She stepped out the door and shook her head. She was terrible at interviews.
The most important thing, they told her, was not to dwell on an interview afterwards. Just pull yourself together and move on.
They didn't sound like the words of someone who wanted to hire her.
As she walked, she glanced in a shop window and her reflection caught her eye. Standing there dressed all in grey, her blue hair sagging in the rain, a frown on her face. Maybe her mom was right. Maybe she should've worn a blazer instead of a hoodie.
But they always made her uncomfortable.
Old cars whizzed past as she made her way home. It wasn't often she came to this side of town. She passed glowing takeaway windows and darkened stores that had already closed for the day. Maybe one of them would take her. But she didn't want that kind of a job. She was better than that.
But then, she'd just been rejected by an electrical appliance store.
Maybe she was destined to deliver curry on weekends.
A bright sign caught her eye. It was purple and red, faux-neon effects surrounding two glowing words: "Game Basement."
She peered through the window. A few men were standing around a table. Harmless-looking guys in their twenties, decked out in gaming and television merch. One rolled a handful of dice. Off to the side were some game racks.
Maybe she should grab a game on the way home. Cheer herself up.
She stepped inside and they all looked up. All but one turned back to their games almost immediately: the one guy approached him. A man in a green shirt who was running the game.
"Come in to hide from the rain?" he said with a smile.
The guys looked up again. Oh my god, she could hear them thinking. A girl.
She ducked between the shelves so she could browse the games and have some time to herself in the warmth.
She barely saw the titles. Where could she go next? She'd tried basically every half-decent store in walking distance, and she couldn't afford a car.
Maybe she'd have to start taking the train to Brum.
She shuddered. Big cities were not her thing.
Another night browsing her laptop was ahead of her. She swiped the new Doom from the shelves and headed to the counter.
The guy in the green shirt hopped over when he saw her waiting.
He grinned. He was kind of goofy, a big disarming smile and soft lips. Large chin and thin glasses. "Ahh. The new Doom. You into video games then?"
She resisted the urge to brush it off. The same question, every time. "I play from time to time."
"Ah. Well. Do you have a job?"
Her heart jumped.
"I'm looking for a second hand to run the video game nights. If you want to...?"