When You're Around
AN: I do not mean to cause offense to anyone living in South Dakota. And do not own a lot of things. Like Starbucks. Darn.
It was the summer before her senior year. Vivian Carmichael was not happy, either, as she should be. No. She just had to go visit some distant relatives in South Dakota. In some sleepy little town that nobody had heard of – especially not her.
But she was helping her Great-Uncle Jay run his general store this summer. His oldest son was the one who helped with the store and now he was off to college – leaving just the 14-year-old daughter. Vivian was seventeen and chosen to help for reasons unknown to her. Vivian knew that there was some underlying reason why he chose her specifically, but she just couldn't figure it out. Either way, she was going to be spending her summer in South Dakota helping her Great Uncle Jay.
Vivian was daydreaming in the back room of Jay's General Store. Uncle Jay – as she had been calling him for the past week – had inherited the store from his father. And he wasn't even quite sure how many generations it had been around. For the first week or so, Vivian had been learning what to do around the store and sorting things out in the back. She now knew how to work a cash register, mop the floors, and put things from boxes onto shelves. Whoopee. Uncle Jay just wasn't ready for her to go out to the front yet – and she wasn't sure why.
Truth be told, Vivian hated being busy – and yet, she hated to leave things alone and unfinished. Like the back of the store. She had finally gotten it organized and labeled, even leaving space for new orders and shipments to come in. Uncle Jay would be impressed, she knew. He would show it by buying her a mocha from the nearby Starbucks. Yes, a Starbucks existed in a small town such as this. And it was her vice. She loved coffee in all forms. It was veering close to an addiction, but not there quite yet.
Uncle Jay finally entered the back room and smiled widely at the organization and cleanliness of it all. He found Vivian on an empty crate, looking extremely bored. He smiled at her. "It looks nice back here. Now let's close up and go home."
Vivian nodded and helped her Uncle Jay close the store and lock it up. He bought her a mocha on the way home – just like she had guessed. When they arrived at the house, Jill, Uncle Jay's daughter, practically attacked Vivian. Vivian had become used to Jill's insistence on meeting her friends. Vivian was, after all, from Seattle – the place of coffee and apples. This seemed to make her seem worldly, considering pretty much all of Jill's friends had never left South Dakota. But Vivian never joined Jill and her little, pestering friends since the first night, where she had indulged them. They were pests with too many bothering questions. Now, Vivian simply retired to the guest bedroom where she slept.
It wasn't until the following Tuesday when Vivian was finally able to work in the store – not the back room. She was working the cash register while Uncle Jay got the shipment of alcohol. It was a slow day, with only a few kids buying ice cream and giving her curious looks, as if to say "Who are you? You don't belong here." In this town, everyone knew everyone and Vivian was an outsider.
Around one o'clock or so, a group of teenage boys came bursting into the store, making a ruckus. Vivian rolled her eyes and continued reading A Tell-Tale Heart. She heard a slight noise and saw the boys coming up to the register. She put down the book and got ready to ring up their stuff.
As soon as she began ringing up their things, the leader – a boy with barely two inches of wheat blonde hair and brown eyes – leaned against the counter and smiled at her. "Hey. You new here?"
"Only for the summer." Vivian replied without looking up from scanning the bag of potato chips.
"Only for the summer? Who comes here for the summer?" One of the guys said incredulously.
Vivian chuckled slightly. "Not by choice. I'm helping my great-uncle run the store. That'll be $19.65."
The boy with the wheat blonde hair smiled and gave her the money. She counted out his change and told him to have a nice day. He gave her a big grin. "Oh. I will now."
It had been only a couple of days since Vivian had met the boy with the wheat blonde hair boy and he had come back twice alone. She wasn't sure what to think of that, seeing that he had flirted outrageously with her both times. Vivian didn't even know his name.
"I want cigarettes." A deep voice rumbled, breaking Vivian from her thoughts. She looked up to find a tall man with dark brown hair and gray eyes staring at her. He was wearing a black Static-X shirt with a black leather jacket and worn jeans. He had piercings on his eyebrow and lip. She was sure that his tongue was pierced too.
Vivian frowned. "I can't."
Now it was his turn to frown. More like scowled, actually. He slapped his hands palm-down on the counter and leaned closer to her. "What do you mean you can't?"
