Standards or chances?

 

 

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Standards or chances? 

I’m on my bed and I feel like a beached whale, I’m cocooned in my dressing gown, all puffy and dehydrated like a crisp. I need to be downstairs in the store by lunchtime. Damn, that last drink at Ben’s party last night. Damn me. I actually don’t like being drunk, so why did I even start on the shots someone had lined up – Oh that’s right – JOULES.

I waddle to the kitchen, arms across my midriff to sooth my churning stomach. Joules and his mates turned up around 10pm and due to the lack of anywhere to escape, because, let’s be honest, you can’t really hide in a two bed apartment, so to ease my embarrassment, downing the shots seemed liked a good compromise at the time.

“Joules was meant to call me two hours ago.” I tell Erin on the phone, while I mash a tea bag into a cup. I’m also armed with a pint glass of water. “Why should I be surprised, the guys around here always ghost me, but I’m not bothered anymore, we have bookstores in London and Paris now… Paris won’t have men with diluted hearts.”

Apparently my show-down with Joules for not responding to my messages and for just sending me a shitty… ‘Hey’, was the entertainment of the evening for everyone.

“It’s not that I need you too.” I dribbled. “But you say you like me, you say you’re a gentlemen – and one in a suit too – but you don’t behave like one. Not all girls are needy and clingy like you all assume.” I’m holding the floor at this point. “It’s the fact that the art of being a man is not sitting on the fence.”   The girls all cheered and I felt like I should run for parliament or something.

“It’s not us at fault, it’s you lot.” I stabbed my finger in the air at all the men in the room. “If you’re going to text someone you like, at least take them out, or do something to make them care for you. Mean it, or don’t bother!” More roaring, which afterwards had Joules hooked to me all night, apologizing for misplacing his spine.

Vic stomps into the kitchen, tapping her watch in my face, so I tell Erin I’ll call her back later. “I’m leaving for the afternoon in an hour, or have you forgotten.” Vic says. “You look terrible, smarten yourself up“ She orders, eyeing me up and down.

I thrust the pint glass into her hand and strut off to my bedroom, while Vic continues on behind me… “Diluted hearts are everywhere Tilly, not just in London. Keep to your own standards, eventually the right one steps up.”

“You reckon? I yell from inside my room, jumping on one leg into my jeans. “Well I think he’s in Paris.” I can’t get my jeans on, what am I doing? “With an almond croissant.” I say as I lose my balance and fall backwards onto the bed.

Downstairs in the store by the tills, I’m reviewing the sales sheets of the titles and memorabilia from the window display that I created and my head pounds to the rhythm of customer’s footsteps.

“Told you it would rock.” I say to Harriet, tapping her shoulder with some papers. “Sales are up eight percent in the classic Hollywood material section.”

Harriet’s petite face and slender arms gain new life as she raises them into the air and the corners of her smile reach the edges of the store. “Please tell me we can do another one? You are way more fun than Victoria.” She asks, before stuttering that she’s not being disrespectful towards Vic.

“Harriet. Stick with me kiddo, you’ll look forward to coming to work in no time.”

I smile at her, touched by the glint in her eyes as she hurries off to a mother and two children looking for assistance. Harriet is delicate, but a Goddess when it comes to children’s books. I admire her service to the customers as she rambles to the mother, while guiding them towards to fairy land in the children’s area… An area I have spent many an hour slouched under twinkly lights and fake trees, trying to find life’s answers.

Harriet should be in charge of the children’s section, not wasted on the tills. I make a mental note of this and of what that booming Bella currently is, but next Friday, on my 18th birthday,  I’ll be an official part owner..

Mum and dad are taking me to The Ritz for the grand signing of the papers… it will be the day I’ve dreamt of since I was 12 years old and I can’t wait.

“Am I interrupting, or can I steal your attention.” A voice says from behind me.

Startled, I turn around to see Drew standing there. He looks as bold as a New York winter and gentle as spring cherry blossom all at the same time, I wonder how he does that.

“Steal away? Did your dad finish the book already?” I ask. Right at that moment, a customer interrupts me, but it turns out he wants Drew instead. “Your Dad’s latest song is incredible. My wife and I are going to one of his Christmas concerts, a little present to ourselves!” The man gushes.

Song? Concert? – ONE – of his concerts?

“That’s very kind of you, Sir. I’ll be sure to pass on your compliments.” Drew replies. He then talks to the couple for a little longer, before bidding them farewell and raising his eyebrows. “Sorry about that.”

“I feel like I’ve missed something really obvious and important?” I reply.

“Not really, I’ll explain later. I came by to ask if you would like to go for coffee, again? Not here, thought we could go where I work a few nights a week… the Black Leather”

“WOW, you work there? Sons of Anarchy meets Starbucks, I believe?”

Drew laughs at my comparison and insists on picking me up at 4.30pm, rather then meeting me there. THIS, is what I’m talking about, this… I like. It’s perfect timing too, Harbours will be quieter then and Vic won’t be here to prattle on about Drew being a ‘bad boy…’ A comment I don’t understand and need to ask her about.

As he’s about to leave, I grab a mini notebook with a map on its cover from the shelves by the tills. “Drew, hang on.” I quickly open it’s magnetic flap, jot my number down and tear out the page. “Here, this is my number.“ I say, handing him the piece of paper. “If you can’t make it, or change your mind, can you let me know?”

“Of course.” He’s says looking at the number. “But why would I?”

My phone begins shrilling from my pocket. It’s Joules.

“I’ll let you get that. “ Drew points happily to my limp hand holding the phone, completely unaware he’s caused the fuzzy feeling charging around my body. “See you at half four.” Drew adds, as he proudly disappears into the revolving door.

…And so begins romance dilemma number two; Do I maintain my standards and tell Joules ‘no thanks’, I don’t like been ghosted, or do I give him a third chance? We all deserve another run, don’t we?

 

Annaliese

 

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