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Chapter 2

"I'm okay. I'm okay, I'm okay."

I muttered.

"Are you sure? I hear a male voice trying to break through my hyper overactive mind and racing thoughts. I moved my hands and see a beautiful man before me. He is dressed in a very nice suit. He looks sharp. Like he took pride in his appearance. His hair was nice and kept short and styled nicely on the top. His face was the most beautiful man's face I have ever seen. And he was very much a man, not a boy. Slight facial hair not too long.

I quickly look at the ground. I pick at my fingernails chipping away nervously at the nail polish.

In the brief moment that I glance at him, his eyes look dark and mysterious like a game to be solved. His neck was covered in ink, that peaks out from his white dressed shirt that was unbuttoned to his mid-chest. Cool tattoos I thought.

"Can I look closer at your tattoos?

I ask but still looking at the ground.

His presence made me nervous but oddly enough I wanted to see his tattoos up closer. They fascinated me, beautiful designs and masterful creations. The artistry was phenomenal. I was curious.

"Why don't we go take a seat somewhere you look a little out of sorts?

"I...I can't sorry. I have to work and I don't have my bag or my pencils or my lunch or my phone, it's very very bad."

I am trying not to freak out but my mind is still stuck on all my things I don't have. They make me feel safe and now I don't have them.

"Bad day?

"Very bad day. Very bad day." I sway from one foot to the other.

I keep my eyes on the ground feeling strange with him starring at me, and all the people passing by.

"It'll get better." He seems hopeful.

"I need my stuff. I don't know what to do." I fidget with my ear and twirl a lock of long hair around my finger. I chew on the corner of my inner cheek, nervously.

"Well look at it like this it's only got to get better." He sounds hopeful.

No no, it won't. "It won't get better. It won't. My pencils my sketchbook. I need them for my break and lunch I need my lunch." What am I going to do?

"Are these pencils special?

"V-very...v-very...I studder.

"Maybe I can buy your new pencils?

"Oh no no-no-no. These are perfect and I like them a certain way, and they have to be just right."

"Pencils?

"Yes pencils, it's ok. I need to go. I will be late and then I'll be in trouble."

I walk off towards the coffee shop.

I open the door and the tiny bell just above the top of the door chimed. I walk in and head down the hallway to the back break room. I went to the row of cubbies at the back of the room I grab my maroon coloured apron. I wrap it around my waist and tied it up at the back. I tap the heels of my shoes together. It's what I do every time I tie my shoes or something up on my body. Again another quirk I do.

I turn around and head back out. I walk behind the counter. Sally one of the other workers was already there. She eyed me over I quickly avoid her eyes. I got to work refilling the condiment table out on the floor. I placed everything in the right place.

Sally isn't really friendly and she's always rolling her eyes at me or scoffing off or blowing out an irritated breath.

I focus on my task and stayed out of Sally's way. She can be so bossy and mean.

"Hey, Sally. How are you?

I hadn't heard him come in until I heard his voice say Sally's name. I look over my shoulder and see the same guy that talked to me outside. He had a plastic bag in his hand.

"Hey Erik, do you want your usual?

Sally smiled brightly something she always does when a guy is around. She puffed out her chest and I notice his eyes went to her chest. He smiled at her. They obviously like each other. I noticed other women around the shop was also staring at him. They definitely liked him. And why wouldn't anyone he's handsome and sweet?

"Actually I was wondering if a beautiful blonde works her, I don't know her name but I think she works here."

Sally said his name was Erik. I called out. Erik!! I said his name loudly it came out louder then I meant to. It made people all stare at me. Shit. I turned back to the station I was working on. Shift shit!

"Hey, so I bought you new pencils and a sketchbook, they might not be the same but hopefully it helps."

"Oh, you didn't have to do that. I don't have my wallet, I can't take that."

I tuck my hair behind my ears and twirled my hair around my finger, I was still facing away from him. I continue to focus on my task and got everything filled.

"Everly I need you to go clean the toilets," Sally orders me sounding strict and unruly. I just don't get a good vibe from her.

"Oh...okay," I reply back so she knew I heard her.

"Wait...here, please just take these." He put the bag in my hand.

"Thank you. If you come back tomorrow I will pay you back." I shouldn't be taking this from a stranger. But I keep the bag tightly gripped in my hands.

"Darling, you don't own me any money. But I will definitely see you tomorrow. And as for your lunch, I will be back. What time do you get your break?

"11: 55 am. But you don't have to hang out. I'm not very much fun."

"Oh, I beg to differ. You're unique and I like that."

