Previously posted at Deadwood Writers Voices, February 10th
Pop and snap, pop and snap, it was an incessantly annoying tempo that was making her jaw clench. Yvette turned her head to stare at the woman chewing the gum hoping the laser death glare she shot that way would make the woman’s head explode.
Folding another t-shirt Yvette pressed and lined up edges for each fold in time with the snapping and popping of the gum. She snarled and snapped. “Would you stop it!”
The woman had short shorts on and a t-shirt that strangled her abundant cleavage. She looked up with wide eyes and shut her mouth. Then she said, “Sorry honey,” frowned and went back to her laundry. She also threw out her gum.
Yvette sighed. “No, I’m sorry for yelling at you. I just hate that I’m spending money I don’t have at the laundry mat, I have a headache, and I’m going to be late for work.”
The woman nodded. She gave her sympathetic eyes. Definitely more forgiving than she.
Earlier in the week, Yvette’s washer and dryer took fried to a whole new level. Just her luck, lightning had decided her side of the apartment building was as good a target as any and ripped through her apartment, burning the machine’s wires useless. I guess she should be happy the place didn’t burn down. She sighed and shut her eyes, taking a deep breath.
“I know what you mean. My Tony, he’s about the sweetest man you’ll ever meet, but he can’t keep from spending most everything we earn on games and such. You know? Video games. He likes them first person shooters, but they’re like fifty bucks a pop. And then he has to have his beer and chips during his breaks while…”
The high pitched nasally voice buzzed on and on as if the woman stepped out of a movie about the New York Mafia. Yvette just nodded and went back to folding laundry trying not to let her mouth hang open in disbelief and surprise. Did that woman really have a voice like that? She shut it quick enough.
The white dress shirt she pulled out of her basket was just like all the others she’d worn day after day, trying to earn enough money to get a better place, a better car, a better life. Waitressing was all she’d ever done. Every restaurant she had worked in seemed like a replica of the one she’d left. It was always for a higher wage, or better tips just until she’d have enough to go to culinary school. It never did add up to enough, though. Her dream of being a chef was pushed back for one more night or one more shift. But today she’d have an interview for a rare chance to apprentice in the kitchen.
She’d had enough of the too-handsy boss at a pit she worked at in Detroit. She’d thrown her order pad and apron at the owner, hit him with a closed fist and then walked out and took a drive. It turned out to be a four-hour drive. Taking that time to think of her next move turned out to be the best spontaneous decision she’d made to date. The drive had landed her in a small town that almost put her compact car in Lake Michigan. But then she rounded a corner and saw a sign for On the Rocks.
Her heart hammered hard. Her palms started to sweat. She’d never felt so drawn to a place. She pulled over, parked, and got out of her car. Freaked out by her reaction she was determined to go in, have a drink, and calm her nerves. Then she would find a place to stay, get a good night sleep and go home in the morning. She didn’t know why she was so nervous, but she felt something stirring inside her and decided to go with it.
When her feet hit the pavement, and she stepped out of her car, she could hear the music thumping from one side of the building. Female patrons waited in line with their high heels and skin tight dresses. Men wore slacks and shiny shoes with buttoned up shirts. They stood waiting and admiring the woman. Both sexes were sophisticated but also relaxed like they didn’t need to preen or flash a sexy smile for those next to them. It’s like they knew someone was waiting for them, so they didn’t have to do anything special to attract each other’s attention. Most were already paired up or held close by a significant other, or groups of girls gave the flirty eyelash flutter, and groups of guys gave the universal chin lift for hello, or gave a wave. There was familiarity. It was a small town after all. It wasn’t like the meat markets at the clubs in downtown Detroit.
She’d looked over to the other side of the building. The crowd was older, but no less done up like the younger group. There was something different at this place, and she wanted to know what it was all about. The calm side drew her, and she walked up to the large wooden door and went in. The line had been for dinner reservations and it warm enough for patrons to stand outside. She had approached the bar and sat down. The decision to get a drink and stay a while had changed her life. She’d met the owner, Ricky, as he was known and he’d offered her a job. It never occurred to her that she would move to the small town and make a home and it would start at On the Rocks.
