Leggo My Ego
I'm no good at math, but that doesn't mean I can't figure out a simple equation that's helped me provide for myself in these trying, depressed times.
Well, as trying and depressed as they can be for a senior trying to get through her last year in high school.
But hey, I have needs, just like everybody else that goes to my school.
That, my friend, is the key to my success.
Simply put, high school students don't take care of themselves. It's a fact, and one that is not up for debate. What with the all-nighters, drinking on the weekends, smoking when everyone else's backs are turned, it's a wonder we even make it to college, much less the rest of our lives after a formal education.
And then there's that little thing we call breakfast.
We sleep in, our alarm doesn't go off, we just can't be bothered – whatever it is, we skip the most important meal of the day. Of course, we need that extra boost of energy, but why go to the trouble of getting out both the milk and cereal?
You see, this is where my genius math equation comes into play.
High school students coming into school with empty stomachs plus the spare change that's clanking around in their pockets and backpacks equals easy money, if and only if I'm parked outside the main entrance offering waffles from my beaten up pick up for one dollar apiece.
People around these parts – and by "these parts" I mean school; I tend not to take my business elsewhere – call me the Waffle Girl. I wish I could say it's because I have little dips in my skin perfect for trapping syrup, but no, it's for the exact reason that I described above.
Every morning I wake up at five o'clock in the morning to whip up, from scratch, a large batch of my family's signature waffle batter. My kitchen is much like my center of operations – stocked with wooden spoons, mixing bowls, a large, stainless steel refrigerator that I restock on Sundays and Wednesdays, and three waffle irons, the kitchen is where the magic happens.
They're not terribly large waffles, but ask anyone who has had a bite of one (and that's just about everyone attending my school) and they'll tell you that they're terribly, amazingly, spectacularly wonderful. Every morning I make about fifty of them, and when I arrive at school at ten minutes after seven, they're all gone ten minutes later. People come to school early just so they can get their hands on my waffles – I wish it really is just as suggestive as it sounds – and I still have enough time to get to first period physics.
Maybe I'm not turning a profit; I could be, but I'm no good at math, remember? But it's the thought that matters, isn't it? (Alright, it really isn't, but that's what I tell myself to justify getting up so early in the morning to make breakfast for a bunch of people that only know me as Waffle Girl instead of my actual name, Wendy.)
So sue me if I expect people to stop for the briefest of seconds to consider the fluffy goodness that I'm trying to shove down their throats as they make their way into the school. There are always those who insist they "don't eat waffles" – which is a bit like insisting they don't breathe air, but to each their own, right?
They almost always come to realize the error of their ways. I guess it's just the undeniably cute way I tilt my head and flutter my eyelashes at them, or how I breathe down their necks as they try to walk away that gets them crawling back – take your pick.
As such, I'm sure it can be easy to imagine both my frustration and humiliation during one breezy and sunny March morning when I see Max Fields, the most egoistic ass of all asses, walk by me, my pick up, and my box of waffles without a second glance.
One thing you should probably know about Max Fields is that he sticks out in a crowd, and for all the wrong reasons. Well, in my opinion, at least. Ask any of the other mindless girls in our school about him and you'll get a different response, each one most likely filled with girly squeals and dreamy sighs. They're either fawning over his crappy personality or amazing physique; I can't quite seem to narrow it down.
Anyways, I digress. Whatever he is, he's definitely not the type that comes into school early. I should know; I'm here every morning at what seems like the crack of dawn in high school time, and his designer kicks and artistically torn jeans have never graced my presence until this point.
I guess the first thing that flashes through my mind is: how exactly does one, especially a guy, manage to look so put together in the morning? I'm sure that standing next to me, with my flour covered jeans and worn down hoodie, he looks like a pile of shining gold.
The blonde hair probably helps with that.
But as I lean forward from my position against the bed of truck, I scrutinize his wide, purposeful gait and I realize that the way he scratches at his belly only means one thing.
This is a man who has not had breakfast.
And almost suddenly, I have a new victim – I mean, customer.
"Hey, you!" I call out, reaching over into the bed of my truck where I've stored the waffle box. I grab the first waffle I touch and wave it in his direction. "Want a waffle? Only one dollar apiece!"
He stops for a second and sweeps his gaze over the area around him; his eyes pass over me before he keeps on walking.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again; this horrible, waste of oxygen is, and will forever be, the king of assholes.
It's not like there's anyone else around. In fact, I had arrived at school five minutes earlier than usual – we're the only two people around here. And yet the sound of my voice is only like the passing wind to him.
"Hey!" I shout. "Don't ignore me!"
He pulls the collar of his jacket tighter around the base of his neck and continues walking.
