I first met her as she stood in line of the drug store I work at. She was holding a pack of Pocky in her hand. I thought of nothing, asking her for a dollar and thirty-nine cents and giving her change which she declined. She gave me a soft smile, muttering 'Thank you.' as she left.
The day moved forward with myself forgetting her. She was just another customer anyways.
I saw her again. Light brown locks that reached just past her ears billowing underneath a bright red beanie. I stared as she passed by me, a scent of vanilla hitting my nose. I was about to call out to her... until I dropped the box of Pringles I was holding.
"Like what you're seeing?" a coworker asked from behind me as he stared after the her, "Not much in the chest area, but definitely a nice ass." he grinned, helping me with the dropped goods.
"Shut up," I glared at him, "don't put me in the same category as you, Derek." I said as I started stacking the goods in the shelf.
Once again, she was holding a pack of Pocky.
Two weeks have passed since I've seen her. Once again I'm in charge of the cash register, another coworker beside me as she noisily chewed gum while filing her nails, "You know," she muttered, "Derek said you have a crush on the Pocky-girl."
I looked at her indifferently, "I do not. I just seem to notice her when she comes here." I explained, poking at the dirt on the cash. "So you've seen her in your shifts?" I asked nonchalantly.
She smirked, heavy set make-up on her face. She was a few years older than me, mean-looking but kind, "So you are interested, aren't you?"
I blushed, looking away from her, "Never mind." I said.
She chuckled, looking her nails over, "She comes on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays." she said, "At least that's what I gathered from Derek. See, we're looking out for you, rookie."
I tried to look like I didn't care but stored the information in the back of my head, I've only seen her on Saturdays when I work, "You actually listed when she comes to the store?"
"Of course, we look out for each other, plus she's been a regular for five years." she said in time as a customer entered, specifically the mystery girl wearing a tank top and sweatpants, her short hair tied loosely at the nape of her neck. She headed towards the confectionery section, taking only a few seconds there as she emerged with another pack of Pocky. I quickly looked away as she spotted me staring at her. Jamie, my coworker, chuckling in her seat as she dabbed nail polish on.
The Pocky was thrust into my station, I looked up to see her smiling at me, "Hi." she said, silently tapping her fore finger on the Pocky box.
"H-hi." I stuttered, clumsily grabbing the box from her and scanning it, asking her for the exact change of a dollar and thirty-nine cents. She gave me two, "Keep the change." and she left.
I never heard the end of it from Jamie.
She should come. I've seen her many times the past few days. Particularly the days she comes by. I've started changing my schedule to the days she appears at the store, always asking to be at the cash. Though with work changing schedule, school's been a bit harsh on me. Its worth it, as long as I get to see that smile. I scowled, I'm turning into a romantic-freak.
I froze. That sweet honey-covered voice. I looked up, seeing her smirking at me. "I'm fine, just thought of something... stupid."
"I see. Well, can you check this out for me then?"
"Uh, yeah, of course." I said, grabbing the Pocky and asking her again for a dollar and thirty-nine cents.
"You know," she started, browsing through magazines by the cash register, "You're new here, aren't you?"
You just noticed now? I thought to myself, smiling softly, "Yeah, I've only been here for three months, I guess."
"I see, my name's Karen." she introduced, handing me two dollars, "Uh, keep the change." she laughed, walking away.
I grinned, leaning half my body out the counter and called, "My name's Adrian!"
She turned around, grinning at me, "Then I'll see you around, Adrian."
The smile never left my face for a week.
"She looks like a teenager." Karen had just left with another pack of Pocky.
All three of the formerly introduced Derek, Jamie and of course me, Adrian, had the same shifts for this Saturday. I'll be with these two crazies for the next three hours. I sighed, "I don't think she's a teenager though."
"Yeah, if she was, you'll be considered a pedophile." Jamie laughed, she was in charge of the floor today, stacking up the goods in the aisle right in front of the cash. The store was empty, unusual for a Saturday, so all of us were lazing around, just making sure the Devil doesn't see us. The Devil being our store manager who hates everyone's guts. The only thing he loves is probably his dog.
