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You Give Love a Bad Name

By KECox All Rights Reserved ©


In Which Someone Doesn't Understand Boundaries

He was at work again. His work, I mean. He hadn’t been there for months. I’d heard he’d been let go. I nearly had to stop going to that bookstore. It would have been a tragedy since it is my favourite one. Particularly after he started working there. Every Tuesday, Thursday and every other Saturday.

I don’t stalk him. I’m just curious. He’s currently out of milk. Two percent usually, though sometimes he gets one percent. Rarely.

I nearly walked into one of the bookshelves. It’s not my fault I was staring. It was his. He was there, in my line of sight, therefore it was his fault I was staring. Well…okay I did walk into the bookshelf. It made a tremendous crash. They fall over rather easily. Who knew? But I don’t think he noticed. I hope he didn’t. I’m not very pretty when I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed for him. I mean, he just made me walk into a shelf of books. I’m sure he felt bad about it, if he noticed.

He may have noticed the mess. In fact, I’m almost sure he did. He was sent to clean it up. I watched him from a few shelves away, watched him curse and swear in that adorably surly way of his. It was cute, seeing him get all worked up about it and muttering about ‘stupid customers’ like it wasn’t his fault. Poor sweet thing must be in denial. But I forgive him.

I still remember the first time I followed him to the bus stop. Well it was a little further than the bus stop. I just wanted to see where he lived. He’d just gotten off his Thursday shift, at seven. Well, it was six fifty eight really, but I know that his watch is two minutes fast. I’d never been to that part of town before and I got hopelessly lost. Daddy was rather cross with me and I got a stern scolding about following strange boys. It upset me greatly and I tried to tell Daddy that he wasn’t strange. Not at all. I knew everything about him.

Except his name.

I vowed to learn his name, but since he never wears his nametag this proved to be difficult. The only time I saw him wearing one it wasn’t his. It said ‘Hank’ and he’s too cute to be a Hank. Besides, Hank is one of the cashiers, and I saw him come take the nametag away. It seemed like my cutie had borrowed it. I think the real Hank has a crush on me – what a creep. Can’t he tell that I love…what’s-his-name? I mean really. Some people can be so dense.

It really bothers me sometimes that I don’t know my eventual lover’s name. I just know it’s got to be something dark and mysterious, like… Like Darian, or Valin, or… something. Not Hank. Nothing so plain could ever suit someone so amazing, so gorgeous.

I could’ve watched him pick up books all day. To imagine those surely well built arms that he conceals so cleverly under his hoodie, picking up those hard covers and setting them ever so gently on the shelf... Yes, my gorgeous man is just like that, gentle and loving...

I heard him cursing as he put the books back, someone must have been annoying him. Maybe they were asking him where things were. Maybe that was always why he disliked telling me stuff like that, too many random people pestering him. I liked to ask him things about every five minutes. To drop hints and tell him what I liked, what my interests are...

Okay so maybe I wouldn’t ask him personally, I’d get my best friend to. When she comes with me. Which isn’t so much anymore. Something about ‘creepy.’ She’s just jealous. All of my friends are. They hate hearing me brag about how wonderfully amazing he is. They all just wish they had their own gorgeously adorable hunk of man meat to love.

I’m so lucky.

I thought I had finally escaped her. I thought the time off work would have thrown her for a loop. Turns out it didn’t work. I’m starting to consider a restraining order. I think this has got to be the only time I want Dad to get a transfer. I’d try changing my hours, but I don’t think it would really help. I think she knows where I live.

I’ve never really had a girl like me before, but I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be like this. I don’t think she should be stalking me. She doesn’t think I’ve noticed. Well, believe me, I have. And I am not amused. Very not amused.

My manager thought she was like my overprotectively obsessive girlfriend. It was humiliating. I could’ve lost my job. Hank offered to go talk to her for me. I didn’t mind but now she always gives Hank a look something like I think she’d make scraping dog poo off her shoe with a stick. I don’t get what her problem is.

It’s so creepy; she follows me around and makes it nearly impossible for me to do my job, not that I have much to do. Like, yeah, okay, I mostly just walk around and check prices on books and put things on shelves, but really; you can’t understand how difficult it is to focus on something when you know there’s a random person following you around. I just don’t get it. What could she possibly find so fascinating about me? I’m not interesting.

She walked into a bookshelf today. Knocked the whole damn thing over. She didn’t even have the nerve to stay there and...I dunno...apologize? God. None of the other customers are any help. They just sort of stood there gawking when I went over to pick everything up. Go figure. It’s little wonder I hate people so much. Of course, if it wasn’t my job, I’d probably just ignore the mess too. But it is my job. So I get to complain about it. People can be so useless sometimes. Does it never occur to them to maybe help? No, of course not. It’s not their problem. Technically it’s not my problem either. It’s Little-Miss-Likes-To-Follow-Me-Around’s problem. But God forbid she does something that reveals herself. No. Because knocking over a whole frigging shelf of books is totally inconspicuous. She’s why I don’t want to understand girls. If they’re all just going to act like her then I don’t want to waste my time.