Max is about ten feet away from me before I start to panic. Here, right in front of me, is someone who has yet to see the light, yet to experience the miracle that is my waffle recipe – and I'm about to let him slip through my hands. Forget the fact that we're in the same calculus class and he can never seem to remember my name; I need more business like I need a third arm. It's not necessary, but it could never hurt.
Within seconds, the waffle that I'd had in my hand is flying through the air and landing square on the back of his head. It falls to his shoulders before sliding off and hitting the ground, landing flatly on the concrete sidewalk.
That gets him to stop in his tracks, and I can't help the self-satisfied smirk that wiggles its way onto my face.
Who says you shouldn't play with your food?
I watch as his jaw tightens and he slowly turns around to face me. His eyes flash dangerously and he takes a threatening step closer to me. "Did you just throw a waffle at me?" he asks me, his voice dangerously low.
I stick my chin out. "Maybe I did," I say. "You were ignoring me."
He rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Whatever, crazy lady," he mutters. He turns back on his heels again and continues on his original path, kicking the dirty waffle to the side as he approaches it.
Much like I have a filter at home for my tap water, I should also have a filter for my mouth. Or maybe just even a plug. That would have been the only thing that could have stopped what came out of my mouth next.
"Would you like some syrup with that?" I call out.
It's like I'm looking for trouble; I could have left it at the dramatic confrontation or angst-y kicking of the delicious breakfast treat, but I tend to like having the last word.
Again, he's stopping in his tracks. And again, he's turning around to pierce my eyes with his. Instead of taking one step forward this time however, he's taking multiple; within seconds, he's standing in front of me.
"What did you just say?" His voice is dark, husky, and dripping with virility.
Oh, be still, my beating heart.
With him so up close and personal, I sweep my critical gaze over his face, the one that has melted the insides of many a teenage girl.
He's good looking, sure, but he's got his faults. His tone is just a little too thin, like a pencil on his nose, and his jaw is a bit too angled, like someone carved his head out of a cube but forgot to smooth out the bottom corners. Then there are his brown eyes, which look more like mud than the clichéd chocolate brown.
I point a steady finger at the mutilated waffle, which is now strewn across the grass. "You want some syrup with that? It might get rid of the taste of dirt."
The look he gives me is incredulous. "You expect me to eat that?" he asks.
I shrug. "You might as well get your money's worth, seeing as you'll be the one paying for it."
Max scoffs. "Yeah right, you were the one that threw it at me."
"Hey!" I jab him with my index finger, digging it into his chest. "I wake up at five every morning to make those, the least you can do is recognize that I'm waving semi-free food in your face when you walk by me." I hold out an expectant hand. "One dollar."
His eyes narrow into slits and he makes no move to fish out some cash. "No," he snaps. "I don't want one of your stupid waffles, and I definitely am not –"
I cut off his yapping by shoving another waffle into his blabbering mouth. He makes a noise of surprise and his eyes flicker down to the waffle hanging out of his lips.
"Eat it," I say, puffing out my chest, daring him to defy me.
Max tries to say something to me, but it's as if the fool doesn't realize anything he wants to utter will be muffled by the waffle that I've just stuffed into his mouth. He realizes this and then yanks it out, some of it ripping off and remaining in his mouth. At the risk of spitting out soggy waffle, he lets out a loud harrumph and starts chewing.
It's like I've opened up a whole new world to him, but not in an Aladdin and magic carpet ride kind of deal. As his teeth grind the waffle into little bits, his eyes begin to widen and he stares dumbly at me. I don't even try to hide my smug grin as he finally swallows.
"You… woke up at five to make this?" he asks me dazedly.
"Yes," I say proudly. "Best waffle recipe around here." I turn my palm out to him. "That will be two dollars now."
"What?" he yells. A scowl is now back on his face and any imaginings of self-realization have probably now disappeared. "No way, forget about it." He pivots on his heel and stalks off to the main entrance, throwing the rest of his uneaten waffle by the one he'd been kicking around like a soccer ball before.
"You'll be back!" I shout at his retreating figure. "Everyone always comes back!"
In an amazing show of maturity, he flips me the bird.
Hook, line, and sinker.
The next morning, I'm five minutes early again. Low and behold, Max is trying to sit as nonchalantly as possible on a nearby bench, but from the way his eyes light up as my pickup passes him, I know he's been waiting for me.
What can I say? My waffles bring all the boys to the yard.
I park my truck by the curb and jump out, walking over to the passenger side to pick up the box of freshly made waffles. I plop them down in the bed of the truck, where Max is now standing next to.
"Hey cheapskate," I say, prying open the lid of the plastic box. "What brings you around here?"
"Waffles," he says gruffly, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
"How about paying for the ones you ruined yesterday?" I ask, crossing my arms across my chest.
He purses his lips and wrinkles his nose, but my stance is unyielding.
"No waffles for you until I see some money in my hand," I declare.
