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Author's note: 'Its On' is a work in progress. It's a story that I am not writing but rather is telling itself to you. I hope you fall in love with the characters and find yourself laughing out loud. If you like what you read let me know, and if you don't...let me know also. I will be adding more chapters soon.
“Ugh I give up” I slammed my laptop shut, a headache already on its way. I pinched the bridge of my nose to try to ease the ache that was slowly spreading to the backs of my eyeballs. I'm going to fail I know it, there's nothing I can do, I might as well move back in with my parents because its obvious, a career is out of the question for me. I shuddered at the thought of living my life under my parent's roof.“oh don’t be so dramatic Ali” said my best friend of 13 years. She peeked over the book she was reading, her glossy blond hair shining as she shook it over her shoulders. “Please do not act like your not going to ace your final. Honestly, some of us are actually in jeopardy of failing, so save your complaints for someone who will feel sympathy for you.” Ella took the pillow that she was laying on and threw it at my head, her sea green eyes sparkling with amusement. I dodged it just in time, clutching my laptop to my chest to keep it away from the pillow's warpath. “Hey!” I yelled as Ella rolled over on my bed cracking up, probably at my furious/terrified expression “ watch yourself I have precious cargo here.” I said gesturing to my computer that had all my almost finished essays for all of my classes. “So sorry” said Ella sarcastically. I narrowed my eyes at her and stormed forward, looking to draw blood. “whoa, whoa, whoa. Calm down there Bertha. I was just kidding, jeez you are so touchy these days.” I laughed despite my mood and slapped Ella on the butt so she knew I was kidding. “I'm sorry Ell, I'm just so stressed you know? Were about to Graduate from college and I really just want to nail my finals.”Ella's expression softened. Out of everyone in my life Ella understood me the most. She understands why I obsess over school and grades,Why I moved out as soon as I was 18. My parents don’t understand me at all. Looking at my mom and I, you can definitely tell we are related. I’m basically a spitting image of her. The only thing we have in common is our looks. With our Latin induced, caramel skin, black hair and brown eyes, we look more like sisters than anything. When anyone meets my mother, they have a sudden understanding of why even I, her own flesh and blood have trouble enjoying her presence. I mean really, personality wise, its shocking that I even came from her womb. My dad, who seems to actually have a heart and care about people unlike someone mentioned earlier, is utterly spineless when it comes to my mother. If I wasn’t so disappointed in him for letting Maria control everything he does, he would actually be considered an OK dad. To them, or at least Maria, nothing I do is ever right. Straight A's in high school wasn't enough. Being valedictorian didn't matter. Receiving a full ride scholarship to Berkeley was considered 'meh' in their eyes. I recalled the conversation my mother and I had when I graduated high school with honors, my accomplishments admired by my peers and teachers, a road full of opportunities stretched out in front of me.
I clutched my diploma in my hand as I struggled to keep up with Maria as she walked with a fierce determination back to our car. For a woman in heels she sure moved like a bat out of hell. God forbid she actually socialize with the public population. Wouldn’t want her to miss a meeting or break a nail.
“Well, Alexandria. The easiest and most juvenile part of your life is officially over.” she said turning around to face me. “I hope you will take your life and education more seriously in college, instead of diddle daddling in that silly hobby of yours. Its useless, you know; playing on your computer, writing your ridiculous stories. You could put your efforts in a more productive area, like towards getting your degree in law.”she said as she picked a piece of lint off her perfectly tailored, crisp suit.
I looked at my mother in shock. Anger bubbled under my skin at the cold way she talked about my passion. I looked into her hard, emotionless eyes and saw the person that I refused to become. So blinded by the matters of the world, that choking out the desire and joy of others was the only way to keep her control. I hardened my heart towards my mother, all hope of winning her approval dead. With my voice steady and my words cold I replied to the woman who gave birth to me.
