The warm water washed over her in the shower and she stood there thankful for the peace and quiet.
took her time getting dressed again in her clothes from yesterday. She made
coffee in the little pot that came with the room and drank a few cups while she
watched some mindless television. It was simple and comforting, and all hers
just right now.
Finally she decided to put on her jacket and face the day. She had to figure out how to get back to
Her friend Ellie had offered to come get her and that might be her best option.
With a small sigh she looked around the sweet little room and shut the door. Winona was just taking her
second step towards the café when she heard a scream from the other direction behind
the building. With a start she turned on her heel and jogged around to the
source. She had to look around but now she could hear struggling, and swearing
in a woman’s voice.
“Oh god dammit……ow…ow….shit shit shit…..” and then the woman was yelling for help “Alex!!! Joe!!! Chris….anyone! Oh for fuck’s sakes!”
“Hi….are you OK? What can I do to help?”
The woman held up a hand to caution coming closer “Watch out….you’ll fall on it too. There’s a huge patch of ice here. Must have been condensation from the compressor…. If you can get around it, go through the back door and ask the kitchen for some salt. I’ve twisted my ankle badly.”
“Hello? Someone’s fallen on ice outside. Can I get some salt and some help for her please?”
Chris turned from the grill and then reached for a bag of salt from a nearby cupboard “Damn…” he muttered as he walked back to see the situation. Another man who
didn’t recognize from last night followed. He was as tall as Chris but older
and leaner with a very defined jaw line, a full head of grey hair and black
glasses. As he breezed past her she caught the overpowering odour of cigarettes
on him. They pushed open the door and the smoky man yelled “Barb! Holy shit.”
Chris wordlessly went to work with the salt and then walked out to grab Barb’s hand and try to help her up.
She whimpered at the attempt “I don’t think I can put weight on it…Oh god…..where’s Alex?”
The smoky man moved to her other side and took her arm under the armpit “At cash while Hayley’s on her 15…” He looked up at
Winona and then at Chris with
a quizzical expression.
Between the two of them they hoisted the injured woman to her feet but she had to lift the injured one up the second it touched the ground and was working hard to control her breath.
Chris caught the look and introduced
Winona to Joseph Melnyk “Winona, Joe, Joe
can you…uh hold the door and then….go tell Alex his wife fell. Oh yeah and
“Oh hello again! Sleep well? Things always look better in the morning eh?”
Alex was visibly concerned and then yelled “Hayley!” and glanced around. No one came and he looked annoyed “Can you watch the cash for a sec? She should be back by now…probably buried in her stupid phone…” He stepped out and past
before she could even answer either way.
Thankfully the store was empty. She didn’t want to stand behind the register because she didn’t know how to use it. After two minutes of waiting a young woman breezed in the door wearing an apron and still giggling at something on her phone. She had chin length brown hair, big blue eyes and a face full of freckles.
“Are you Hayley?”
asked even though she was certain it was.
Hayley Hobbs smiled brightly and pocketed the phone “Yes I am. Can I help you find anything?”
Everyone was so damned friendly here.
Winona couldn't help but smile back “No I’m OK but your
boss’s wife fell behind the building on some ice. They’re helping her in the
back room. She twisted her ankle.”
“Oh no!” Remarkably, Hayley’s eyes got even bigger with worry and then she clarified “Barb’s actually one of my bosses too. It’s Joe, Alex and Barb who own this place....well and technically Pete but he doesn't live here.” She sighed and looked up at the clock on the wall “Oh god. We’re about to get the New Year’s brunch rush…..this is bad…..I’m a horrible waitress….Barb does most of it..”
She approached Joe and Chris “So uh…I was talking to Hayley. Do you guys need a waitress? Because you’re already getting people pulling in for your brunch.”
Chris beamed at her like she was the answer to their prayers.
Joe looked her up and down and asked critically “Are you any good at it?”
Alex’s head whipped around to his brother with an incredulous look “Jesus Joe….just give her an apron and don’t be an ass. Thank you
That would be great.”
“Yes thank you so much….” Whispered Barb through her agony.
Joe wordlessly handed
an apron as she shot him a mild glare. She looked at Barb and Alex and then
Chris while tying it behind her back “Yes, I’m good at it. I got this.”
Chris snickered behind his hand and then opened the door to the kitchen “After you m’lady.” He said jovially to
Winona. Joe helped Alex get Barb into the car
and Alex drove Barb to the hospital in the next town over.
Meanwhile, brunch was served and the good folks of Nowhere were simply delighted with the new waitress.