Off Sides(5)

By: Sawyer Bennett

"Fuck. That no good fucker. Fuck."

"Language! My ears are bleeding from your potty mouth. And you owe me three cigarettes."

I hear Paula stomp down the hallway. She sticks her head in the door and hands me the cigarettes, shooting me a nasty glare. I promptly flush them down the toilet.

"You're such a bitch, Danny."

Blowing her a kiss, I reply, "I love you, too."

And I do love Paula. She is like my best friend and mother all rolled into one. We have been living together for almost two years and she's fifteen years older than me. We met working together at Sally's but she's since moved on to better things...working in a vintage record store.

Paula is a pro at cussing. I have been trying unsuccessfully since I first met her to get her to tone it down. It's not that I don't cuss, it's just that Paula does nothing but spout filthy words. So I made a bet with her that she couldn't stop using the "F" word to which she promptly sneered at me and said, "Easy Peasy". We agreed then that if she says the "F" word, she has to forfeit one of her precious cigarettes...which I happily destroy right in front of her. I figure I'll have her nicotine free before too long.

Walking out of the bathroom, she follows me into my bedroom. I drop my towel to the floor and start getting dressed.

"So, you got the late shift at Sally's?" she asks.

"Yup. I get off at 7:00 a.m."

I start getting dressed while she leans against my door jamb. "Girl, you got some crazy ass hours. Why don't you quit that fu—."

One of my eyebrows raises high to her, daring her to continuing on.

"—I mean that freakin' job?"

"Good girl," I commend her. "And get a job where? I'm a twenty-one year old junior in college with no work experience except for Sally's. Besides...the tips are pretty decent."

I thought back to the gorgeous guy who left me a fifty dollar tip a few nights ago. He was clearly a college student— probably at Northeastern—same as me. And he clearly had money if he was throwing around fifty dollar tips. I giggled thinking about that group. I knew the minute that snotty looking brunette cast her eyes on me that she was going to try her best humiliation tactics. Luckily, she picked a subject she clearly knew nothing about and which I had done pretty well in.

Best of all was when I walked away, and the stud playing Angry Birds called my name. As I turned to look back at him, I almost flinched at the way he was looking at me. It was he wanted to devour me. Just thinking about it made me blush. I glanced at him a few times while they ate, and he seemed to always be watching me. I thought about flirting a little but really, what was the use. It would never be anything more than flirting because we are from opposite sides of the track. I had tried dating someone once who was straight out of the pages of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and that was a disaster. Besides, I don't have the time or the energy to mess with boys at this point in my life. But maybe one day.

After the rowdy group had left, I walked over and started busing off the table. I noticed they didn't leave a tip, which was usually typical with drunk students. I suppose the only reward I would have from this table was the satisfaction of making that uppity co-ed eat her condescending words to me. I snicker again just thinking about it.

When I had picked up the last dish and started back to the kitchen, the door opened and the hotty walked back in. I watched as he walked up to me and we just stared at each other.

Slipping his hand into the pocket of my apron, he said, "Here's your tip. I forgot to leave it." The move was calculated to impede on my personal space and was incredible sexy at the same time.

"Thanks," I said softly.

He looked at me for a few seconds, then said, "Well, thanks for being a good sport tonight. You sure managed to put Angeline in her place and I'm sorry for what she said."

I cocked my head at him. "Why are you sorry? You shouldn't have to apologize for her."

He gave me a wisp of a smile and replied, "No, I guess I don't."

A few seconds passed as we just held each others eyes and I thought he might say something else. But then he just turned around to leave, calling over his shoulder, "Have a good night."