I glanced down at my list, mumbling under my breath as I read over my groceries.
Eggs (all three for Mom's cookies)
Tampons (for Chloe)
Pads (for Nikki)
5 lb. sugar
Toothpaste (Dad's fav. flavor!)
Belated B-day card (for Aunt Janice's 43th)
Puppy Chow (for Snuggles)
"Milk, butter, eggs and sugar, all check." I dug through my purse for my trusty grocery shopping pen and after grunting and groping for a minute, retrieved it, smiling proudly. "A-hah!" It was a small victory, of course, but I'll take what I can get. My black ink pen slid across the yellow post it that was stuck to my left hand, and I smiled victoriously. I was just that much closer to getting to check out.
The pen I retrieved was one of my favorites mainly because it worked, not because it was pretty or anything. I nabbed it the last time we stayed at a hotel when we went on vacation, a few weeks ago. No matter how awful a hotel is, their pens are always fabulous, make sure you remember that. The Holiday Inn's are particularly splendid, I've found, if you were wondering where to get yours.
I strolled down the dreaded aisle 14A, in search of my two younger sister's feminine products. Chloe and Nikki were twins- one used tampons, one used pads. I really didn't see what the big deal was with either one. I just reached under the sink, and whichever I pulled out first was the one I used. But shh! don't tell the twins I said that.
Aisle 14A wasn't that bad, I suppose. I certainly wasn't one of those woman that are terrified of being seen buying tampons, by any means. I also wasn't one of those women that got their boyfriends or dads to buy their tampons. That was just a little bit freaky. My father, as I'm sure just about any other normal father in America... scratch that, the world, just can't find pleasure in things like tampons or their little princesses becoming all grown up, just like they don't enjoy giving their children the sex talk in junior high.
I had done this routine every thursday since I had gotten my license, nearly five years ago. It was one of my mother's brilliant ideas, because she felt like me doing the grocery shopping for her really brought the family together somehow... Hey, I never said we were a normal family. My mother was a great cook, a wonderful house keeper, and none of us kids ever had chores to do. I suppose me doing the shopping once a week was a good enough contribution.
I gave my shopping cart a push, as I glanced towards the shelf, just long enough to recognize the packages that the twins used. After grabbing a box of tampons for Nikki, and a package thing of pads for Chloe, I tossed them in the blue shopping cart, and looked down once again at my list.
"Alright," I muttered to myself. "What's left?"
5 lbs. sugar
Toothpaste (Dad's fav. flavor!)
Belated B-day card (for Aunt Janice's 43th)
Puppy Chow (for Snuggles)
I was still glancing down at my list when I gave the shopping cart a shove with my right hip, to push it down the remaining part of the aisle, and I heard an "Oomph." I looked up and my jaw nearly dropped. My cart (I promise you the thing has a mind of its' own!) went flying, apparently, into a gorgeous looking boy that was restocking one of the lower shelves, and hit him right as he was standing up. The "Oomph" would be from when it knocked the wind out of him, and sent him into one side of the aisle, and when he managed to regain his balance, he still looked startled.
"Oh my goodness," I gasped, dropping my lucky grocery shopping pen and my list, and rushed over to him. I helped him off of the shelf he thumped down on, and was amazed at his height when he reached his full level. "I'm so, so sorry." I said pathetically. "Are you alright?"
Quick question--- why on earth did I not see such a gorgeous creature in my presence?
"Yeah," He assured me, shacking himself off. "Sorry, I should've seen that coming. I think it's like karma or something. I should've seen that coming."
My right eyebrow raised slightly and I cocked my head to the side. I looked up to his gorgeous face and smiled slightly. "How...?"
He raised his hands, as if pointing around the aisle. Infamous Aisle 14A, I will never forget you after this day. "Because, I'm a guy.. on a chick aisle." He over dramatically shivered. "It just doesn't flow."
I snorted, in my ever so ladylike manner, and grinned wider. "True, true." He grinned back down at me, and I noticed for the first time how his ocean blue eyes twinkled down at me. He had amazingly long, straight chocolate brown hair that hung into his eyes that he had to flip away, as to see me. It looked like it wasn't one of those things just to be in style, just one of those teenage guy kind of things. He had dimples when he smiled really wide, and I noticed his bottom teeth weren't completely straight, almost like he'd had braces, but rebelled against the retainer after a while.
...Don't ask how I know that.
"I'm Laurie." I offered, taking a step back and sticking my small, pale hand out to shake his larger one. My strawberry blonde hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail that trailed down my back because I washed it this morning.
"Noah," He replied. "Nice to meet you."
I blushed, and nodded. "You too.. I think I've seen you around here before."
I think? Uh no. I know I've seen him around here before. The boy was absolutely gorgeous and I made a point every week to get a peek at him, after making a bet with myself when he'd cut his hair. So far it'd been nearly eight months and there was no sign of it disappearing. It was shiny, and smooth, like he took good care of it. I could appreciate that, because it didn't make him look like a metrosexual guy or a homosexual... just like he happened to buy a good shampoo. Knowing all of the men I knew, it was probably a deal.
