I Don't Think You're a Bitch
He spied her sitting alone at the largest table in the library with several books strewn about. He smiled as he watched her study, the intensity with which she was doing so amusing him. She looked perfect, he thought suddenly. In that moment, everything about her was absolutely perfect. He made his way over to her table, his mind racing. What if she said no? What if she already had plans?
Attempting for suave, he leaned casually against the table. He waited for her to notice him. She didn't. She turned the page of the book in front of her, and highlighted a few sentences. He coughed, shifted, and waited once more. Nothing happened. Giving in, he sighed and hastily pulled out a chair and seated himself. He stared at her openly, mentally willing her to look at him. He could see a tiny smile starting to form on her lips.
"I knew you were there, Joseph."
A pale blush took over his face, and he smiled sheepishly. "Oh."
"Pretty hard to ignore you, you know." She seemed to consider something for a moment before speaking again: "Nice attempt at calm, cool, and casual, though."
"Thanks. Really, I appreciate it. Good of you to notice."
She shrugged and closed the book she had been reading. "So…" she prompted.
"Uh, so…What are you doing tonight?" he blurted.
"Laundry," she answered with a roll of her eyes.
"But it's Friday," he protested dumbly.
"I know it's Friday. But I'm running out of clean underwear."
"Well. That might've been a little more that I usually like to know, but okay."
"Glad you understand."
"Anytime." He paused awkwardly for a minute. "So, um, Saturday. What's going on with that?"
She sighed, and began absently doodling on a piece of scrap paper. "Finishing the laundry. And then maybe some light housework."
"How much laundry can one person have?"
It was her turn to blush. "It's been a few weeks…I've been Febreezing everything."
He laughed, causing her blush to deepen. "Okay. So it's an all-laundry, all-the-time type of weekend. Would you mind a little company?"
She looked at him shyly. "I wouldn't mind a little."
He smiled. "Good. Good."
There was a lull in the conversation. He concentrated on his hands, while her doodling became more elaborate and detailed.
"Thandie's moving out," she said suddenly.
"Oh yeah? Roommate?"
She nodded. "Yeah. She said something about 'freak of nature' and 'uptight bitch.'"
"Jesus. I don't…I don't think you're a bitch."
"But I'm a freak of nature?"
He blushed once more. "No. No. I never said that."
"I was just kidding, Joseph."
"I like that."
"When you say my name. I like the way you say it."
"Yeah. Doesn't sound so plain when you say it, you know?"
"Joseph," she said once more, slowly. "So, Joseph, what do you want to do while my clothes are laundering?"
"You mean we're not going to sit and stare at the washing machine and wonder about the direction our lives are heading?"
She shook her head. "No. We need to do something."
Several thoughts flitted across his mind, none of which he could say out loud and still expect to keep her company.
"Don't know, " he finally said.
"Well, the washer and dryer's at my house, so…"
"You own a house and a washer and dryer? How very domestic of you."
"Yeah, well…I'm barely affording the rent, and with Thandie moving out…"
"Did you place an ad? I'm sure you'll find a new roommate soon. Nobody likes living on campus."
"Like living on campus? Not really. But, you know."
She nodded. "Yeah."
"So…plans. Since you're doing the laundry at your place, that changes everything."
"Does it now?"
"Sure," he nodded. "I can bring movies."
"I can also bring alcohol, if you're so inclined."
"I'm very inclined."
"Good. Good. Movies and drinks it is."
"Can you pick up some hard lemonade? I'll pay."
"Ugh," he said, making a face. "You like that stuff? It's on me. Everything. Movies, too."
"That's sweet of you, but—"
He held up a hand to stop her. "No buts. I just got paid, so…"
He smiled. "No problem. So, there's the question of what kind of movies I'm to bring."
"Yeah....Well, I mean, if you're paying…"
"No. You pick something. Then I'll pick something. So, will it be a romantic-comedy? A genuine chick flick? A drama? A comedy? Perhaps some porn for the lady?"
"Porn? Suddenly get brave, Joseph?"
"I'll pass on the porn thanks."
"You sure? I'm sure I can find one with something resembling a plot, if you'd like."
"I do, actually. Often. I wish that one day, when I ask you, fair Meghan, if I can bring over some porn and some beer, you'll say yes."
"Oh, is that what I do?"
He nodded. "Yeah. That's what you do. And then after that you throw yourself into my manly arms—"
She rolled her eyes.
"Manly arms," he repeated, "and begin to inexplicably weep into my even manlier chest."
She snorted, and began laughing.
"Hey! Are you questioning the manliness of my manly arms and chest?"
She stifled the laughter, but her brown eyes still danced with amusement. "Sorry, Joseph."
"You know, I might accept that apology a little more wholeheartedly if you would allow me to bring porn on this little get together."
"You're the only boy—"
"Man," he corrected.
"Boy," she stated again, "to ask me if it's okay if he brings porn on our first date."
Date, he thought. She said date.
"Well," he shrugged. "What can I say?"
"Nothing more ludicrous than that, I can assure you."
"You never answered my question. About the movies?"
"Oh! Um, seen 'Ghost World', yet?"
He shook his head.
"You'd like it. Very funny."
"Okay, so 'Ghost World?' Any sex?"
She nodded. "Strictly fade-to-black, however."
"Well, okay. And I'll bring…I don't know. Seen 'The Crow?"
It was her turn to shake her head.
"Oh my god? Have you been living in a cave? One without cable?"
"It's that good, huh?"
"Yes! Very good. Revenge and love and fighting! Very, very good!"
She laughed. "I'll take your word on it."
"You should. What time should I come over? And where exactly is it that I'm coming over to? I have no idea."
She turned the scrap paper she had been drawing on over, and quickly wrote the directions to her house.
"Come over about six. Maybe a little before. It really doesn't matter."
He accepted the piece of paper, and smiled at her widely.
"It's a date, then," he told her.
She nodded. He got up slowly, never losing the goofy smile he had adopted.
said before backing away from her. He
was halfway across the room before he turned his back on her. And he only did it then, she figured,
because he had accidentally backed into the elderly librarian. She smiled.
"Joseph," she murmured to herself before turning back to her books.
Her weekend was definitely looking up.