Chapter 2: Laces
One Sunday morning Jeff woke up because he felt someone shaking him. “Hey man wake up” he heard the voice of Tony. He opened his eyes slowly and Tony lifted him up quickly. “Hey I need you to go somewhere” Tony said and Jeff looked confused. “Go where?” Jeff asked. “I don’t know, anywhere, I need the room” Tony said. “Come on man its Sunday, let me get some more sleep” Jeff said but Tony stepped aside and there was a girl standing on one corner. Jeff didn’t bother arguing anymore, he stood up and grabbed his clothes and shoes.
Jeff walked towards the door but Tony caught up with him, “Here breakfast and lunch is on me” he said as he handed him two hundred dollars. “I don’t need your money” Jeff shot back but Tony placed the money inside Jeff’s shirt pocket, pushed him out and shut the door.
Tony was a certified playboy, he had no respect for women. He uses his false charm, good looks and fortune to lure pretty girls to sleep with him. Today was simply the worst Sunday morning for Jeff and the only place he could find solace was by the river.
Under the tree Jeff sat and leaned back, it was uncomfortable but he had no other choice. Slowly his eyes were starting to close and the sound of the smooth flowing river was his morning lullaby.
An hour later he woke up to the smell of coffee, as he opened his eyes there was Nadine staring at him. “Good morning Nadine” he said. “I am wondering if you really live inside the campus, if you do then why are you sleeping out here? And yes you were sleeping because I have been here for thirty minutes talking. Thinking that you were again in your silly trance” she told him and he laughed. “Well I do really live inside but today was complicated” he answered and she looked at him curiously.
“It’s a Sunday so what brings you here?” Jeff asked and Nadine sat beside him. “Well I was supposed to go to the library but on my way I saw you. Jeff you don’t have to lie to me you know. Yes we have only known each other for a few days but I can help you find a place to stay” she said and Jeff again laughed. “Honestly I do live in the dorm, I slept there last night but this morning my roommate needed the room that is why I continued my sleep here” he explained. “I don’t believe you. If what you’re saying is true then show me your room” she said and Jeff looked at her. “We can’t go there right now, it’s hard to explain so you just have to trust me on this one” he told her.
“Jeff I am a friendly person, I can be friends with anyone but I hate liars” Nadine said as she looked away. “My roommate woke me up, he told me to go somewhere else because he needed the room” Jeff related. “Just like that and you gave in?” Nadine asked. “There was a girl” he added and Nadine looked at him. “Okay I get it, does this happen often?” she asked and Jeff laughed. “Often is an understatement when your roommate is Anthony Roberts” he said.
“Yeah I’ve heard of him, he is quite popular among girls in campus. How did you end up sharing a room with that guy in the first place?” she asked. “Long story, he gave me two hundred dollars saying breakfast and lunch was on him. Do you want to go eat? I’m starving, my treat” he asked and Nadine stood up and looked at him. “You keep that money; I will treat you for brunch. I don’t want you to react, it’s either my way or I will go to the library” she said and Jeff smirked and slowly stood up. “It wouldn’t feel right” he commented and Nadine raised her eyebrow. “Fine, then I’m going to the library” Nadine told him and started to walk away.
Jeff found himself seated at a nearby diner staring at the menu. For the first time in his life he was able to enjoy reading the food descriptions and not minding the price tag that comes after it. He was ready to order but Nadine suddenly sad down in front of him. “So what are you having?” she asked as she grabbed the menu from him. “I thought you were at the library?” he asked. “I left my notebook at home so I followed you here, I will just have what you’re having” she said and they ordered.
A few minutes later their orders arrived, Nadine was surprised to see lots of food on the table. Jeff felt embarrassed and had his head bowed down, the little table was full of plates of assorted food. “I am going to be honest with you Nadine, I know this is embarrassing but I have been craving for these. So if you don’t mind I have to pig out a little bit. Just tell me if I am grossing you out” Jeff said in a soft voice. “No, its okay, I am going to pig out with you” she said and smiled. Jeff smiled back and started to take a big bite of the huge burger. “Man, so this is what money can do” he commented with his mouth full and Nadine chuckled. She could see the happiness in his eyes as he chewed slowly savoring the good taste of the food. She pitied him and tears were starting to form around her eyes and Jeff noticed it.
“Nadine is something wrong?” he asked her but Nadine shook her head and smiled. “I was just thinking how many dress sizes I would grow after eating all of these” she said. “Don’t worry about it, I will exercise with you. And even if you grow fat I’m sure you’re still going to be pretty” he said as he took another big bite and so she did the same.
After one hour they both could barely finish the last two plates on the table. “Man I really love pineapple pie but I don’t think I could swallow another bite” Jeff said as he leaned back and massaged his stomach. “You seem so happy after eating” Nadine commented and Jeff laughed. “Yeah but the food was just the half of it” he said. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Well, the food was really great just like in my imagination but the happier I was eating in front of a pretty girl. Just like a date but it isn’t” he replied and Nadine smiled.
