Sleeping Beauty

Aaron sat at her desk in a very small, gray office. Her golden blond hair was hanging in her face. The desk was too big for the office. Whenever the door was opened, it was stopped about halfway by the desk. There was a large dent in the desk where the door always ran into it. Aaron's boss kept offering to have it fixed for her, but she wouldn't let him. She thought that it gave the desk personality. She thought that the notch that had been taken out of it kind of looked like a mouth. Sometimes she'd talk to her desk because she didn't have anything better to do. Once her boss had walked in on her talking to her desk and had sent her home because he though she was delirious.

Aaron was typing up a letter to another company for her boss, Marcus McQueen. He owned the company called Drill's 'N Parts. They made parts for large machines like the ones used to make the parts. He sold to other company's and made quite a bit of money. Hardly any employees stayed for very long, even though the job paid a lot. They usually left after they had an encounter with Mr. McQueen's explosive temper. He was quite famous around the work industry for his rage issues. Aaron was the only employee who had stayed for longer than a year. She was a quiet person who could keep Mr. McQueen calm for the most part. Also, she needed the money. Aaron had a degree in literature, but due to an episode she had at a local university, they wouldn't hire her, so she was stuck fixing grammatical errors in her bosses letters and presentations.

Aaron took a look at the little clock that sat next to her desk. It was a little past five. She quickly finished the letter and gathered up her things. She was intending to leave the letter on Mr. McQueen's desk and leave, but most of the time, what she intended wasn't what she got.

She stepped into the bosses office to find him sitting behind his desk with a reddened face.

"Here's the letter Mr. McQueen." She handed him the letter, "And I'll be off then."

"Where do you think you're going?" Aaron could tell by the tone of voice he was using that leaving wasn't really an option right now.

"It's five o'clock sir, I thought I'd be heading home."

"You will do no such thing!"

"Sir, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't raise your voice with me." Aaron closed her eyes to try and calm herself down. The last time she had yelled at her boss, she had had a typewriter thrown at her head. It had missed of course, but it broke a window.

"I'll do whatever I damn well please Ms. Anderson. Do you know why I'm angry?"

Aaron put her hand to her forehead and rubbed her temples. "No, I don't sir," she said through clenched teeth."

"What's wrong with you Ms. Anderson?"

"Well, if you must know, you're giving me a headache and I'd really like to go home now, so I'll just be going." She turned around and left Mr. McQueen in his office screaming after her.

The cold, December air bit at Aarons rosy cheeks as she stepped outside. She pulled her coat close around her neck and started walking home. She didn't own a car, and most of the time she didn't mind, but it was nights like this that made her wish that she did own one.

On the walk home, she passed a bar and thought, what the hell, why not, and walked in.

It was warm and cozy in the bar. There weren't too many people in there, and those that were there were either playing pool or watching a poker game on the TV that was set up in a corner. Aaron took a seat on a bar stool and ordered a sherry from the bar tender. She watched the men playing pool and chuckled at them. They were as lively as children. Aaron sighed, trying to remember her parents, but she couldn't. She could only remember the three old ladies who had taken care of her most of her life. When she was sixteen though, one of them had had a heart attack and died. The others felt that they were too old to be taking care of a child and sent her off into the world. They checked in every now and then just to see how she was doing. Aaron had been put up for adoption when she was just a baby by her parents because of some relative that wanted to kill her. Aaron didn't really believe the story, but it was all that she had.

One of the young men who were playing pool set down his queue and approached the bar. He ordered a beer for himself and three more for his friends. He had a handsome face and kind, dark eyes. Aaron sat on her stool and tried to blend in with the woodwork. It didn't work very well though.

The young man turned to her and smiled. Aaron noticed that he had a beautiful smile. He held out his hand to her. "Hi, my name's Phillip." He had a Texas accent, which was uncommon in the north.

Smiling, Aaron took his hand. In a very small and timid voice answered, "I'm Aaron." She smiled again and then turned away. It was hard to be a shy person around a person that looked that good.

Phillip took a seat next to her. "So, are you from around here?"

Aaron looked around, "I really should be going. I need to get home and feed my cat." Aaron nearly bit her tongue, she hated lying. She also didn't understand why she did it. She really wanted to stay.

"Hey," he grabbed her wrist, "what's your hurry?"

"I really shouldn't be talking to strangers." She tried to pull her arm away from him, but he wouldn't let her go.

"How old are you, 25?"

"24,"

"You see, you're old enough to talk to anyone you want to." He smiled at Aaron and pulled her into his lap. A shiver ran down Aaron's spine.

