Short Story 1
She closed the door quietly behind her as she switched on the hall light. Gently placing her shoes in the corner, she went to the kitchen and fixed her self a glass of water. She moaned indulgently as the cool water slid down her throat. Her phone went off. She glared at it then forced her eyes to focus as she read the text.
I’m outside your door
She sighed, staggered back to the door and opened it. Without an invitation, in stepped a tall figure.
“Yeah sure, come right on in,” she muttered.
“Well you texted me so…”
She turned to face him, a tall boy with dark hair and kind brown eyes. She stared at the small scar just above his eyebrow, a remnant from a childhood accident involving a kiddie pool and a golden retriever.
“Yeah..well…I didn’t mean to.” She fought to get the words out, her tongue refusing to form them correctly.
“Are you drunk?” He asks, just a hint of accusation in his voice.
“Are you?” She retorts lamely. She walks over to the small brown couch in her living room, dropping unceremoniously into it. He follows her over to it, lifting her legs to make himself a place to sit. He puts her feet back into his lap and begins to massage them. “Em…” she groaned. His fingers hitting every tender spots she’d acquired that night in her high-heeled boots.
“So how was tonight?” He asked, continuing at his work.
“Fine I guess. I mean I can’t really ask much out of a night of bar hopping.” She ran through the fuzzy memories of the night in her head. The multiple shots and beers. The occasional free drink from the rarely cute stranger. Her friends’ obnoxious laughter and frivolous flirting.
“I don’t understand why you do it when you don’t even have that much fun.” He started on the other foot.
“I do it so I can hang out with my friends. You know that.” She knew that was the smallest reason for her going out but that was the only one she felt like highlighting.
“They’re not your friends. Not if you only hang out with them when you’re drunk.” She glared. He always knew the truth and wasn’t afraid to say it.
“Ok maybe not friends like you and me but I like their company,” She pulled her legs away from and sat up “Besides, not all of us can have hot dates every weekend. “ She got up and went back to the kitchen. “How was that by the way?” She called as she fixed herself some more water and grabbed a few Asprin from a bottle on the counter.
“It was alright I guess,” he called from the couch “she was nice I guess.”
“Oh that sounds like the makings for a really amazing future.” She walked back into living room with a bag of Cheetos and two sodas. She handed one to him.
“Nope no future there.” He took the soda as she sat and placed her feet back into his lap. “Not a future with her at least.”
“Well what the heck man. You were so jazzed about her not even 2 weeks ago. All that texting and stuff?” She popped the soda can open.
“Yeah, the texting was cool but in person she just wasn’t the same. There wasn’t any chemistry or anything.”
“I don’t believe that at all,” She looked at his face, looking for a tell. “Something else must have happened”
“No really. She was fine. Just boring. Her sense of humor is practically non-existent. It’s like the person I was texting and the person I met up with were two different people entirely.” He stared absently at the wall. She fought the urge to smile. She’d known the outcome of his date before even he did. She knew the girl and knew that she had about as much personality as a ball of lint.
“But she was in your Chem 300 this semester? Was she boring then too?” He asked her. She sighed. To tell or not to tell?
“I mean we didn’t talk too much. There wasn’t really a chance to. You couldn’t have known. She probably had a friend text you for her.” She laughed cautiously, gauging his reaction. He laughed.
“Yeah well let me take her on a date.” He smiled at her, “so did you meet anybody cool tonight?” She sighed, remembering all the guys that approached and her and her friends that night. Very few actually spoke to her personally but the few that did were unimpressive.
“Well there was this one guy, he thought he would start off our titillating conversation by pondering what our future children would like.” She laughed as she saw his face drop a little in astonishment.
“Did he really?” He chuckled. All she did was nod and grab a Cheeto. “Wow, he’s a keeper. I hope you got his phone number.”
“Oh yeah, we actually had sex in the bathroom stall. We’re getting married next week,” She said dryly.
“Oh, great, do send me the invitation,” he retorted, matching her tone.
“Well duh, you’re going to be my maid of honor.”
