I stared at the question on the paper in front of me. Why did a teacher need to know if their students had jobs, anyway? Seriously, that just strengthens my idea that teachers, when off the clock, like to stalk their students…or find ways to humiliate them. Yeah, the later was so totally the reason I was hesitating at putting down my current occupation. Mr. Kline, the teacher I was filling the list of questions out for, hated me and would find anyway possible to make my life a living hell.
See, typically, I'd lie and say that I have never, ever had a job, but Mr. Kline has ways to sniff out lies and half-truths in a way that makes me know, without a doubt, he's a mind reader. Therefore, putting down any answer but the truth, would leave me dead.
And being dead was so not high on my list of priories.
With dread, I haltingly wrote out my answer, cringing. A fortune-teller/waitress at Madame Stella's, a restaurant that I liked to say had character. Uh, very unique character…and Madame Stella, or just Stella, was even more inimitable than the restaurant. She was a self-proclaimed psychic who had basically dragged me kicking and screaming into her establishment and told me that I was a waitress there, and would continue being so until she dismissed me. Yeah, I just kind of went along with it…one, because I don't like getting into fist fights with crazy old ladies, and two, I really needed a job. My dad was a worthless son-of-a-bitch that didn't work, and expected me to bring home the cash. My mom…she ran off ten years ago, when I was six. Old enough to remember her well, old enough to hate her, yet still naïve enough to love her. I despised myself for feeling anything toward her…she knew what Dad did to me, yet she still left.
Ugh, anyway…the Madame said, when I asked her, that she'd 'chosen' me to work for her because I had 'The Gift'. I just nodded like I so totally knew what she was saying, not wanting to offend her by asking what the fuck she was talking about. If I had 'The Gift,' then I had yet to see it. But that didn't stop Stella from making me sit in a tiny booth and tell bogus fortunes for $3.50, while pulling shifts as a waitress too.
"Miss Gryphon, your answer sheet please," asked a cold voice that had me frozen. Mr. Kline. Reluctantly, I handed him the paper, looking up as he skimmed over it…when his mouth quirked at the edges, I knew I was in trouble.
"Why, Jade, I never knew you had a job?" he exclaimed and I sunk down into my seat, trying desperately to disappear as everyone in the class turned to look at me. Ugh, I hate attention. Quickly, I shifted my golden blonde hair to cover my face, putting a barrier between me…and them.
"And it sounds so interesting too…won't you tell us a little bit about it? Being a fortune-teller/waitress must be exceptionally interesting," laughter erupted all around me and my face flushed several shades of red, before finally settling on one color.
"No, that's not interesting at all," a voice said darkly, somewhere behind me, "I have an aunt who used to work in clown-themed bar. She was a juggling stripper."
Everyone got silent, and I glanced up, trying to pinpoint the talker. A guy that I'd never noticed before caught my gaze and held it. His hair was strikingly black, styled in way that made its slightly shaggy length look jagged. He was dressed in black t-shirt that clung to his well-muscled chest and extremely dark washed jeans, even while sitting down you could tell that he was tall.
"Yeah, your jobs not interesting at all," the guy I was staring at said, his lips quirked into a side ways grin. and I looked away, face burning anew. The bell rang just in time to prevent even more awkward conversation about jobs and how interesting they were. Thank god…
English, Mr. Kline's class, was my last class for the day. Even after a month of his shitty attitude, I couldn't get over my love for the class. English was just so…yeah, I can't describe it in a way that didn't sound stupid, even to me. Still, I was happy to leave and get my ass over to my job. I didn't have the money for a car, and I was too flipping proud to take the bus, so I walked the two miles everyday. Being the crazy, screwed up person that I am, I enjoyed the exercise. There was something about breathing in the fresh air that put me on a perpetual high.
That high would come to an end as soon as someone talked to me, though. That usually didn't bother me, considering no one ever talked to me, but today just wasn't my day.
"Hey," someone said beside me, and I ignored them, figuring they were talking to someone else. "Hello…" again I didn't say anything. "Hey, are you deaf or something?" a hand made its way across my vision and I blanched. Okay, maybe they were talking to me. I peeked at them and immediately looked away. It was some guy that I kind of recognized from English. Someone that I really, really didn't want to talk to. Shrugging my book-bag into a more comfortable position on my shoulder, I sped up.
