The Dangers Of Wal-Mart
I hate green beans, I really do. My eyes wandered on the frozen foods fridge looking for those detestable vegetables. I hated them, but I needed some for that stupid chicken recipe Mom loved so much. Why were we having chicken anyway? Why not have turkey like every other year on thanksgiving dinner? In fact, why not celebrate Thanksgiving dinner at our own house instead of going to Aunt Katherine's? Who cared about Rita's fiancée? I wanted a happy Thanksgiving with my family –not my extended family.
And there laid my problem.
"Stop avoiding them. They're right there."
A perfectly manicured finger came into my line of vision to point to a green bag that was, quite literally, right in front of my eyes. Grunting, I opened the fridge and took the bag of green beans, all the while frowning at the redhead.
"Evil things," I mumbled.
She rolled her blue eyes and pushed the cart in which I had placed the beans. I followed just because my purse was in the shopping cart.
"You're just way too dramatic about this whole thing, Lor," my friend said as she grabbed the frozen corn from the fridge.
I loved corn.
"Whatever. I just don't wanna go to this thing, Bree. Specially not when it's your mom who's hosting it. Couldn't we just have coffee with this dude, whoever he is, instead of holding a Thanksgiving celebration for him? " I sulked and she nodded.
But, of course, Bridget would side with me on that. Despite the fact that she was a green bean lover and hated cats, there were not many things that we disagreed on. Aunt Katherine, Bree's Mom –or Stepmom, may I say-, and family reunions were some of those things that required shared misery. Sadly, Bree's way of being miserable consisted of watching chick-flicks at night, while mine was telling the world how pitiful I was.
"Well, I don't want to do this either –you know I always feel like the main attraction at the circus whenever your family gets together. But it's just one night and definitely not the beans' fault."
I sulked. I wasn't so sure about that last part –my life would definitely be a lot better without green beans.
We turned to the fresh vegetable section and almost crashed into another cart. Never again was I coming to Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving, independently on how much Mom pleaded.
"What was that other thing we needed?" I asked, absentmindedly looking for the shopping list Mom had given me and trying to keep my long black hair out of the way.
"Tomatoes," Bree said as she stopped the cart and walked toward the tomatoes with all the grace of the ballerina she was.
Why did I associate with these people? If I were anybody else, my self-esteem would be in great danger. A full minute later I finally found the little pink paper I was looking for –the only thing left were strawberries. I just hoped it hadn't been decided that the chicken should be stuffed with strawberries; something like that could happen in my family.
Sighing like I had been doing the whole afternoon, I went to the fruit section while Bree worried about what tomatoes were the best. I, on the other hand, grabbed whatever pack of strawberries my hand happened to touch and brought it to the cart. I was far less type A.
"I'm growing roots here," I said and was firmly ignored.
I would have felt almost hurt if it wasn't because right then I my eye caught a group of three guys who were, apparently, laughing like idiots and pointing at Bree and I. One of them, the oldest, looked barely familiar, but I couldn't find a good reason why I would know any of them. Creepers. Decidedly, I frowned at them when I saw the youngest one walking in our direction and turned to see my redheaded friend come with a bag full of the reddest tomatoes I had ever seen.
"You look like a raisin," she said smiling, probably referring to my face.
I shook my head. "Wal-Mart is filled with morons. Let's just go."
She nodded, but before I could even start pushing the cart Bree's high-pitched screech almost gave me to have a seizure.
"I love that song!"
I looked at her scared. How could she be so easily excitable? As blood started to go to all the right places, I tried to listen to whatever was playing –and failed miserably in understanding it. It was a song in Spanish I had heard her sing many times, and still didn't like. Something about the rhythm of –what was it that Bree had called it?– Salsa music didn't go well with me.
"Salsa is so annoying," I mumbled as I pushed the cart forward. But Bree didn't pay much attention to me. She had a knack of tuning me out.
"You're just a prune," she stated sing-a-song-ingly.
