24-7

Summary: A young woman is working at a gas station when some strangers walk in. Post "Chosen".

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

It's late. Just after 2 in the morning and Elisalee was the only clerk on duty. Mr. Nice Generic Name, Robbie Mitchell, was supposed to be here. It was store policy that there be two clerks on duty after dark, for safety reasons. But Robbie had blown off his other two shifts this week and Elisalee didn't have much hope he'd be showing up tonight.

Maybe Hank'll have had enough and fire his ass. Elisalee thought then snorted, not likely.

Robbie was the owners, nephew, for one thing. For another there weren't many people desperate enough to take the job. The gas station was on the fringes of a middle of nowhere town.

Elisalee should just locked up and leave. She had every right to. One of her conditions, when coming to work here, was that she'd never have to work alone. She was still freaked out from being held at gun point, back two years ago, when she worked at Spiffy Laundromat.

But if she did close up, she'd lose six hours worth of pay and she did have to pay for college somehow. She'd just have to knuckle down and bear the next few weeks. Then she'd be back at school.

Besides, she thought, no one ever comes this way. It's a wonder they even manage to keep in business.

Elisalee did not see the bus pull up to the pump but she did hear the bell and looked up from her Cosmo to see three people enter the station. Two were guys and the other a girl. Well, actually a woman. There wasn't anything particularly girly about her. She was about the same age as herself, Eliselee figured and, a jealous part of her added, prettier. She wore jeans and a leather jacket, with a black shirt. She wasn't afraid to show her midriff, which was tanned and toned.

The two guys also looked around the woman's age, one maybe a couple years younger. He was wearing jeans and a non-descript jacket. If he was to hold her at gun point, the only thing Elisalee could probably tell the cops was that he looked a bit geeky, like a guy who got beat up a lot in school but had since grown up. He had wandered over to the magazine rack and seemed somewhat disappointed by the lack of selection in comic books. Well, what did he expect stopping at a 24 hour gas station at two oh nine in the morning?

But it was the other guy who looked like the real dangerous one. Dressed in a warm lumberjack jacket, faded jeans and day old stubble. He looked like Elisalee's older brother Dustin, but more hard, less happy. His eye patch was what gave him the air of trouble, something Dustin most certainly lacked. Unfortunately, he was the one coming over to the counter and he didn't look like he wanted a lotto ticket.

"There any motel's here?" The man with the eye patch smiled. Maybe he was just trying to be friendly but in the glow of the florescent lights, it simply came off as creepy. Elisalee's skin crawled and she grasped the underside of the counter, to keep from bolting.

There was a tremble in Elisalee's voice, one she hoped only she could hear, as she answered. "Not here." The man did not seem to notice. Maybe he is so use to the tremble that he no longer acknowledges it. "The nearest one's in Braxton, 'bout 100 miles." Thank god, Elisalee mentally adds.

"We should crash on the bus." The women said, pulling out 5 different types of drinks from the cooler.

"But sleeping on the bus makes my neck hurt." The other guy complained but since his friends ignored him, so does Elisalee.

The woman came over, placed her beverages on the glass counter and demanded a pack of players. She gets a disapproving look from the one-eyed man and amends, "Better make that two."

The fourth guy, who has up until this point been pumping gas, came in and the first thing Elisalee noticed was that he is black. She knows that shouldn't make a difference. He's the most respectable looking of the bunch but Elisalee still tenses. The black guy doesn't notice or, if he does, doesn't react but the girl notices and, with a scowl, deliberately wraps her arm around the man. Her man, apparently, and she's standing by him. Elisalee wonders if it has anything to do with the platinum credit card she has just been handed.

Elisalee rung up the items, a collection of reading material, junk food, soda pop and cigarettes that totals an excess of twenty dollars, not including the gas. When she swiped the credit card, she was relieved to see it goes through on the first try.

The woman grabbed the bags and the four of them leave as quickly as they came. The bell tinkles as they leave and Elisalee allows a sigh of relief escape her lips as the bus pulls away from the pumps and continued on out of sight. Once again she is safe.

"Hey, Lis."

The startled scream escapes Elisalee's mouth and she spins sharply around.

