The Check Out Line

by Gloredhel04

Summary: A young woman goes to the corner store and finds much more than what was on her 'to buy' list. If you'd like, read, and if you're really nice you'd drop review. ;)

Disclaimer: This is mine, except for the store name, and other products, but don't steal. Stealing is bad. My plot. Mine.

Chapter Six

Beth's palms were starting to get clammy, and she shifted her basket in her hands again. Her stomach clenched almost to the point of pain. It reminded her of the feeling before a test she didn't study for.

Her graciously sensible side rebuked her for making it all into such a big deal. 'Alright, Beth, step outside yourself, and look at it objectively. It's just a regular Saturday night, and you're buying a few things before church tomorrow. This line has taken an infinity longer than it usually does, but other than that, nothing else has really happened except what your overactive mind has conjured from thin air.'

She took another deep breath, and calmed herself slightly. The elderly woman in front of her in line was writing a check for her purchases, and seemed to be taking her time.

Just then, the rude man and another employee came up to the other cash register, where she rang him up in record time. He left looking satisfied with himself, and Beth assumed he got whatever it was at the lower price.

She frowned slightly, thinking it didn't seem right that you can get whatever you want, whether you are in the right or not, depending on how much you whine about it. The same was true in many different areas she realized, and she became even more disgusted with her society. 'Why is it that honesty and decency seem to be out of fashion?'

While she was pondering the evils of the world, the other employee, a girl a few years older than her, said, "I can help you over here."

In that moment, it seemed as if time stood still. What did she want to do? She could just forget all her mind made up about Garret liking her, pay for her stuff, and go home. 'The best way to deal with a potential problem or embarrassing situation is avoidance,' piped in her shy side.

She glanced at the older woman in front of her, still writing out her check. In all honesty, she was the one who has been waiting the longest, and had the right to go over to the other cashier. It would in reality look odd for her not to go over.

She glanced up at Garret, and all thoughts of switching lines were swept out of her mind. He had really nice eyes, she thought faintly. They were a dark brown, and looked almost black.

'...Well... carpe freakin' diem.'

'What?! You're not supposed to come back yet, Melissa!' He cursed under his breath when he saw her with the customer from hell go up to the other register.

'And of course, he got the stupid thing on sale. It doesn't matter how I handled the situation, Melissa would have been just as pissed if I gave him the discount.' He rolled his eyes at the injustice of it all.

He watched the older woman write out the check with painstaking slowness that made him listlessly chew on the inside of his mouth, silently willing her to hurry up. Melissa was almost done with the man, and he felt his stomach drop to his shoes when he realized what would happen.

The girl will go to Melissa to get checked out, and he wouldn't probably see her again. 'I'm the only one who can check her out!' he thought immediately, irrational jealousy flowing through his veins.

But as soon as it came up, it left just as quickly. He felt slightly deflated and defeated.

He wondered why he was so disappointed, but tried to push it aside when Melissa said she could take the next customer.

Which would be the girl.

Dammit.

He looked back at her, waiting for her to leave his line for Melissa's. For a moment she looked a bit confused with her brow slightly creased, and then looked up at him.

And smiled.

A small tug on the right side of her lips, and it was directed at him.

Holy crap.

She turned to the man behind her in line, and said lightly, "You can go on ahead."

Holy crap! Did that just happen?

He vaguely heard the man ask her if she was sure, and saw out of the corner of his eye the other customers in line, about five, divide between the two registers.

He wanted to jump around in celebration of her staying at his register, or at least let the goofy grin that threaten to take over his face win, but refrained from any external reaction. Although, he might have smiled too brightly at the old woman when she finally finish writing out that blasted check and handed it to him. She looked a bit flustered, which was gross.

Creepy old ladies.

"I'll have to see some i.d., ma'am," he said.

"Oh! Yes, of course, I always forget that," she said as she went through her purse for her wallet she just put back in. It was a rather large bag, filled with goodness knows what, but after a few moments, she pulled it out again, and handed him her driver's license.

He glanced at it and the name on the check, smiled, and handed it back to her.

"Have a nice night," he said, handing the plastic bag with her things.

"You too, dearie. Such a nice young man," the woman answered as she walked out of the store.