I don’t feel safe when she’s around. It’s like she knows my schedule. I’m pretty sure she does. She’s always here whenever I’m working. It bothers me. At least she doesn’t send her friend to ask me questions anymore. Yeah, I noticed that too. It was hard to ignore the squeals and giggling from the next couple of shelves over. And the constant:

“Oh my god, what did he say?!”

“He said they’re next to the how-to books. What did you think he’d say?”

“I don’t know. Did he say he’s interested in that too?”

“...No... He said they’re next to the how-to books and told me to get lost.”

“Oh... I guess he’s a in a bad mood.”

Yeah. I’m in a bad mood. Constantly. I wonder why that would be. Couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that I’m being stalked. No, not at all. I swear she followed me home one night. I don’t remember exactly when, since I was too disturbed by the fact that she was following me to commit the date to memory. It was a weekday shift, that’s all I know. It was odd when she followed me to the bus stop, particularly since I’d never seen her do that before.

I won’t lie. It scared me when she got onto my bus. I had no idea why she was there. For all I knew she was going to jump me and threaten me for...something. I couldn’t really be sure. I usually sit at the back of the bus, but I decided that sitting near the driver might be a good idea this time. She sat at the back, but since we were the only two on the bus this wasn’t too effective to hide from me.

Unfortunately the stop is right by my house and I was too bothered to try and deke her out. I just ran in and locked the door. Dad gave me a funny look but didn’t ask. I’m glad he didn’t, I don’t know how I would’ve explained it.

I could feel her eyes on me as I threw the books back on the shelf. Yes, I was throwing them. So sue me. I was pissed. Anyone would be. My manager came by to tell me to get back to work. I nearly threw a book at him. What the hell did he think I was doing? Did he think I just picked up books for fun? I can’t stand working for such a moron.

It’s too bad Hank couldn’t come help. I bet he would’ve if he wasn’t on cash. He’s got to be one of the only decent people I know. I’d overheard my stalker discussing me with her friend, going on about how there was no way that I could ever be named ‘Hank.’ I tried wearing his nametag for a while, hoping it would be something of a turn off. It didn’t work. Rather disappointing really.

I heard her giggling as I was fixing the damage she’d done. God... she was amused by it. She thought it was funny. I couldn’t believe it. I slammed the last book onto the shelf. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to do something about that girl.

I had a book in my hands, a good diversion in case someone thought I was being weird – which I never am. Someone was coming. I clutched the book to my chest and closed my eyes. Perhaps it was my gorgeous man coming to see me, greet me with a kiss maybe. I opened my eyes and felt my heart skip a beat. He was there at the end of the row, watching me. My breath caught as he came over. He’d finally noticed me. I wasn’t sure I could contain my joy. I wondered if he was interested in discussing names for our eventual children. I couldn’t help but admire him, with his hair styled so casually and those beautiful dark eyes...our children would be absolutely gorgeous.

I smiled at him, at my gorgeous man. He was the embodiment of perfection. His arms were folded over his chest and I had the strangest impression that he was glaring at me, specifically for me. How adorable. I think I may have giggled, just a little.

My cheeks were warm. I hoped I wasn’t blushing. I’m not pretty when I’m embarrassed. Not at all.

He looked at me, oddly calm I thought for our first real encounter. Maybe he was just good at hiding how he felt. I waited for him to speak, to hear that lovely voice of his again.

His mouth moved, he was speaking. I didn’t pay too much attention to it; too busy watching those amazingly kissable lips. I squealed. Just a little. And I think I masked it pretty well. He was speaking. Speaking to me.

“Oh my god! I love you!” I cried, “We’re going to get married and have babies! Thousands and thousands of babies and we’ll teach them to walk and sort books and take them on walks and dress them up in matching outfits and when they get older we’ll teach them to follow people they love and I followed you home a while ago and you’ve got a really nice house and your dad seems really friendly and by the way you’re out of milk!”

I gasped for breath, looking expectantly at him. His left eye was twitching. How sweet. His mouth was hanging open slightly. Some people just don’t know how to take a confession of love I suppose.

“Right...” He ran a hand through his hair before looking at me with his delightfully intense gaze. “Look, I’m really not into creepy stalker chicks.”

I blinked. He didn’t like stalker chicks? Did that mean that he didn’t like me? But I wasn’t a stalker. I was just curious. I knew everything about him. Except his name which I was sure I’d get to learn in a moment or so. He’d have to tell me. I’d make him. Then I could go home and tell Daddy what his name was. And I’d rename my pony after him.

“Get it? I’m not interested.”

Not interested? My lover was not interested in me? It couldn’t have been possible. I pouted. It was the pout I liked to use on Mommy and Daddy when they said no. It had never failed me, yet. “But...”