"I don't really need to go home." She smiled a slightly guilty smile. She wondered what the night might bring if she stayed a while with Phillip.

"Alright," he chuckled, "Why don't you meet some of my friends so you're not such a stranger."

Aaron let him lead her to the pool table where there were other young men about his age joking around and laughing.

"Hey guys, this is Aaron. Aaron, this is Jack," he pointed to a man that was very skinny and very tall, he had straw colored hair and lots of freckles, making him look like a child, "this is Eric," he pointed to a man that was not as tall as the first, he had jet black hair and a very pretty smile, "this is Robin, and his brother John," he pointed to two men who were arguing over something. One wore a baseball cap and the other had his hair in a Mohawk. Not saying anything, she smiled at them all. She was generally shy around people she didn't know, and even people she did know.

Aaron spent the rest of the night with the five young men laughing and attempting to play pool. Phillip had fun trying to teach Aaron how to play. He's put his arms around her and place his hands on hers, trying to show her how to do it. By letting him do that, Aaron had lied again. She was actually pretty good at pool, but she didn't let Phillip know that.

Aaron looked at the clock at about ten and realized that she really needed to get home. She turned to Phillip, "I'm sorry, I've had fun and all, but I really need to go home now." She smiled at him and turned to leave.

"Here, I'll walk you to your car?" Phillip smiled and reached for his coat.

"That's really very sweet of you, but I don't own a car."

"Well then, why don't you let me take you home?"

Aaron was about to turn him down but then looked outside and saw that it was starting to snow. "Sure, I'd love a ride home."

Phillip said goodbye to all of his friends and then led Aaron to his car.

They were silent most of the way back to Aaron's apartment. Aaron only broke the silence to tell Phillip where to turn. Once they reached her apartment, Aaron jumped out of the car and ran to the door, leaving Phillip confused. She quickly unlocked her door and went in, not bothering to look back at Phillip.

Phillip sat in his car and waited. He wasn't quite sure what he was waiting for. He didn't expect Aaron to come back out, realizing that she hadn't told him goodbye. He really had expected her to invite him in, but he realized that his plans for the night had been changed. He was now going to either spend the night alone in his own apartment or crash at one of the guy's houses. He wasn't really sure at the moment, so he just sat there, his car running.

Aaron ran up the two flights of stairs to her room and let herself in. She locked the door and flopped on the couch, wiping a tear from her eye. She had started crying on the way home and she didn't want Phillip to see her having one of her episodes. She sat on her couch for the next hour and a half and just cried until she couldn't anymore.

It was almost midnight when she went to bed. She didn't bother changing; she just took off her shirt and crawled under the covers. It didn't take her long to fall asleep. She was very tired and she had to get up before eight in order to get to work on time. She was planning to go a little early to make up for the quarrel she had had with Mr. McQueen. She didn't want him to dock her paycheck again. She needed the money to pay for the heating in her apartment; she didn't want to go without heat like she had to the year before. Because of that, she had to go out and buy lots of blankets with the money that she didn't have.

Aaron had a very small apartment. The kitchen and the living room were the same room. She was lucky to find one with a separate bedroom and a bathroom. She had been living there for over two years now. She and the landlord were kind of friends. He would sometimes let her pay a little bit late. Aaron was glad that he did that, but she didn't like living off of other peoples hospitality, so she would do her best to pay on time.

Often she'd stay after work to try and earn some extra money, but it never happened. Mr. McQueen was too tight fisted to let any of his money go.

Aaron worked for Mr. McQueen because she couldn't get a job anywhere else. She had had a job at a nearby university teaching literature. It paid better than her job as a secretary, but due a certain incident, she was deemed a danger to the students. She couldn't get another teaching job because of that incident. Teaching was really thing only thing she was good at. It tore her up when she was fired from the university. She hid in her bedroom for weeks after that, not eating anything or bathing. The only reason she came out was because she needed a new job so she could pay the bills. She applied at other schools and universities, but they wouldn't hire her because of that incident. That's when she started working for Mr. McQueen. She didn't know how to operate machinery, so she typed all of the documents that Mr. McQueen needed. He paid her well enough, but she was still very low on money. Aaron had to stop seeing her therapist because it cost too much. She didn't go out much and she hardly had any friends. Most of them had either moved away or they just never called her anymore. She hoped that she would see Phillip again, but she doubted it. She had bee so rude to just run off and not even say goodbye that he probably thought that she was a terrible person.

Aaron cried her self to sleep that night.