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Vote for Ryder

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Growing up, we're always told we can be whatever we want to; no one ever mentions that that's only true if you're rich or your dream is to work the counter at the local movie theater, and that's where I come in. I am the Head Ticket Sales Representative at the Southwick County Movie Theater! My name is Naoise Breenan, it's pronounced Neesha but, most of my friends call me Shia. I grew up in this one horse town mostly keeping to myself and staying within my circle of about three friends. School was always quiet and uneventful. Life in this town was simple, cold and miserable. Four days ago was my 18th birthday, that's when things started changing for me. I had a quiet life. I spent most of my time either at the Theater or the Library since I was 10. Then on the eve of my 18th birthday, I was sitting in the ticket booth waiting for the three or four regulars to come in and that's when it happened.

It was an unusually dark night; the streets glistened with the day's rainfall. It had been an uneventful birthday due to the rain, and to top it off I had to work tonight. The theater where I worked was ancient. The building was beautiful and three stories high with hand crafted gargoyles looking over the town. It had two doors, one was to enter, the other to exit, and both doors were covered with red velvet curtains. The doors sat on either side of the ticket booth where I sat. It was a Thursday so the movie of the night was Casablanca, like every Thursday night. The theater, despite its size, only had one screen and never showed anything made after 1960. We never had huge crowds, though the town only had about 120, we did have about 3 or 4 regulars who pretty much kept us open. Tonight was different. Not a sole in sight. Not one person walked through these doors since I started my shift three hours ago.

I sighed; put down my book I had been reading and looked at the clock on the corner of my desk. 9:15. I sat up in my chair and looked as far down one side of the street as I could see without hitting my head on the glass surrounding the ticket booth. From where I sat I could see the market which looked just as much of a ghost town as the theater did. I wondered if Jessica was working there tonight. As I sat back in my seat to shoot her a text message, I was startled by a figure standing in the middle of the street staring at the theater. The figure was tall and wearing some sort of trench coat, it was too dark to see any facial features, but the broadness of its shoulders gave it away as a man. I sat there and waited for him to move towards me. He didn't. He just stood there looking at me. I could feel his gaze upon me and it made me uncomfortable. I leaned forward and knocked on the window, "May I help you?" Slowly he started towards my window.  

His chin was down and his face mostly covered by a black Fedora.  He just held up one finger and slid some money in the slot of my window. I took the money and slid a ticket back at him. "Thanks."  He mumbled and quickly entered the theater. "You're Welcome! " I shouted towards the door of the theater. ‘Kind of rude' I thought. ‘I wonder who he was, and why was he glued in the middle of the street?'  I leaned back in my chair and pulled out my phone. I quickly tapped out the message, ‘Jess, are you working tonight?' then sent it, set my phone down and awaited a response. Jessica was kind of slow with her responses, not that she was slow at typing, but just responding, she was usually practicing her piano or studying, if she wasn't at work. I picked up my book and opened it scanning the page I was on for whatever sentence I had stopped at, then quickly sat it back down. "I can't, too bored." I said aloud to myself.  I looked around again to see if anyone else would be coming to watch Casablanca, or if it was going to just be the one creepy man.

As I leaned back in my seat my phone started to buzz. The sound pierced though the quiet air and made me  jump. I picked it up to see a message from Jess. ‘No! I wish! It's quiet tonight. Everyone in the house is asleep and I'm so bored! How's the theater? Sucks you had to work on your birthday, I wish we could have been able to do something fun tonight. Maybe Saturday?' I quickly tapped away at my phone again ‘Saturday sounds great, I'm actually off that day! It has been a crazy quiet night. I've only had one person come into the theater and I don't think it was any of the regulars. He was kind of creepy, stood in the middle of the street and just stared at me. And then only said ‘thanks' when I handed him his ticket.' Jess responded quickly ‘oooo maybe he thinks you're hot. That fiery red hair of yours is hard to resist. Not to mention those gorgeous green eyes and your pasty white skin, seriously girl you need sun.' I smiled and moved a strand of hair out of my face. ‘You're silly! I doubt it, besides you're the good looking one here.  You have that California beach babe look going for you. Speaking of which, how is Charles?'  

The texts went back and forth for about an hour; we talked about her boyfriend for what seemed like days, we spoke of parties and college courses, of soon to be dinner plans. Then the texts stopped. I figured Jess fell asleep as she normally does around 11 pm. So I sat and waited for my shift to be over at midnight. I awaited the fedora man to come out and maybe show me his face. Maybe I knew him from school or around town. There weren't too many people I didn't know. I leaned back in my chair and read my book. I got through six pages and my alarm went off thus letting me know the movie was over and to prepare for "guests" leaving the theater. I placed my book in the side drawer and sat up straight. I put on a fake smile and got ready to say my usual line of "Have a magical night, I hope you enjoyed the movie!" I waited and waited. ‘There was only one person, its not like he had to wait in line to get out!' I thought to myself. The curtains ruffled and swayed open and there he was. His hat was off this time and tucked under his arm. His golden brown hair was short and spiky. He looked up at me quickly and his amazing hazel eyes just stared into mine as I stuttered "Ha-ha-have a magical ni-night." I shook my head and finished my line "I hope you enjoyed the movie." He half smiled and nodded once then placed his hat on his head and walked away.

I sat in shock and confusion.  Who was he? Why had I never seen him before? When did he come to town? Is he new here? How old was he? My head filled with questions I wanted answers to, but had no way of reaching them. I looked at the clock. 11:45. Time was almost up. My birthday was almost over. I sighed, reached in to the drawer and pulled out my book and my bag and opened the side of the ticket booth and locked it shut behind me, I grabbed my flash light  out of my bag and turned it on as I went inside the theater to lock up. Inside the theater was dark and quiet. The sound s of movies and projectors had stopped. I walked down each isle and checked for strays since people liked to sneak in the fire exit. I got down to the fourth row and noticed a small box about half way down the row. I walked over and picked it up to examine it.  It was a small black velvet box, once opened it revealed a beautiful engagement ring. My eyes widened and I quickly looked around for the owner.