He laughed. "Yeah, you probably have. I've been working here for as long as I can remember." He shrugged. "I was working for a car for myself for my eighteenth birthday, then after I got it I needed to keep the job to pay for gas."
I crossed my fingers behind my back and hesitated before asking, "What car?"
"I rebuilt a Chevorlet Camaro." His eyes were twinkling more now, as my ears perked up at this. "Well, not from scratch, by any means.. But I fixed it up."
"What year?" I asked slowly.
He grinned. "1987." I bit my lip, remembering what that particular year looked like, and he prompted me. "Have you seen Sixteen Candles, that movie from the eighties? The red car at the end of the movie? That looks like mine, except mine's black."
I rolled my eyes. "I know what it looks like, it just took me a minute."
"Uhhuh, sure." He smirked good heartedly, and I laughed.
As if we'd instantly run out of things to say to one another, the conversation died, and an uncomfortable silence over took us.
...That is until some old lady needed him to help her find her size of Depends.
He looked totally embarrased, and I laughed, telling him that I'd see him later and apologized again for running into him. I rounded the corner away from him with record speed, my face flushing an awful tomatoe color, and I made my way to the sugar aisle. Thankfully, it was close to the toothpaste aisle, and I snatched them and hauled buns to make it out of the store as fast as possible.
He was embarrased about his job, no doubt, and I was embarrased for him. I decided it would be best for us to not see each other the remainder of my time in the store, so the next time I see him we could just act like we both forgot what happened. I grabbed a card for Aunt Janice without reading it and almost managed to forget Snuggle's puppy chow when thought I heard Noah's voice nearby. My hands felt clammy and I flew towards the registers, hoping, desperately hoping, that I'd be able to salvage this visit to the grocery store enough that I wouldn't be too embarrased to ever shop here again.
Not only had he seen me picking out tampons and pads for my kid sisters, I'd witnessed some old lady asking him where adult diapers were. Don't tell me I'm over reacting. I know I'm over reacting. But this is my grocery store. This is the place where I shop. Noah is the boy that I get too stare at from a distance and dream about having. If I ruin that dream then I will ruin the only reason why I don't hate coming at all. I can't do that to myself.
"$45.63 is your total. Cash or charge?" The cashier asked. She was an older lady, I suppose, probably in her mid sixties with wavy chin length silver gray hair. Small wrinkles appeared occasionally as she spoke, but I thought it was kind of attractive in an odd way.
"Charge." I replied, and slid my piece of plastic through the machine. It was approved after a moment, and a receipt began printing out. I glanced over at the bag boy bagging up my groceries in brown paper bags, and returning them to their place in the cart. "Thank you," I said softly, like I always did. I scribbled my signature across the slick piece of paper, and held my hand out for the receipt I got to keep.
It dropped in my hand, and I stuffed it into my purse as I turned to walk away. "Have a nice day, ma'am." She called to me as I left.
"You too!" I called over my shoulder. I glanced behind me as I got to the sliding glass doors when I heard my name called, but I was determined to get out of there without another Noah encounter. Way too embarrasing for my taste.
"Laurie!" I heard again. I gave the cart a shove towards my car, and jogged at a good pace behind it. I hit the unlock button and swung open the bag door, and Noah managed to catch up to me.
"You-you're pretty." He stuttered out. It had been a pretty long sprint for him, I realized, and allowed him a second to catch his breath. "Has anyone ever told you that?"
I scrunched up my nose, which was dotted with light brown freckles and laughed softly. "Um, you're the first."
"I've seen you every Thursday for almost five years. Did you know that?" He said after a minute. "I've seen you looking at me, I mean."
I blushed uncomfortably again. Well, so much for no more awkward moments. "I-I don't know what you're talking about."
He nodded. "And I think it's horrible karma that I've looked at you for that long too and it took the tampon aisle to get us to finally talk."
I frowned. "I'm sorry."
"N-no, no, don't be." He stuttered out again. It was a cute stutter. Not a natural one, by any means. But a terribly nervous one. "Do you.. want to go out sometime?"
I glanced around. "You're kidding, right?"
"Um, no.. Should I be?" He glanced around, similar to me.
"I hope not." I replied.
"Good," He grinned again, and leaned down to peck my cheek. He pulled out my trusty grocery shopping pen and the post it that I managed to drop when I saw the cart hit him, and wrote a number on the back of it. "That's my cell, call me when you're free, okay?"
I smiled up at him. "I definitely will." He smiled wider, which in turn made me smile wider, and then blush. "Expect a call from me tonight, around seven.. Because I can't appear too desperate, you know."
He chuckled. "I completely understand. I'll hope for your call around seven then."
With that, he wordlessly unloaded my groceries into my car for me, pushed my cart to the nearest curb, and told me he'd talk to me later. I'd have to say, though, that it was partially thanks to the stutter that helped him get that date with me. His amazing looks had absolutely nothing to do with it.