“As soon as I’m not pregnant, someone is going to die for making me do this,” Shannyn muttered to herself as she stared at the computer screen before her.
In order to buy the baby stuff she needed, she’d sucked it up and gotten a job for one of the very few companies still in town. They were rigged as all hell and the money they paid her wasn’t even enough to fold, but she made enough between bill cycles to get the necessities.
“Not worth it,” she said, glaring at the offending document. “Kid, you are so not worth this torture.” The torture being filling out reports. Every night, she had to spend hours filling out reports on meaningless crap.
When she’d gotten the job and they’d given her a computer, she’d thought, hey, sweet, mindless internet action again. Oh, how wrong she’d been. The thing was locked down hard. The only things it did were things the higher-ups determined were strictly necessary for her job. Kill joys.
After a short while, she threw in the towel and got to her feet. She pressed her hands against her aching back, groaning softly. “My spine is not a spring board, kid, and my bladder ain’t your trampoline.” Speaking of bladders…
A few minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom. An audible growl from her stomach had her wondering when the last time she ate was. With a glance at the barren shelves along the wall, she sighed. “Looks like it’s harvest time again.” She put off her excursions outside as much as possible; most people were smart enough not to fuck with her, but a surprising number of stupid people had survived the Event, and, though she thought she could probably still do some damage in her condition if push came to shove, she didn’t want to risk the life inside her.
The sun was beginning to sink down past the horizon when she stepped outside, meaning this would have to be a short trip. There was no official curfew in place, but the marauding bands came out at night. Shannyn might be able to fend off one or two guys as she was, but not the gangs. She’d seen them in action enough before finding this place to know that.
She made her way down to the fishing spot near her bunker. She’d found some wild strawberries there a while ago; with any luck, there might be some there again.
Her steps slowed as she caught sight of a figure standing on the bank. Fuckity great – a person. She decided to just ignore him and hope he did her the same courtesy.
However, as she turned towards the place where she’d last found the strawberries, a deep voice came from behind her. “I picked the strawberries. They make good bait.”
Shannyn turned to face him – wow, looker – and couldn’t keep a glare off her face. “Fucking thanks.”
His eyes dropped briefly to her stomach, flaring in surprise. Though she wore a pretty baggy shirt, it was still pretty evident what condition she was in.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know this was your spot,” he said, as if he’d intruded on her territory. Which he kind of had, in a way. “I’m almost out of strawberries, but I could give you a fish? I caught a few, and it’s not like they’ll keep. You can have one.”
“I don’t need your charity,” she said venomously.
The corners of his lips curled up in a slight smile, making the corners of his eyes crinkle ever so slightly. “No, I definitely don’t think you need charity. But the fish really will spoil if I don’t give it away. Please, take one.” He reached into a burlap bag and withdrew a catfish. He extended it towards her.
She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. Would she be indebted to him somehow if she took what he offered? He took your strawberries; you take his fish. Even. Another growl from her stomach reminded her that she was hungry. Slowly, she stepped closer to him and took the proffered fish.
“Thank you,” she grated out reluctantly.
His hint of smile grew, turning into a grin. He truly was a handsome man. “You’re welcome. I’m Jason, by the way.”
She almost gave him her name. Her mouth opened, her lips began to shape the sh. Then she stopped herself. “I’m not looking to make friends,” she said in a firm tone before turning her back on him and making her way up the hill, back towards home.