Robbie grins, he's standing in the doorway to the back room, leaning against the door jam. The back is usually locked but of course, Robbie has a key. Of course, Robbie's the only other person besides the owners who has a key to the back door.

Robbie looked paler than usual, a bit haggard. Had he been using drugs? Robbie was known to smoke pot, most every teen in town did, there wasn't much else to do, but he'd never looked quite like this before. Maybe he was trying something different but Elisalee never knew him for getting into the hard stuff.

"Robbie, you okay?"

He continued to grin. "Okay? I feel great. I've never felt this great, this alive." And chuckled at some inside joke that Elisalee didn't get.

He step forward and Elisalee automatically took a step back, only to bump into the counter.

Robbie took another step and another. He continued to smile but all Elisalee felt was a rising fear. She did not trust that smile and she was trapped.

Robbie continued to speak in his fake soothing voice, "Lis, Lis, don't look so worried. I want to help you. I want to share this with you." He stopped inches away from Elisalee and began to stroke her cheek. "C'mon, I'll make with worth your while."

Elisalee kicked him as hard as she could in the knees. It didn't seem to hurt him so much has throw him off balance. Not that Elisalee was sticking around to find out. She jumped over the counter and ran into the magazine stand, causing both it and her to fall sprawling on to the floor.

Elisalee hadn't even gotten over being stunned when Robbie too had leaped over the counter. He grabbed Elisalee by her ponytail and flipped her on to her back. She looked up at Robbie and her scream stuck in her throat. His face! It was, contorted, disfigured.

Why didn't I see it before? Elisalee couldn't tear her eyes away from is wrinkled brow, his yellow eyes, his white fangs. Suddenly she knew at once what he was and just as suddenly, she knew she was going to die.

"C'mon Lis, just one kiss."

And just as suddenly, something else happened, that Robbie had not intended and Elisalee had not expected. The two men from earlier, the high school geek and the lumberjack came in. The bell heralded their arrival as if they were knights or kings or popes. Elisalee caught the tail end of their conversation, the lumber jack saying to the other, "Andrew, if you had to use the bathroom, you-"

And there the conversation stopped. The four of them remained motionless for a second or two, each taking in the scene, none sure exactly where to start. Elisalee was sprawled out on the floor, next to the downed magazine rack, Robbie, in the guise of a monster, crouched over her. And the two men, weapon less, at the door.

The boy broke the silence. "Should we get Faith?"

The lumberjack had reached into his pocket, "No, I think we can handle this one."

The vampire, because that was what Robbie had become, decided he didn't particularly like this talk. On a more deeper level, it scared him that these two people weren't scared of him. He was a monster, after all. He should be feared.

He tossed Elisalee aside, not gently, but not hard enough to stun her completely and she had enough of her wits about her to believe what she remembered seeing after the fact.

Robbie pounced upon the lumberjack, his fangs aiming for the neck. They never got near because suddenly Robbie stopped. He let out a surprised whimper and exploded.

The scream finally escaped out of Elisalee's throat and as a little squeak burst out of her mouth, she ducked her head under her arm. A knee-jerk reaction, too late to do any good. She ended up with Robbie dust in her eyes.

She sat there a moment, shaking, crying Robbie dust out of her eyes, making unintelligible mewing sounds, before lowing her arm. The lumberjack came over and knelt beside her.

"Are you alright?"

"What happened to Robbie?" Elisalee asked, ignoring the lumberjacks question.

"He won't hurt you anymore." The lumberjack said, which really isn't an answer but it occurred to her later that he was trying to protect her. And then he smiled, an honest genuine smile. And it wasn't creepy at all. He was a dangerous guys, but not to her. He was a protector, a big brother protector.

"Are you alright?" He asked again and this time Elisalee answered him.

"Yeah, he didn't really hurt me. It was just… freaky."

"Freaky, defiantly." The lumberjack replied, "Come on, let us drive you home. It's not safe tonight."

Fifteen minutes ago the thought of leaving with these people would have been completely ludicrous. Now she was just relieved they weren't going to leave her here alone.

And tomorrow she wasn't coming into work. Screw her two weeks notice. She was done with 24-7 jobs. It was a dangerous world out there after dark, robbers and murderers and vampires and she was done with it.

End