Carmen Stevens: The Night Softly Whispers

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If there was ever a stranger girl living in Lakefield View, Carmen Stevens would beat them hands down. Her tragic beauty only added to her persona. It's not that she's a psychopath or unsociable or anything like that. In fact, she would make the effort to socialise through her job at the Pandora Café. But she preferred to keep to herself. When she leaves her workplace, she rarely speaks to anybody but a very select few.

Secrets. Everybody has them. Is it ever safe to entrust another with one's personal secrets? Carmen didn't think so. She could only trust herself. She knew she was young and still had a full life ahead of her but she had experienced more than anybody else her age. After all, she never told anybody about that morning...

She stood mindlessly preparing sandwiches. She kept brushing her extensive dark blonde hair back behind her ear. She shifted the weight of her body from one leg to the other in the hopes of getting comfortable. A movement in front of her drew her attention and she lifted her big brown eyes to look upon the cause of her distraction.

'The customers who ordered the sandwiches are getting impatient,' said the thickly-accented Roberto. Carmen didn't rush to respond; she stared at the pot-bellied man for only a moment. He was another person she didn't like to interact with very much. He wasn't nice during her shifts, despite him being the one who offered her the job in the first place. She always found it peculiar that he hired her the way he did; she was walking past the café on her way home when he ambushed her.

'I'll have them done in a minute,' Carmen replied in a whisper. 'Quality is very important to the Pandora Café – if you wouldn't eat it then the customers won't want to eat it.'

Carmen recited Roberto's policy boldly. She looked up at him without changing her expression, even though she wanted to smirk, just to see his reaction. The fake-haired assistant manager didn't flinch.

'Well, work a little faster, otherwise we won't have any customers to sell the sandwiches to!'

'I will,' she replied.

Roberto rushed out of the kitchen back into the main café. She looked out of the service window while continuing her work. The café wasn't busy enough for Roberto to rush around. Several customers were dotted around the place, each of them content with the solitude of the café. Even her colleague, Tiffany Hawkins, was sitting at a table reading a discarded newspaper. Roberto walked up to Tiffany. She pulled a face at him as he passed. She hated him more than Carmen did.

'Tiffany, stop pulling ugly faces,' she heard Roberto shout.

'Why?' Tiffany replied, her tone reminding Carmen of a disobedient schoolgirl.

'My mother always told me to never pull faces at other people. If the wind changes, your face will stay that way forever.'

'I see you didn't listen then,' she retorted as she returned to reading her newspaper. Carmen let out a quiet snigger. It was the first time she had smiled that night. Roberto put his hands on his hips, the first sign that he was about to scold someone.

Carmen rang the bell on the service window. 'Tiffany, could you give this to Table 8?'

Tiffany looked Roberto hard in the eye as she rose from her seat. She left the newspaper as she challenged Roberto to say something with only her daring gaze. He rushed away from the confrontation. Tiffany smiled at Carmen as she strode over.

'Thanks for saving me there,' she said with gratitude, taking the two plates with a delicately-made sandwich on each one from her. She continued dramatically, 'I really can't be bothered with him tonight. This fake migraine sure feels like an excuse to leave work early.'

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