Rolling over on the tear stained pillow, she slams her fist down on the clock radio to stop the irritating chatter coming through from the local radio breakfast show. Her eyes are crusty from the crying the previous night. Jumping up, she avoids looking at her phone and heads straight for the shower.
Reaching the bathroom, she pulls the long t-shirt over her blonde head swiftly and opens the cubicle door. The flip of a switch and the shower hums to life as she almost screams at the icey cold fingers of water hitting her body.
"Dumbass," she smiles at herself as the water heats up and gently warms away the shock of the initial spray.
Twenty minutes later, Naomi steps out of the shower and towels off before wandering back to the bedroom. The previous night's fears and tears nothing more than an unpleasant memory as she gets ready for work.
As she's dressing her phone lights up and her nightmares resurface. Catching herself before she can cry again, she walks over towards the phone, her lip curled in anger.
Picking it up, she unlocks the screen.
"Three hundred texts, seventy-five missed calls and forty voicemails? What the fuck, creeper?" she mumbles tiredly.
Switching the phone off she turns back to her dresser and finishes getting ready. Applying a light dusting of make-up to her flawless skin and to accentuate the beautiful piercing green eyes she then teases out her hair with a brush; she looks at herself and smiles.
"Lookin' good Naomi," she says, although not one who focuses on outer beauty she is more than comfortable in her self-image.
Leaning forward and tilting her head side to side, she realises the bags under her eyes are becoming harder and harder to cover over. Her bright eyes mist up and she ruthlessly clamps down on the night-time loneliness and fear threatening her daytime serenity.
Turning out of the bedroom, Naomi grabs her keys, says goodbye to her dog, Loopy, and locks the door behind her before sliding into her car. She adjusts her side mirrors slightly and then starts the engine, she glances in the rear view mirror as she slides the car into reverse and her breath stops. It catches in her throat as she glimpses a shadowed figure behind her.
Unable to tear her eyes away she is frozen with fear as the shadowy figure seems to shimmer in the morning sun.
She blinks and considers making a run back to the house. Why didn't I bring my phone?Her mind is in a panic and legs won't move.
Naomi blinks again.
The apparition is gone.
Flushing with embarrassment she restarts the engine and reverses out of her driveway and sets off for work.
Ten minutes later she pulls into her parking space and kills the engine. Taking a few moments to gather herself for the day ahead, she opens the door and steps out. Swinging around quickly on her heel as she clicks the central locking button, Naomi slams into something large and solid, knocking herself down.
"I told you I'd never let you leave me, bitch."
The fear ripples through her as the soft, clipped voice triggers recognition in her mind. Her heart thunders in her chest as a surge of anger overwhelms her and she springs back to her feet in a burst of adrenalin.
"Fuck you, asshole. Stop fucking following me, stop calling, stop texting me," she screams as her fear turns to fury. "We are over, if you come near me or call me or contact me again, I'll call the fucking cops."
Her rage so intense that it leaves her panting and she glares even as he cocks his huge arm back in preparation to punch her.
"Do it," is her only reaction as his hand descends towards her face; she doesn't even flinch.
"Hey," the arm stops halfway between the starting point and contact with Naomi's face at the shout.
"... I've called security, and the cops are on their way." Naomi straightens up in surprise as Jack, one of the most mild mannered, least confrontational guys she knows steps in.
He places himself in front of her as a shield and she spots his whitened knuckles clenched as he prepares to protect her, against a man much larger than he. Jack's skinny frame is dwarfed by the muscled menace before him but he holds his ground.
A laugh rumbles from the sinister figure as he flicks his index finger out to point at Naomi. "I'll be back, you belong to me, and I will get you. Bank on it."
"Fu..." Jack begins but Naomi places her hand on his shoulder to stop him as the frightening figure turns away and leaves.
"Come on, it's over..." she says to him, then under her breath adds: "...'til later."
Naomi feels Jack's entire body shaking during the brief contact with his shoulder, fighting to get her breathing under control she looks at him with platonic affection and gratitude in her eyes, while he avoids eye contact so that she can't see the love in his.