The timer dinged on her last load. “Thank God,” she mumbled.
She looked at the time on her phone and quickly grabbed the last of her clothes, stuffing her unmentionables in the basket and then topping that off with her folded white shirts and black pants. Yvette grabbed everything else to fold it later. She needed to get home to get ready, late already, her first impression was going to suck.
With one basket on top of another her visibility almost zero, she rounded the corner and raced toward the door.
“See ya honey!” the woman with the gum and big boobs yelled over the whirring of washer and dryers.
Yvette turned to politely say good-bye trying to make up for her rudeness as she opened the door. She pushed her back up against it and spoke as she went. “Bye, uh…”
“Dallas,” the woman replied.
“Dallas,” Yvette said. “Nice to meet you.” And she waved. Turning to get to her car, which was a block away, the wobbling clothes baskets giving her trouble, she ran anyway, but within a couple of steps, she unexpectedly ran into a large immovable object just as the sky unleashed another torrential downpour. She crashed into said mountain which sent Yvette’s momentum backward. As she righted herself and before she fell and broke something important, the baskets with all her clean clothes went flying.
She reached out to try and catch at least one set before they hit the ground so she’d have something to wear for the interview because she wanted to make a good impression on the new chef. But that didn’t happen. She only had two hands. With her red hair dripping wet across her eyes, she was mumbling expletives as she gathered her now dirty, soggy mess. She flipped the tangled mop out of her eyes and started to straighten up with her soiled armload when fingers curled around her arm steadying her. And then a voice that sounded like sin and sex danced across her skin. “I am so sorry.”
When she stepped back the man who had clearly been the one she’d run into was now kneeling and gathering up the clothes she’d missed. And boy what a view of a very fine backside. When he finished helping and finally stood and held out her clothes, she lost all forms of communication. Because standing in front of her had to be one of the hunkiest men she’d ever seen in her life.
She swallowed hard her throat suddenly very dry.
The man’s arms dropped still holding onto–she looked down–her lacy underwear. Heat blazed through cheeks which were probably bright red knowing her pale complexion. She looked back up and was about to say something when their eyes met. His hand reached out, and his fingers pushed back an unruly curl that had sprung from the wet mass on her head. He pushed the curl gently behind her ear, skimming the curve of it down to her earlobe. She shivered.
She blinked a couple of times. What was she doing? Oh, right, she thought. She needed to get home.
“I’m Jacob.” He gave back her panties and smiled, a dimple forming. All she could do was stare at his smile. A smile only the devil would recognize it was so full of sin. Holy Moses and the four horsemen. She just died and went to heaven. All her girly parts, which had been dormant for far too long, saluted hello, how are ya’.
She licked her lips, and his eyes tracked the movement. Her lips pinched tight. Her heart started beating as if she were freefalling over a waterfall. She didn’t have time for a relationship. She needed to work, earn, and pay for tuition. Not think about one night stands with hot guys that had see-through shirts. Thank you, God, for the rain.
She grabbed the panties dangling from his finger and nodded like a big dork.
“You are?” he asked when she couldn’t say anything.
She blinked and finally got a hold of herself, only a little drool pooling at the corner of her mouth. She licked her lips again, and again his eyes followed the motion.
Oh, dear Lord, she needed this man in a big way. He was tall, at least six two. The rain still coming down hard, sluiced over muscles that were held in by the white t-shirt. She loved that white t-shirt. And his face, a play on chiseled angles and sharp brows, with hair that was as black as a still lake at midnight, plus that killer dimple, sent tremors through her body making her skin feel tight and tingly as she became more aroused.
“I’m…I’m Yvette,” She stammered.
“Nice to meet you, Yvette.” He held out his hand, and she took it and froze from the contact. Not that she was cold, oh no. She was getting very, very, warm.
All she could think to say when their eyes met again was, “Oh, boy,” because sparks were flying as their gazes stayed locked.
And then Jacob smiled even bigger.
Yvette squeezed his hand tight and tried not to groan. He didn’t just have one dimple. He had two.