Chapter 23: Candy Dress
That evening I had work, apparently a huge blockbuster film was releasing and was I not prepared for the crowds that flooded through the doors.
I’ve been so distracted with everything that has happened, I couldn’t concentrate on my job, family or school.
“So, is this the small popcorn?” the customer asks, snapping me out of my day dream.
“Uh yeah sure” I answer as she places the large popcorn on the counter to pay.
After I served her, Harrison turns towards me and asks, “Umm, Zoe…are you ok? That wasn’t-“
“I know, but this is the face of not caring”
“Well, well what has your panties in a twist?”
I sighed and rubbed my temple, “I just…just have so much shit going on right now and it…freaking sucks”.
And then I start laughing.
I just laugh at everything that has recently happened.
Harrison looks at me like I’ve gone crazy, and maybe I have.
“Well, I’m just going to go help Jack in the café, would you mind just keeping an eye out on Vanessa? Make sure she doesn’t burn the popcorn. Have fun…uh…here” he smiles and walks over to the café section.
I notice the oil stains on my candy dress and think to myself, ‘Well great, anything else want to just shit on my mood’.
And it did.
He calls me over and I can just tell he’s ready to scorch me for not being the happy chappy worker I’m supposed to be.
“Zoe, cash up yours and Harrison’s tills. You’re pretty much the only one here who is competent enough to do it. Leave the cash boxes on my desk when you’re done.”
Wait, was that a compliment? From the one person I thought was incapable of compliments? Wow.
I’ve seriously been getting a lot of surprises lately.
I went to the back office to cash up the tills, I had 20 minutes left of my shift and I could go home.
As I was counting up the money, Vanessa pops her head out the door and says, “Um, hey Zoe…we kind of have a bit of an issue”
I turn around and raise my eyebrow, “What kind of issue are we talking about, Vanessa?”
She gives me a weary smile, “Burnt popcorn?”
After what seemed like a very long 20 minutes, I helped Vanessa clean up the mess, finished cashing the tills up and clocked off.
I was on the bus ready to get home. I pulled out my phone and the lock screen showed the date.
I had just realised that tomorrow’s my birthday.
I’ve seriously been so distracted that I even forgot to organise anything for my birthday.
Good on you Zoe.
I sigh to myself and dial Amelia’s number. After a few rings she picked up the phone and we just started talking about our nights.
“Damn, no offence but that sounds shitty” she commented.
“None taken” I reply.
“Hey, since it’s only 10pm why don’t I swing past your house and pick you up. We can have Canterbury burgers? It’s been awhile”
I thought about it for a while.
Should I hang with my best friend at our iconic restaurant or should I just go home?
The latter sounded more appealing, I was just so mentally tired from everything.
“What do you say Zoe?” I could hear the hope in her voice, so I caved in.
“Yeah sure, that sounds great. I’ll be home in about five minutes, see you soon”.
After I hung I up and made it to my house, I said my hellos to my family and made my way to my room to refresh myself.
I patted some cold water on my face to wake myself up, changed out of the mess I was and replaced it with some jeans and an oversized sweater. I swirled my hair into a messy bun, letting loose strands frame my face.
My phone buzzed showing there was a message from Amelia saying that she was outside. I grabbed my phone and wallet and made my way outside.
The night’s cool air iced my cheeks, plumping them, and colouring them a rosy pink shade.
I quickly hopped into the passenger’s side of Amelia’s car.
“Alrighty, let’s go eat a solid burger”
On the way, the car ride was pretty silent. Amelia noticed my strange behaviour, as I would usually be bopping around to the music.
“Okay, cut the shit, what’s up?”
Her fierce tone snapped me out of my trance, I raised my eyebrows in a bit of shock. I was not expecting that. “Umm nothing I’m jus-“
“You’re what? Not bothered? Do you not want to hang? Tell me Zoe”
“No, no of course I want to hang. It’s just that my head hasn’t been in the game lately. And everything that’s happened the last couple of days has just had me shook. Like, can we seriously think about it for a moment. Before I met Luke my life was a Candy Dress and Textbooks. And now its…a Candy Dress, Textbooks and other Dangerous things that I don’t like. I shouldn’t be involved in this kind of stuff”
Amelia stops the car in the middle of the road.
Not this again.
“Listen to me, you are not involved in any of that shit. You are Zoe. One of the most independent, hardworking and compassionate women I know. Now chin up, stop chucking yourself a pity party. Because Luke is sure as hell not risking anything when it comes to you. Don’t you see, Zoe? He’d do anything for you. You’re not just some girl he met in a Candy Dress, you’re the love of his life”.
As soon as she said that, everything around me went in slow motion.
Luke loves me?
I felt this tingly feeling in my stomach. As if fireworks were exploding right within me.
And even if I didn’t want to say it, deep down I knew.
I knew that I felt the exact same.