Quick note: Full Throttle is an energy drink.It's very, very bad to drink more then two of these in six hours. Very bad.

Precious Little Happiness

Jaryn was at work, standing at the dressing room and re-hanging clothes that customers either couldn't be bothered to hang at all, or didn't try to hang correctly. Mostly he didn't have to deal with people directly—there'd be one or two customers every hour or so that wanted to use the fitting room, maybe the odd person that needed a page, but otherwise he was left alone.

For $7.75 an hour, it wasn't all bad.

While he was re-hanging clothes, or unpacking boxes and hanging the new clothes, he'd watch customers. Mostly just because he was bored, sometimes because a hot guy would catch his eye.

Tonight, though, it wasn't some hot guy. Well, not completely. First, it was a soft, yellow blanket wrapped around the tiniest baby he'd ever seen. It was the most gorgeous thing he could imagine, looking so sweet and innocent and just small.

Jaryn watched the sleeping baby for a long moment before even noticing the guy holding it (it was impossible to be sure, but he thought it might be a girl, it was so pretty). He was tall and skinny, sharp jaw and cheeks, full lips and tired eyes. But there was this… peace? happiness? That surrounded him as he held that baby. He was so beautiful, holding that tiny baby to his chest in its soft, warm blanket, making sure it was safe and warm.

Before Jaryn could say a word, ask the babies name, maybe if he could hold it, the guy walked on by, pushing a cart that held the empty baby carrier.

Jaryn wondered wistfully at having a father, a brother that could hold you like that. Then, shaking his head, he went back to hanging clothes and let the thoughts drift from his mind.

Ten minutes later, as he shoved trash into an extra-large bag, cut up a few boxes and set them aside, Jaryn glanced up and saw the soft yellow blanket and the tiny, precious baby and strong arms belonging to dark green eyes. They were walking to him slowly, the baby still sleeping, the man still looking tired but exuding a sense of contentment that made Jaryn want to curl up with him forever.

Whoever said that love at first sight didn't exist had never tried to resist a sweet little baby and a guy with sharp features and forest green eyes.

"H-hey again," Jaryn stuttered softly, offering a weak smile. He immediately wanted to kick himself, making an idiot of himself when the guy had hardly looked at him.

But then he did look, smiling just a tiny bit as he walked by. "Hey." The smile was quiet, shy, soft… Jaryn wasn't really sure how to describe it.

Jaryn couldn't think of anything else to say, so watched as the pair passed by again. They turned down a women's lingerie aisle and disappearing from sight as the fitting room booths obstructed his view.

Sighing, he glanced at his watch. Nearly eleven, meaning he could leave. Sighing once more, but this time in relief, he began putting the remaining boxes away for Nick to take care of during his shift. Gathering up his trash and boxes, he headed to the back. Just as he slide his badge through the timeclock and punched out, he heard a page for him.

"Jaryn to the fitting room for customer assistance, please; Jaryn to the fitting room for customer assistance. Thank you!"

That overly chirpy, overly loud voice was definitely Sabrina, who was probably just glad to be getting out of here in the next half-hour. And she was probably on her third Full Throttle.

Sometimes Jaryn was sure that her veins had more Full Throttle in them then blood.

Shrugging on his jacket, he headed back to the fitting room. Rounding the corner, he wasn't surprised to see Sabrina leaning against the counter. But he was surprised to see her holding a familiar little yellow bundle. There was no sign of the guy, though.

"Why'd you page me?" Jaryn asked as he walked closer, reaching out to brush his fingers across the babies cheek. His heart was a puddle of goo as the baby turned into his touch.

"Someone was looking for you," she said with a mischievous smile, glancing behind him. Turning slightly, he saw the guy with sharp cheeks and dark green eyes, sans baby, standing just a few feet away.

"Oh. Uhm, hi…" Jaryn trailed off, not sure what to say. But with Sabrina there, did he really need to try?

"This is my cousin Adam, the one I've been telling you about." She gave him a look of annoyance before stepping around the counter and walking over to Adam, handing the baby back to him.

"Now," she says in a firm, do-it-or-unpleasant-things-will-happen-to-you-voice, turning back to Jaryn with a determined look. "The two—oh, excuse me; the three of you are going out on a date tonight." Offering Jaryn a blinding smile, she continued. "I talked to the owner of that Japanese place you like, and you being a family friend and all, we made some special arrangements to accommodate both your and Adam's schedules. You guys need to get going!"

A bit bewildered, Jaryn allowed Sabrina to shoo him out of the store, followed by a suspiciously quiet Adam. He'd ditched the cart and settled the baby in her carrier—in the two minute walk to the door, Sabrina filled him in that it was Adam's kid, her name was Sabin, she was born premature and wasn't even two months old yet, but she was completely healthy, the mother was some girl that had jumped Adam while he was too drunk to care, then tried to call rape when she got pregnant; she dropped the kid off as soon as they were released from the hospital, signing all parental rights over to Adam. He'd moved back home with his mom and younger sisters, who were helping him out with Sabin while he took some college courses online and worked.

Jaryn still hadn't managed to gather his wits by the time they were outside. The air was cool, not overly hot, but not yet cold, in that perfect stage of fall. Jaryn just stared at Adam, noticing little flecks of silver in his eyes under the dim parking lot lights.

"…Sorry, she's been set on throwing us together for a little while now…" Adam tried to apologize, glancing away bashfully, spending an excessive amount of time straightening Sabin's blanket around her. She seemed less content, now that Adam wasn't holding her, but she continued sleeping.

Finally pulling himself together, Jaryn shook his head quickly. "No, don't worry about it." And while it was an overused phrase, generally not very sincere, Jaryn managed to sound genuine. "It's not far to the restraint, so we could walk." He tried to be casual, not wanting this to be one of those really awkward blind dates. "With the price of gas, it's probably worth it."

Adam looked back at him, smiling after a moment. "Okay."

Side by side, the left the parking lot, Adam hefting the baby carrier with casual ease. They stopped at a red light, waiting for the walk sign to flash, when Adam looked at Jaryn once, glanced away, looked again, then finally asked, "Would you like to carry her? Sabrina says you really like kids…"

Jaryn grinned, first at Adam, then at Sabin. "I'd love to."

FIN