His stomach tightened in anticipation, knowing he was finally going to talk to the girl.

She came up to the counter, and with a shy smile, emptied her basket to be scanned.

"So, did you find everything you wanted?" he asked. He mentally argued with himself if he could of thought of something better to say.

She looked up at him with those big eyes, and all rational thoughts decided to take momentary leave of absence.

'Did I find everything I wanted?' she asked herself as she looked up at him.

'Yeah, but I can't take you home in a bag, can I?' Her eyes widened slightly at her own thoughts, hoping against hope her thoughts didn't broadcast across her face like they usually did.

An unbidden thought of sliding him across the counter scanner came to her mind. She mentally rectified the situation by deciding to use the more mobile hand scanner. 'But where would the sticker be on him? Hmmm...'

Any person with these distracting thoughts taking up all available brain function could not have handled the situation better, the poor girl. She opened her mouth to answer, and closed it when nothing came out. It happened again, and she looked down to stop gaping like a fish at him.

Beth took a fortifying breath to clear her muddled and traitorous mind. She gave him a nervous smile, and said "Yeah, I think so."

Her cheeks her deciding to play tomato again, though. 'How could I be such an imbecile? Argh! Stupid blood rushing where it doesn't need to be...'

He was scanning her things and placing them in a plastic bag. She really needed to say something. Anything. But she couldn't really think of anything. 'Come on, say something. Say something!'

Blank. Nothing. Nada. 'Gah!'

A lightbulb went off in her head as she finally found something to say.

"So, uh, tough day at work, Garret?" giving him a small smile, and making sure to glance at his name tag. Couldn't have him think we already know his name, could we precious?

Nice, Beth, she thought, mentally shaking her head at her own moronic behavior.

'No wonder I'm the dateless wonder. I really, really suck at this.' She idly wondered whether an obliging hole would kindly swallow her up.

'She knows my name...' he thought for a moment, dazed. 'Oh yeah,' he thought mentally slapping his forehead. 'My name tag.' But did she have to smile at him like that? Only one side of her mouth rose into what he considered an adorable smile. 'I wonder what it tastes like...' He just stared for a moment, and belatedly realized she asked him a question.

He shook his head slightly, smiled back and said, "Well, I guess you could say that."

'Not everyone is as sweet as you seem to be, you know,' he added to himself.

She felt the insane urge to swoon like a ninny when he smiled back at her like that, and before she knew what she was doing, "So how much longer do you have to work tonight?" came out of her mouth.

'What!?' she mentally screamed in abject horror. 'Why on earth did you ask that?! ...I think I'm going to die now...'

Garret's eyebrows disappeared underneath his shaggy bangs. 'Okay, maybe she's not that shy,' he thought, mildly taken aback. He had never been approached by a girl, so mingled with his embarrassment was a fair amount of surprise. It also stroked his ego quite a bit.

"Well," he answered, feeling a bit more confident, "I don't get off until late tonight." Then nothing else came out. 'Come on, Garret say something else,' his mind urged him

"I, uh, have to close up." Brilliant. Now she'll think you're an idiot, which you are. Way to make a good impression, man.

Still trying to recover from her earlier outburst of sheer stupidity, all she could manage was a sympathetic, "Oh, yeah."

He finished scanning all her things and said, "Your total is $11.53."

"Okay," she said. She momentarily forgot she was there to buy things, not hit on the cashier, 'I am not!' she countered. After a moment of stubborn defiance, she acceded, 'Alright, I guess I am...' She fumbled through her wallet and took our her debit card. She moved down a bit to where one slides their cards, and she went through the transaction process.

While she waited for it to approve, she wished she could think of something else to say. 'Think!' She bit her lip as if that would give her the some new topic, but all it did was leave teeth imprints on the inside of her bottom lip. All she could think was that she was sorry she didn't have cash instead. That way she could have a chance of hand contact two times. 'Well, at least he has to hand me the receipt,' she reasoned. She also refused to think about how utterly pathetic that particular train of thought was. Frustrated with the situation and herself, she chewed her lip, trying to think of a way to break the silence that passed over them.

