Last time: Tracy fended off the set-up attempts of Claire and enlisted Davis’s help to do so. Davis’s flirtations have led to cursory approval from Claire and confusion on Tracy’s part.
“Remember, back on my first day, how you told me Davis was an ass?”
Claire‘s cheeks heated but she kept on swiping down the bar while she considered her answer to my question.
“Yes,” she finally said. “I remember telling you he was an ass who would walk all over you.”
“So, want to explain why you gave him a thumbs-up the other day when he was flirting with me?” I raised one eyebrow at her. She wasn’t subtle. She may have thought she was subtle, but the setting up had to stop.
She tried to deflect. Her face screwed up a little, and she huffed a quick breathe through her lips.
“Thumbs up? Please, I wouldn’t give Davis a thumbs up if you paid me to,” she scoffed.
I had to laugh at her derision a little. I had caught the gesture over my shoulder when she thought I wasn’t looking.
“Yes you did. Don’t lie. I totally saw it.” I smiled at her. “But I don’t get it. You were the one who told me to steer clear. And he’s your ex. So, you know, off limits.”
Claire finally dropped the rag into a sink and rested both arms on the bar.
“He’s not a bad guy,” she admitted. “I mean, I dated him, right? And we’re friendly now. Plus, let’s be honest, I have to work with him every day regardless of whether we like each or not, and I have a great boyfriend now.”
“Ok,” I said while holding up two fingers. “One, you having a great boyfriend now is not a good excuse. And two, are you just trying to pimp me out to all the guys you know?”
I didn’t really think that she was, but I couldn’t be sure. As low man on the totem pole, it’s not like I had all that much insight into how this little family at The Wilted Pen operated. Sure, I’d been there for most of the summer, and I felt like they all liked me, but Claire, Davis and the other guys had been working together for years. There were layers of innuendo in every conversation that went right over my head.
“He’s a decent guy, Tracy. I liked him enough to date him for almost a year, and I broke up with him. I can be petty when I want to be. I’m not proud of it. You should give him a chance.”
It was my turn to blush apparently. With the fauxhawk and the sullenness, Davis was about as far from the clean-cut fraternity boys I had dated through college as one could possibly get.
Claire went right on talking, ignoring my blush in favor of changing the subject.
“Are you coming to the party this weekend?”
“Yeah,” I answered distractedly. “Can you believe that it’s already August? I’m only going to be a here a few more weeks, and then my life of corporate servitude begins.”
“I can tell you are so excited.” She grinned at me over the bar as I sighed in the general direction of my cup of pop.
“I mean, it’s going to be a great job. ‘Great’ being the word all my friends from school, my parents and the career advisor that my major required I meet with before graduation used.”
I paused, slightly unsure of how to even express what I was hesitant about when it came to my looming first day.
“I’m going to be stuck at a desk. I’m going to stare at a computer all day long or be on the phone until I want to scream every time I hear the ringer.”
Claire shrugged lightly in response. “Sounds like a cake walk to me, Tracy. You’ll have air conditioning, health benefits, the freedom to travel when you have vacation. Not to mention you’ll be able to have a social life that doesn’t revolve around night’s off, and finding a gathering place that’s still serving when you’re finally done for the night.”
“Yeah, I guess.” My finger twirled slowly through the condensation that my glass had left behind. Before turning back to my own pre-shift set up routine, I admitted something out loud I hadn’t told anyone: “Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it’s a little too perfect. Where’s the fun?”
Cover art for Headed towards the Right Decisions was created by Maritza Lugo.