Four years… For four long years I have been alone. For the last year or so, I noticed myself becoming quite lazy and prefer to stay in bed instead of going anywhere. Not feeling the comfort of a woman for this long may have finally taking its toll on me. I don't mean pleasure. That's easy. I can walk down Myrtle Avenue around midnight whenever I am in the mood; and even that has been occurring less frequently lately. Maybe it's for the better. I seventy-five to one hundred dollars I have for cigarette money. Still though, being alone has only created small void in me; and no amount of smoke in my lungs can fill it.

Of course, I have a family. Not America's number one family, but a decent family. We have our own drama and we tend to disagree with some things however at the end of the day, we are blood and arguments don't tend to last too long and we are never violent. Some people can't say the same unfortunately. Ma and Pa are loving and I feel they did a good job with raising my two brothers and I. We all graduated high school. Brian went off and joined the navy. He calls from time to time to time to tell me about which port he is in and how much he regrets joining. For some reason, he keeps on reenlisting. Maybe he does not hate it as much as he makes it seem like. Nathan; the youngest of us, is still in college to become a veterinarian. The rest of us figured that's what he would end up doing. He always loved animals growing up and this Me career is perfect for someone like him. I ended up going to college as well for teaching. This would be my third year being a teacher I.S. 119 one town over. It's a decent job and the kids don't give me too much trouble.

I just got back from work. I sat down on my couch and lit up a cigarette and turned on the news. Nothing too important as usual. Some guy got shot, a few muggings, and more political bull crap from both parties. I probably won't vote this time around is Bush and Kerry. Seems like Kerry is the more popular one though. My phone rang. It was Justin; my long time best friend since my freshmen year in Fordham. I already knew what he was going to ask me; but I will let him ask me himself.

"Hello?"

"Yeo Henry! What's happening?" He asked; more like screamed. Even though we are friends, we are almost opposites. I am quiet and reserved, and he is probably the loudest guy in Queens.

"Just got back from work. You?"

"Let's head to the bar in a few hours to watch the game. You down?"

I honestly did not want to. I was exhausted from this week's teaching. However, it is Friday and it has almost been tree weeks since I hung out with Justin. "Sure. What time?"

"Sweet! The game starts at eight, so around seven-thirty to get the bar seats!"

"Ok, sounds good. I'll meet you there." I responded trying not to sound too tired.

"Alright buddy; bout time I got you out of that apartment! You better be there!" He demanded jokingly.

We hung up the phone. A few hours past and I met up with Justin at Sunswick and got our seats at the bar. Luckily, we got here just in time. No more than five minutes later the bar began getting packed quick. We ordered Bud Light on tab and got ready for the game.

"Can I get you boys anything to eat?" A bartender asked us.

"Yea," Justin answered, "Let's get the special." The special was thirty-five wings that came with eight different sauces in little cups and a lot of fries. It was enough for the both of us and should last us the entire game.

When she walked away to inform the chefs in the back, I turned to Justin, "Hey Man, who is that? Is she new?"

"Yea bro, she started working her a little over two weeks ago. You would know this if you stopped being such a loner in your place." He laughed.

She looked so familiar; but I can't figure out where I seen her from. "I think I know her."

"Yea; maybe you saw her on a train." He paused before cracking a smirk, "Or maybe she was one of your late night… comrades." He began to chuckle; but I didn't find it amusing. More so, she was definitely not a hooker I ever slept with… I think.

About twenty minutes into the game, she came back with our food and round two of our drinks. It is then I notice how pretty she was. The first thing that caught my eye was her nearly white blonde hair wrapped in a bun. Probably from German decent. A bit too much make-up, but I am sure it draws in good tips.

Before she walked away, I had to ask. "Hey, what's your name?"

She smiled; probably thinking this was her chance to get more money from me; which she wasn't. I always tip fifteen and no a cent more. "I'm Kristeen."

"Oh ok. I'm…"

"Hello Mr. Richards." She cut me off.