"Shut up." I said, grabbing a small rug beneath the counter and wiping the goods on the counter shelf collecting dust, "Besides, if she was a teenager, she should be going to school, not going to this goddamned store at random times of the day."
"Point." Derek said from his seat in front of the cash, he was typing up a storm, probably playing with some game he installed, "What if she's a stripper? She has a nice ass."
"Oh!" Jamie shouted from her spot in the school supplies aisle, "Maybe she is! She never comes here past eight! Plus that bar, Luck Out, down the road opens up at eight!"
"Who buys Pocky past eight though?" I tried to argue, I wouldn't want her to be dubbed as a stripper by these idiots.
"Okay then, what does she do if she only comes here on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays? And on mornings and afternoons only." Derek asked me.
"And!" Jamie interrupted, "she always has this punkish get-up. Like a..." her hands stuck to her chin as she thought, imitating the look of a character I love.
"Drug addict?" Derek supplied, his face contorting, I'm guessing he lost his game.
"You're right!" Jamie exclaimed, "But I don't think she gets high on Pocky."
"Yeah, maybe she's some kind of alien that needs Pocky on the days she buys them!" Derek said, abandoning his game to lean out the counter, "or maybe she's some special agent that kicks ass every time she buys Pocky, and Pocky makes her relax, or is probably Popeye's Spinach for her!"
Their conversation continued on and on about Karen. She doesn't give off a bad vibe, nor does she look like some alien. I sighed, I can't get anything through.
I looked up from my wiping as I saw Derek and Jamie looking at me, "What are ya gonna do, lover boy?" Jamie asked, hands on her hips, looking comical with her blue uniform polo-shirt and black slacks.
"What do you mean?" I asked, confused.
"What she means is, would you still like-"
With that word I gave him a glare.
"Okay, okay." he said, holding his hands up, "Would you still... be infatuated with her?"
I looked down, giving it some thought. "Yes." I said, looking up and staring him right in the eye. He whistled, grinning at me as Jamie patted me on the back and went back to stacking school supplies.
I smiled, walking back to the cash and welcoming a weird, new feeling into my chest.
A Friday. These were the unusual days. Karen, or dubbed as Pocky-girl, would always come in, and buy a large variety of Pocky. Of course, I thought it was nothing, but she also always wore make-up and black clothes. A dozen thoughts always cross my head about black clothes. What if she was a stripper? She always wore something quite revealing on Fridays. What if she was a drug addict? Or even a alien? I shook my head.
"Something bothering you again?"
I looked up to see dark blue eyes. Karen. Gods, I could repeat that name over and over again.
I didn't realize it, but she had started waving her hand in front of my face, "Hello? Earth to Adrian?""Uh, it's nothing." I said as I hastily grabbed her Pocky and scanned it, asking for exactly two dollars. And before I could stop myself, "Why are you like this?" Of course, comically, I clamped my mouth with my hands, then stuttered to apologize.She looked at me blankly before bursting out laughing, her melodious voice echoing through the now-empty store, "What do you mean by that?"
"Um, it's nothing. Nevermind." I blushed, lowering my gaze to the money on the counter top.
"No, really, what is it?"
I looked up to see her smiling at me. One of those smiles that made you feel like you were the most important person in the world, like you could do everything, "Uh, I kept wondering why you always wear black clothes and dark make-up on Fridays."
Her eyebrows raised to disappear behind a sweep of bangs, then she looked down at herself and then back up at me, she smiled once again, this time mischievously, "Fridays are important days." she winked. And as she was walking out, she stopped, but she didn't turn to me, but to the speaker near the exit blasting some new song that just came out. She smiled fondly, then left.
I was as confused as ever.
The only people I'm working with are the old people that still don't want to retire. They do nothing but sleep in the back anyways. So I'm all alone in my cash, playing the game Derek had installed a week ago and waiting. The store's never busy. Being placed in a secluded area like this. But I guess, those are the perks: we don't get much customers.