“I'm sorry my life is such a disappointment to you mother, however what I choose to do with my life is something that no longer requires your concern. Those silly stories, as you so eloquently put it are the only things that keep me sane while I endure your less than desirable company and you can bet that my efforts will surely be put in that area rather than in something that I would hate to have as a career.” she gasped at me, her perfectly plucked eyebrows disappearing into her hairline. rage flashing in her eyes, I took a long look at Maria, her black curly hair blowing in the wind. An occasional strand, sicking to her glossed lips. I tried to picture the person she maybe used to be, someone who believed in love and making mistakes and listening to the desires of your heart rather than the expectations of others. I searched her face for something, I'm not sure what. I glanced down at my shoes, and after adjusting my cap and gown, stuck out my hand for her to shake. She hesitated for a moment but after clearing her throat, shook my hand twice. “I appreciate all that you have done for me mother, Ill never forget the part you played in my life and the sacrifices you must have made. Goodbye.” I turned around and with my dignity still in tact, weaved through the crowd, willing my tears to stay at bay.
I sighed, suddenly exhausted by where my thoughts had taken me. Ella got up from the bed, sensing the source of my mood. She came up behind me and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. Her cheek was pressed against mine as she comforted me. “hey. Don’t worry about your parents OK?” I nodded my head slightly, looking down at my fingernails which were bitten down to nubs. “you walk into class next week and you go make those finals wish they were never born.” I laughed halfheartedly, Ella turned me around to face her. Compassion in her face, she tucked my hair behind my ear. “don’t do it for them Alexandria Larson. Do it for you, OK?” I shook my head assuredly with my chin angled up, stubbornly. “that’s my girl” said Ella giving me a giant hug. I shook off thoughts of my parents and took a deep breath. “Alright” I said “enough with all this studying crap, I'm famished. You want to go grab a bite to eat?” Ella jumped up and down excitedly at the suggestion, her blond locks bouncing with the movement. I rolled my eyes at her dramatic reaction. “oooo-oooo- yes, lets go. Can we go to that new Thai place that just opened up?” I groaned at her suggestion. “Ell, you know what Thai food does to me.” Ella frowned “so drink a bunch of Pepto Bismol before we go.” I sighed, obviously overruled in my protest. “fine but if I spend the whole night in the bathroom again like last time, I will hurt you.” I threatened. “yeah yeah yeah, get a move on scuttlebutt, before I lose my patience.” I elbowed Ella in the ribs, but obeyed her command nonetheless.
We approached my car, a black Camaro with blue racing stripes, or the black mamba as I like to call her. My parents may criticize everything I do, but what they cant complain about is my taste in cars. It took 3 years of me busing tables and flirting with the customers to get more tips at the local diner for me to finally be able to purchase this bad boy. I clicked the unlock button on my keys, sighing in contentment as her lights flashed twice. I ran my hand over her hood. I kissed my fingertips and lightly placed them on the windshield. Ella walked past me rolling her eyes. “you are so ridiculous”she said. I scoffed at her comment “no seriously are you sure you weren’t secretly born a man or something?” she wiggled her eyes suggestively at me. As ridiculous as Ella was, she was right. I probably should have been born a man. While I enjoy things like cars, video games and playing baseball, Ella practically lives at the mall. I don’t think shes ever even picked up a piece of athletic equipment in her entire life and if you even mention COD she breaks out in hives at the thought of so much violence compacted in one video game. Sometimes I wonder how two people who seem to be such polar opposites can be so close. Ella might as well be my sister considering all we have been through together. “oh shut up, you don’t have to be a man to appreciate the beauty of a fine piece of machinery” she sighed and got in the car. We drove to the Thai restaurant jamming to my dub step playlist. We even went so far as to stick our hands out the window and fist pump to the beat. Cars honked in protest but we didn’t care. When Ella and I are out together we act like such idiots its hardly a mystery why we are still single. We arrived at the restaurant oo-ing and ah-ing at the authentic décor. The hostess with blond hair, fake tits and a smile that gave me the Heebie Jeebies guided us to our table. We tried to act as sophisticated as possible while she was in ear shot but as soon as she left we started cracking up. “oh my God Ali! We are like the two most