My mouth instantly open to shoot a retort I still hadn't thought, but it had to wait when I realized that a person was standing right in front of my way. I stopped suddenly. What's wrong with people these days?
I lifted my gaze and stared at whomever I had almost killed. It was one of the guys I had noticed before.
"Hey," he said.
I frowned at his handsome face –not that it affected me– and held his hazel gaze firmly with my blue eyes. I heard Bree clear her throat.
"Sorry," I offered, even though I wasn't sorry at all, and maneuvered the cart to go around him since the idiot didn't seem to have an intention to move.
"Wow, wait," he said just as I passed him and started to walk next to me.
So he was a stalker. Great.
"Do we know you?" Bree asked sweetly using the voice she had reserved for cute strangers. Was she flirting – I wanted to kill her.
"No, I don't think so," he said, still following us. Then, I saw a flash of white teeth and had to look at him. "Wanna dance with me?"
I gaped. Yes, I said gaped. Was I the only one who seemed something strange going on here?
"No," I managed to blurt out in between blushing and wanting to run away. I heard Bree giggle in the background.
Flustered, I looked emphatically to the front and wished for this random person to go away. And I almost thought my wish had been granted when he disappeared from my peripheral vision, but next thing I knew someone was grabbing me from the waist and pushing me against a body.
"But a really wanna dance with you," I heard the guy whisper in that moment when I was still trying to gather myself.
"Let me go!" I squealed uncharacteristically.
His smile widened some more before pushing me a little closer and starting to move. There was something very strange and warm about the way he moved his body and took me with him, like the hot wave of a campfire. I didn't even noticed until some seconds later that he – and I, although unwillingly – were dancing to the song that was playing. The song I hated so much.
"How can you not like this song," I heard him say, bringing me to my senses.
Suddenly, I realized that I was at Wal-Mart, dancing-slash-making a baby with a perfect stranger in front of a friend who was incapable of doing anything but grinning like an idiot. I almost wished it all had stayed as a blur.
Annoyed, I looked piercingly into the guy's pretty hazel eyes, trying with all my will to stop moving.
"If you don't let me go, I swear you won't be able to have babies."
He stopped the dancing, still holding me against him, and blinked a couple of times. I didn't know if it was out of fear or amusement –although it seemed to tilt toward the latter. Vaguely, I heard the song end and his smile returned.
"Pleasure to dance with you," he said charmingly as he released me.
I wanted to slap him almost as much as I hated green beans. Almost. But I proceeded to stare him down.
"You're a great dancer!" I heard Bree said when she finally came over to us.
A flash of something very similar to pride went through the guy's eyes before he turned to look at Bree. "Thanks," he said, and smiled dazzlingly.
Did he have to smile that much?
He and Bree had this weird conversation by just looking at each other; and by the end of it, they both seemed like they were hiding something. Apparently, I was the only one who was not going to be let into this secret.
"I'm Bridget," she said happily. "And this is my friend-slash-cousin Lorraine."
"And we have to go now," I said walking back toward the long forgotten shopping cart. My purse was in it, of course.
I didn't know quite were my mind was at the moment, or if it was coming back, but I was feeling a lot more hot headed than I usually was. I wasn't so sure that was a good thing.
"Geez, Lor," I saw Bree come trotting next to me to keep up with my pace. "You could have at least said hi to Adam."
We were in a first name basis now?
"Thanks but no thanks. That guy was weird."
And she laughed as we turned to pay for the groceries. Being normal was so hard around here.
A couple of screams, little steps stumping everywhere, and a myriad of voices blending today to form just overall noise. That was all I could discern as I sat on the leather couch in the living room, sipping quietly from a glass of Dr. Pepper.
The place looked like a barn.
"Smile a little more, Lorraine. You look like you're about to vomit." I lifted my gaze up to see Aunt Barbara grinning down at me from her chubby face and red, red lips.