"I can't. I'm not 18. I can't sell cigarettes."
"Well, surely you can make an exception."
"No I can't. Now, you have two options. One is to wait while I get someone who can sell you your cigarettes. And the other is to just forego you cancer sticks for a day and give your lungs a rest. What will it be?" She looked up at him innocently. He was at least a foot taller than her – not hard to do, but still.
He literally growled. "What did you say?"
Vivian scoffed. "You heard me, so I see no reason to repeat myself." She crossed her arms across her chest.
His eyes immediately went to her chest, where her nametag was situated. "Well, Vivian, seeing as there is no other decent store where I can get cigarettes and I don't want to miss my 'cancer sticks', go get somebody. Now."
Vivian walked to the back of the store, throwing the man a disgusted look on her way. He just smirked at her. She slammed open the back door. "Uncle Jay! There's a horrible guy wanting to buy cigarettes!"
Uncle Jay rose his eyebrows at her. "Alright." He stood up and made his way to the front, just to stop and frown at the tall man. "Cadence. You know you shouldn't be smoking. I can't sell them to you. You aren't 18 yet."
Vivian's scowl grew. "You mean he harassed me and he can't even buy cigarettes legally yet!"
Uncle Jay frowned and turned to Cadence, whose scowl was just as bad as Vivian's as he glowered at her. "Cadence? Did you harass my niece?"
Cadence folded his arms across his chest. "I just want some cigarettes."
Uncle Jay shook his head. "No, but I'd like you to give your mother this." He handed Cadence a basket as the boy blushed, but took the basket. Uncle Jay smiled. "Thanks Cadence. See you later."
Cadence scowled, threw Vivian one last glare, and stormed out of the store. Uncle Jay shook his head and returned to the back of the store. Vivian fumed and returned to sitting around doing nothing.
The boy with the wheat blonde hair returned. He smiled wide at her as he plonked a Mountain Dew on the counter. "Hey gorgeous."
Vivian smiled slightly as she rang up the Mountain Dew. "Hello. This all?"
He nodded. "Yeah. I'm Chris."
Vivian wanted to laugh at how he suddenly threw in his name. "Well, Chris, that will be $1."
He smirked and handed her a dollar bill, making sure to touch her hand as he did so. Vivian fought the urge to roll her eyes. She slid the Mountain Dew back to him and told him to have a good day. He smiled and said that he would now.
It had been two weeks and Cadence had come more times than Vivian would like to count. He came almost every day. Some days he would ask for cigarettes and other days he would buy some junk food. Not that he was ever pleasant, though. It made Vivian want to scream in frustration.
"Oh, Vivian, darling. Did you miss me?" The deep voice of her source of frustration called to her.
Vivian looked up from her magazine to glare at him. "Not particularly." She icily grabbed his bag of chips and rang them up.
He handed her a twenty for something that didn't even cost two dollars. Vivian growled deep in her throat and counted out change. Just as she was handing it to him, he grabbed her hand. Vivian looked in his eyes for a second, trying to figure out what the hell he was doing. His thumb began making circles on her bare skin. She squirmed and pulled her hand back, scowling at Cadence.
He just smirked at her, grabbed his chips, and walked out, leaving Vivian fuming.
Vivian was walking along the alley next to the store. She was grumbling. She had had to direct one of the shipments of something-or-other – Vivian never paid attention to what it was. It was one of the biggest wastes of time ever, as far as she was concerned. Why couldn't the guys who delivered the shipments put it somewhere themselves? Why did she have to dictate their every move? Ridiculous.
And Uncle Jay had just had to have her take care of it. It was absurd.
"Oh, Vivian, darling. You really shouldn't frown like that. You'll get wrinkles and mar your beautiful face."
Vivian growled and resisted the urge to sigh heavily. Of course, Cadence had to show up to annoy her when she was already annoyed. Great. Perfect. Fantastic. She slowly turned to look at Cadence, where he stood leaning against the alley wall, smoking a cigarette.
She narrowed her eyes at him and crossed her arms over her chest. His eyes immediately dropped to her chest before reluctantly returning to her face. Horny bastard. She smiled acidly. "You know, Cadence dear, you really should get laid soon."