inappropriately dressed people here!” I looked around at all the other tables and snorted accidentally. My cheeks flamed as I snapped my hand over my mouth in mortification. Ella was right; everyone surrounding us was dressed elegantly with their fancy dresses and sparkling jewelry. Ella and I took the time to look over our attire. Ella was dressed casually with her Berkeley sweatshirt and jean shorts with her favorite pair of warn down converse. I started to laugh as I took in her appearance but stopped once I realized what I was wearing. I had on a white t shirt with a flannel jacket tied around my waste and my favorite pair of jeans that consisted of more holes than actual fabric and my most comfortable pair of moccasins. With my hair tied up in a sloppy pony tail, I think I topped the charts of the most unattractive female who ever lived. We stared wide eyed at each other and scurried into our seats as fast as possible so no one would notice us. We looked around inconspicuously to see if anyone cared that there were two bums crashing their extremely eloquent dinner. Aside from a few eye rolls and dirty looks no one seemed to pay any attention to us. “lets just eat as fast as possible and get the heck out of here” I said , trying to shield myself with my menu. “agreed.” said Ella, mirroring my technique. Ella and I both got things we couldn’t pronounce and finally calmed down once we got situated. As we waited for our food to arrive we entertained ourselves by making up the conversations that other snobbish tables were having. After making fun of every snooty patron in the restaurant we were soon wiping tears away from our eyes. “oh my gosh look at those people over there” said Ella quietly, pointing over my shoulder. I pretended to sip my drink as I casually glanced behind me. What I saw made me choke on my wine as I took in the scene. An attractive blond sat rather closely to a lanky gray haired man. The guy stuck his tongue in her ear and nibbled on her lobe, while running is most likely clammy hands up her thigh. The girl looked disgusted but tried to act like she was enjoying it for the man's benefit. The blond looked familiar so I squinted my eyes to make out who she was. I gasped as the realization hit. I turned around and scream/whispered “El do you know who that is?” Ella looked up from her food mid-chew. “wha-?” I knocked her fork out of her hand so she would focus. “that's Victoria Micheals sitting with that man over there!” Victoria Micheals was every high school stereotype. We’ve been in the same school since 1st grade and her bad personality seems to get worse with age. With blonde hair that flows to her waist and green eyes that sparkle with wickedness, she can merely look at you and your self esteem plummets to the floor. “Icky Vicky? ew- I can't stand that hooker. Like seriously why are all the gorgeous people such douches? Its like the prettier you are the more your personality sucks” I jumped in my seat as Ella suddenly gasped. “ what?” I said, looking back at the table. “that guy is my English professor, Mr. Campbell. Oh my gosh she's on a date with him? That skank! I bet shes sleeping with him just so she can get an A in his class.” said Ella, practically fuming. I watched as Victoria excused herself from the table, probably to go to the restroom and wipe the spit from her eardrum. I snickered at my thoughts. Victoria walked past us but stopped when she looked over and realized who we were. Ella cursed under her breath and we both became conveniently interested in our meals. She approached us with perfect swinging hips and a mischievous look in her eye, I glanced at Ella and gave her a warning look. Ella gritted her teeth and stabbed at her food with unnecessary force.
“well look who it is!” she exclaimed with fake enthusiasm. I sighed as I took in her dress. She looked gorgeous. Crap. She wore a beautiful black dress with a sweetheart neckline and see through lace netting around her chest, which attached to the delicate fabric that hung elegantly over her shoulders, contrasting perfectly with her creamy skin. The dress hugged her body in a way that should be illegal and only attainable through Photoshop. “its Abbey and Elizabeth right?” she said with a grin so sickly sweet, it could rot your teeth. I cleared my throat and with as much politeness that I could muster replied. “No Icky- er Victoria its actually Ali and Ella, but don’t worry about it. we’ve only lived in the same town and gone to the same school since elementary school. So its not like you should actually know who we are.” I said with a conniving grin. She raised her perfectly plucked eyebrow at my reply and appraised my outfit with a sneer. I pinched the bridge of my nose as the headache from earlier reared its ugly head again. “My my my, you girls sure do clean up nice don’t you?” Ella kicked me under the table. I looked at her furious expression as we communicated silently to one another.