“I’m so honored. You have no idea.” She stared at him for a moment and he held her gaze. A smile slowly crept across his face and she could feel hers appearing as well.
“We suck,” She laughed.
“No just you.” He retorted, reaching for the bag of chips. She laughed and pinched his cheek.
“That’s why you’ll always be single my dear. “
“Well at least I’ll have you.” He laughed. She felt the heat rise in her cheeks. She cleared her throat and pulled her legs away from him. Sitting up she placed her drink on the coffee table.
“Nope sorry. I’m already with bar guy. We’re going to live happily together in his 12th floor walk up.” She tried to laugh but knew the joke fell flat. He gave her a look.
“I’m sure you two will be very happy together. “ They were silent for a moment. A long moment. She took a breath. Debating whether she wanted to speak. “Why do you think you’re having so much trouble finding a person to stick with? You’ve had like..a million dates in the past few weeks alone.”
“They’re not dates really. We just kind of hang out.” He picked at a piece of string on his jeans.
“OK. Whatever. All these “hangouts” with these girls. How can there be something wrong with every single one of them?”
“I don’t know. There’s just something missing with them. I mean maybe it’s me, maybe it’s them…”
“It can’t all be them. The only common denominator is you.”
“Ok so what are you saying? I’m inherently bad at dating? “
“Well kinda yeah.” She chuckled.
“No, that’s not even true. I don’t want to be single forever. I’m not asking to be forever alone. And I’m not trying to spend the rest of my life eating Cheetos and rubbing your feet.” She looked at him, hurt.
“Well I’m not asking you to spend your nights with me either!” She stood up grabbing the Cheetos and walked to the kitchen.
“Well who texted who tonight?” He followed her in. She closed the cabinet and stared at the sink. Refusing to look at him, breathing hard.
“I told you that was an accident. And I didn’t ask you to come over either.”
“No you just drunk text me talking about how much fun you had. Which is just an excuse for you to gloat to SOMEONE about how much attention you and your slutty friends get from bar crawling dirt bags.” She whipped around.
“We are NOT SLUTS!”
“No but they are.” He looked at her, his eyebrow annoyingly cocked up knowingly. She knew he was right. Technically speaking, those girls weren’t the classiest. But she would never call them out on owning their sexuality.
“Just because we choose freely who we decide to sleep with doesn’t give you any right to judge.”
“Stop saying we!” He yelled, throwing his arms up. “You are not one of them!”
“Whatever. That’s not the point. The point is, I didn’t need you to come over. I didn’t want you to come over. You can go home now. “
“Well I sure as hell didn’t want to walk 10 blocks over here. But of course, I have to make sure you’re ok and listen to your vapid little stories about your vapid little friends.”
“Why are you being such a dick? I don’t get it. “ She felt tears burning behind her eyes. Did he really feel this way? Why did he still come every weekend then?
“No you don’t get anything do you? Cause you’re just so caught up in your own little world.” He advanced on her, wringing his hands in frustration. She moved toward him, holding her ground, arms crossed.
“Ok well I may be caught in my own little world but at least I’m not a superficial PRICK who refuses to settle down on any of the amazing girls I ask out cause I’m always looking for the next best thing!” She spat out the last words, just inches from his face. Staring up into the once kind eyes now burning with frustration. She felt his breath on her face. They didn’t break eye contact. She suddenly had the urge to take the few steps that would close the distance between them and-
She stopped herself. Do what exactly? He took a step closer to her. Her neck was starting to ache from looking up at him. His eyes softened.
“Is that really what you think?” He asked.
“What do you mean?” her words came out sharp. She was still angry.
“That I’m just always looking for something better?” His eyes pierced hers questioningly. She looked down at her crossed arms, put them to her side, then looked at her fingers.
“I mean, why else would you just go on all these dates with all these really pretty girls and then just toss them aside cause something ‘just wasn’t right?’”
“Well I mean…cause it’s true?” He stepped away from her. She released a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding. “I don’t know what it is, but all these girls. They seem great at first. But when I try to talk to them, when I try to get to know them. They’re just these…flat, two dimensional…” He sighed.