"Wait, I just had a question for you!" he shouted and grabbed hold of my arm, causing me jerk. I have major issues with people touching me. It's just habit, not anything personal…well, maybe it is personal but I don't like for people to take it that way, so I muttered a not-so-sorry, sorry and started walking away from the dude.
"Can you just stay still for a moment?" he said, exasperated. His eyes darted over to a group of people that were watching us and my temper flared. I was not entertainment, and I didn't appreciate people using me for their enjoyment. The guy grabbed my arm and looked down at me, a smirk taking up residence on his stupid face. A scowl was forming on my own lips.
"What does the future have to say about me and you having a little rendezvous in the back of my car?" his smirk deepened and anger took over my usually steely self-control, causing me to sling my fist forward and make it connect soundly with his face. He stumbled back, mouth agape in shock, and I started walking away, clinching and un-clinching the fist that I'd hit him with, trying to make some of the pain in my knuckles go away.
"You little bitch!" he bellowed and I broke into a run, realizing just how dumb it was to hit someone way bigger than me. I'm strong and all, but my five foot-three inch body wasn't up to being kicked around by someone who towered over me. Suddenly, I was wrenched backwards and the momentum carried me to the ground. The guy still had a grip on my bag, and I assumed that that was what he'd used to stop me. Stupid bag…
"You're going to pay for that little slap," the guy snarled and I just about growled back. 'Little slap?' I'd show him a 'little slap' where the sun-don't-shine and then we'll see if he continues to consider it just a 'little slap.'
"She's not going to pay for anything, but I think you might just owe me a bit of cash, Johnson," a lighthearted voice said from somewhere behind the idiot that had dragged me to ground. As the guy looked behind him, I took the chance to slam my leg up into his crotch, taking pleasure in his cry of pain as he dropped down onto his knees. Yeah, it was a cheep shot, but he had the size advantage. I looked past the guy I'd just kicked and to the one that had spoken. The guy that had told me that my job wasn't that interesting was standing there, grinning at Johnson as he took in deep breaths.
"Well, I'd have preferred cash, but seeing you paw at your precious jewels will do for now." I stared at the guy, he was still smiling at the other mans pain and laughing slightly. Realizing that I was staring, I quickly got up and started walking away, hoping that none of the guys friends would come after me. That thought made me pick up my pace, as did thoughts of the guy that had spoken up in Mr. Kline's class.
"Hey," a voice said beside me and I jumped. The guy that had been laughing at Johnson was walking beside me, a silly grin on his face. Yeah, he'd spared me some embarrassment in Kline's class, and had distracted Johnson, but I wanted him to go away. As in, right now.
"Go away, please," I grumbled quietly, hoping he'd listen.
Damn it, weren't people supposed to listen when you asked them to leave? Especially when you tack on a 'please' to the demand. Stupid idiot didn't have any common sense when it came to etiquette. His refusal made me angrier because I was on my to my job. A job no one was supposed to know about except me. A job everyone now knew about because of Mr. Kline. Huh, Mr. Kline can go to hell, and I'll help him get there. But first I have to deal with the guy beside me.
"Why won't you leave?" I asked, patience thinning.
"Because you told me to," amusement colored his tone, and I could just imagine the grin on his face. Bastard. Immature, annoying, worthless bastard!
"You're blushing," he sang out and I turned on him.
"What's your fucking problem?" I shouted, getting tired of all the jerks that filled this earth. I even through my hands up in exasperation, and typically I mock people who throw their hands up, so that showed just how angry I was.
"I don't have a problem," he frowned, "but you might. Besides, I'm here for your protection, not to annoy you, so just chill out, okay?" I stared at him. My protection? What the crap? "I'm Jace by the way, just in case you didn't know."