Please let me slap her
she is such a bit-
“I absolutely love your outfit Elizabeth where on earth did you find something so...so flattering?” Victoria said, pointing her perfectly polished fingernail in Ella's direction; and at that moment I felt real bad for the girl because she was about to experience the wrath of Ella, which is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy A.K.A Victoria Micheals. “oh no” I said under my breath. Ella's fork dropped with a loud clang, her fists clenched so tight I expected her skin to split over the knuckles or something. “OK, first of all its ELLA. Get that through your extremely inattentive, dimwitted brain, and you know what Icky Vicky?” said Ella in a menacing tone. “ why don’t you take your slutty little self and fake tits back over to your date. Yeah I'm sure professor Campbell cant wait to get out of here so the two of you can get down to business.” Victoria gasped at Ella and glanced around to make sure no one heard the accusation. “How dare yo-” Ella put a hand up to interrupt her. “yeah um, you're excused. Uh-buh-by.” Victoria stammered, turned red and stormed off back to her table. I wiggled my fingers at her and laughed once she was gone. “oh my gosh El, I frickin' love you so much right now.” she laughed “come on lets get out of here” she said standing up. We paid our bill, left a nifty tip and exited the restaurant with our heads held high.
We got back to our apartment at 10:00, exhausted. Wow, what college students we are. Its a Friday night, the city is alive with parties and sexy men and here we are getting ready for bed, I thought to myself. “we are such losers” said Ella, apparently on the same page as me. “tell me about it” I huffed , while collapsing on our sofa. “want to watch a movie?” I asked. “sure” Ella perked up at the suggestion. “there’s this movie that I have been dying to see. Its called “Amber Alert” or something like that.” I smiled at her enthusiasm. “sounds good to me, lets shower put our pajamas on and meet back here in like 30 minutes OK?” Ella ran over to me, put her hand over mine and yelled “BREAK” then clapped. I chuckled at her and got up to go shower. I went into my shoebox of a room to set out my clothes and grab my toiletries. I wasn’t watching where I was going and ended up stubbing my toe on the end of my dresser. “OWW, Owwie, ouch, ouch. Stupid dresser” I grumbled as I made my way to the bathroom and eased into the heated shower. I groaned as the water eased my aching muscles. I lathered my body and hair, spending more time than necessary under the pounding jets of the shower head. I unwillingly climbed out of the shower and in just my towel, headed back to my room. “Hurry the heck up Ali! You take forever!”Ella pounded on my door, I opened it long enough to punch her in the boob and then closed It again. “OUCH!” she yelled. I chuckled as I dressed in my tweetie bird shorts and tank top. I walked into the living room, only to be attacked by Ella who was dead set on getting a few punches in herself. After a few minutes and many boob punches later, we were settled on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and our favorite movie blanket. It took a little searching but eventually I found the movie Ella was talking about on pay per view. The film was based on a true story about 2 best friends who spotted an amber alert vehicle on the road while they were filming an audition tape for a reality show and they decide to follow the car, when the police are delayed.” as the movie started, I was instantly intrigued. I clutched onto Ella's arm during the intense scenes and found myself crying as I thought of this happening to anyone. I wiped away the last of my tears as the credits rolled. I looked over to Ella who was doing the same. “God, that's so awful.” said Ella, sniffling. “I know...Man I really feel like going out and kicking a bunch of sex offenders butts right now.” Ella laughed “I'm right behind you girl.” she said, giving me a small hug. “OK” I said, drying the rest of my tears. “ I think we need a happy movie now, I cant go to bed this depressed.” Ella nodded her head in agreement. It was silent for a few minutes. we both looked at each other, knowing what the other was thinking. “THE NOTEBOOK” we squealed at the same time. After a little bit of fan-girling, booty shaking and laughing we finally put the movie in and got settled again. We sighed, longingly at our favorite parts and recited our favorite lines to each other. After it ended, we both decided to call it a night. We cleaned up our mess and shuffled off to our separate rooms. “love you Ali” said Ella, yawning.”love you too Ella” I replied. I closed the door to my room and jumped into my bed, sighing as my precious blankets and pillows welcomed me with open arms. I stared at my ceiling fan, waiting for the gentle fog of sleep to take me over. After a few minutes I tossed onto