CH 11. At The End Of The Tunnel There Is Always A Shining Light

For the first few days after my date with Finn I felt like a complete idiot. I suffered a minor breakdown in the bed of his pick-up, how else was I supposed to feel? That's not exactly what normal teenagers do in pick-ups. So, to avoid humiliation, I've been avoiding him. Ella, Mae and Cody have since made it their civic duty to remind me at every chance that I'm overreacting.

I walked into first period on Monday with my head down in an attempt to go unnoticed and sat in the front corner near the door. Worried that Finn might try to sit next to me I flagged down an acquaintance from my English class and asked her to sit by to me. Luck appeared to be on my side though because he didn't wander in until after the bell rang. I could feel his eyes on me for most of the period but refused to turn and meet his gaze. As soon as the bell rang I was out the door and halfway down the hall before he could catch up.

"You are totally ridiculous, you know?" Mae was waiting for me at the end of the hall so we could go to U.S. History together. "He's going to notice you're avoiding him."

"I know that."

"So why are doing? It's bad enough you ignored all his calls this weekend. He'll start to think you're not interested in him anymore."

"The problem is that I think he's not interested anymore." We wondered into our class room and took our seats near the window.

"I don't think that's the case, Del. He was trying to get your attention after class I could see him from where I was waiting."

"Are you trying to make me feel worse then I already do?" I lay my head on my desk and prayed that Mae would just shut up to let me wallow in my self-pity.

Instead she pat me on the back and kept talking. "You know I'm not. I just think you need to stop acting like a dumbass."

I snapped my head up and stared at her in disbelief. "Why do you even care? You can't stand Finn and I know it pisses you off that I like him."

"I'm not denying it," she shrugged. "But you're my best friend so I want you to be happy."

"How touching." I placed my head back down just as the bell rang.

When I walked into work that afternoon I was nervous about being within such close proximity with Finn after ignoring him all day. It was easier than I had originally anticipated. Every time he tried to catch me in the hall I would just go into the nearest girl's restroom and wait. By last period I think he was so fed up with trying to talk to me he just gave up. I was a little saddened by this of course, since it was nice to know he wanted to speak with me so bad, but it was what I wanted. And we all know what they say about having your cake and blah, blah, blah.

I was happy to find him laid out on the counter reading Bonfire of the Vanities when I walked into our section. It meant that I could sneak in unnoticed. I have to admit that I was surprised by this choice of reading material though. His forehead was creased in concentration and I couldn't help but smile at how adorable a scene this was. You never have a camera when you need one. In an effort to keep from interrupting him I tip-toed as I approached the registers.

"What are doing?" He was watching me carefully as I tried to do my stealthiest James Bond moves around the counter.

"I was trying to be quiet so you could concentrate on your reading."

He closed the book and sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the counter top. "That's not necessary. I've read it four times."

"I never would have expected you to be a Tom Wolfe fan."

"80's culture, corruption and cocaine. What's not to love?"

"Touché." I pinned on my name tag and began straightening out the magazines. We have now officially spoken for the first time since Friday night. Or Saturday morning actually, since I didn't get home until almost one.

"You've been avoiding me."

I laughed in that way most people do when they're trying not to sound guilty, but actually are. "No I haven't." I didn't turn to face him. My face was on fire and I knew I was an embarrassing shade of crimson.

"You have answered my calls. You ignored me in school all day and spent lunch hiding in the library."

"I had to study for English."

"Why did you run when you saw me come in?"

I racked my brain for a good excuse and came up completely empty handed. "Sorry." I finally turned around, noticing that he still hadn't left the counter. "I just didn't want to see you."

Finn looked momentarily hurt by this comment but quickly covered his expression in his classic emotionless mask. When he spoke his voice was suddenly cold "Care to explain why?"

"I was embarrassed. I made an ass out of myself on our first date and figured that you probably wouldn't want to continue dating a huge cry-baby."

He laughed and replied, "That's completely moronic."

"There's no need to laugh at me."

"I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing in your general direction."

"Still not making me feel better, jackass."

"Come here." he waved me toward him. I hesitated but ultimately skulked over, stopping directly in front of him. "You do know that I wouldn't have bothered calling if I didn't want to see you, right?"

"Duh?" I smiled and inched a bit closer so that I was with arm's length. "But you have to factor in female insecurity. It has a tendency to override our sense of logic."

"Well," he took my hand and pulled me closer so that I was standing between his knees. "That explains everything." I wrapped my arms around his waist and we kissed.

Since we rarely get customers in the book store it's easy to get away with this kind of behavior. You could obviously understand my shock and frustration when after a few minutes we were jerked out of our reverie by the sound of some one angrily shouting our names.

"What the hell do you two think you're doin'?" Mike our boss had come up during our little public display. "What if there had been a customer?'"

"We would have stopped. Maybe." I had turned to face Mike, but remained in front of Finn with his arms draped over my shoulders. "Besides, there are never customers. Calm down."

Mike was absolutely livid now. "You." He jabbed his stubby finger in Finn's direction. "Let's go."

Finn obediently hopped of the counter and followed Mike. "You're not firing me are you?" Mike didn't reply.

Fifteen minutes later Mike returned with a very amused looking Mae in tow. "I can't have that type of behavior in my store, McDonnell. That's why I'm switching him with Mae."

"That's not fair!" I yelled.

"Ouch, Del. That hurts." Mae feigned indignity.

"I can't have my employees turning this place into some kind of orgy!"

"I really think you're over exaggerating things just a tad now, Mike. That's a completely ludicrous idea."

"You should just feel lucky I didn't fire the pair of you!" and he stormed off before i could say another word.

"Nice job, dill hole," Mae perched herself on the counter and proceeded to laugh at me.

I hoped up next to her and told her to shut her trap. "This is ridiculous. There was no one around so I don't see the problem."

"That's not the point. He can't have people thinking that his employees are a bunch of horny teenagers, can he?"

"His employees are a bunch of horny teenagers."

"Again, not the point. We're supposed to look respectable."

"This is crap!"

"Look on the bright side. At least we'll be able to work together." she smiled optimistically.

"That's all fine and dandy, but I can't make out with you when things get slow, Mae."

"Damn right you can't."