Lose Yourself // Jeff Atkins
A/N: I know it’s not in order of the prompt list, but this is the one I had inspiration for, and the only one I’ve felt proud of in a while.
Named After: There’s literally one line in here that made me think “Mom’s spaghetti”
“Best three out of five!” Clay whined.
The two of you had rock, paper, scissored over who was on bathroom duty for the end of both of your shifts. The alternative and clearly better option was working the concession.
“C’mon Jensen, I won twice…”
You couldn’t hide the grin on your face. You’d lost this game for about two weeks straight between him and Hannah.
“Out of five.”
“Out of three. The mop is in the closet.”
Clay rolled his eyes, sighing as he went into the back room. Hannah, on the other hand, was working the ticket booth. A job, the three of you had already pulled straws for.
You smiled to yourself watching Clay sulk away when you moved behind the counter.
Ten minutes left in your shift and it was going pretty well, not as busy as it normally was on a Friday night, no screaming middle schoolers, no crying babies, just you, the popcorn machine, and the elderly couples that pulled at your heart strings.
You’d been dating Jeff Atkins for four years before everything went to shit. Before you’d caught him, tongue down some cheerleader’s throat, hand on her ass, touching her like he’d touched you the night before.
The worst part about losing Jeff was that you not only lost your boyfriend. You lost your best friend. You lost the only person in the world who knew you inside out, who knew that you’d once seen Mamma Mia seven times in one week, who knew that your ultimate dream job was to be second string at the World Cup, who knew that when you were angry you were ruthless.
He tried. He tried calling, texting, tried to catch you at your shifts at work. But you were just as cold as he expected. You blocked his number and changed your whole schedule just to avoid him.
Truth be told, seeing him with someone else, it broke you.
You were in love with him. And he chose someone else.
So you deleted any and all memories of him. Couple photos, trashed. Best friend photos, in a box in the back of your closet. All of his clothing over the years, returned.
It was hard, to say the least. Hard to be so cold to someone who once gave you so much warmth. You’d given up on love ever since.
The buzz of your phone in your back pocket pulled you out of your vacant stare. You glanced around, making sure your supervisor wasn’t anywhere near before checking your text.
Hannah Banana Baker: Head’s up. He who shall not be named in 30 seconds.
Your head shot up from your phone to see the boy standing across from you.
“Wow… I’m Voldemort now, huh?” Jeff teased, eyes glancing up from your screen as he tried to lighten the mood between the two of you.
He looked…good. Nowhere near as if he’d been crying for two weeks straight like you did. Say something. He was wearing his letterman jacket. The one you considered keeping because it made you feel just as safe as Jeff did. Say something. You could tell he was getting a haircut in a few days. He always let it flop down, covering his forehead, a few days before. Just so he didn't “waste product on hair that was getting cut”. Say something. You always liked it a little better that way. When he didn’t look so perfect. Say something!
A breathy, “Hey.” falls from your lips before you could think of a witty response to his question.
“Hey.” Jeff offers you a sheepish smile, as though to somehow pull attention away from the fact that you hadn’t seen him outside of school, where you avoided him.
“No yeah, you said that.” he laughs, briefly. His eyes trying to connect with yours.
You glanced over at the girl, the girl, who stole him from you, holding onto his arm, trying to ignore the whole interaction. What did she have that you didn’t? You knew him better than anyone. You were the perfect girlfriend.
Your eyes snapped back to him and you let out a fake cough.
“I thought we already did that.”
“Right. Um- what would you like?” you offered, trying to swallow down the golf ball sized lump in your throat.
You glance away from him, fingernails, nervously, tapping at the glass below.
“Fries and an Arnold Palmer.” you interrupt. “What is she having?” you tilt your head over in her direction.
Jeff’s mouth opens a little bit, and for some stupid reason, he’s surprised you remembered what he liked. He thought you’d deleted everything about him.
“Y/N WHERE ARE THE-” Clay shouts from across the room, only stopping himself when he sees the baseball player. “Jeff. Hey!”
“What’s up man” Jeff replies casually. As if he wasn’t prolonging the most awkward moment of your life.
“Nothing, I’m good…Y/N you wanna do out of five?”
For once in your life, you were happy to say that Clay Jensen was not oblivious to feelings.
