“Are you okay, Sam?” Tracy asked.
I jumped so high I almost lost my pants. “Sure.”
“You look on edge.” Tracy started piling the dishes in the dishwasher, but her eyes rhythmically came back toward me between each cup.
“Nah. Didn’t sleep well. Bit distracted. Nothing to take note of. Or worry about. Not that I’m assuming that my state is worrying you. We’re not that close, after all. But you did ask.” I put my hand over my mouth to stop the verbal diarrhea. Nasty, nasty habit.
“Do you like That Guy?”
“Craig.” I bit my lower lip when my voice broke. “He’s not That Guy anymore.” Why did he give me his name? Craig didn’t sound very mad scientist-ish. Craig stripped part of the mystery away. I’d have to find another topic for my daydreams about Craig, and that road would somehow lead down the gutter.
“I think he likes you.”
I dropped the metal cup we used to steam the milk. It bounced on the ceramic floor, spilling droplets of its content all around and highlighting my discomfort with a loud clink! “Not for long, that’s for sure. Look at my clumsiness.” I tried for a nonchalant, dismissive of the truth, friendly smile which may have come across as a bug-eyed grimace. They gave medals for effort, didn’t they?
Rag in hand, I knelt on the ground to sweep up my mess and dumped everything in the sink.
“You like him, too.”
I shrugged. Nice noncommittal shrug. My other verbal or physical expressions had betrayed me before, and I wasn’t giving them an encore. Besides, that metal cup needed washing. Intense, purposeful, distraction-free washing.
“You should ask him out next time.”
I blew raspberries. Blew them with the intent to bury this conversation in childishness now and forever. Someone who blew raspberries at the idea of asking someone else out wasn’t adult enough for the dating scene, and Tracy would drop this line of unwarranted advice.
Someone walked up to the counter, and I jumped to provide my service. It was around dinner time so the activity picked up, and Tracy didn’t have another opportunity to meddle with the sorry life of her shy colleague.
Unfortunately, as soon as we locked the door and started on the closing routine, she poked my flank with her elbow. “So, are you gonna ask him out?”
“He may never walk back in here again so let’s not speculate.” A small jolt of pain wedged itself behind my eyeballs. It may be a symptom of my sickening hypocrisy.
“He’ll walk back.” She went to empty the dishwasher and refill all the shelves. It was my turn to empty the garbage cans so I got right on that. “Ten bucks says he’ll chat you up more the next time he’s here,” she yelled from the other side of the coffee shop.
I cringed. There was no one here to hear her, but I still felt like people would know all my dirty secrets if she kept spilling them. “Doesn’t mean anything.”
“Sure, it does!” She insisted. “Especially if he starts sitting closer to the till so he can chat you up in-between clients.”
“He comes here to work. He doesn’t want to chat.”
“Says the computer he doesn’t take his eyes off of.”
“And how do you know he’s not cyberstalking you on Facebook? He could have found your name on Jamie’s page.”
I froze mid-bag-pulling and a few empty cups toppled to the ground. “You think he might be on my Facebook?” My face had drained of all blood. I could tell by the dancing stars in front of my eyes.
“I’m kidding!” Tracy laughed. “He couldn’t possibly be that guy since he’s Craig.”
I frowned. No one should be that skilled at making someone else uncomfortable.
Next (coming next Wednesday) >>