“Headed out?” one of the wait staff asked Candy as she slid her time card at midnight exactly. She nodded, keeping her cool remarkably well for the strange mix of emotions now storming around the general area of her stomach. The woman who had spoken to her, a fat, old woman whose nametag read Fawnda, gave her a smile and a pat on the blue-and-pink clad shoulder before trundling back to the kitchen to clean up.
Candy wondered absently as she made her way towards the back door, where she’d parked her car at six-thirty that night to start her shift. Though she knew that the man at the bar had probably just been practicing pickup lines on her, part of her…hoped for him to be waiting for her. “Ridiculous,” she said out loud, right before she pushed it open.
The first thing she saw was the familiar grimy bricks opposite the door, tufts of grass growing crudely every which way at the point where wall met cracked-concrete down. The second thing she saw was an empty Baby Ruth wrapper, quite obviously lain where she could see it.
Heart in her throat, she looked right, and then left. The same man, garishly pink suit and all, leaned against the wall next to the door, an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth and his eyes boring into her, shining in the bright moonlight from above. “Hey, there,” he said around the white roll in his lips, taking it out then with two of his fingers and tossing her a saucy wink.
Candy pulled her yet-unwrapped duplicate of the candy on the floor out of the pocket of her skirt, where it had been weighing her left side down just slightly since her first encounter with this strange, cool man with his shock of blue-white hair. She held it up to him, raising one eyebrow she’d spent nearly twenty minutes trying to pluck and enhance this morning.
“You got my little joke,” the man said, grinning his same killer smile. “Why haven’t you eaten it, though?” He faux-pouted. “I was hoping you’d like my little gift.”
Candy stepped closer to the man. “Haven’t had time,” she said, taking in the rest of him. He was tall, taller than she was by quite a bit, even in her heels. His shoes were inky black, gleaming in the moonlight that reached them, his suit pants matching his jacket. He wore a striped tie and a blue shirt underneath, as though dressed for a job in a candy store. Though Candy had to admit, he’d be the sexiest candy store worker the world had ever seen. “Whaddya think?” she asked, pulling at a corner of the wrapper. “How about we split it?”
The man grinned again. “Sounds like a plan, sugar,” he said, watching her unwrap the candy bar with ravenous eyes, eyes that she thought could almost eat her up along with the bar of peanuts and chocolate she was splitting in half. She gave half to him, and he wolfed it down, keeping his eyes firmly on her as he chewed. Candy ate her portion quietly, looking at him, watching him calculate and doing a bit of calculating herself.
He was one of those boys that hung in the back, she could tell, but there was something…off about hm. Those boys usually reeked of sex, dripped it, begged for it with every move they made. This man seemed…more chaste. Sweet, but edgy. Very edgy.
He was leaning in close to her. Candy stood her ground, uncomfortably teetering on her heels but forcing herself to remain upright and in place.
“You’re Candy,” he said, reading the nametag still pinned to the shoulder of her dress.
She nodded her agreement.
“So’s this,” the man said, flicking the cigarette between his fingers. Under closer inspection, Candy saw that it was, indeed, not made of rolled-up tobacco, nicotine, et cetera, but merely sugar.
“You haven’t told me your name yet,” she said, taking the cigarette from him and twirling it between two varnished fingernails.
He grinned. “You can call me Sweet Tooth.”
“Is that your real name?”
“Is Candy yours?”
She smirked. “Yes, actually.”
His smile wasn’t broken. “Well, some names are better left unsaid.” He licked a bit of chocolate off of the corner of his mouth, looking up at the stars. “Mine included.”
“But what if I’m curious?” Candy asked, aware that she was sinking deeper and deeper in flirting and finding that she didn’t care a bit.
“Then you’ll just have to stay that way,” Sweet Tooth breathed, touching her nose with one long finger and keeping it there for just a moment too long. “You can handle that, can’t you?”
Candy considered, still burning with irrational desire to know the man’s real name, but in the same time immersing himself in his alias. Candy and Sweet Tooth. Sweet Tooth and Candy. Fit together almost literally.
“Those shoes hurt you,” Sweet Tooth said, looking down to where Candy’s ankles were wobbling with the force of keeping her upright, propelling her up to nearly his eye level and constantly paining her. She would have to yet again wrap her feet in moleskin that night, she could tell.
“Yes,” Candy said, “but it’s not that big of a deal. I can handle it.”
“Your hair bores you,” Sweet Tooth said, moving closer to Candy, close enough so that she could smell the chocolate on his breath, mixed with some sort of sweet, sultry cologne, and taking a lock of the hair in question into his fingers, twirling it, twisting it, feeling the curls of it.
“Yes,” Candy said, “but I’ve no idea what to do with it.”
“You wish something interesting would happen in your life,” Sweet Tooth said, lowering his gaze so that he looked up at her through thick, darkling and moonlit eyelashes. His stare was powerful, captivating, and Candy found herself torn between a desire to run away into the cool, starry night and leave this madman behind and an overwhelming want to stay, to see where this chance, insane encounter would go.
“Yes,” Candy said, “but nothing will.”
Sweet Tooth smiled then, brilliantly white teeth gleaming in the darkness. He reached down for Candy’s hand, with its glossed fingernails, and kissed it softly, sending flutters up her stomach.
“Would you like to go on an adventure?” he said, stepping away from her and gesturing towards the lights of the street beyond, not letting go of her hand.
Candy considered for less than four seconds. “Yes,” she said to him, for the fourth and final time that night. “I think I’d like that quite a lot.”
A note on the Sweet Tooth / Candy relationship in HMB
Since we’ve had a couple of confessions about it today, I wanted to add my two cents in. I’ll put it in a “read more” because I might get a little long… And I know not everyone will agree with what I say.