Cadence threw down his cigarette, smirked and took a step closer to Vivian. "Oh, really? And why do you say that? Are you offering?"
"No! It's just that you're coming off a bit too strong for me. I suggest you turn your attentions to somebody who wants them."
Cadence said nothing and instead looked straight in her eyes. And took another step closer.
He was now too close for comfort in Vivian's eyes. She tried to take a step back, only to find the alley wall. Vivian inwardly rolled her eyes. Of all the clichéd situations to get in, she had to be in the one where she backed up against a wall with an annoying – albeit attractive – male invading her personal space. Yes, she was strong enough to admit that Cadence was attractive.
And honestly, the lip ring made him look even more attractive. And at the moment, that lip ring was hovering closer to her own ring-less lips. Vivian tore her eyes away from his mouth to look up at those grey eyes. He kept eye contact as he slowly placed one hand on each side of her head. He leaned closer and closer.
Vivian was tired of waiting so long for Cadence and simply grabbed a handful of his hair to send his lips crashing down on hers. Cadence was surprised, but instantly responded by wrapping his arms around her waist and, of course, shoving his tongue in her mouth like any other hot-blooded male.
Vivian's inner voice tsked and asked her what the hell she was doing. She did not like Cadence at all, and yet, here she was, making out with him in an alley. Talk about hot-blooded! Did that make Vivian a who-
"Vivian? Vivian!" It took a moment for Vivian to realize that someone was actually calling out her name and that someone just so happened to be Uncle Jay. Vivian turned an interesting shade of red, broke away from Cadence only to mumble something about having to go, and bolted.
She didn't see Cadence slump against the alley wall, cursing under his breath.
Vivian didn't see Cadence for a few days after the alley incident. She couldn't seem to deal with the fact that it was a kiss, so she referred to it as an "incident" in her mind. She didn't dare bring it up with anyone, either. But, oddly enough, she missed having him come around to rile her up.
Then, one night, Uncle Jay told her to go get herself some coffee. She hastily complied before he changed her mind. As she passed the alley, something caught her eye.
There he was, leaning against the wall in his leather jacket, smoking. He looked so much like James Dean, that she actually stopped.
"Do you think the end of the world will come at night time?" She said. Vivian slapped a hand across her mouth and quickly walked away – mortified that she even talked to him when she had been so determined to avoid him.
A heavy hand dropped onto her shoulder. "Nope. At noon." A deep voice whispered straight into her ear.
Vivian jerked away. "Actually, it's at dawn. Not noon."
Cadence raised an eyebrow at her. "If you knew the answer to your own question, why did you ask it?"
Vivian heaved a sigh. "It's from a movie. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to go." She pivoted sharply and began to walk away from him for the second time.
"Now, where are you off to in such a hurry? Every place is pretty much closed, except for your uncle's shop and….ah. Starbucks." He murmured knowingly. "Like your coffee, do you? But why are you drinking it so late at night? Don't you have to work early tomorrow morning?"
"No. I have tomorrow off."
"Do you now?" He said as he held open the door to Starbucks. Vivian eyed him warily as she walked through the door.
"What are you getting?" He asked.
"A peppermint mocha," she replied without thinking.
"I'll take a venti vanilla bean with extra caramel and a venti peppermint mocha." Cadence told the barista as he swiftly stepped in front of Vivian.
Vivian just stared at him open-mouthed as he paid the girl, not even responding to the girl's flirting. Once finished, he turned to Vivian.
"What?" He asked.
"Did you just pay for me?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Yeah. So? It's no big deal."
"Do you have a job?"
He shrugged again. "Yeah. I work at a warehouse a bit away from here. So, yes, I do have the money to take you out to dinner and buy you nice things." He threw a wink her way.
"Oh! That's not what I wanted to know! I don't want you to buy me stuff!"
"A venti vanilla bean with extra caramel and a venti peppermint mocha." The barista stated as she slid the drinks towards them.
Cadence thanked her and took both drinks. "Well then, what should I do with this peppermint mocha? I mean, if you don't want me to buy you stuff…."
Vivian made a grab for her mocha, but Cadence just stretched his arm containing the mocha above her head. She scowled at him. "I don't want you to, but if you do, I'm not going to complain. Can I please have that mocha?"