You shook your head, determined you could get through this, but offered the boy a smile for being so considerate.
“Top shelf, to the right.”
You turned your attention back to the baseball player who had broken your heart, who was now whispering to his…new girlfriend.
“Babe, you wanna grab us some seats. I’ll just meet you inside?” Jeff asked, more of a forced suggestion than a thoughtful question.
She nodded quickly, placing a kiss on his cheek before heading into theater number 3.
He turned back to you once she was out of sight, hand running through his already messy hair.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
Jeff was going out on a limb here. He hadn’t heard from you since you left his stuff on his porch and told him to never talk to you again. For fucks sake, he missed you. He missed you so much it hurt.
He made a mistake, a huge one. And honestly, the girl, whose name was Alyssa or Alexis, he could never remember, was nothing more than a rebound.
You sighed, gritting your teeth. “What does she want, Jeff.”
You didn’t want to talk about it. It had been two months since you’d last talked to him, and now he had you near tears with just his presence.
Jeff’s fingers gripped the surface between the two of you as he tried to break through the walls you had set up.
His voice broke, mid-sentence, and you wanted nothing more than to hold him and never let go. But you knew better than that. So you huffed, blinking back the tears at the brim of your eyes, and asked him the same question once more.
“What- What does she want.”
“I want you back.”
You swore your heart stopped beating when you heard those words. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t get to come in here, throw his feelings on the table, and leave you to wipe away at the tears now falling down your face.
You turned away from him, moving to get him the fries he always ordered.
“You’re on a date right now, Jeff, are you fucking kidding me.”
The three packets of ketchup, landed right next to the box, as you threw them onto the counter.
“I- I know- I just, I haven’t been able to talk to you Y/N. I miss you. I miss you so fucking much and-”
You drowned out the sound of his stupid apology as you filled his cup halfway with ice. The soda machine hummed as you focused on filling his drink exactly the way he used to like it. 60% Lemonade. 40% Iced Tea.
Jeff clenched his jaw, waiting for you to finish before attempting to talk to you again.
“And- and I just want you in my life again. Girlfriend. Best friend. Mortal Enemy. I’ll take anything. I just want you, need you, to come back.”
You bit your lip, hoping it would stop you from crying as hard as you knew you wanted to. You placed his drink on the counter and moved to fill a medium bag of popcorn for his date, Alyssa Callahan. You may or may not have stalked her after the rumor spread around school that they were hooking up.
“I miss my girlfriend who would always play at least one NSYNC song when she had control of the aux cord. I miss the best friend that stayed up with me to help me study. Even though you had a test too. I miss you. I do.” Jeff cried out.
His palms are sweaty. Jeff never had to beg for a girl’s attention in his entire life. But now? Now he’d do anything to have you even just say ‘hi’ in the hallways. He knows it sounds stupid. He knows he’s an asshole for saying all this while you were at work and he was on a date. But this is his one shot, one opportunity, and he was going to take it.
You slammed the bag down, popcorn tumbling down the sides of the bag as you moved to get her a drink. She seemed like a lemonade type of girl.
“Answer me, Y/N.” Jeff pleaded, ignoring how desperate he felt.
You placed a cap on her drink and moved it with the rest of the food before looking back up at him.
“You know what I miss, Jeff?” you asked, punching a few buttons at the cash register.
“I miss. The boy that told me-” you stopped yourself mid-sentence, letting the tears fall freely from your eyes as you pulled a twenty out of your pocket.
“I miss the boy that told me he loved me…”
You placed the cash into the register, slamming it shut with a bang.
“And told me- he would never hurt me.”
The receipt tore from the machine and crumbled within the fist your hand made.
“But. Obviously. That’s not you.”
It swished in the trashcan below you, and you shoved everything a few inches closer to Jeff.
Jeff was looking at you, as distressed as you were the day after your break up. His eyes were glazed with tears that had yet to fall, Adam’s apple bobbed as he restrained himself from responding. He picked up everything you’d placed in front of him one at a time.
“It’s on the house. Enjoy your movie” you emphasize with a forced smile.
Jeff turns, nodding, knowing that he lost you and enters into the theater.
It isn’t until you can’t see him, that you walk yourself to the bathroom, lock yourself in a stall, and fall to your knees. Letting out the sobs that were scratching at the back of your throat until your shift ended.