"Fine," he mutters. He pulls one of his hands out of his pocket, bringing along a faded leather wallet. He flips it open and pulls out three singles, which he stuffs into my waiting palm.
I beam at him, pocketing the cash. "Thank you very much," I purr. I step out of the way and gesture to the box of waffles. "Help yourself."
Max takes a hesitant step forward. He then dips his hand into the box and pulls out a nice, golden, crispy-looking one that will surely be fluffy and soft on the inside.
The guy's got crappy taste in everything else, but he sure knows how to pick a good waffle.
I can appreciate that.
"You got a good one there," I say, nodding at his hand.
"Thanks, uh…" he trails off awkwardly.
"Wendy," I finish.
"Right, Wendy." He nibbles at his waffle. "Max, but I'm sure you already knew that."
"Right. It's not like you've been in my calculus class for the entire year thus far or anything."
"Whatever." He drops the guise of making friendly talk and walks away towards the school, taking a generous bite of his waffle.
From then on, Max unofficially became one of my regulars. Whenever I pull into the parking lot, he's waiting with that fake suave, fake uncaring look on his face that still fails to hide his anticipation when he sees my truck.
For the first two weeks every day, he simply buys a waffle, offers me a grunt – of approval or disdain, I still haven't figured that out –, and then stalks off in the direction of the school as he usually does.
That ends however, when one day, he stalls before stepping off into the metaphorical sunlight.
I raise a quizzical eyebrow at him. "What?" I ask.
"Uh…" Max's mouth opens and closes.
The great Max Fields is at a loss of words? Around little ole' me?
Finally, he finishes the thought. "What'd you think of the calculus test yesterday?"
Again: hook, line, and sinker.
"So why do you make these anyways?" Max asks me. It's the day after he's said anything to me other than "I want a waffle". We're leaning against the side of my truck and he reaches behind him to grab a second waffle.
I glare at him and hold out a palm. He rolls his eyes at the familiar gesture but slams a single down in my hand. I give him a satisfied nod and he reaches again for the waffle, this time plucking it from the box without incident.
"Because I can and because someone's got to feed stubborn kids like you who won't eat their breakfast," I say.
"So you're a self-made saver of the world."
I point a threatening finger in his face. "Watch it."
"Sometimes you're an egotistical douche," I say to him one morning in the middle of April. He's just finished complaining about sleeping on his hair the wrong way the other night.
"And you're a self-righteous do-gooder," he retorts.
"You know, you're the only person that hasn't let me get away with something before," Max tells me. It's the beginning of May and we're sitting in the bed of my truck as opposed to leaning against the side of it.
Hey, it's nice to mix things up once in a while.
"When did I get so lucky?" I mutter. We're sitting across from each other, and I have the box of waffles next to me. I toss a waffle to him, and in turn, he rolls four quarters down the grooves in the bed of the truck towards me.
"Feeling special, huh?"
"Like a snowflake."
"Can you tell me the recipe?"
I raise an eyebrow at Max's request. Graduation is approaching and my waffle business will soon be coming to a stop. It'll be an end to a dynasty, for sure, but the Waffle Girl will live on as a legend.
I expect nothing less than a statue when I return to visit this god forsaken institution for education.
"No," I answer curtly and quickly.
"What?" he asks. "Why not?"
We've moved from sitting across from each other to sitting next to each other, which allows me to jab him in his side. "Because I don't want to. The only way you can even get in sight of it is to be there to help when I make the waffles. Otherwise, I can't help you." I shrug.
An unreadable look passes over his face. "Fine," he bites out.
Max Fields is standing in the doorway of the main entrance to my house, looking like an absolute slob – for his standards – in a grungy pair of sweatpants and plain white t-shirt. He's holding a carton of orange juice in his hand and two cups in the other.
Let's also not forget the fact that it's five in the morning and while I always get up at this time, I usually wake up to the sweet tunes of my clock radio and not the harsh ringing of the doorbell.
He holds the orange juice and cups out to me, which I take without hesitation.
I was thirsty anyways.
"I'm making waffles with you," he states. There isn't a question in his tone.
"And what do I get?" I ask.
"This." He bends down at the waist and presses his lips against my cheek. The scent of his aftershave wafts into my nose, and I hope it doesn't end up getting into the waffles. After he's lingered there for a few seconds, he straightens and walks around me into my house.
"That was nice, but I was actually hoping for some cash," I say as I catch up to him.
He wraps an arm around my waist when I reach his side. "Take it or leave it," he tells me.
Oh, I will definitely be taking it.
A/N: Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed! :) I liked writing it, if only for the fact that Wendy has a completely sarcastic, skewed up view of the world.
If you liked this, make sure to check out my other stories as well. I'd really appreciate it!
Please review, let me know what you think! :D