my right side, hoping the new angle will make me more comfortable. My mind began to race with thoughts that were not welcome at such a late hour. The sexual predator's face from the movie appeared whenever I closed my eyes. His slicked back hair, black beady eyes that had about as much appeal as a serpent's. A smile, curled up at one side that, although may seem friendly at first, promises only suffering and despair. Disgust overtook me and I knew sleep would be impossible for the next few hours. Its so hard to believe that people, who were created for good by a God who Is nothing but good, could be capable of such a despicable act. My eyes brimmed over with tears at the thought of any child suffering like those that I have heard and read about. I felt hopeless, utterly useless because I had no power, no way to help. There is probably a little girl or boy out there in the world trapped, all alone with their destiny already decided for them by a pervert who cares for nothing but getting himself off on the pain of others. Knowing that I would be exhausted tomorrow if I didn’t get enough sleep, I climbed out of bed and slugged over to the medicine cabinet in our bathroom. Shaking off the thoughts that occupied my mind, I pulled out my trusty NyQuil and took a shot. Guilt settled low in my stomach at the prospect of having to take flu medicine to sleep, but whatever, I was desperate. I crawled back into bed, relived that the drowsiness finally started to settle in. I fell under the influence of sleep, the last thing to cross my mind was the evil, black eyes of the man who was sure to lurk into my nightmares.
the irritating beeping of my alarm was the first thing that went wrong in the morning. I slapped at the evil machine that dared to interrupt my precious slumber. After missing 4 times I decided throwing it against the wall should silence it for good. peace filled the room once again, I smiled as I lay my head back down onto the pillow. right as I felt myself slip into unconsciousness once again, Ella burst through my room. Oh no she didn't. “wake up sleeping beauty.” she sang as she flipped on every light in my room. My hand itched for my handgun that I kept in my nightstand. Ella was way ahead of me though. “don’t be unreasonable Ali, get up, its 9:00” she said, slapping my hand as it reached for my drawer. “nope” I said as I threw my blanket over my face, trying to shut out all source of light. Ella sighed in frustration. “come on Ali its an emergency”she said, seriously. that got my attention. I sat up, digging the palms of my hands into my eyes to try to rub the sleepiness away. “what is it?” I asked. I cringed at the sound of my voice, thick with sleep. Ella smiled slightly at my crackly morning voice. I took in the sight of her, it was early Saturday morning and she was already dressed. Why?, I have absolutely no idea. The thought of even getting up before 10:00 am on a weekend has never even occurred to me, and the fact that she does this almost every weekend is entirely frustrating. Her fishtailed, blond hair hung over one shoulder. She wore an oversized sweater over a pair of striped leggings and her ankle high, black boots. Ella never seemed to disappoint when it came to her taste in fashion. She shuffled her feet nervously and avoided my eyes. My unanswered question hung in the air. Oh no, that’s never good, what did she do? I rubbed my temples and asked her again. “Ummm well, you see..what had happened was..” my impatience flared up as she continued to beat around the bush. “Oh my God, Ella just spit it out.” I said, grumpiness getting the better of me. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and practically shouted “Ibroketheshower” I blinked a few times trying to understand what just came out of her mouth. “you broke the what?” I asked, confused. She repeated herself, this time enunciating each word. I placed my head in my hands and prayed for patience. “good lord Ella, how did you manage to do that?” she smiled sheepishly. “well I was showering this morning, and you know how I like to have the right amount of pressure on my back and everything, because if I don't, then my back is still stiff throughout the whole day..and-” I gestured for her to get to the point. “anyways I tried to move the shower head so that the water would hit me in the right spot. I pulled to move it but it wouldn’t budge, so I pulled a little harder and... I guess the shower head couldn’t take it, so it just...popped off” she said, explaining the scene thoroughly with her hands. It was silent for a while. I rolled my lips together in an effort to suppress my amusement. I couldn’t take it any more when Ella’s face became more anxious by the second, I burst out laughing. Ella stomped her foot in frustration and crossed her arms over her chest like a four year old. That just made me laugh harder. “come on Ali, its not funny. Please fix