I just don’t understand why.

“Why didn’t you discuss this with me?” There is a long silence and I close my eyes in anticipation to hear her cheerful voice trying to sugar-coat the truth, but it never comes. Instead, she stands from her seat, slowly guiding her eyes to mine.

“Rosalina.” She silences my scowl, lips falling into a slouch almost at once.

“Yes, ma’am.” My voice comes out small and low, already predicting my defeat.

“This is my store. I hire who I hire. You are my employee. As much as I love you, as if you were my own, I have every right to hire someone without your permission.” Her words pile out, one by one with the tight tone running throughout.

“Molly, I understand but-”

“No, you don’t understand! If you did, you wouldn’t protest my words right now. I have been so lenient to you! I let you get away after you flicked that boy. I let you get away when you were rude enough to call him a stalker in front of his face. Do you know how embarrassing that was? So me giving this boy a job is the least I can do, for your mistakes!”

My mouth hangs open, eyes looking around the room quickly, trying to make sense of what’s going on. She’s never spoke to me like that before. And the thought of being disrespectful towards her, hurts me more than anything. After all, she’s the one who has helped me out the most. Without her, I wouldn’t have this escape.

If I had known she had felt this way for so long, I would have stopped. But then again, that’s something I’m supposed to know for myself without her pointing it out for me. Even now, even with me knowing what I’ve done wrong, why is it that I don’t know what to say. It’s not even the fact that I’m speechless, it’s the fact that whatever I think of saying, feels so fake.

The word sorry, is so meaningless nowadays, it sounds more ignorant than apologetic. Saying sorry, doesn’t fix the disrupt I’ve caused her, sorry is just another word.

“Molly.” I break the silence, still unsure of what I am to say.

“Go back out there and help him.” She fixes herself back into the chair, removing her eyes from mine and staring down onto the table. I try to give her a look of sympathy, but she can’t see me and I know she won’t want to listen to me at this point.

So, I nod.

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