"Well Jace," I spat his name out like a curse, "Leave me the hell alone." god, I can't stand people. At all. I glanced at my watch quickly, trying to figure out if I'd be late or not, slightly panicking when I realized that I only had around eight minutes left to get to Madame Stella's before my shift started. When you work for the Madame, you don't want to be late, ever. She'll make you regret it. Really, you have to stand at the front of the restaurant with Snuff, a bloody parrot who just can't seem to ever shut up. He'll just sit there on his perch, a.k.a. your shoulder, and squawk in your ear about what a nice day it is outside, even if it's raining. And he always seems to think that it's fourteen degrees outside. So you have to greet customers while Snuff tells them about weather and other things…such as a woman having big boobs, or a man having nothing down below, and talking to a three-year-old about their sex life. And then you have to make sure that the customers don't kill the stupid bird, although sometimes it's hard to not just serve up a parrot upside-down cake. If it wasn't for the fact that Stella loved the bird like her very own baby, and noticed everything about him, I'd have stuffed Snuff and glued his feet to his actual perch.
With the fear of being late heavy on my mind, I began to jog. I was hoping that Jace wouldn't be the running type, but no, when I glanced beside me, there he was, still grinning.
"Trying to get away from me?" he asked and I snorted.
"I have somewhere to be, unlike you," I sneered. Maybe if I was rude enough, he'd decide that I was a bitch that wasn't worth his time. But I'd just about given up all hope of making him disappear. A puzzled look appeared on his face and he then he stared at me like I was crazy. He should be standing in front of a mirror giving himself that look.
"I do have somewhere to be," he muttered and I glanced at him.
"Then why aren't where you're supposed to be?" I asked impatiently, eagerly clinging to the thought that maybe where he had to be was in the opposite direction from where I was heading. That would be nice.
"I am where I'm supposed to be," he was staring at me like I was stupid. I didn't appreciate it, but I returned the feeling.
"No you're not," I argued, I was getting tired of this stupid little game. Besides, talking while running wasn't the best idea in the world, it made your breathing irregular.
"Yes, I am. I'm with you." Oh. My. God. How cheesy was that? Strait out of jewelry commercial, I tell you! Or some corny romance novel. He must have caught onto what I was thinking cause he felt got all defensive. "I'm serious! You do realize that that guy, Johnson, would have came after you? Do you really want to let him get a hold of you?" he questioned me, incredulous.
"What? Are you saying that I can't defend myself? I'm the one that had him crying like a little sissy!" up ahead I could see the gaudy decorations of Madame Stella's. Jace needed to get lost before I went into work. I didn't need him hanging around pestering me. But if Stella ever found out that I was rude to a potential customer, I'd end up with Snuff. Not a happy thought. So I broke into a full out sprint, darting into one of the alleys. I knew my way around them, and all I had to was take several turns and then go in through the back entrance to my work that was for employees only. Distantly, I could hear Jace's feet pounding against the cluttered, damp ground. But I didn't think that he could see me as I scurried into the restaurant.
"Jade! Why ya breathing like that?" the restaurants cook, Zee, called out while messing around with something in a frying pan. I just shook my head at him. "Ah. Don't want me to know, or I don't want to know, either way, don't tell me." Zee said, and then put his concentration back onto whatever he was cooking.
"Ah, Jade, I knew you were back here," Madame Stella's voice drifted softly over all the clanking cooking instruments. I rolled my eyes. She'd heard Zee call my name, she hadn't seen, or known, anything, as her tone of voice was implying. Slowly, her oh-so-mystic-cow-brown eyes scanned me from head to toe, giving me the chills. As her examination came to an end, she frowned.
"Jade-y bird, why are you dressed like that?" she asked and I scowled, looking down at my clothes. A simple, formfitting, black t-shirt, with dark jeans. Nothing was wrong with my outfit, at least in my opinion. Stella, however, thought that everyone should dress up like the 'gypsy queens we all know we are.' Including the guys, hence the reason that only the only guys working in this establishment were cooks who don't have to dress up. Lucky bastards.
"I'm going to change," I muttered, shifting from foot-to-foot.