it, I don’t know what the heck I'm doing with that kind of stuff.” I finally sobered up enough to go inspect the damage. The shower head lay on the tiled floor in all its broken glory. I ran my fingers over the neck of the shower and sighed. Both the flange and shower head would have to be replaced, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to fix. I turned around and shrieked. Ella was leaning towards me, we were now face to face. a little too close to be comfortable. She gnawed on her lip anxiously, while wringing her hands together. “relax El, it should be an easy enough fix.” Ella sighed in relief “oh thank goodness. I felt so bad that I might have done a lot of damage.” I shook my head, and checked my wrist for the time only to remember I wasn’t wearing a watch. “I'm just going to hop in the showe-..oh. Right. never mind. Ill just get dressed and head over to the home depot so we can get this fixed as soon as possible. ” Ella threw herself into my arms, hugging me tightly. “you are such a good friend, I don’t deserve you” I rolled my eyes at her dramatics, but comforted her nonetheless. I dressed in one of my trusty flannel button up shirts, a pair of gray leggings and my brown shin high boots. I looked in the mirror in horror. My hair was twisted every which way and that, if someone saw me, they might think I had been electrocuted. I gave up on trying to tame the frizz ball and decided to braid it to the side. With a few swipes of mascara and eyeliner, I was ready to go. I grabbed my satchel, swung it over my body and headed out the door. “be back in a few” I yelled to Ella. “OK” she yelled back. “oh wait do you think you could maybe-” I slammed the door shut before she could finish her sentence. There was no way I was going to run one of her crazy errands.
The cool autumn air felt amazingly good on my skin. I inhaled through my nose, smiling as the smells of my favorite season enveloped me. I drove to home depot with my windows down. Such great weather like this deserved proper appreciation. I tried not to panic when I walked into the huge hardware store. The smell of fresh paint and brand new equipment overwhelmed me. I headed in one direction, only to get lost and turn back around. I searched for someone in an orange coat who could point me in the right direction, but no one was around who looked like they knew what they were doing. I stormed off in a random direction, hoping to get lucky and stumble across the shower section. After a few minutes, hopelessness set in. I turned around to find the exit, determined to locate a dang map of this place and come back later. I fished my phone out of my bag to text Ella that I was on my way home. I finished the message with a smiley face and was about to hit send when I ran into something orange and hard. My phone clattered to the floor as my forehead slammed against the orange wall. “OW” I exclaimed rubbing my forehead. What the heck just happened? I opened my eyes and gasped. Oh crap, I thought to myself. A boy no older than 23 stood in front of me, rubbing his chin, trying to relieve the pain my forehead must have caused. My breath caught in my throat as my eyes ran over his whole body. His flawless face was framed with thick, black hair that was sticking up in all directions and was curled in random spots. Sort of like how my hair was this morning when I first woke up. He gave the term 'bedhead' a whole new meaning. His eyes were unlike anything I had ever seen, not because of the color or shape, although the pale blue was extremely riveting. There was something about them that made you wish you were wearing more clothing, with one glance, they seemed to have the power to strip away all your defenses and see to the very core of your being. I had the sudden urge to cross my arms over my body to hide from his gaze. The hand that wasn't rubbing his sore jaw was tucked into the pocket of his low riding jeans that were baggy and tight in all the right places. He wore his orange home depot vest over a black v neck shirt. I glanced at his name tag to find out his name was Christian. Well. hellooo christian. I thought to myself, but blushed when I realized how long I must have been ogling him without exchanging one word. I cursed my social awkwardness and tried to come up with a coherent sentence that wouldn’t make me sound like the idiot I was being at the moment. I chanced a look into his eyes again since my gaze had been locked onto other parts of his anatomy. His eyes were filled with amusement, his full lips curling into a cocky grin. “uh- sorry” I said as I bent down to pick up my phone from the floor, praying the screen wasn’t cracked. Dang apple products. He bent down as I did, reaching for my phone at the same time as me. Our heads clocked together with a painful clunk. “OW” we said simultaneously. I stared at him, rubbing my head, frustrated that I could possibly be making