She was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. He met her during the most embarrassing moment of his life. Oh, god.
I grumbled to myself, looking for a space at the car park outside of the grocery store.
I lived in a medium sized town. It wasn't one of those towns where everyone knew everyone, but it was close enough.
This store seemed to think that because of the town's size, they didn't need a proper car park. There must have been about ten cars, at maximum, and yet I was forced to squeeze into a corner.
The grocery market was long and thin, looking as if three small convenience stores had been pushed together. It stood at the corner of two streets, it's car park a small sliver of land in front.
Close to directly overhead the store was a small overpass- the highway leading out of the town of Linden and to the great wide world, where I'm sure four overbearing sisters wouldn't be able to find me.
The dark green storefront, and white lettering reading 'Dinello's Market' stood out against the gray of the surrounding concrete.
I'd never been to this grocery store before, it being on the other side of town and I was quite happy that I didn't normall have to deal with such a ridiculous set-up.
When my sisters had kicked me out of the house, I'd driven as far away as I could without actually leaving town. This meant I was only about twenty minutes, at most, away from home but any distance was good distance.
Why did my sisters kick me out? Simple… it was that time of the month.
I was the only male in a house of five females, and unfortunately for me, their… womanly times… seemed to coincide.
I was only too happy to leave.
Even though I was literally strong armed out the door, I went quite willing. Having random objects thrown at you isn't a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.
It really wasn't my fault anyway. They shouldn't have taken offense so easily.
I'd only told them that Jake Gyllenhaal was a douche.
It's a fact many women must face eventually.
Then about ten minutes ago, I'd answered my phone to the lovely sound of my eldest sister, Theresa, screaming at me.
I think it went something a long the lines of, "Jacob! You're going to the store. NOW!"
All I could do was groan as she gave me a list of things to pick up. By the time she was done the list was mammoth sized, and I was surprised she had enough breath to yell out an additional, "And you better have your ass back here in fifteen minutes!" before I heard dial tone.
I could feel the love.
So there I was, an 18 year old, self-assured and experienced male, standing in the middle of a store aisle and blushing.
I had a cart with me, already full of items for my sisters. Chocolate, ice cream, chips, midol, Cosmo, Glamour, a trashy romance novel, tea and a hot water bottle. The list goes on.
This is what I'd been staring at for the last five minutes and I refused to even look up at the last item just yet.
Oh god, I wouldn't even be here if they hadn't threatened to lock me out.
I took a deep breath and lifted my head.
My face heated up again.
There on one of the highest shelves sat a row of the thing I'd been dreading.
Colors upon colors, all shapes and sizes, many different names and types.
All of which I didn't understand.
All of which I didn't care about. Just as long as I got through this.
Before I could back down, I stuck my arm out as a fast as I could, grabbing one of the boxes of… womanly products.
Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god.
I'd moved a little too fast, I think, because the whole row of boxes and some of the items below rained down on me.
It all lay in a pile around my feet.
A worker stood at the end of the aisle, adding price stickers to all the products. A couple stood nearby both looking at the label on a box, a cart of things before them. Across from me was a man inspecting different prices, basket hung over his arm.
Oh god, save me.
I was too mortified to even blush.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see the other customers watching, growing smiles on their faces. The employee laughing into a black walkie-talkie, the labeller dropped next to his feet.
Oh, he just brought the icing on the fucking cake.
"Clean up on aisle six. Clean up on aisle six." Rang out over the entire store in a scratchy and annoying voice.
By that time, the people at the end of the aisle were laughing and their laughter was attracting even more people.
Did these people not have anything better to do?
And remember what I said about being too embarrassed to blush? Take that and toss it out right out the fucking window.
Blushing was the only thing I could do when I saw her.
At least a foot shorter than my 6'2" frame and the body of an athlete obvious even under her green and beige uniform. Dark, but delicate features that contrasted my light ones. Her hair was a shoulder-length rich caramel color, with eyes and skin to match.
I suppose she must go to a school somewhere in this part, because I'd never seen her before, and I certainly would have remembered if I had.
To the say the least, she was hot.
To say the most, she was definitely the most beautiful girl I'd ever come across.
Unfortunately, this was all ruined by the amused smile she was trying to hide and the barely visible shaking of her shoulders.
I cringed and immediately my eyes were on the floor.
Not a good idea.
The boxes lying at my feet just reminded me of it all over again.
"Did… did you need help?"
Beautiful voice, I thought, too bad it's laughing at me.
She'd stopped a few feet away from me, and from this distance I could see the rich caramel of her eyes was more like a warm gold lined in brown.
There was an awkward silence where we just stared at each other. Well, where I just stared at her, taking in her features up close.
She stood there looking amused throughout this pause.
It took me a minute to remember that she'd asked a question.
"Err... I'm just doing shopping for my mom and sisters. I have four sisters. I'm the only boy, you see. They all need one thing or another. I'm here to get it for them or else they'll lock me out but everything just sort of fell. And these people started laughing… it all just fell…"
I nearly hit myself.