"Well go," the Madame commanded and I went. Locking myself in the private, employees only bathroom and dragging my uniform out of my bag. Every time I caught a glimpse of the costume, I winced. It looked more like it belonged in a belly dancers wardrobe than it did on a fake gypsy's back. The bright, eye catching blue fabric, clung to my body like a second skin. The top just barely covered my boobs and left my midriff bare, showing off my shimmering bellybutton ring to its fullest, along with my flat, slightly tanned stomach, while the bottoms hung low on my hips. I was supposed to wear a veil, but the stupid thing got on my nerves, so the Madame let me go without it. Quickly, yet with care, I put on my makeup and then headed out to my booth, adding a slight sway to my hips, something that Stella thought made me seem more mystical and unknown.
Wolf whistles erupted from the more rowdy male customers as I entered the dinning area, showing just how classy Stella's restaurant was. Weary and watchful of roaming hands, I made my way past the customers, trying to ignore the glares of all the women in the room, who didn't appreciate all the attention I was receiving from their husbands, boyfriends and crushes.
Reaching my destination, I turned, and with my eyes hooded I cast a fleeting look around, before disappearing into the shelter of my booth. I relaxed once I got inside, no one could see me now. My booth was more like a small room. I could sit down comfortably, as could my customers, with a small, round table separating us with a cheap crystal ball placed on the table. The lighting in the room was a dim red color, but you could see just fine. Silky scarves were draped across everything that didn't present a fire hazard and soft music played in the background. A speaker was hidden under a small cardboard treasure chest that would alert me to the fact someone was waiting to have me tell them their fortune.
A quiet 'ting' sound came from the speaker. "Come in and let me share with you the power that the great gods of ages past granted me." I said in an airy voice, slightly surprised that I already had a customer. Usually, people don't come to see me until after five. The door opened and a man walked through the tacky beads hanging down from the ceiling.
"Tell me," the guy said as they sat down, "Do they make you to say that corny greeting, or do you do it by your own free will?" it was then that I got a good look at the persons face and I tried to stifle an outraged gasp, hoping - no, begging - that Jace didn't recognize me in my guise.
"Do not mock that in which you do not understand, boy," I said, talking down to him. His eyebrows lifted, and he grinned.
"Boy? C'mon, can't you tell? I'm a teenage boy, not just a boy," he exaggerated, leaning forward slightly, and I leaned back unconsciously. Realizing what I was doing, I made myself move forward and I sniffed, snubbing his idea.
"Hmm, I couldn't tell the difference…" I trailed off lightly, "Shouldn't that tell you something?" Jace blinked at the insult, and I tried desperately not to grin in triumph at his stupefied expression.
"Well yeah, it does tell me something," he composed himself, "It tells me that you really suck at guessing peoples ages." Okay, now it was my turn to take on a stupefied expression. Knowing that I shouldn't insult him anymore, lest I get in trouble with Stella, I dropped the issue.
"Maybe. Now, what do you wish to know?" I asked.
"Ah…I wish to know why a certain girl," he flashed a smile, "ran away from me not too long ago."
"I would've thought that that was obvious," I grumbled under my breath, reaching for the crystal.
"What was that?" Jace asked and I felt a blood rush to my cheeks, he wasn't supposed to hear my little comment.
"Nothing, I was just asking Father Future to bless my Sight." I applauded my excuse, not caring if it made me seem crazy.
"Really? Cause I swear it sounded like you said something else," Jace said, and I was mentally kicking myself. Why did I say anything? Couldn't I have just kept my snide comments to myself?
"Well, you are not meant to hear the prayer," I said, my tone challenging him to question me further. He shrugged, letting it go.
"Whatever, just tell me why she ran away, I'd really like to know," he said, looking me in the eyes intensely.
"I cannot tell you the past, only the future," I told him, my lips quirking into a cocky smile, rejoicing in my excuse. "Besides, that question is meant for the girl," that slipped out before I could help it. I always tried to give people advice on things like this, I just kind of forgot that this advice would involve me.
"That's why I'm asking her," Jace was grinning full out, and I was scowling.
"I'm afraid you're mistaken."
"Sure, keep telling yourself that, Jade." Jace said, mockery lacing his words.
Okay…yeah, this story just kind of popped into my head, and begged me to write it…so, uh, tell me what you think! Should I continue it? Or should I let it drop? Well, tell me if you see any mistakes and rock on!