such a fool of myself in front of this beautiful creature. His deep laughter drew me from my irritation. The sight of his eyes as they sparkled with humor, took my breath away. I practically panted as I watched him throw his head back and laugh, his eyes twinkling, the wrinkles at the corners, evidence of his amusement. I think I actually licked my lips when I noticed the piercing in his dimple which formed when he smiled. He was looking at me expectantly. Shoot. Did he ask me a question? A string of profanities rang in my thoughts as I hung my head in mortification. “what?” I asked. Smooth. Real smooth Ali. He just smiled his dimply smile, not helping the condition of my heart whatsoever. “I asked if you were OK” his scratchy voice stirred up a flock of butterflies that haven’t flown around for a while. He sounded like he had just woken up but considering it was well already into the afternoon, his voice was probably always that rugged sounding. I swooned at the thought of waking up to the sound of that voice every morning. What the heck? Those thoughts are not welcome Ali! especially when focused on someone I just met and accidentally beat up in home depot. “No-uh yeah, your fine..I MEAN..uh I'm...I'm fine.” I pointed to myself, sternly to get the point across. OH MY GOD. I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH RIGHT NOW. If cockiness was a person, I think I found him. His lips pulled into a smile that could melt hearts and was in the process of destroying mine. God, was it hot in here or was it just me. Correction no its definitely HIM. Come on get yourself together Ali. I smoothed out my clothes and placed my hands on my hips. I cleared my throat as I tried to regain some semblance of the normal person I once was before this encounter. “um right, anyways...” I glanced back at his name tag. “Christian. Do you think you could help me locate the shower section of this place? I’ve been walking around here so long, I'm starting to get dizzy.” I smiled politely. He was probably already sick of me, I mean I practically gave him a concussion, twice! He looked me up and down and flashed that pierced smile once again. My heart fluttered, I really wish it would stop doing that. He walked past me, and I took that as a sign to follow. Our hands brushed accidentally. His hands were large and calloused and met with my small fingers. I quickly pulled my hand away behind my back and gasped at the heated contact. My cheeks flamed. I chanced a quick glance up at him and saw that his face was flushed as well. He ran his hands through his hair and tousled it as he looked at me with an apologetic smile. We passed many isles in silence and I fidgeted with myself as more time went by. God this store was freaking huge. I silently prayed that we would reach my destination soon. He broke the silence finally and I exhaled in relief. “You know if you wanted to get my attention you could have just came up to me and introduced yourself, instead of running me over.” I gaped at his audacity and clenched my fist, fighting the urge to punch him where it hurt. I couldn’t stop myself from replying. “Whoa there tiger, don’t flatter yourself. I didn’t see you until it was too late. Besides it wasn’t very chivalrous of you to run into me.” he smiled, oblivious to my irritation. “believe me when I say I didn't see you, I rounded the corner and we collided before I could stop it.” he looked down at me and I met his gaze, his eyes sparkled wickedly, my breathing sped in response. “now I'm kinda glad I didn’t stop us from running into each other.” I blinked at his boldness. Was this guy openly flirting with me? I looked up at him in confusion, why in the world would he bother wasting his time flirting with me? I'm just going to be brutally honest here. I am a modest Latin American girl who barely speaks any Spanish. My body is average, I am not super skinny and I don’t wear a lot of make up. I'm not ugly, there is no way I could be related to someone like my mother and be ugly. Its just that I am not like other girls that get guy's attention. My boobs are not big and I don’t wear revealing clothes, like ever. I never go out and party because I would much rather stay home or hang out with Ella. and I can count the number of friends I have on one hand. The only plausible reason for why a guy like Christian would be flirting with a girl like me is that he's probably already dated half of California and is in need of some fresh meat. I scolded myself for coming to such quick conclusions about him. For all I knew this guy could be the nicest and most sincere of them all. I chose to ignore his attempts at flirtation. As much as I was attracted to him and wanted to go right on and flirt back, I did not want to get into any kind of relationship whatsoever. I had my future to worry about. After college I needed to find a job and pursue my career as a, hopefully, award