'Think you idiot! She asked you two questions, it's your turn to say something!' But his tongue felt stuck to the roof of his mouth, and no appropriate words came to mind. He watched her bottom lip go between her teeth as she chewed on it for a moment. For the life of him he couldn't look away. Garret felt a stab of arousal in his gut from that simple, yet provocative action. He fought the urge to walk around or just climb over the counter and nibble on her lips himself.

Which, consequently left him even more tongue-tied than before.

Dammit!

Before she knew it, the receipt was printing out, and she was near desperate to say anything to him. Yet the more frantically she tried to think of something, the more muddled her mind became. 'What good is a mind when it won't work when you actually need it to?' she thought despondently.

Garret ripped the perforated paper out of the machine, and asked, 'Do you want the receipt in the bag?"

"Uh— that would be fine," she answered.

His chance was dwindling away. Just like the memory of your dream eludes you right after you wake, he felt a chance at anything was rapidly leaving the reach of his grasp. He put the receipt in the bag, and pulled it off the rack. What could he do? Just ask her out?

'I've never done that before,' and the thought of rejection made his stomach contract even tighter. 'What if she says no? ... I.... I just couldn't handle it.'

He felt stuck. The only way to he'd progress was if he risked himself.

'...I can't... I just can't.'

He handed her the bag, and their fingers brushed. Their eyes met again for a moment, and neither wanted to break the contact.

'Say something! Anything!' she pleaded with herself, but all that came out was "Thanks," as she took the bag from his hands.

'Ugh, not that! Say something else!'

'Make her stay, you ass! She's leaving now!'

But what came out his mouth was, "Have a nice night."

Her heart twisted at those words. She was dismissed. She managed another smile, and a "You too," before turning towards the door.

He watched her get closer to the door and further away from him. She was leaving, and he felt helpless to do anything. The next customer already put his things on the table, and loudly cleared his throat. Garret broke out of his reverie and turned away from her to scan the man's items.

Beth was almost to the door, her mind still harshly conflicted. 'What are you doing? Turn around! Don't leave!'

After a moment she couldn't take it any longer and she stopped. She turned around, to see him scanning the next man's things. 'He's probably already forgotten about me. I'm just another customer.' She sighed once more, and walked out the door.

Garret glanced back at the door, only to see it empty. Disturbed with himself for feeling as if his heart were in his throat, he said, "You're total is $22.32."

Epilogue

The brand new punk album she bought yesterday poured out of her crackling speakers, and caused her to play drummer girl on the steering wheel. Since it was new, she sadly kept silent and contented herself to bob her head along with the syncopated rhythm. The mid-March wind rushed into the open windows of the car, making Beth's hair go in every direction. Her fingers itched to try and fix it, but she knew it wouldn't do any good until she stopped. She turned on her blinker, and turned into the parking lot.

"This is so completely stupid," she muttered as she out of her car. She closed the door, but as usual it stuck, not shutting completely. She unlocked and opened it again, then slammed it with all her strength. Still stuck. She surreptitiously glanced around before she bumped the door with her hip, finally getting it to close.

'What? I have to get some stuff before going back to school,' she thought defensively as she began walking towards the entrance to Walgreen's and trying to smooth down her hair.

'Yeah right. You know you could have waited until after spring break.'

"Shut up," she mumbled as she went into the store. She looked hopefully at the cashier, and fought letting out a hopeless sigh at seeing it wasn't him.

'Argh, why do you keep doing this to yourself, Beth? Are you becoming a masochist or something? He wasn't there. He wasn't there over Thanksgiving, and he wasn't there the multiple times you went over Christmas. Get over it!' she ended shouting at herself.

Fed up with herself she mindlessly grabbed what she needed and got to the cash register in record time. The older man who she liked was there, and asked with a smile, "Did you find everything you needed?"

She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time from its double meaning. "Yeah, I did." she answered. If only she could find him again.

Finis

A/N: Thanks to all who reviewed! I apologize if I upset you by them not getting together, but sadly enough the world isn't filled with fairytale romances. I'm very pleased with myself, because this is the very first story I've ever finished.

4/29/06: In my effort to clean the story up a bit, I appended the epilogue to chapter six. Sadly enough I haven't written a sequel, but if the coming months permit it, I would enjoy doing so.

Thanks for reading!