BUMPER CARTS, one-shot
While most of her friends were out at the latest summer hot spot, a club, or yet another party, Becca was stacking yet another can of corn onto the growing pyramid. For the past half hour, her time had been spent slowly—and precisely—placing each cylindrical object at the correct angle, in the correct spot, at the correct time.
It was math homework all over again.
It was a necessary job—and she hated every minute of it. After dropping two cans onto her small feet, she was ready to burst. The faint sounds of shuffling feet echoed down the long stretch of aisles, as the squeaking of wheels mixed in with the sounds.
Closing her eyes, she slouched down onto the floor in hopes that time would go faster. Looking at her watch it was only 10:55 PM. Grumbling, she started throwing a can in her hands up and down, up and down. Preoccupied like a cat was to yarn, Becca simply tossed the can back and forth—ignorant to the sound of wheels coming closer towards her.
With another toss, the can flew out of her reach and within a second a loud crash echoed through the building. With the sudden crash, she could feel the vibrations of the table beside her.
Rushing back onto her feet she tried desperately to reach out in hopes of stopping what was to come. Fate had other ideas. Tripping on her untied shoelace, she fell forward—arms outstretched—quickly knocking over her perfectly designed can pyramid.
The sounds of metal falling against tile rang through the building. With no other choice but to watch her work become nothing but a pile of deformed metal, Becca screamed.
"Would you freakin' shut that mouth of yours!" The deep voice, angered her as she turned to the source of her demise.
"Why don't you, watch where you're going next time; you flippin' knocked over all my cans!" Crouching down to her knees she slowly picked up the damaged produce, cradling them within her arms.
"Well, sorry Miss-Panties-in-a-Twist, but you made me drop my nuts!"
"A jerk like you wouldn't have any to begin with…" Looking up to face the pest, her eyes widened with surprise. Hell, no. The one they deemed King of the Campus stood before her. Skyler Owens in his brown hair and green eyed glory stood before her, annoyance etched across his face.
"You have got to be kidding me…" Under his breath he murmured a few words, as he smirked. Rolling his eyes, he slowly pointed to the ground. A cart had tipped over, as a container had broken open, with brown circles escaping from the opening to roll across the ground.
"Oh, those nuts."
"Clean up, Aisle Five."
The announcement bounced off the walls, as a few customers poked their heads around the corner to glance at the mess the two had created. She blushed a deep crimson shade as she watched the peanuts roll around the grey tiled floor.
"When an announcement like that goes on, I think that means you have to clean it up…"
Lifting her head upwards she glared—her hands were formed tightly into fists by her sides. The familiar green eyes only fuelled her anger, as the devilish grin danced across his face.
"I'm getting a broom."
"Why, Cinderella isn't supposed to change back for another hour or so." He jokingly glanced at his watch, shaking the golden trinket in front of her face.
"Welcome to the Kingdom of 'Opened twenty-four hours'."
Angrily, she stomped off as her manager angrily fast-walked towards her, a broom in his hand. His face was red, his crease lines growing deeper with each step he took. "Becca, that is coming out of your paycheck! How many times must I tell you to be careful! To take care of the produce! To not be clumsy..."
Snatching the broom from his hand, she simply nodded in response. Turning around, the scowl growing fiercer, she hastily bumped into someone. The someone. "Skyler, I've had enough accidents for one day. Just call it quits."
"Ah, so the angered-one does know my name."
Rolling her eyes, she slowly started sweeping back and forth, "Who wouldn't know your name. Gosh, the whole school worships you!"
"You don't, Becca."
"Oh, so you do know your peasants," her tone was that of amusement. If he wanted to piss her off, she could play along.
"Har har, very funny. For your information my dad owns a business, he's not the King."
"Well, then I guess that means you can stop being such a royal pain in the ass." Collecting the food into a dustbin she disposed of them into the garbage bag given to her.
"I pegged you as the serious type…not some jokester." Taking the broom from her, he gently nudged her aside as he tried to accomplish her cleaning task.
"Look, it's my job to do this…give me back the broom." Reaching towards the object, he simply moved aside, not handing it over.
"Becca, you've been working a twelve hour shift. Relax a bit. Take a five minute break, it won't kill you…" Humming a tune, he continued sweeping back and forth ridding the floor of the recent mess.
"What are you doing? Stalking me?" He didn't answer.
"Skyler…just…give me the broom…" Reaching forward, she tripped on the fallen cart, falling face first towards the ground. Waiting for the hard impact, she shut her eyes—only it never came. Opening one eye, she found herself surrounded by a tight grip.
"Well, well prince charming to the rescue…" Setting her upright, Becca brushed off her shirt, releasing herself from his arms, "Thanks…I guess."
In his unguarded state, she reached for the broom. Sweeping up the final remains of the mess, she looked up only to realize he had disappeared. Then again, who was he to mingle around with the likes of her. Scoffing, she finished up the last bits of her job—and disappeared out the back door. She would face her boss another day, but for now—she needed sleep.
"Say, it's midnight now…you want a ride home?" The voice startled her. Turning around, she caught the familiar shade of green as she came face to face with Skyler.
"Uh…my house really isn't that far…" Taking another step forward, she was stopped by the sound of his voice.
"It's late. It's dark. And it would make me feel better if you got home safely…" He reached out for her arm. Clasping his fingers around her wrist, she didn't pull back.
"If I say 'yes' will you promise to let go?"
"With pleasure," Letting go, Skyler lead her to the black car sitting at the end of the lot. Getting into the car, Becca simply shut the door, put on her seat belt, and stared out the window—not willing to look at his face. Yet, that lasted only two seconds.
The sudden scent of peanuts filled the car, turning her head she found the source. A bottle of the store's specialty peanuts lay in between her and Skyler. To her surprise a ton of bottles were found perched in the backseat.
"What the he—…" Wide-eyed she stared at him, "How many times do you go to the store…?"
"A couple…I like peanuts…it's not my fault…"
"No, you don't…you hate peanuts…everyone at school knows that. You have your own section in the school newspaper, we don't get our information wrong..."
"Okay, so maybe I hate peanuts…but I can eat them occasionally…"
"Skyler…why the hell are you buying bottles of peanuts?"
"Okay…so I hate peanuts…but you always work that aisle…or near it…so…well…"
His face was becoming red with each syllable. Becca turned around, not wanting to feel the sudden change in atmosphere that was rising within the car.
"Hey, c-can you turn the AC on…it's kinda, getting stuf-fy in here…" She stumbled with her words, as she fidgeted with her hands.
"Fine. I hate peanuts, but I know I'm nuts for you…"
Silence. Silence. Silence. Silence. It's as if a hand had reached out and clicked the MUTE button of reality. What was she to say? What the heck? Didn't he say Cinderella turned back into her old self at midnight? Becca pinched herself.
Nope, this was real. The pain tingling in her arm proved her point.
"Maybe it's 'cause you have the ability to crack me up. Or maybe you make me go bananas..."
His voice was growing faint into the background, of the cars whizzing past. Swallowing the lump she felt within her throat, she shut her eyes. The produce jokes were cheesy, completely unlike him...yet there was a lot she didn't know about him. But, maybe those questions could wait. There were some things you just had to leave for another day. For another tomorrow.
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad…it was just one car ride…besides who knew what would happen to Cinderella in the morning. Smiling, she turned to look at him.
"Keep up with these cheesy lines and your banana's broken."