“But what do you mean? How are they so boring?” She started toward the couch again, holding his gaze long enough to communicate her intentions. He followed.
“I mean for example tonight. She had no sense of humor. My sarcasm went right over her head. She’s not interested in anything important. She can’t name a single musician that over the age of 20. Like….I don’t know…is it asking too much that I want a girl who’s just a little bit like me?” He flopped onto the couch, his long legs hanging over the edge, his head in her lap.
“No but maybe your asking too much of the girls that you’re trying to date.” She picked a piece of fuzz out of his hair. “You just haven’t found the right girl yet. She’ll come around. Probably when you least expect it. She probably won’t be what you’re expecting either.”
“What does that even mean?”
“Well for starters…she probably won’t be a hot blonde.” She began to play with his hair, twisting the strands around her fingers.
“I don’t even care about that. She doesn’t have to be blond, she doesn’t have to be hot. Looks don’t matter.” She scoffed.
“Sure, ok. “
“No really. As long as she’s nice and interesting, and smart…I couldn’t care less.” She smiled down at him. “And besides, she’ll be beautiful to me cause she’ll be all I could ever want.”
“Well she’ll have to be at least sorta hot, I mean you’re not a troll.” He laughed.
“Yeah well…it still doesn’t’ matter to me. “
“Ok then.” She continued to play with his hair. In the silence, she contemplated what had just transpired.
“Do you really think I’m vapid?” She asked suddenly.
“No,” he quickly replied. “I just know if there was anything you hated most in this world, it’s vapid, shallow girls. Which still makes me wonder why you hang out with those girls.”
“I don’t know I just…do…they asked me if I wanted to come out an I’d rather do that than sit here and wait for you to get back from your date.”
“You have other friends. I know you do.”
“Yeah, but they’re all boring.”
More silence. She watched her fingers as they worked through his hair. They somehow felt detached from her. She couldn’t help but imagine them knotted in his hair while—. He grabbed her hand.
“Sorry was I pulling?”
“No you’re fine I just…” He looked up at her.
“What?” From this angle she could see his whole face. The light smile lines around his eyes. The long dark eyelashes that seemed to touch his cheeks when he blinked. The ways his lips always seemed to be upturned into a little smile. And the scar. She touched it lightly with her thumb.
“I remember giving you this,” she whispered.
“And I remember getting it.” He smiled at her and took her hand in his, bringing it down to his lips he kissed it lightly.
“What the heck, man.” She laughed and started to pull her hand away. He grasped it tighter. Looking up at her. He sat up. Not letting go of her.
“You remember, I got that after you tried to kiss me that day. And I ran away.” She stared at him, confused, feeling his warm hand over hers.
“Yeah? And so I got this crazy idea to kidnap your dog. I almost had her too.” She laughed lightly not breaking eye contact with him.
“Yeah but then I chase after you and ended up falling and hitting my head and on that stupid plastic pool.”
“So sorry about that. “ She laughed, nervously tucking a strand of hair behind her ear with her free hand.
“It was barely your fault. I’m really to blame.” He laughed, squeezing her hand absently.
“Hardly. I mean I tried to steal your dog. But kids do crazy things when they’re in love.” She pushed every bit of sarcasm into her voice. Hoping to cut the tension and break the moment. He laughed but still held her there with his and and his eyes.
“Yeah, but I mean…I didn’t kiss you. It only seems fair that you took revenge.”
“We were 7 and dramatic. That’s all there is to it. “ Her pulse was racing. She could hardly think. He’d started to move closer to her. Leaning in.
“No that’s not.” He whispered. Moving closer and closer. His gaze had traveled down her face to her lips. She couldn’t help looking at his. She moved closer to.
“So are you saying…you should have kissed me?” She whispered. Hardly daring to speak them louder.
“Most definitely.” He replied. His hand had moved up her arm. “Should probably redeem my self.” He was only inches away from her now.
“Proabably.” She whispered.