Does she work in the school that I do? "How do you know my name?" I am pretty sure I knew every single teacher in the school. Not personally, but at least by name. Maybe a new janitor. No, the janitors should be just getting off at this time.

"We met at the parent-teacher conference three months ago. I am Angelica's mother. Nice to meet you again."

So that's it. I knew that I saw her from somewhere. It is sort of awkward meeting a parent while I am already buzzed. Hopefully I don't make a fool of myself. "Well, nice seeing you again Ms. Harrison." I reached my hand out for a more professional greeting.

She accepted and shook my hand, "Its Mathews."

"Excuse me?"

"Divorced for a couple of years now. Surprised Angi never told you."

"My apologies. Angelica is always going on about how happy she is at home. I just figured she had both her mother and father around." Crap, was I talking too much?

She sighed, "Well, I do put in a lot of work raising her. Luckily my mom leaves only a few blocks over so I just drop her over so I can go to work. And you?"

"Me what?"

"Is there a Ms. Richards?"

"Oh, no. Not yet. Too busy with teaching kids." Because that was definitely the excuse; or so I like to believe. I haven't dated since my second year at Fordham, and I just can't seem to get a girl to even look my way since.

A loud bell rang from the kitchen; which told the bartenders that a meal was ready to be handed to the customers. "Ok Mr. Richards; I got to go back to work. This little chat was nice. Maybe we can have another one sometime soon." She smiled and walked away.

I turn back to the game; but couldn't even get the chance to see what the score is now before Justin came whispering; or more so trying to whisper, to me. "Yeo Henry, bro, she is totally into you. Get her number?"

"What?" I asked; confused on why my best friend would think that.

"It's obvious that she likes you, and that you obviously have the hots for her. Did you not see the way she looked at you when you told her you are single?" He keeps getting louder as if he was trying to embarrass me.

"I really don't know what you are blabbering about Justin."

"Whatever bro, I dated a bunch of girls. I know when a girl in interested in a guy. Especially a nerdy man like you." He lightly jabbed at my arm; which I just pushed it away.

"Alright man; let's just watch the game." I said trying to ignore his laugh.

After the game; we sat around waiting for our check when Kristeen came back with the check in her hand. "Alright, your total price is sixty-three seventy-five." It was my turn to pay for the food and drinks so I gave her my card. On the receipt, I added m infamous fifteen-dollar tip. After putting our jackets on, Justin and I went outside to smoke before heading back home.

"Hey Mr. Richards." Kristeen came out of the bar with a cigarette in her hand as well.

"Hello Kristeen; on your break?" I asked, trying not to blush after hearing what Justin told be about his observation inside.

"No, I am off now and about to head home."

"Oh, that's great. It was really busy today; you probably made great tips today."

"It made a decent amount. But before I go, I was wondering if you would like to have my phone number. Maybe we can go have some coffee on your break sometime during the week and talk about how Angi is doing. I noticed she had a C in Science. We can talk about how we can bring that up or something."

I froze. Was Justin right; or was she just a really concerned parent?

"He would love to!" Justin answered for me.

She smiled. "That's great. Here is my number. You can call whenever you want to let me know when you would like to grab coffee. Bye Mr. Richards and?"

"Justin!" She said as they shook hands.

Kristeen went into her car and drove off. I stood there like a statue. No way someone that pretty will even think about going out for coffee with someone like me. I am scrawny, hair is always a mess, and can't grow a beard to save my life. But what if?

I felt another one of Justin's jabs on my arm. "What I tell you man? I am a master at this!"

"Well… I don't know. She probably just wants her daughter to be a straight A student." I said, trying to find any possible excuse against Justin's point.

"We will see Mr. Richards!" He said in a flirty tone as I blushed.

We talked for a little longer until we finished our cigarettes and we both started to head to our respective homes. On the drive home, I couldn't stop thinking about Kristeen and what she truly thought about me. I don't even know when to even have this date; or whatever the proper terminology is. I felt my face getting hotter. Am I just overthinking this?