twelve.

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The week came and went in a messy blur, almost as if my life had turned into a child's finger painting. My nightmares were steadily getting worse, jolting me awake in the middle of the night with a sweaty forehead and shaky knees. Eventually sleep escaped me almost entirely. My increasing exhaustion was turning people and objects into just masses of shapes and colors, and light became my worse enemy. Too bad I lived in a place where the sun stayed fixed in the sky 80% of the time.

I was so tired, I almost contemplated coffee.

Key word - almost.

"Wow, you look like the living dead," Delilah chirped when I trudged into Beans for my Saturday afternoon shift. I groaned in response, much like an actual zombie, before throwing myself against the swinging back door that led to the office. Pouring myself over expense reports was a much better alternative to making coffee for stuffy tourists who didn't know the difference between a latte and a macchiato.

That was until numbers started blurring together and multiplying, turning 100 into 1,000 and 1,000 into 1,000,000. When I had a vivid daydream where the number 7 grew teeth and ate the number 9, I knew I needed air or my head would explode. 

At 3:00, the coffee shop was empty. Delilah leaned against the countertop next to the register, scrolling aimlessly through Instagram, tying and retying her messy blonde hair back and away from her face.

"I'm going out," I mumbled hurriedly before she had a chance to ask questions. The bells on the door jingled cheerily as I darted out of the shop.

70 degrees and sunny seemed to be the norm as of late, and locals and tourists alike lived for this kind of weather, where people could stay out until the ass crack of dawn in their t-shirts and ugly khakis.  

But for me, the sun beating down on my head felt like a jackhammer, and my body throbbed with every step I took. I kept my head down towards the faded concrete sidewalk, kicking stones at parked cars. I didn't even know where to go, so I just let my legs take me wherever they felt like going. 

Eventually I made it to the center of our tiny downtown and turned a corner at the drug store. I probably heard the door of the store creak open, and I probably heard someone say watch it, but in my haze of exhaustion my reflexes were slowed, and before I knew it I was thrown backwards onto the sidewalk. Cans of beer rolled every which way, spilling out of a ripped cardboard Bud Light case, and on the other side of the mess I had just made was fucking Grey Fischer.

I was convinced I was still in a nightmare. 

"Jesus Christ, Kennedy," Grey groaned before rising to his feet. I scrambled on my hands and knees to grab more wayward beer cans, throwing them into the plastic bag still on the sidewalk. I caught a glimpse of a tear at the knee of his jeans, with blood starting to trickle out of a small cut.  

"Are you just incapable of not causing a scene?" he hissed. I looked around and felt the familiar sting of people's eyes on me. Judging me.

I could have been angry, but there was no point. It was technically my fault (though I wouldn't say that out loud to him) and quite frankly, I was too tired to be angry. I couldn't even get myself up off the sidewalk. Even though he had dark sunglasses on, I still felt the heat of Grey's glare burn holes into me. He sighed and shook his head before practically stepping over me and making his way to his car. 

I groaned and hung my head, contemplating just collapsing right there in front of the convenience store. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a glint of sun hit something shiny on the sidewalk. Still on my hands and knees, I crawled over and inspected it - a silver credit card, with Greyson Fischer printed on the front. For a moment I contemplated leaving it, but what would that have accomplished? We were already pissed off enough at each other, and I didn't even have the energy to instigate. 

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