Monday, April 26, 2010

Harter Union: Part Three, Chapter 6

A couple months passed and no one ever knew I took Wendy to the dance except for Melissa. The Union was also going through some changes as Maggie was hired by her sister’s company and moved to Lawrence. Plus, Facilities was painting the walls in the dining room to try and brighten the place up.

I went into my office and saw a cupcake sitting on my desk with a lit candle in it. “What the hell is this?” I hollered into the kitchen.

Wendy came in, drying her hands. “It’s your one year anniversary here so I made you a cupcake with a candle.”

“Well, that’s a fire hazard you know? Someone could come in here, knock it over and set all my papers on fire.”

“Leave it to you to have someone do something nice for you and you fart all over it,” Wendy complained.

“Now, just for your…ew!” I picked up the cupcake and began to blow out the candle.

“Wait, you have to make a wish.”

“Okay, it’s an anniversary cupcake, not a birthday one,” I said.

“Just make a wish anyway!” Wendy yelled.

I rolled my eyes, thought for a couple of seconds and then blew out the candle. “There! Happy?”

“Much. What’d you wish for?” asked Wendy.

“Now if I tell you, it won’t come true…” I sat down in my chair and smiled at Wendy.

“So do you have plans for tonight?” Wendy asked, sitting down in the other chair.

“Well, Maggie and I have been together for six months so we’re going to where we went on our first date and there’s a small concert in the park in Lawrence and then we’re coming back to my place for some much overdue sex,” I explained.

Heather and Jay came into my office. “Jefferson, you have to fire Emily!” Heather said.

I sighed and stood up. “What’s she doing now?” I asked.

“She’s giving herself a manicure behind the Line while we have people waiting…”

Jay interrupted, “She’s also touching me inappropriately and trying to get me to sleep with her so my girlfriend will dump me.”

“Ugh! I’ll talk to her,” I stormed out of the office and headed to the Line. Lately, I’ve been having a huge problem with Emily not working, talking back, stabbing people in the back and trying to break up couples. First it was Nathan and Alyson: Emily threw a party at her place and invited Nathan but not Alyson. She got him incredibly drunk and by the end of the night they were in her room making out. Topless.

Next was me and Maggie: I hadn’t had sex with Maggie for about a month, I needed to relieve the tension and went to use the downstairs bathroom. I was nearly finished when Emily came in, removed her apron and shirt to reveal a black, lacy bra and began rubbing my inner thigh, her knuckles brushing up against my testicles. “I could do that for you…” she said and moved my hand away, I backed away and pulled up my pants.

“Okay, Emily, we need to talk!” I said, arriving at the Line.

“Okay, Jeff, but first I want you to try one of these strawberry crèmes that I helped make. They are so delicious.”

“No, thank you, I don’t like strawberries.”

“How can you not like strawberries?” Emily gasped.

“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway because I’m allergic to them.”

“Pfft! Allergic. What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Emily shoved a crème under my nose.

“Instant death!” I pushed Emily’s arm away and cleared my throat. “Look, seriously, we need to talk. Come into my office.” We went back to my office and Heather took her post on the Line. Emily sat down in the extra chair and I shut the door.

“What do you want?” asked Emily, chewing on her pinky nail.

“We need to discuss your work performance and general attitude. Your work ethic has been pretty lackluster and your attitude toward everyone has been…how do I put this nicely…bitchy!”

“Why, whatever do you mean?”

“You don’t do anything but flirt with the students and you cook when you aren’t allowed to cook.”

“Then train me to cook,” Emily smiled her perfect white-toothed smile as I sat down in my chair.

“Now why would I reward someone who needs to be punished? I have something much worse in store for you,” I smiled. I cleared my throat and leaned in closer to Emily. “You are going to stay late and help me organize the vegetable freezer.”

“What’s so bad about that?”

“Aw, poor, delusional girl. Get out of here, go serve some food.”

Emily looked at me puzzled, got up from the chair and left the office. Wendy appeared in the doorway like magic. “So how did Emily’s talking to go?”

“Well, not that it’s anybody’s business but she is being forced to help me clean out the freezer tonight.”

“What about your date with Maggie?” asked Wendy.

“We’re meeting at ten and we should be done with the freezer by nine. It’ll be fine.”

“Stuck in a twelve-by-seven freezer with Emily. God help you, man,” Wendy said.

The door to the freezer whooshed open and Emily peered in. “It’s cold in there…” she said.

I rolled my eyes and sighed. I walked into the freezer and Emily followed, shutting the door. “Did you just shut the door?” I asked.

“Yeah, I didn’t want the cold air getting out.”

“Yeah…that door doesn’t open from the inside.”

“What? You’re kidding, right? One of Jeff’s silly little jokes?”

“I don’t do silly little jokes, I make humorous observations. No, I’m not kidding. We’re stuck in here until someone opens the door from the outside.”

“That really sucks.”

“How do you think I feel? I have a date with Maggie tonight!”

“There we go! When you don’t show up for your date, Maggie will call trying to find you and that’ll bring someone here!”

“That’ll be three hours from now so what are we supposed to do in the meantime?” I asked.

“We could make love…”

“I knew you were going to say that. Emily, I am not going to cheat on Maggie so you might as well quit trying.” It was starting to get a little cold so I crossed my arms and shivered a little. “Why do you keep trying to break everybody up?”

