The bell on the door jingled to signal her presence.
“That time already?”
Wyatt answered with a loud smack of his chewing tobacco. He tilted his baseball cap to uncover his eyes and slid out from behind the counter.
“You left your hat, it’s in storage.”
Sheena patted his shoulder as she passed him. The storage room was actually a small closet next to the cigarette displays but it was dry and suited it’s purpose well enough.
“You comin’ from Roy Wilson’s?”
She had laughed at that. Roy Wilson was one of those big football boys who threw big parties in his father’s cornfield every night. If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the fact that he was currently dating her ex - girlfriend was plenty to keep her far away. After a little searching she found her hat – a vintage, cream colored Stetson. She’d be lying if she said it wasn’t one of her favorite possessions. With the wide brim of the Stetson comfortably perched atop her head she turned back to Wyatt with a sly smile.
“Oh sure, we’re gonna share a pint and knit a few shawls for the DAR.”
He held is hands up defeatedly. “Alright, alright, pretend I didn’t ask.” Wyatt fixed his cap, looking at his face on his phone. “I’ll tell Gus that you’re here, but if you need anythin’ I’m only a text away.”
She gave him a lazy two finger wave to follow him as he head out the door.
A few hours passed her by as she sat on her stool next to the cash register. It was notably desolate of the normal handful of truck drivers and travelers. The gas pumps outside remained bare. She flipped on the radio. Sheena never liked the quiet of the convenience store. It let her mind wander too often for her liking.
The bell on the door rang and she instantly perked up from her slouched position, only to slink back down in the fashion of a wild animal on it’s guard.
She glared at the girl who came in who couldn’t be bothered to return the look, preferring the view of the tiled floor next to her boots as she head to the drink coolers. Maybe it was shame. But probably not.
Sheena watched the blonde daintily pick out a few glass bottles of coke. Her eyes followed her as she stepped up to the counter and placed the soda down.
“That’ll be all?”
A meek nod.
Sheena huffed. “Eight seventy five.”
The girl placed a ten on the table, making her reach over and pick it up herself. Lovely.
“Y’know, “ Sheena said, counting out her change with deft hands, “you can talk to me, Talia. I don’t bite.” She shot a lazy grin across the counter to the girl, all teeth and danger.
Talia worried her lip between her perfect white teeth. “Okay.”
Her grin faltered for a second but was quick to mask it. She held out the change, only for the blonde across from her to snatch it like an eagle catching trout.
Sheena leaned forward, pretending her skittishness didn’t hurt, her Stetson tipped upwards. “Have a lovely night.”
With a nod and a scurry she was out the door. Seeing Talia ever so often during those long shifts did well to keep her somber. She sighed and put her forehead in her hands because it wasn’t always like that.
There was a time where Talia wanted nothing more than closeness and for the sun never to rise on their nights together. The only problem – Sheena wasn’t Roy. She wasn’t popular, she didn’t care about parties or local events, and she certainly wasn’t a guy, and it was for all these reasons that Sheena caught the two of them in Ricky Johnson’s guest bedroom the night of junior prom.
It was long behind her. She kept the whole thing quiet and left, driving her truck under the long stretches of open sky in the same manner John Wayne rode his gelding across Monument Valley in all of it’s cinematic isolation.
And there she was, outside the store chewing on the end of a lit cigarette, the circles under her eyes just a little darker.