“Don’t tell me you have not been on a date before” she said and Jeff shook his head. “Nope, never had time for that and didn’t have enough cash for it either” he said. “You really don’t need to spend money for a date. It does not have to be always about food you know. A date could be a simple stroll along the park or spending time together in a scenic place” Nadine told him and Jeff was surprised. “Damn! I should have known that before, but still I was too busy working my ass off or busy studying. I just thought that after I graduate and find a steady job then I could enjoy all the things I was deprived of, just like this. Money can surely buy lots of good food, I’m sure you rich people have these everyday” Jeff said and Nadine again felt sad. She could see the truth in his eyes as he spoke those words.
Jeff asked the waitress for the bill but she said it has been paid. He looked at Nadine and slowly bowed his head. “You should have not done that” he told her. “Jeff please don’t act that way. We both know you need the money more than I do” she told him. “I don’t want your pity” he said softly. “It’s not pity I promise you. I wanted to treat you, it’s just that. Next time I will let you pay but for now don’t let this ruin the good food you just ate” she explained and Jeff sighed.
The two stepped out of the diner, Jeff had his head bowed down as they walked along the street. “Jeff are you mad at me?” Nadine asked. “I was but I am actually happy with what you said” he replied. “What did I say that made you happy?” she asked. “About the next time thing” he said and Nadine laughed. “Yes I promise next time I will let you pay” she said. “Its not about me paying, its about the next time. Next time meaning you would go out with me again” he uttered softly and Nadine smiled.
“So if you say you are happy why do you have your head bowed down?” she inquired and Jeff stood still. “This is how I walk” he answered. “Why? Are you ashamed?” she asked. “No, why should I be ashamed?” he told her. “So it has something to do with you being a shy person then” she said and he laughed. “Nope, if you get the right answer then I will forgive you for your generous stunt a while back” he said and Nadine stared at him and tried to figure it out. She saw his shoe laces and suddenly she had the answer. “You keep your head bowed down so you could avoid stepping on your shoe laces” she said and Jeff managed to smile at her. “I forgive you” he told her and she laughed.
“Hold still, hold my bag for me” she instructed him as she bent down and tied his shoelaces. “I am not a kid you know” he said. “I didn’t say you were” she replied. “You don’t have to do that for me” he said. “I know but I want to” she answered. “Nadine people are staring at us” he said. “Let them I don’t care” she replied. After tying his shoe laces Nadine stood up and they started to walk, Jeff did not have his head bowed anymore but Nadine noticed a different smile in his face. “Why are you smiling?” she asked. “You ask too many questions you know” he replied.
“Yes I know, but why are you smiling?” she again asked. “You don’t like liars so I am going to be honest with you again. I promised myself to never fall in love until I graduate. But if I ever do break that promise she must be the one who is able to notice the little things and make something big out of it” he told her. Nadine was a bit confused and did not understand what he was getting at. “You still have not answered my question” she insisted and Jeff laughed. “It just so happens that person is pretty but she asks too many questions” he said and Nadine blushed and looked away shyly.
“Are you trying to say you are falling in love with me?” she asked. “No” he replied and she was surprised so she looked at him. “No? You weren’t talking about me?” she said. Jeff looked at her with a straight face and smiled, “No I wasn’t. We just met days ago and we barely know each other. You just remind me of the girl I like” he answered and Nadine felt so embarrassed so she started to walk slowly.
“Hey Jeff I have to go home now” Nadine said. “Thank you for brunch, and there is something I want to ask of you” he told her. Nadine stopped and looked at him, “You tied my shoe laces, you have to let me tie yours too sometime” he said and Nadine started to laugh. “Why would I let you do that?” she asked. “Because I want to” he said and they smiled at each other. “What if the girl you like see you doing it? She might get jealous” she told him. “No she won’t” he replied and Nadine pouted.
“Before I go tell me about this girl you like” Nadine said and Jeff turned around and started to walk away slowly. “The girl I like…well you remind me of her…she asks too many questions” he said and he stopped walking. “She even looks like you…I really don’t know her yet because I just met her recently…will she get jealous when she sees me tying your shoelaces? Nah I don’t think so, that would be crazy…getting jealous with yourself is simply crazy” he said and again started walking away.
Nadine didn’t know what to say, all she could do was laugh. She hated liars but this one wasn’t a lie, he could not just admit it straight to her face but he liked her. Nadine couldn’t stop giggling even as her bodyguard had surfaced and a black car came to pick them up. “You seem happy today” her bodyguard told her as he opened the door. “He is different from all the guys I’ve dated” she said as she entered the car. The bodyguard got in front and the car started to drive away.
Nadine noticed her bag was open so she checked if everything was in place. She brought out her notebook and noticed a napkin inserted inside. She opened the napkin and a one hundred dollar bill fell off. “Even though I have not been on a date before, I know that the guy always has to pay…I know this wasn’t a date but more of an eat together…sorry I can’t erase the word date anymore or else it would be messy. So here is the hundred that I owe you. Don’t worry I still have another hundred for our next eat together” a note said and Nadine started to laugh and giggle.
“Hey Fritz, this was the first time I had a date that I didn’t notice you lurking” Nadine said to her bodyguard. “He looked harmless” Fritz replied. “Indeed” Nadine said as once again read the note and smiled. “So miss Nadine was that a date?” Fritz asked and she looked at the note and said
“Yes it was”
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Chapter 2: Laces