"I'm just feeling a little sick, Aunt Babs," I said. And as I looked at her awful attire I realized my little white lie was about to become true.
"Oh, nonsense, darling. Nobody feels sick during Thanksgiving," she giggled out and went away.
I smiled at a couple of people who walked by and said hi –I think they might have been some aunt or uncle or something like that. My family was so complicated. I scanned the room and saw Mom talking to Uncle Peter, her brother, and Bree, who was standing close to her and talking to some tall man that I couldn't quite place. However, not recognizing somebody around here was the rule, not the exception. Truly, this whole having to fake being happy was exhausting me. I just wanted to go home and eat turkey.
Bored, I stood up and got rid of some invisible wrinkles in my red dress before heading toward the little balcony of the house. I patted myself in the back when the cool breeze hit me and the silence of the night almost subdued the busy noise from inside.
"Sweet peace," I whispered.
Really, I just wanted to go back to my own house and curl up in my bed while reading some book –maybe Sense and Sensibility. But I couldn't. Because some idiot had long ago decided to come up with the term "family duty" which now was code for "forced misery". And while a rebellion was organized, I was stuck in this joke of a Thanksgiving.
I turned and looked back at the mayhem of people when I thought I had almost heard Bree shouting my name. Although I may have very well been Aunt Katherine announcing that more food was on its way. In any case, I dismissed it and turned back to gaze of the night sky full of stars and one or two fireflies that blended in.
"Aren't you cold in that little thing you're wearing?"
I gasped, startled, and turned round to look at whichever family member was talking to me. Only that he was definitely not a family member.
"What –?" I started and soon found myself very incapable of doing anything besides gawking.
The light brown hair, the cheeky smile, and those stupid hazel eyes were the same one I had seen at Wal-Mart. Adam. I slapped myself out of the trance I had suddenly gone into when I saw him walking toward me and reclining against the balcony balustrade like he owned the place.
"Pretty night, huh?" He commented off handedly.
He was not trying to talk about the weather.
"Excuse me? What are you doing here?" I asked, finally finding my (mad) voice again.
"Didn't your friend tell you?" he asked, looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I frowned. He smirked. "I'm your newly appointed stalker."
I blinked a couple of times, processing what he had said, and didn't know if I should laugh or scream or both. Something told me that freaking out would have been more appropriate, but I couldn't bring myself to that –maybe it was because this was the most exciting thing that had happened the whole night.
"Really?" I said skeptically, seizing him up from his black shoes to the tips of his dirty blond hair. "Weird. The last one was much better looking."
Well, that caught his attention. I smiled internally as he turned to look at me face on, now lying against the balustrade sideways.
"Interesting. That's not what your Mom said," he arrogantly said raising one of his eyebrows.
I blushed only a little –mainly because it was very possible that Mom had babbled to him about my last boyfriend, who she really, really, didn't like.
"All a matter of taste," I said, trying to stay put. "So, why are you really here."
He pointed at the conglomeration of people that were inside the house. "I came with him."
Well, that was helpful.
"Oh, it's totally clear to me now," I said sarcastically. Getting closer than was necessary, Adam took my hand and pointed my finger that the guy he was referring to, the one that had been talking to Bree.
In the back of my mind, I recognized him as one of the guys from Wal-Mart –or maybe he was the guy who picked up empty cans around the corner of my house. At the present moment, my mind wasn't working correctly.
This Adam person had serious personal space issues.
"That's my brother," he whispered into my ear because letting my hand go and taking one step back. "My other brother is around somewhere."
I clear my throat. "That doesn't explain why you're here."
"Rob invited us. Something about us meeting his fiancée's family."
"Robert? Robert Patrick? Rita's boyfriend?" I was pretty sure I sounded quite stupid right now.
"Yeah," he said, not the least bit affected by my bewilderment.
And as I tried to connect this two dots, Robert, the man that had made my Thanksgiving miserable, walked pass Bree with my third cousin Rita hanging from his arm and I recognized him as the third guy at Wal-Mart.