Cadence shrugged and walked out of the Starbucks, holding the door open with his whole body, forcing Vivian to slide past him. "I don't know. What are you going to give me for it?"
"What do you want? And," she said crossing her arms, "don't even think about saying sex, because that isn't going to happen."
"Aww, you ruin all the fun. Guess I'll just have to settle for a kiss."
Vivian stopped in her tracks. She looked at him disbelievingly. "Are you serious? That is so cliché."
He shrugged yet again. "So? I like cliché if it scores me a kiss."
Vivian rolled her eyes. "Fine."
His eyebrows rose. "Seriously? You're just going to kiss me? I thought you'd put up more a fight tha –"
Vivian rose on her tiptoes and laid one right on his lips. Just as quickly, she broke away. "Can I have the mocha now?"
He wordlessly handed her the mocha. Vivian gratefully took a sip and sighed. Cadence was still staring at her. She wished it wasn't so dark, so that maybe – just maybe – she could read his face a bit better. Right now, all she could concentrate on was the dull shine of his lip ring.
Suddenly, he snatched the drink from her hand, making her protest right away. He then just set down the drinks on the sidewalk. Vivian stared at him strangely, stopping her protests in order to figure out what he was doing.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her right into him before she could react. And before she could even talk, he was kissing her. With that gorgeous lip ring against her own lips, all she could do was respond and wrap her arms around his neck.
As it progressed, Cadence's hands began to move. One grazed her ribs while the other stayed at her waist. Vivian knew where this was going and decided that if he was going to grope her, she would grope him first. Yes, it was messed up and a warped way of thinking, but she couldn't think correctly with his tongue ring moving itself across the roof of her mouth.
Her hand moved from around his neck to rest on his rib cage, moving slowly. It made it to his somewhat bony hip. And finally, to his butt. He groaned and pulled away.
Vivian took a couple steps away from him. "What was that for?"
Cadence looked at her incredulously. "I should ask you the same question! I'm not the one that groped someone's ass!"
Vivian rolled her eyes. "Whatever. You weren't complaining. And you're the one that started it."
Cadence threw his hands in the air. "I didn't even grope you! I didn't even touch your boob! Do you know how unfair that is?"
"No. Nor do I care." Vivian grabbed her mocha from the sidewalk and began to walk back to the store.
Cadence made an incredulous sound and picked up his own drink before following Vivian. "Well, you should care."
"Doesn't everyone care about being fair?"
"Not when it might include you grabbing my boob."
Cadence let out a sound of frustration and grabbed her arm, effectively stopping her. She raised her eyebrows at him. He sighed and let her go.
It was finally her day off. It was noon and Vivian had just gotten out of the shower. How nice it was to sleep in! She smiled to herself and flopped onto her bed, wearing her favorite, rattiest pair of jeans and a tank top.
The doorbell rang just as Vivian was reaching for a book to read. She rolled her eyes and dragged herself off the bed and downstairs to open the door.
Cadence was leaning against the doorframe. He grinned at her as soon as she opened the door. "Hey. Wanna get some lunch with me?"
Vivian folded her arms across her chest, drawing his eyes to that area. "I thought you worked."
"I do. I'm on break."
"Fine. Let me grab my purse." Vivian was about to run upstairs to grab it, but Cadence grabbed her wrist.
"No need. I'm paying. C'mon. I don't have much time."
Vivian nodded, yelled at Jill that she was leaving for a bit, and followed Cadence to his car that was parked on the curb. It was a Pinto. It was orange and had black racing stripes. She chuckled a little. It was a junker.
Cadence scowled at her as he held the passenger door open for her. "Don't make fun of Bessy."
"My car. She's good to me. So don't laugh at her." He closed the door and walked around to the driver's side. It took him a couple of tries and some strange tricks to get "Bessy" to start.
Finally, Bessy was running and Cadence drove them to a small, cozy café. Vivian smiled as she got out of the car, locking the door. She hadn't been to the café yet, but it looked nice. She smiled at Cadence.
Cadence grinned at her and placed a hand on the small of her back, leading her inside. She immediately squirmed to get his hand off her and threw him a look. He shrugged.