I smiled, last night I had seen Karen. She was so beautiful wearing a cream floral maxi dress that contrasted with her dark blue eyes and her hair, which has probably grown two inches since I've first seen her, brushed her bare shoulders as they swayed to and fro.
I had asked her why she was so dressed up. Once again, she gave me a confusing answer, 'Its a very special day.'
The bell chimed as a customer came in. A girl in a low ponytail and sunglasses. It's already six in the afternoon. The sun's almost down, probably some delinquent that got into some trouble. I became skeptical as she went down the Pocky aisle, as I dubbed it, and emerged with a small box of Pocky.
"Hey Adrian." a coarse yet familiar sweet voice greeted as the girl in front of me handed me two dollars and started to leave until I called out to her.
She turned around and took off her glasses, dark circles under her pretty eyes.
I gasped, "What happened to you? Are you okay?"
She smiled, "I had the best night of my life."
With that, she left.
I never saw her for the past three weeks. Of course, I had no right to be depressed or angry; I never actually told her how I feel or asked her out. Besides, I was just the guy that sold her Pocky.
"Cheer up, Aid." Derek piped from beside me. We were both in charge of the floor today, a Monday, stacking up the supplies in their corresponding shelves, "There are many fishes in the sea." he chuckled.
"I know. I'm not depressed, okay?" I tried to deny. But the past few months have made a small influence on me, the Pocky-girl that captured my attention. The smile that captivated my heart. The face that appeared in my dreams. I can't just forget that. Sometimes, the shortest amount of time can make the biggest impact on your life.
"There's no need to hide it, kid." he said, following me down the aisle, "What if she just got busy?"
"Uh, strip club?"
I laughed, bitter, "Yeah. Sure."
"Come on, you'll never know, right?"
"I know." I sighed, "But the last time I saw her, she was so happy, even though she looked so goddamned tired. I wonder why."
"Had some super great sex?" Derek joked.
I glared at him, but then sighed once again, "Maybe she did. I never did ask her if she had a boyfriend. I just assumed she didn't." I muttered, running my hand through unruly locks of brown hair, I was never the fat guy, but I'm also not the thin guy. More of in the middle. I had green eyes and a tan complexion, but I never go to the gym nor the tanning salon, "Would you forget about her if you were me?""I would."
Hah, a simple yet definite reply. "I wonder if I can do that?" I asked myself softly.
Derek had heard me, "Of course you can, kid. Nothing's impossible, a lot'a things just improbable." he left, stacking some other things in another aisle.
Just then, a soft, languid, acoustic tune came from the speakers of our store. It made me feel relaxed and nostalgic, as if I was floating on cloud nine even though I'm feeling like crap right now. The song made me forget about Karen, up until the intro had finished and the lyrics started pouring in with a voice I know and love all too well:
Here and there,Your eyes are watching me.
You were standing there with a small smile.Time stands still,
I look around to no one,
Approach you and say,
Hi, let me say,Let me hear,
Let me see, touch,Who are you?
Let me know who you are
Under that pretty little mask of yours.
I listened as the song continued to the next verse, shivering as her voice filled the entire store; I became oblivious to my surroundings, working on auto-pilot as I kept stacking material for the store. I didn't even know if a customer had come up to me and asked me a question, I didn't know anything except the voice echoing in my head, the voice that sang lyrics to a song that I seem to know. That seemed to revolve around... us.
Green eyes, Blue shirts, Pocky,Do you know now?
Won't you come and see me?Don't you see me lonely?
As I say,
Hi, let me say,Let me hear,
Let me see, touch,Who are you?
Let me know who you areUnder that pretty little mask...
Oh won't you let me know, under that pretty little mask,
That pretty little mask... of yours.
I smiled. Maybe, just maybe, it isn't over yet.
"That song was brought to you by the slow rise to fame of the band Infamous, entitled, Let Me Know." the radioman said through the speaker. As he said this, I rushed to the cash, asked the lady, I forgot her name, that worked there to let me use it for a while and went straight to Google, typed in 'Infamous' and clicked the nearest link.
A picture of Karen and some guys in the background appeared to the right of the website, I read through it, noting how they've all been together for five years, the exact time Jamie said Karen started buying her Pocky. I laughed, hysterical, as Derek came to check up on me.