Oh god, I thought I'd stopped the rambling thing when I hit fifteen.
This time she really did smile, and I couldn't help but return it. Ignoring the boxes on the floor, the laughing customers and my permanently red face, of course.
I guess she was trying to be polite, because her shoulders stopped shaking, her smiling turning from amused to encouraging, "I wish my brother would do that for me."
I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
She stooped down and started picking up the mess of boxes, talking as she did so,
"Don't mind Steve," I assumed she meant the employee with the two way radio, the one who'd been leading the laughcapades, "He's got nothing better to do."
I just nodded.
My attention wasn't on Steve the walkie-talkie guy, but on how her hair shone nicely in the light even though they were the horribly harsh fluorescent ones.
I probably should have been focusing more, because when I bent down to help her I hit her shoulder and just missed bumping heads with her.
She threw her hair behind her shoulder as she stood, laughing out loud this time. I didn't even bother to hide my embarrassment, I just groaned it out.
She laughed harder at that.
At least there were no spectators to my latest embarrassment. Steve the walkie-talkie guy seemed to have herded off his sheep.
I took a moment to calm myself as she bent and began restocking the shelves.
Once I knew my blush had- temporarily, I'm sure- disappeared and I didn't look half as flustered as I felt, I bent and began helping.
It's my duty as a good customer to help clean up.
The first few seconds of conversation were stilted and awkward. I was pretty sure she was still trying not to laugh.
I glanced down to her shirt innocently- to check for a nametag.
I swore internally at my luck. She must not work in front often, I thought, Or maybe she forgot it.
When she asked about my sisters though, I quickly asked her name.
I wanted to steer clear of anything that happened within the last hour.
She didn't comment on the change of subject and only smiled when she said, "Sheila."
"So, umm.. I haven't really seen you before.." I paused, "And you know, it's not really a big town...so..so that's weird."
Uhhh, no it isn't. I don't know over half of this town.
I hurried on, "What school do you go to? I mean, you know, since I've never seen you before."
Oh god, it just keeps getting worse.
What the hell is wrong with me today?
Her smile widened, and she looked up at me from picking up more boxes, "Edenbrook."
Never heard of it.
"You must not be from this neighborhood then."
"It's around the corner."
I could feel my phone vibrating in my pocket, signalling that I've gotten a text.
Probably one of my sisters.
I ignored it.
I had noticed that the boxes began to dwindle, the two of us working together causing the time to go quickly. I found myself actually wish I had knocked down more.
I strained to keep the conversation going, "So how long have you been working here?"
I refused to hit myself in the forehead, even though it was hard to resist.
God, I sure know how to win them over. That's a sure fire way to get a date.
I was so busying beating down by internal pessimist that I almost missed her answer, and I think she realized that I'd gone off for a minute there because she chuckled quietly and touched my arm to get my attention.
"A year. It's not great, but Tommy Dinello pays well for such a small store."
The conversation continued, and I faked an interest in the store, acting as if I needed a job though she already knew I lived across town.
I spent most of the conversation trying to read her. She talked animatedly, waving her hands and shifting her hair a lot, describing to me how her brother- her twin- originally worked here but ended up getting fired.
Something about popping candy, waterbottles and plastic bags.
No matter what, I just couldn't tell if she was flirting or not. She had a way of making what normally are flirty gestures seem completely innocent and polite.
As she stocked the last box- something I'd stop a few minutes ago to watch her talk- I worked up the nerve to take the plunge and get an answer to my wonderings when my phone rang shrilly.
I jerked it out of my pocket, opening it to hear my sister's voice overtake the phone.
"IT'S BEEN THIRTY MINUTES! We're not exactly getting any younger, Jacob! Would you like to sleep on the porch? Get your ass home!"
I prayed Sheila didn't hear my crazy sister.
I didn't want her getting the wrong idea.
It wasn't a genetic thing, I swear it, more like a girl thing.
When I hung up, Sheila was laughing and I cringed, telling her I needed to go.
I stood at the check out, waiting for the girl there to ring everything through and watching a customer argue with a young cashier at the next check out over.
Someone tossed a box onto the melting ice cream and when I looked at it, I saw it was that dreaded box.
The person who put it there was a smiling Sheila, "You forgot your tampons."
The cashier gave me a funny look.
I ignored it and muttered a thanks, and when she walked away she turned and gave me a wink, "Next time you need help, just ask for me."
"Manager needed at cash four. Manager needed at cash four."
Suddenly that scratchy voice didn't seem as annoying.
When I got home, I handed the bags to my crazy sisters. Janie pulled out that damn box, but I don't think she looked too happy.
Then I knew she wasn't too happy when the corner box hit my nose after she threw it at me.
"Wrong kind, go back." It was said with angry eyes and gritted teeth.
I think I surprised her when I turned and left, grinning.
I got tired of embarrassing things always happening only to girls, in stories.
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