The hostess smiled at Cadence as soon as they walked in. "Hey, Cadence." She batted her eyelashes at him.
Cadence smirked. "Hey, baby. I need a table for two."
"Two?" The girl looked Vivian over and sneered before grabbing two menus and leading them to a table in the corner.
Cadence pulled her chair out for her. Vivian gave him a strange look before sitting down. The hostess gave Vivian a venomous look before walking away.
Vivian opened the menu and looked at Cadence questioningly.
Cadence looked up at her from his menu. "What?"
"Who was that?"
"Jenny. Why? Jealous?"
"Hardly. But she keeps giving me these awful looks."
Cadence looked towards Jenny, who was indeed glaring at Vivian. He shrugged. "Guess she's jealous. You should get the chicken enchiladas. They're delicious."
Vivian nodded. She liked chicken enchiladas. She set her menu down to find Cadence looking at her intently. "What?"
Cadence leaned forward. "Your eyes have a bit of green in them."
Vivian rolled said eyes. "I don't know what's wrong with you, but you really should stop. You'll scare me."
"What am I doing that would scare you?"
"You're being…nice. And gentlemanly. It's just so strange for you."
"And what exactly does that mean?"
Vivian opened her mouth to retort, but the waitress just walked up to their table.
"Oh, hi, Cadence." The waitress turned towards Vivian. "Hi. What can I get for you guys?"
"Two waters and two orders of the chicken enchiladas." Cadence said.
"Got it. Oh, and watch out, Jenny's really jealous." The waitress winked at Vivian before leaning down to whisper into her ear. "You should totally kiss him or something. It would make her so mad!" The waitress straightened, laughed, and walked away. Vivian smiled at her as she walked away.
"What'd she say to you?"
"She told me to kiss you."
Cadence grinned and leaned forward again. "Really? Why? I think you should take her advice."
Vivian rolled her eyes and leaned forward slightly. Cadence's gaze went straight to her lips and back up to her eyes again. "She said I should do it to make Jenny mad."
"Are you going to do it? Jenny would certainly be mad."
"I'm contemplating it. I don't really like how she looks at me."
Cadence nodded. "Do it." He smirked. "I won't complain."
Vivian shrugged, leaned forward, and pecked him quickly on the lips. She sneakily looked at Jenny out of the corner of her eye. Jenny looked livid. Vivian grinned and looked back at Cadence, who was grinning broadly at her.
He winked. "You can do that whenever you want, Jenny or no Jenny."
Lunch was…nice. Vivian was sprawled on the couch, watching I Love the 80s. She wasn't really paying attention to the show, though. She was thinking about her lunch with Cadence and how strangely gentleman-like he had been. After the kiss, their food had arrived and they made small talk.
They mostly talked about books, actually. He read a lot. Which surprised her. She hadn't pegged him as a bookworm. Rather, he seemed to the type to skip English class to smoke a cigarette. But, apparently, he had stayed in English and read everything – and more. His favorite book was The Stranger by Albert Camus. He had read all of her favorite books, too.
Vivian smiled and went back to watching her show.
The day off had been nice, but Vivian was working again. Chris had already been in twice, asking about where she had been yesterday and lamenting the fact that he could've taken her to dinner.
Oh, darn, thought Vivian. There was nothing wrong with Chris, but he was a little…whiny. And came on too strong. Vivian sighed and she continued to read Cosmo. It was such a dirty magazine, but it passed the time.
"Looking for tips?" A deep voice drawled.
Vivian looked up to see Cadence grinning (of course) at her.
"What do you want, Cadence?"
"Cigarettes." Vivian opened her mouth to retort, but Cadence slapped something down on the counter triumphantly.
Curious, Vivian looked at what it was. A driver's license. She looked and found his birthday – today, 18 years ago. She sighed and looked up at him. "It's your 18th birthday?"
Cadence's smile was almost too big for his face. "Yup. Now go get your uncle. I'm buying some cigarettes and porn."
Vivian rolled her eyes, scrunched up her nose, and went to go get her uncle.
That night, Vivian had just gotten home when the doorbell rang. It was almost 10 o'clock at night. Uncle Jay grumbled and opened the door.
"Oh, hello Cadence. Happy birthday!" Uncle Jay said happily.
