He quickly slammed the door, leaning against it and listening carefully. He caught the approaching footsteps of a few men, some inaudible words, and then their declining stamps as they ran past and further away. He sighed in relief, slowly sliding down the wall till he was seated on the floor. Then he lent forward and cradled his head in his hands,sobbing as the adrenaline rush he had been feeling began to fade.
“Another incorrect accusation?”
He jumped, lifting his head quickly and clenching his fists. The room was dark and silent, minus the distant sirens and traffic noise of the city. He caught a silhouette to his left as Happy slowly approached - her arms folded over chest as she eyed him in his vulnerable position. “So what did you apparently steal this time?”
“I didn’t steal anything” he barked back.
She took his answer with a nod and slid onto a stool at the table closest to the door. “Well let me rephrase the question then - how much did you lose?”
He couldn’t hide anything for her; if it wasn’t her stare that caught him out, it was the guilt he felt when he lied to her. Somehow she could always pull his deepest and darkest secrets out of him without even trying. “Barely anything” he replied leaning back against the door and avoiding her stare. “Just a couple of hundreds-”
“-I can pay it all back-”
“How much, Toby?!”
“Two grand!” He slammed his fist into the wall, wincing as he pulled it back to his chest.
Happy had stood up at his sudden outburst, with her hands extended forward. She approached him slowly, kneeling in front of him and taking his injured hands in her own soft touch. “I’m sorry” she said, massaging his bruising skin. Toby flinched a little, but welcomed the comfort that was so rare for Happy to share. “Do you need another loan?”
“No” he replied quickly, “I can’t take anymore money from you.”
“You can if it means they’ll finally leave you alone.”
He sighed, running his unscathed hand through his hair. “But I’ve already taken too much from you.”
“Then take more.” He finally looked up and met her eyes - they seemed to glow in the dark, brimming with frustrated tears. “You’re my best friend Toby, and you can always pay me back.”
He nodded, feeling some of the weight being lifted from his chest as he accepted her offer. Her hands were still holding his wrist, and she seemed to relax as well as his racing pulse slowed down to a dull but rhythmic thud. “Let’s call it a night” she finally said, breaking the silence and slowly standing. “Come on, I’ll give you a lift.”
She took his outstretched hand and carefully brought him to his feet. He stumbled a little, chuckling darkly as she gripped his elbow and steadied him. “Will you protect me from the bad men, Happy Quinn?”
She chuckled too, leading him out to her truck at the back of the garage. “Sure, I’ll protect you.”
Today I had a really wonderful experience. My friends and I were in a room all playing and singing along to depreston by Courtney Barnett. It was just magical. I wish I could go back in time and tell my past self about what was to come. It’s times like these that make me happy I’m still soft and alive