This is from a story that is set in 1994, in a video store. It’s written journal style in a marble composition book. This is part of the chapter called “Whip Appeal” (a Babyface song) and there’s a little romance brewing between these two teen characters. MC’s name is Melissa and Jason calls her “Missy” to annoy her ~~~
Jason was right by the front door of the store when I got into work today.
I wasn’t sure, but it almost looked like he was waiting for me.
I mean, I know of course he was waiting for me to show up for my shift, but there was just something about his reaction when I came in.
He had one of the dust rags in his back pocket and when I walked in he pulled it out of and started to frantically wipe down the nearest shelves.
Meanwhile, dusting is usually one of the first things he makes me do.
He never does it.
Then he looked at me from over his shoulder. “Hey! You’re not limping. I guess that means your second lesson went better than your first?”
I smiled and went toward the counter to put down my stuff. “Yeah it was much easier. Well, other than having to dance with the eighth dwarf, Gropey.”
Jason stopped cleaning and came over with a frown. “What?”
“Nothing.” I laughed. “Just a sixth grader with a case of wandering hands.”
He nodded but his frown didn’t dissipate (totally off topic, but that was the SAT word of the day that the Princeton Review book had for me today).
Then Jason said, “Ballsy kid! When I was his age I never would’ve had the nerve to try that with a pretty girl my own age, let alone with one in High School.”
I thought his comment had some rude implications.
So I asked, “Would you have tried it with the ugly ones?”
Jason groaned. “Aww c’mon Missy you aren’t going to give me grief after I just gave you a compliment.”
That’s when it dawned on me that I was so busy thinking about what Jason would have tried with some other (imaginary) girls, that I didn’t realize the other nicer implications of his words.
“Thanks.” I blushed.
He smiled. “You’re welcome.”
Then I added, “But I do want to go on the record as saying that if you used backwards compliments like that, it’s no wonder why you had no game in Middle School.”
He laughed. “I’ll have you know that I did happen to develop some serious game by High School.” He clicked his heels together. “I was like a matador, leading the ladies around the ring in a merry dance.” He held the dust rag like it was the red cape, which he proceeded to swirl about him.
“I bet.” I rolled my eyes at him as I came around with my own dust cloth. “So now you are saying you dated cows in High School?”
He growled. “Why do you always have to read something into nothing?!”
Then he snapped his rag at my legs as if to emphasize his words. I yelped and hopped backwards. Jason chuckled.
I narrowed my eyes at him as I twirled my hand towel into a tight coil. “Oh it’s on!” Then I whipped it out at him.
It caught his thigh and he sucked in a sharp breath.
“So you want to play now do you? I’ll have you know that I went to sleepaway camp from the ages of ten to fifteen. I can cause welts with a towel snap,” he warned before he lunged forward.
I bolted around the nearest set of shelves, giggling like a lunatic. Jason was right behind me, his rag poised to strike.
We weaved in and out of the aisles, towels cracking back and forth, but never quite hitting our marks.
Neither one of us seemed to be getting the upper hand, until I had a brilliant idea.
“Oh, Oh, Oh!” I cried out and hunched down to grab my calf like I had another Charlie horse, silently praying my acting was good enough to pull it off.
Jason was kneeling beside me in the next moment. “Are you okay Meilssa?”
His towel was unprotected on the floor, so I snatched it up. “Ah ha! I’ve got you now!”
I waved the rag in my left hand over my head like a flag and whipped the one in my right toward his thighs.
He fell to the carpet, moaning and cupping himself. “Ohhhhh. Owwwww. I think I’m gonna barf!”
Horrified, I understood that he dropped like a rock, because I had hit his stones. “Jason, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hit you there! I wasn’t aiming for that, I swear!”
I leaned over him and twisted the cloth in my hands. “What can I do?”
His voice was low, strangled with pain. “Come a little closer.”
So I did. “How can I help? What do you need?”
He whispered, “I need… I need… these rags!”
The in one swift motion, Jason had grabbed them from my hands. He pulled the cloths taut between his two hands and looped them over my head and behind my back. I was trapped within his arms, my arms at my sides.
“You’re not the only one that can play dirty.” He smirked.
We were both breathing hard. Jason’s hair had fallen into his eyes a little bit. I wanted to push it back, but I couldn’t move my arms.
The moment was absolutely begging for a kiss. If this had been a movie we would have - Jason would have let go of my arms enough for me to push his hair back. Then he would have leaned in and captured my mouth in the best, most perfect kiss.
But this is my life, not a movie.
And Jason is technically my boss.
So he let go of my arms and we both stood up.
Then we stood there in silence, looking at each other.
Finally the bells on the door chimed.
Tara walked in. “Hey guys! What’s going on?”
Jason pushed his hair back from his own eyes. “Nothing much.” He walked back to behind the counter, cool as a cucumber.
My stomach churned. Why DID I always have to read something into nothing?
Tara looked at my flushed face. Her eyes asked, “What just went on between you two? Did he kiss you?”
Since we’re best friends we can read each other without talking like this a lot of the times.
I shook my head and looked at the floor.