Here it is, people... We're more than halfway down now! Only two more left to write...
Matt woke up a little early in the morning to make Zoe breakfast, and she woke a little later to the smell of pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs.
“Mornin’ babe,” he said as she sleepily walked into the kitchen in her baggy, flannel pants and an old t-shirt.
“Good morning,” she yawned, and sat down at the table. He made a plate and set it down in front of her before making one for himself.
“Got anything exciting going on today?” He asked as he made his own plate and took the other seat across from her.
“Nope,” she replied with a smile. “Just school, and then spending some time with you tonight.”
“Well,” he joked, “lucky you…” Zoe just smiled even bigger and stuck a fork-full of food in her mouth. After breakfast, they both got ready quickly, and left their apartment at the same time.
“Have a good day,” she said as they walked down the stairs.
“You too, babe. Hey, do you have a pen I could borrow? Someone stole mine yesterday…”
“Sure thing,” she dug through her purse for a moment before pulling out the pen she had gotten the day before, and handed it to him.
“You’re the best,” he told her before they each went to their cars.
It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, which Matt enjoyed immensely on his way to pick up his delivery truck. His job was so much more pleasant when the weather was nice, and he was ecstatic that they were finally starting to see some signs of summer. He drove with to work with his windows down.
He drove a pretty regular route, stopping at a lot of the same businesses, and this day wasn’t much different from any other. He did have one slightly irregular stop though, which he wasn’t happy about.
As he walked into the boutique, which specialized in women’s jeans but also did plenty of other clothing, the owner looked up instantly with the chime of the door and looked all too happy to see him.
“Well, if it isn’t Matt the delivery guy?” She said with her hands on her hips.
“Hi Jeanie,” he said over the large box he was carrying that came up to his chin. “How are you?”
“Me?” She asked melodramatically, putting her hands on her chest. “I’m doing fantastic! How are you?”
“Just fine, thanks. Where can I put this for you?” He shifted his weight uncomfortably.
“Would you mind bringing it into the back?” She asked, tossing her hair a bit.
“Not at all,” he sighed as he realized that there wasn’t anyone else in the boutique with her.
“So, we haven’t seen you in a while…” She said as he followed her back into the concrete storeroom, which doubled as her workspace.
“Yeah,” he said, sounding a little frustrated, “I guess no one’s been using UPS the send things to you… Can I set this here?” He nodded towards some other boxes off in the corner.
“Oh, that’s fine.” She watched him intently as he set the box down, and grinned when he walked towards her to have her sign for the package. “So, whatcha been up to lately?” She asked nonchalantly when he handed her the slip she had to sign.
“Not much,” he told her through a sigh, “just working a lot and spending time with my girlfriend…”
“The teacher?” Jeanie asked with a hint of jealousy. “That still going on?”
“Gotta pen?” She shook the paper, and reached her hand out before he even responded.
“Yeah,” he avoided eye contact as he took the pen Zoe had given him out of his pocket and handed it to her.
“So,” she said slowly as she signed the paper. "You gotta get right back to work? Or do you wanna hang around for a while?” She waited to give him back the paper and stuck the end of the pen in her mouth.
“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” he said, finally looking her in the eyes.
“And why not, Matt?” She asked, staring right back at him. After a moment of no response, she frustratingly asked, “Well?”
“Look, I’m sorry Jeanie,” he pleaded. “But things are going really well with Zoe now, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that, okay?”
“Zoe…” She pretended to sound confused, “Is that her name?”
“Come on, Jeanie. Cut the shit…” It was obvious that she was succeeding in making him uncomfortable.
“Well, it’s kinda hard, Matt… Given that it was only about three months ago that you were still fucking me. Remember that? A lot of it happened right here, in this very room.” She put her arms in the air and looked around at each of the walls.
“I know,” he sighed again, “and I said I was sorry…”
“Sorry?” She cut him off. “Sorry for what? Do you regret it?”
“No, Jeanie. I don’t.” He was raising his voice. “But I was going through some shit then, and it probably shouldn’t have happened. And even though it did, it REALLY can’t happen again. Can I have the paper please?”
She thrust the paper she had signed into his chest, but started chewing on the end of his pen again.
“So,” she said, calming down a little. “Are you just gonna be off then? Not to return until months down the road when there’s another package to deliver?”
“I don’t think it would be the best thing for me to just be casually dropping by here, okay?”
“Why? Because of Zoe?”
“I told you things were going really well now…”
“Oh yeah,” she said sarcastically. “I’m really happy for you… For BOTH of you…”
“Whatever…” he said in defeat. “I have to get going, my truck’s in front of the fire hydrant.” He turned around and left the storeroom without waiting for her response.
“Well,” she said, following him back into the boutique, “you’re always welcome to drop by, Matt… Even if you don’t have a package to deliver.”
He stopped with his hand about to open the door and looked back at her like she was crazy. “Thanks Jeanie, but don’t count on it…”
He opened the door, and had one foot on the sidewalk before she hollered after him, “You forgot your pen!”
Matt didn’t even bother to look back at her, or even slow his stride as he said, “Keep it, it’s been in your mouth.”
Jeanie just bit down harder on the plastic as the door fell shut behind him.