Underthrow, 18

“Miles is the same way,” Travis said, resisting the urge to defend the job and realizing as he spoke that there was no more Miles at Subway; this was Miles’s last shift, sans Miles. Travis halved the sandwich and swaddled it in paper packaging. Vin, who Travis figured had too little energy to engage in a teenage chat, finished the other sandwiches and set them by the register.

“I just can’t wait to get out of the County,” Sarah said, rifling through a shiny red purse for her wallet. Travis had never seen the purse. It could be her mother’s, he thought, or a graduation gift from her father Dr. Teague, the oral surgeon, who ran his practice in the same business park as Dr. Harris, both a half hour’s drive north of their comfortable County homes.

“There’s nothing wrong with the County,” Travis said.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine once I’m only visiting for Christmas,” she replied.

Sarah laughed, but gentle, melting whatever resentment Travis meant to carry. She held the sandwiches at her side with the red purse slung over her other shoulder. If she didn’t leave, he wouldn’t have to think about Miles or what morning shifts would look like next week. Travis knew this was the longest talk they would ever have, and it only made him want her more; he wanted to keep her here a second longer, to stop her from fading into memory with spitballs.

“I’ll see you around,” she said.

“Definitely,” he said, knowing it was a lie, and she left.

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