Only For You(10)

By: Genna Rulon

“It was a safe bet,” she replied while taking a bite of her pizza. “Are those your new skinny jeans?”

“They are,” I answered, quickly confessing, “along with your sweater.” She nodded, not minding my thievery.

“Those jeans are killer. I love the combination with my sweater and those boots.”

I smiled at her approval. Sam was as opinionated about clothing as I was about coffee. She taught me much over the years, taught being a generous description. To be accurate, she beat her will into me over the last fifteen years. Now I wouldn’t dare go out in public in my flannel pants and worn sweatshirts, having learned that lesson the hard way. When caught trying to sneak out freshman year, Sam withheld coffee until I returned to my room and removed the offending clothing from my person. Many people subscribe to the theory—dress for the job you want. Sam concurred, but her real mantra was, “Dress for the man you want…and make the bitches jealous.” Clothing didn’t have to be designer, but every outfit must be strategized to convey a message. Yes, she is crazy, but everyone has their hang-ups, so I overlooked her clothing tyranny.

“How were your classes? You’re done for the day, right?” Sam asked.

“Yep, I’m working a swing shift at Higher Yearning from three until eight.” My job in a top-notch coffee shop located adjacent to campus was not work to me. It was a veritable playground filled with fragrant coffee beans, my idea of heaven. “My classes were okay,” I stalled to generate suspense for my big reveal, “and the Karate Kid was in my Business Strategy class.”

Sam paused, pizza halfway to her mouth. “You’re kidding. That must have been awkward.”

“Actually it was invigorating,” I replied cryptically, wanting a dramatic reveal for my triumph. “We had an exchange.”

“Spill it,” Sam demanded, losing patience.

“Actually, that is how it all started,” I mused before continuing to give her the blow-by-blow.

Sam gasped. “It was…it was…perfection,” she paused to collect her thoughts. “I think this may be one of your finest verbal altercations to date. He doesn’t even know you were insulting him,” she marveled.

Content with the knowledge my best friend appreciated my duplicity, I sighed. Only a true friend can revel in your achievement as if it was their own.

“It was the least he deserved after berating me. I’ll have to see him in class for the rest of the semester; I couldn’t employ a direct strike, it had to be the Trojan horse of retaliations.”

“What if he figures it out? You just called him an asshole in the guise of a compliment. I can’t imagine he would appreciate the sentiment, despite its brilliant delivery and execution,” Sam worried.

“He probably isn’t bright enough to figure it out.”

“He’s attending Hensley, he can’t be an idiot,” Sam reasoned, “I haven’t seen him on campus before. You?”

“Nope. He seems a bit old to be an undergrad. Maybe he is auditing courses in return for teaching the seminar. There’s enough space in the classrooms with the mass exodus of female students.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “He mentioned his family owns Higosha Dojo—the big chain of martial arts schools across the East Coast. He is probably taking business classes for the good of the family empire.”

“Which reinforces my point that he won’t clue in to my insult. His family probably bought his way into Hensley,” I concluded confidently.

“Whatever you say. The class was actually decent—challenging but instinctive. You should try again next week; you would enjoy it if you gave it a chance.”

“I would enjoy it if He-Man and She-Ra weren’t the instructors, and if I hadn’t been disrespected. My pride is worth more than free self-defense training.”

“Pride goeth before a fall,” Sam returned in a terrible Scottish accent. “Seriously, nothing has changed since this morning—the bad guy is still at large. If something were to happen to you—God forbid—I would never forgive myself for not forcing you to return.”