winning writer. I would prove my mother wrong, that is the only thing that matters right now. Love can wait. We approached what looked like the shower section and I sighed in relief. I told him what I needed and he escorted me over to the right shelves. I gulped as I took in all the parts in different sizes and styles. I tried to look like I knew what I was doing and perused the shelves like it was a piece of art that needed my critique. There were so many parts, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I frowned in defeat and glanced at christian pleadingly. He was behind me busying himself with something on the opposite shelf. I coughed and glanced back again, he didn’t notice. I crossed my arms in frustration, then decided to take a different approach. I took a package of some sort of shower part and dropped it on the floor with a loud bang. “whoops” I said, looking back once again. Christian was scanning something with the bar code gun attached to his hip, still not noticing my strife. I gave up then, my pride keeping me from asking for help. I 'Enny Meeny Miney Moe'd' the packages and settled on one that looked promising. I walked further down the aisle and picked out a shower head with an adjustable neck. I laughed as I remembered Ella’s crazy story. I turned to leave, happy that I finally had everything I needed. I screeched when I came face to chest with Christian who was standing a little too close behind me. “Whoa, sorry I didn’t mean to scare you”
I blew the strand of hair away that came loose from my minor freak out. “Its fine, guess I'm a little jumpy.” I laughed nervously. I knew Christian for probably like 20 minutes and he was already making me act like an idiot. His presence was like a drug, one that I wouldn’t mind becoming addicted to. Snap out of it Ali. “Maybe just a little.” he said holding his thumb and pointer finger across from each other. I laughed despite myself and shifted my items in my arms. “well thanks for your help, Christian” I said, sad that I would probably never see him again. “No problem.....” he said, silently asking me for my name. “Ali.” I said. He held out his hand for me to shake but thought better of it when he saw I had my hands full and patted me on the head. I pursed my lips together, fighting the smile that threatened to split my face in half. “what was that?” I asked, amused. He smiled and shrugged as if patting someone on the head was something completely normal. “that was just a friendly pat between two new friends.” I lost the battle against my emotions and smiled at his words. He looked down at my choice in hardware and raised his eye brow as if questioning my decision. I lifted my chin in defiance, who the heck did this guy think he was? I am perfectly capable of choosing the right product for my shower thank you very much. Its not like he was busting at the seems to help me. I mean I even coughed to get his attention. “what?” I said defensively. “nothing....its just-are you sure that you got the right-? I held up my hand to interrupt him. “thank you for your concern, Christian but I am perfectly content in my choice of the....” I tilted my head to read the label. “The Delta Faucet Victorian flange” said Christian, with a confident, sexy smile on his face. I rolled my eyes and stubbornly walked past him to go purchase my things. I tucked my soon to be purchases under my arm and texted Ella to let her know I was on my way home. I searched for an open register and rolled my eyes when I saw there was only 3 open out of like 20. home depot was definitely pulling a Walmart. I made my way over to the shortest line but stopped when a voice rough as shark skin and sweet as honeysuckle whispered in my ear. “I can take you over here ma’am.” I bit back a groan and turned to see the crooked, one dimpled smile of Christian looking down at me with something fierce that I couldn’t pin down, in his eyes. But whatever it was; it shook me to my very core, in the best kind of way. “Uh..thanks, but all these people are in front of me.” I said, feeling rotten for technically cutting in front of everyone. “sh, don’t worry about it. Come on.” my desire to get home as soon as possible won over my moral concerns, so I gave in and followed him to his cash register. He rang me up while singing a song by the 'Imagine Dragons' my eyes practically rolled in the back of my head at the way his rugged voice sang one of my favorite songs in that sexy, lazy tone. I fanned my self with my hand and hoped to God he didn’t notice the flush breaking out on my skin. “Here you go.” he said, handing me the bag. I once again became captivated with the piercing in his dimple. I wonder what it would feel like to drag my lips over that wonderful stud. “Thank you. Have a nice day.” I said as I walked away. I didn’t pause to hear him reply. The faster I got out of there the sooner I could regain control over myself.