“No. I don’t go for creepy stalker girls.”

I could see only one option. I’d have to become the kind of girl he did go for. Simple as that. I mean, I know everything there is to know about him, I’d just figure out which kind of girl he did like and become one of them. Like I could ever allow someone else to snatch up my man, my lover. “But I...”

“You are not my type.”

I would become his type. I vowed this. I would learn his name, rename my pony after him and become the woman of his dreams. Though I was a little shocked that I wasn’t already. “Oh...”

He looked sort of...relaxed, like he didn’t have to worry about something anymore. He unfolded his arms. I wished he’d take the hoodie off more often, then I could see his gorgeous muscles, run my hands over them... He started looking at me oddly again.

“Well? Get lost.”

What a rude thing to say. But I forgive him. I’m sure he was just overwhelmed. I mean how could he not be? Once I was his type of girl, I’m sure I’d be everything he could ever imagine and more.

“Before I go, what’s your name?” I asked. I had to know. I had to.

He opened his mouth and paused. “Ja- Tom.” 

Tom...I sighed, gave him one last longing look and headed out of the aisle. It really stung, knowing that he didn’t love me back yet. I would be back. I would make sure he loved me. We’d be together forever if it was the last thing I did.

I had no idea what she was thinking about but when I found her she was hugging a book and looking like she was daydreaming. I don’t want to know what she was daydreaming about. Really. I don’t. If it has anything to do with me I don’t care.

I walked towards her, partially wondering if I’d be allowed to grab her and forcibly drag her from the store and ban her. That would be nice. Really nice.

She started staring at me. It sent shivers down my spine, and not in a good way. She had this sort of ‘spoiled rich girl’ look about her and I couldn’t help feeling like I was nothing more than some sort of outfit that she was matching up against another. I stood right in front of her crossing my arms over my chest. I glared. I’m good at glaring.

She started giggling. I didn’t get it. My glares were able to stop teachers in their tracks if they were about to ask me a question, it made old people on the street automatically assume I was up to something and mutter ‘hooligan’ after I’d passed, and here she was giggling. It felt anticlimactic to say the least. Her cheeks had gone bright red by the end of her laughing fit.

At least I had her attention. 

“Listen you...” I tried to sound menacing.

She squealed. Squealed like some totally obsessed girl who’d just seen her favourite movie star walk down the street. It hurt my ears.

“Oh my god!” Not the typical reaction I was hoping for. I suppose I shouldn’t have thought of anything about this girl as ‘typical.’ “I love you! We’re going to get married and have babies! Thousands and thousands of babies,” Keep dreaming girl, “and we’ll teach them to walk and sort books and take them on walks and dress them up in matching outfits,” Matching outfits? What kind of drug was she on anyway? “and when they get older we’ll teach them to follow people they love and I followed you home a while ago and you’ve got a really nice house and your dad seems really friendly and by the way you’re out of milk!”

I backed away from her slowly. I could feel my eye twitching. She was looking at me like she was expecting a similar outburst. My jaw had dropped and I wondered if I could call security on her.

“Right...” I ran my fingers through my hair a few times before saying, “Look, I’m really not into creepy stalker chicks.”

She stood there and blinked at me.

“Get it? I’m not interested.”

She looked at me and made puppy dog eyes. She stuck her lip out at me. I admit, it had to be the mother of all pouts. I’m glad I don’t fall for that sort of thing. “But...”

“No. I don’t go for creepy stalker girls.” Not at all. 

“But I...”

“You are not my type.” Not in any way, shape or form could she ever be.

She looked disappointed. “Oh...”

Maybe I’d gotten through to her. But it seemed too easy. I felt myself relax slightly. It was like I didn’t have to worry about her anymore. That was when I realized she was still staring at me. Maybe not quite.

“Well?” I arched an eyebrow at her and pointed at the exit. “Get lost.”

“Before I go, what’s your name?”

I was astounded. This girl probably could have told someone my daily routine, but she didn’t know my name? Wow. That was intense. “Ja–” I couldn’t tell her my real name. That would be stupid. “Tom.” Hopefully that would keep my real identity hidden for a while. If she hadn’t figured out that I was James when she was watching me, it would probably take her forever to figure out that I’d lied.

She sighed and looked at me longingly before walking out of the aisle. I watched her, just to make sure she was leaving the store. She set the book she’d been carrying on a table as she passed. I twitched. She still couldn’t make my life easier.

I’d really like to think that I got through to her. I wish I was naive enough to believe that. I’m really doubt that it did. For all I knew she was even more determined to get me than before. I hope not. But then again, I’m not that stupid. She’ll be back. I’m sure of it. Hopefully it won’t be for quite a while, maybe Dad will get a transfer by then... Maybe I can successfully become a homosexual... Maybe she’ll find someone else to stalk... None of it really seems very promising. She’ll be back and I know it.

I sighed. Might as well make the most of what peace I had.

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