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|Fire Hair - Image Source|
“So, how was your day?” asked Phoebe.
“Some drama this morning, a couple and their kids came in and moments later another woman comes in. She's friendly at first and then shouting and screaming that the guy ruined her life and took away her children,” said Tony. They were eating take away food at his place. It wasn't nice as Phoebe's, a small apartment above the convenience store he worked at.
“Drama for sure, the kids?”
“They seemed to be clueless about it all.”
“A shame, and I bet the woman must be in a lot of pain.”
“Indeed, sorry for bringing it up.”
“Don't be, life ain't pretty, hardly ever is, but when it is you must treasure those moments.”
“Like this one with you.”
Phoebe laughed. “It's hardly special, this food isn't the best.”
“I mean the company, any time with you is precious.”
“You charmer,” said Phoebe cracking a smile.
“I try my best,” he smiled broadly back.
Phoebe took the last sip of her coffee. “I better be getting home.”
“Are you sure you don't want to spend the night?”
“You need to get up early and I have things to do, maybe some other night, okay?”
There was a moment of sadness before the smile returned. Tony stretched and yawned. “I am pretty darn tired.”
“I will get my car.”
“I came on my scooter remember?”
“Yes, yes, I am tired. I will come down with you.”
The wind was biting outside and Phoebe's coat seemed inadequate. She hugged herself.
Tony took off his jacket and placed it over her shoulders.
“No, I don't need it,” he said giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Th... Thank you.”
“Think nothing of it, now go, and be safe, see you tomorrow?”
“Sure,” she said with a smile.
She got on her scooter and drove off. Only looking over her shoulder for the briefest moment. Tony was still there watching her leave.
Phoebe drove on, thinking about Tony and what she was going to do about him. She was about two blocks from home when it happened. The woman, she was going to walk in front of a night bus, Phoebe could not let that happen. She gunned her little motor and hooked the woman with her left arm. Pulling her to the side.
Phoebe lost balance and they both went down. Seemingly oblivious the bus disappeared around a corner.
Before she could get up the woman came charging at her. “What did you do that for, cow!”
“Saving your life.”
“I don't need your help. I made my choice.”
“And want about the bus driver and the passengers, how will their lives be after they discover you squashed under the wheels?”
“I do not care, I don't have my man, and he stole my kids.”
“Whoa, slow down here,” said Phoebe pulling the woman aside and then her scooter, which she didn't know if it would work again.
“My like is ruined is what I'm saying!” screeched the woman.
“Wait! You were in Tony's store weren't you?”
“He's a nice guy.”
“I'm sure he is,” said the woman with some resentment. Another bus came around the corner. “If you don't mind I have a bus catch.”
The woman moved forward, Phoebe grabbed her hand and pulled her back. “No you don't!”
“Leave me alone! Who are you to tell me what to do!”
“I've been there, I've been down. Don't give into it. Fight. Are you going to give up just like that?”
“What choice do I have? I can't see my kids. The bastard and the courts won't let me.”
“What about when they are adults? They will be able to make their own decisions then right?”
“You build up your life, you find yourself, make yourself happy and by the time you are ready hopefully they will be too.”
The woman was silent for a few moments. “I guess I could get my old job back and do those courses like I wanted.”
“But no! It's too hard.” The woman tried to move again, but Phoebe did not let go.
“Life is never really easy, you just have to work at it and do your best.”
“Okay...” said the woman looking towards a truck that was coming. It was clear she was not listening properly.
Phoebe had no choice. She had never done it with someone so close before. Closing her eyes she manifested River Fire. Opening her eyes Phoebe was taken by the beauty. Flaming hair and trimmer and sleeker body River Fire was the fantasy version of herself. It was the first time she had seen her alternative self while fully awake, but it was hard work and she doubted she could hold it for long.
“What... what is that/”
“Your worst nightmare if you don't do what I say,” said Phoebe and River Fire together.
The woman broke down and sobbed. “Alright, alright, for my children I will try.”
“Good,” said Phoebe taking off Tony's jacket and putting it around the woman's shoulders. “Let me take you home.”
The jacket was full of holes from the fall. She hoped Tony wouldn't mind.