Cadence mumbled something in response, but Vivian couldn't hear from her spot on the stairs.
"Vivian! Door!" Uncle Jay bellowed.
Vivian grimaced at the loud noise and approached the door. "Thanks, Uncle Jay. Hello, Cadence."
Cadence smiled at her. "Wanna come with me somewhere?"
"It's a secret."
Vivian looked questioningly at Uncle Jay, who nodded furiously. Vivian looked back at Cadence and nodded. "Sure, why not? It is your birthday."
Cadence smiled at her. "Exactly. Now let's go."
They were lying in the grass on a hill that overlooked the town. Of course. A cute little clichéd spot had to exist here. Vivian smiled to herself as she looked up at the stars.
Cadence pointed at the sky. "There's the Little Dipper."
Vivian rolled her eyes. "Thanks for pointing it out. I would've never seen that one on my own."
"Hey! Cut me some slack. I never took astronomy."
"I'm sorry to hear that. I didn't either."
"Oh. Well then, we're on the same level."
"Indeed. What did you do for your birthday?"
"I hung out with a few friends. Went out to lunch with them. Then, I had dinner with my family. And now, I'm spending some time with you."
"You have friends?"
Cadence glared at her briefly and she laughed. "Yes. Of course I do."
"Then how do you find so much time to bother me?"
"I just do. I can always find time to bother you."
Getting home at two in the morning wasn't going to work, Vivian thought as she struggled to stay awake at work. She sipped carefully on her hot coffee.
Suddenly, Cadence came bursting in and slapping his hands on the counter, making Vivian jump and Chris (who was about to check out) glare.
Vivian looked up at Cadence sleepily and curiously.
He looked angry. "You're driving me crazy!"
Vivian just gave him a strange look.
"I mean, you aren't here for very long, yet you've made my life go all weird! I've never read so many books in my life in such a short time. All because I see you reading them! And I've never come to this store as often. I've never bought so much junk food just so I have an excuse to come here! You're making me fat!" He pointed at his flat stomach. Vivian raised an eyebrow. "And I've never cared so much about looking fat before. It didn't matter, because I didn't care what people thought. But I want you to like me! I even used lip balm to make you want to kiss me more. Lip balm!" He sounded a little hysterical. Vivian gave him another strange look. "It's from Friends. You know, Joey reveals that his secret is lip balm….and never mind! But every single time I see you, I want to impress you. I want you to grab my ass again." Vivian blushed. "And I want to kiss you every second I'm with you. I want to be with you – something I never really thought I'd want. And I want you to want to be with me too."
Vivian looked at him and smiled tiredly. "Alright. Then let's be together."
Cadence looked shocked for a moment before breaking out into a huge grin. Chris was looking very angry. He dropped his stuff in the middle of the floor and stormed out.
Cadence hopped onto the counter, legs daggling on her side of the counter, and grabbed Vivian's shoulders. He pulled her close and kissed her.
Vivian was enjoying it until she yawned. Cadence looked offended for a moment. "Am I boring you?"
Vivian shook her head. "I'm just tired. Somebody kept me out pretty late last night." She glared at him.
He smiled sheepishly and kissed her lightly.
It was the night before Vivian was about to leave to go back to Washington. She was lying in the grass on a hill with Cadence. He was gripping her hand as if he was afraid to let go.
"Cadence?" She asked.
"Where are you going to college?"
"University of Washington."
Vivian sat up quickly. "Really? Why didn't you tell me earlier? Is that why you don't seem upset that I'm leaving?"
Cadence sat up with her. "You never asked. And yes, that's why I wasn't really upset that you were leaving. We'll be in the same state, at least."
"We'll only be an hour away from each other."
Cadence grinned. "Even better. I'll come to see you on weekends?"
Vivian nodded. "Yes. That sounds perfect."
Cadence kissed her nose.
Vivian wrinkled her nose. "Are you wearing lip balm?"
He grinned at her. "Why? Does it make you want to kiss me?"
And so, she kissed him. So much for South Dakota being boring.
AN: Wow. This is my longest one-shot yet. But I really like it. The title comes from the song "When You're Around" by Motion City Soundtrack. I thought it seemed fitting.
Anyway, tell me what you think, please.