"You okay?" he asked, a frown marring his handsome face.
"Definitely." I replied, flipping the screen to show him the picture. "She even wrote a song about me. Oh gods, do you know where that bar is? The one in the background?"
"So that's why she's here every Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays."
I frowned, it didn't say anything on the website about their availability in performing gigs at bars, "Why?"
He smirked, giving me a smug look, "...Luck Out is only open on those days. Plus, you said that she dresses up on Fridays, right?"
"Yeah. What about it?"
"That place is bombarded with people on Fridays. Especially three weeks ago." he said, in thought, "They said that some band was performing a concert there."
"She plays there?"
"I guess, I've never actually been there, a few friends of mine just tell me they have good music and drinks." he chuckled, "it's a Monday today, you know?"
"And it's already nine."
"Shouldn't you go and cheer for your girl?"
I blushed, "She's not my girl." yet. I added as an afterthought, "Besides, my shift doesn't finish until ten.
"I'll cover for you."
We whirled around to the sound of the voice. Jamie was standing with her uniform on, smirking.
"What the heck are you doing here?" Derek asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I heard her song in the convenience store down the road, I thought I'd come here and tell you and be like, 'Go, young one, chase after your dream.' Pretty heroic of me, huh?"
I rolled my eyes, but thanked her nonetheless, punching out and changing my top. I stopped by the Pocky aisle and grabbed the large one, placing it in the pockets of my sweatpants, I ran to the bar called Luck Out.
The place was full, even on a Monday, as tables were occupied and the actual bar filled to the brim with people asking for drinks. I shivered, I never like going to bars. They make me feel nauseous and... weird, for a lack of a better word. I glanced left and right, eyes searching for that familiar face until it hit me. She would be performing. So, looking up, to the center, a small stage stood, and a beautiful girl sat on a stool, singing the soft tune I was listening to just a few minutes ago. She was alone on the stage, her band mates off by the sides chatting. I slowly walked towards her, eyes never leaving her figure as she sang the bridge, an acoustic guitar hanging from her shoulder as she strummed wonderful chords.
Her eyes were closed. I was at the bottom of the stage already, my hand in my pocket as it fiddled with the Pocky box, wondering what I should do. The song had finished and my mind was still blank. She had stood up, still not noticing the lone figure that stood beneath her feet. People applauded, congratulated her for her success as well as the whole band that came to surround her. And I wondered, maybe I don't belong over here. She's climbing up the fame ladder, I'm... just me.
The crowd started to slowly dispense, leaving me standing still by the bottom of the stage as Karen and her band mates gathered around to play one last song. I smiled, walking backwards and hiding myself in the shadows of the bar, watching her sing a fast-paced song, her hair swaying with each movement and face glistening with sweat underneath the stage lights. She looked angelic, and as the song came to and end and before I started to change my mind... I threw the box of Pocky at her head.
She yelped. Scanning the crowd for whoever threw something at her. She had the most pissed-off look I've ever seen, the crowd searching along with her... until she glanced at her feet, the Pocky lying innocently taunting her. She grasped it, holding it to her chest as she re-scanned the crowd, never noticing me by the sidelines.
I started to climb slowly to the stage, my eyes never leaving her figure as her face slowly revealed itself to me. She smiled then, signalling to her band mates as she met me halfway down the stairs of the stage, "You heard it?" she asked excitedly.
"Just now, actually." I replied, the frowning, I said, "You don't come to the store for three weeks and the next thing I know, you wrote a song about me. Are you loose here?" I asked as I pointed to her head.
She slapped my shoulder, smiling. But then, she frowned. "I'm sorry, I... kinda wanted you to find out on your own."
I lowered my head, hiding my smile from her gaze.
"Are you mad?"
I didn't reply. She had started tapping my shoulder, telling me I'm sorry as my smile grew wider.
I looked up, grasped her hand and pulled her into a kiss.
I didn't even realize the crowd cheering behind me.
And there you have it folks! My Pocky-induced mind! XD Don't forget to R&R! :)