Becca saw Earl talking to Charles and grinned. She knew he’d give Charles a hard time for her. He probably didn’t deserve it, but she couldn’t help but be a little happy that she had someone watching out for her.
When Charles’s shoulders slumped down in defeat, Becca frowned. He wasn’t going to argue? The Charles she knew always got his way. He would argue until he passed out if that was what it took. So why wasn’t he arguing with Earl?
Becca watched as Charles turned and walked out the door, not even glancing around to find her. Her heart pounded, seeing him leave for the second time in as many days. She had to stop him. Letting him leave, and possibly never come back, was not going to work for her.
When Becca tried to run past Earl he stopped her with a firm hand on her arm. “What?” she asked sounding as exasperated as she felt.
“Who was that guy? He made you cry yesterday and now you’re chasing him out the door. Talk to me.” Earl was kind and sweet, over-protective like a big brother, just like Jeff used to be. His larger than life personality and welcoming attitude were what made her take the job as a waitress. She knew he’d always be there for her. She just had to convince him to let he go.
“He was my brother’s best friend,” Becca told Earl.
Earl looked as confused as Becca expected him to. She knew she would have to explain the whole situation to him one day, but she wasn’t sure she could manage it. At least not if she wanted to catch up to Charles before he vanished. “You told me you didn’t have any siblings.”
Becca shook her head. “I don’t. My brother died when I was 16. Charles, the guy you just threw out of here, was his best friend. They were seniors in high school. Charles was driving when Jeff died. I haven’t seen him since a few days after the funeral, when he told me he was responsible for my brother dying.”
Earl wrapped her up in a hug and held her close. The smell of grease clung to him and comforted Becca in some strange way. She adored Earl, and his hug let her know she was right to assume he’d always protect her.
“That had to bring up a lot of emotions. How ya holding up?”
Becca shook her head. “Not that great. But I feel like I need to talk to him. He’s the only connection I have left to my brother. And he just walked out the door.”
“Well, then, go get him!” Charles said with a grin.
Becca raced out the door and looked down the street where Charles had headed. But he was gone.