I stared at Adam while everything started to click into place. Only once piece of the puzzle was missing.
"Why –why did you come to us earlier at Wal-Mart?"
I felt like disintegrating even before he answered.
"Rob pointed you guys out to us while he paid for some stuff," he smirked. "So I decided to go introduced myself."
"Then why didn't you freaking do so!" I screech almost as high as Bree would have, but not quite.
He shrugged. "I don't know. I hear you saying how you didn't like Salsa and all of that, and I kinda liked you."
He kind of liked me? What type of excuse was that?
"Dang it. You're such an idiot."
He laughed, loudly and happily. "Do you respond like that to all guys that like you?"
I frowned; it seemed like I was developing a habit of doing that whenever he was around. I saw him lean a little closer for no reason at all and panicked. My poor introvertedness had been scarred enough for one day.
"Only to those who do stupid things like making me dance at Wal-Mart before they even know my name and then say it was because they liked me, which, by the way, it's kinda cheesy–"
Before I could continue ranting, which I would have, he pushed me against him and, in a blur of movements I couldn't quite understand, put one of his earphone in my ear and started to swirl me around.
"Do you know how to Waltz?" He asked, the epitome of charming.
"Would you mind having a serious conversation? And what up with all this dancing of yours?" I retorted as the soft notes of the Waltz filled my head.
"It's called body language," he said, pulling me a lot closer than Waltz required. "This is not dancing. It's communication."
I looked at him amused, momentarily forgetting that I was supposed to be venting. "And you really think it's working?"
He looked right into my blue eyes. "I don't know. You tell me."
We twirled one more time and I followed him in the steps, trying not to crush his feet with my heels. Although he would very well deserve it. After a few minutes of dancing, I heard him talk again.
"Don't you love Thanksgiving?"
I pouted. "Not really. Specially not big, loud ones like this one."
He laughed again and I almost tripped when he made me do what, for me, was a very sharp turn.
"There you are, Adam," a voice from the balcony doors said and we both turned to see Rob's less-than-handsome self coming from inside.
He looked very out of place without Rita gripping his arm.
"Way to interrupt, dude," Adam said, his arms still around my body.
"Yeah, well, harassing is illegal, you know," Rob said pointedly looking at how close Adam and I were. I was officially embarrassed. "Mrs. Katherine says the main dish is almost ready; she wants us all in a seated."
Adam and I nodded almost in unison and Rob left, not before shooting Adam a look I couldn't quite decipher. By the time the little ordeal ended the song had already changed to some rock that I didn't recognize but liked all the same.
"I guess we better go in now," I said, dreading the idea.
I took Adam's earphone off and gave it to him. He smiled and right when he had let go off me, he felt his arm wrap around my shoulders.
"So, where sitting together, right?"
I looked up at him, his hazel eyes mischievous. The likelihood that Bree would want to sit with that dude she had been talking to, Adam's brother, was just as high as Mount Everest –meaning that my only other option was sitting with my Mom and listen to her go on and on about how wonderful Thanksgiving was and how we should come to Aunt Katherine's every year.
So I smiled at Adam. "But you're eating my green beans."
He smiled back and nodded.
So, maybe I kinda liked him too.
N/A: Why am I so strange? I don't know either :p Before anybody goes and sues me for plagiarism, this story was inspired by Challenge #6 "You Know You Wanna Dance" from the SKOW page :D Sadly, I couldn't include all of the requirements because I'm submitting this to my Creating Writing professor for our portfolio and, well, it's all about showing him what he wants, really.
WHICH brings me to this: guys, I NEED opinions. I'm turning this in tomorrow at 2 and if you think there is something totally terrible, please tell me. However, I haven't gone through and proofread it thoroughly because I have to go study for my other finals lol So, don't slaughter me with the grammar, this is a I'm Sorry in advance.
Anyway, as always, would love to hear what you think
Cookies and Ice Cream,