“You make me sound like Yoko Ono. I do these things because I can and sooner or later one of you guys is gonna crack and you’ll be waking up next to me in bed, just like the others,” Emily said, sinisterly.

“Not every guy cheats, Emily. I never would. Does it make you feel good breaking up two people in love?” I asked, sitting down on a stack of boxes.

“Are you my therapist now?”

“No but I could be your friend if you stop being a bitch and talk to me!”

“I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t know you and you don’t know me so don’t you dare try to psychoanalyze me when you know nothing about me!” Emily turned around and stopped at the still-closed door.

“And you storm out, slamming the door behind you. Fine, we’re stuck together for God-knows-how-long so let’s learn about each other. You can ask first.”

Emily was obviously annoyed by the current prospect but slowly turned around and looked at me. “Who are you?”

“I,” I began, “am the single offspring of two seemingly worthless people who actually wanted a girl. I was named after one of the fathers of our country, but I hate my name. I was never liked in school by anyone and never had more than three friends at any given time. I flooded myself in reading and writing and by the time I entered college I could quote both Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe—verbatim,” I paused to take a breath.

“Really?” asked Emily.

“Yeah, and you’d be surprised that being able to do that does not get you chicks,” I chuckled.

“I wouldn’t think so,” Emily, too, chuckled. “I had this friend who went to Hawaii with her family for a vacation and lost her virginity to a guy who was 33. She was eleven.”

“Eleven?” I was amazed. Emily nodded. “What does a girl have at eleven? All the girls I knew at that age were flat as box tops and pubic hair? Forget it!”

“I lost mine at nineteen.”

I pointed to myself. “Seventeen. What drives someone to have sex at eleven, with an older man, in a different state, while on vacation?”

“Why Maggie?” asked Emily.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you have a thing for Wendy, you work with your ex-fiancé and live with the adorable Heather. Out of all those girls, you picked Maggie. Why?”

“Because,” I paused and ran my hand through my hair, which was beginning to freeze, “Maggie did something that no other has done for me in a long time.”

“What was that?”

“She cared. At a time when everything was going downhill for me, Maggie was there and lifted my spirits and she didn’t walk away afterward,” I explained. “I had been there for Maggie and she was there for me.”

“You sound like you really love her,” Emily said smiling.

“I do. A lot.”

Emily walked over to me. “We could be in here for very long time. What if the only way to survive is our own body heat and we have to have sex?”

“Well, good luck because my ass is frozen to this box.”

I sat in the booth at the bar and grill where Maggie and I went on our first date. Wendy had arrived at 9:30 to let me and Emily out of the freezer after calling Heather. Maggie was already half an hour late and I glanced from the two TVs to the entrance. Maggie’s sister came in along with her boyfriend and behind them was Maggie holding hands with another guy. They all sat at the bar and the guy put his arm around Maggie’s waist and slid his hand into her back pocket.

I threw $15 onto the table to cover my drinks and a tip and walked up to them. I tapped Maggie on the shoulder and leaned in close to her. “Hello,” I said.

Maggie heard my voice and slowly turned her head to me. “Jeff, what are you doing here?” she asked nervously.

“We had a date tonight but you obviously forgot about that,” I crossed my arms and cleared my throat. “So, falling back into your old routine?” I asked, referring to her days of going out and sleeping around.

“No, it’s nothing like that! This is my sister’s boyfriend’s brother, Matt. They were going out but Matt didn’t want to be home alone so they asked me…”

“To forget a date you had with your boyfriend because some guy didn’t want to be home alone?”

“I’m sorry. I did forget we had plans but I’m off all week so maybe we can…”

“He put his hand down your pants!” I shouted. Everyone involved was silent and avoided eye contact as the anger built up inside me. “I don’t know why I thought I could be happy. I’ve been telling everyone how much I loved you and…I hope you have a nice life because I’m sick of looking at you,” I turned around and started to leave.

“I’m sorry, Jeff…” Maggie said, getting off the bar stool but not following me.

“I’m sorry, too,” I said, leaving the bar.

I arrived home and found Heather sitting on the couch in her bathrobe, reading. I walked over and sat down next to her. “Whatcha reading?” I asked.

Lolita. I got it from your collection,” she said, turning a page. “What are you doing home so early?”

“The night didn’t exactly go as planned. Especially when Maggie showed up with another guy.”

“Oh my God, that sucks.”

“Wait, didn’t you have a date tonight?” I asked.

“Um, yeah, he came over, we made out, I gave him a blow job, I went to brush my teeth and he took that opportunity to sneak out.”

“Are you okay?” I asked, putting my hand on her leg.

“I guess,” she shrugged.

I scooted closer to Heather and put my other arm around her. “If you ever need to talk, I’m here for you.” I moved my hand up her leg, into her robe and lightly felt her pubic hair.

She turned toward me and looked at me curiously. “What are you doing?”

“Something I should’ve done a long time ago,” I leaned in and kissed her. She dropped the book and put one hand on my cheek and the other on the back of my head. I reached around her front and grabbed her buttocks and pulled her onto the couch underneath me. I undid her robe and opened it to reveal her naked body. I stared down at her into her beautiful blue eyes. “I would never sneak out on you…”

Jeff joins Nathan, Alyson and a group of their friends on a trek to an abandoned house.