I notice this shoelace was untied. I knelt down and tied his shoe for him. Then I stood up and knock my heels against each other.

"Aren't you sweet!

"Wouldn't want you to get hurt. Did you know that you could trip and get very hurt? I once read about this woman that was riding in an escalator and her shoelace was united and it got stuck in the stairlift. She got very hurt."

"Fun fact huh?

"Not very fun for that person. Also, did you know that Researchers recently did a case study of 3,000 kids that were brought into the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Seattle? There have been 1,000 cases that were related to loss of footing. 67 percent of these falls were attributed to untied shoelaces. So it's safe to say barefoot people were found to have the fewest injuries due to tripping and falling. The type of footwear least at fault proved to be low-top sneakers and shoes with rubber soles. Velcro fasteners on shoes are better if you're prone to your shoelaces being untied."

"Hahaha, aren't you something else. I'll see you later sunshine."

"It's Everly."

"I know but you're a ray of sunshine today."

"Well, now that sounds beautiful. What do I call you?

"Just Erik."

"Okay...Just Erik. Hunk. hunk. hunk." I said loudly and without control of my outbursts.

"Hunk, huh? He had the biggest smile, I can see slightly through my lashes.

"Shit! I cover my mouth and hurried off. I walk away feeling my face go bright red. Why is it so hot? What the heck did I just say?

Sally stepped in front of me.

"Are you causing a scene again? I will report to you."

"Woah easy there Sally. She's done nothing wrong here." Erik stepped in.

"I'm sorry. I...I need to go." I untied my apron and tap my heels together then tossed it on the floor and ran out. Tears ran down my face. I had nowhere to go but I needed to distance myself from that. I walked in a circle and kept mumbling:

"Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness." I repeated over and over, I hit myself in the head.

I felt a hand touch my shoulder and it freaked me out. I knelt down and covered my face.

"No no no-no-no." This is so bad.

"Hey, Everly." Erik's voice tried to calm me.

"You should leave. You don't want to see this." I was trying to keep my tears away.

"It bothers me that Sally upset you and I can't leave you here like this."

"I'll be ok. Please go."

"Come here." He sounds decisive and urging me to listen to him like he's used to getting people to listen.

"I should go. And you should go. I didn't mean to cause a scene or say what I did. Sometimes I say stupid things." I stand up and pushed my hair away from my face. I bit my lip and stared at his shoes. I was humiliated.

"Everly it's ok. It seems you've had a bad day. Let me help you."

"I don't need y-your h-help." I was shuddering again, my eye starts twitching something that happens when I get nervous or shy. I walked away but I remembered I had work. But I am probably in trouble now, Shit.

"WhatdoIdo. WhatdoIdo. WhatdoIdo." I talked over and over.

"Easy there." He talked calmly.

"No!! Shit s-sorry." I covered my mouth.

"Do you need me to call someone for you?

"Oh, could you?

"Yes, of course."

"Here use my phone." He offered kindly.

"Th-thank you." I reached out and grabbed the phone, our fingers brushed briefly I felt this tingle. I have never felt that. I turn away and typed in my brother's number. I bring the phone up to my ear.

Phone call:

Luke: Hello?

Everly: Shhh listen...I think I messed up really bad.

My voice I tried to make come out in a whisper but it wasn't working.

Luke: Where are you?

Everly: Outside work. It's really bad. And I don't have my bag or my lunch and I might be fired. I don't know what to do.

My hands were shaking.

Luke: I'll be right there. Don't go anywhere.

Everly: I won't.

Like: Who's the phone are you using?

Everly: He's got tattoos, Luke. And really big muscles. And a nice face.

I covered my mouth but the guy could obviously hear me he was smirking. I don't know if he was laughing at me or thinking I am so weird. Probably both.

Everly: Oh and a nice smile.

Luke: Be careful do not leave with him.

Everly: Don't be silly I would never do that. He's a stranger.

Luke: Good. Can you pass the phone to the guy, please?

Everly: Mmm, ok. But don't embarrass me.

Luke: I won't.

Everly: Okay. Here's Luke.

"Boyfriend? Erik asked.

Hahaha weird he would think Luke is my boyfriend.

"Hahaha no. My brother." I told him.

"Okay." Erik took the phone from me.

He put his phone to his ear.

"Hello? Yes. It's Erik. Not at all. Will do. Okay." He hung up and placed his phone in his pocket.

"Sorry. He's overly protective." I felt overly obliged to express this. Letting Erik know my brother's reasoning for being protective. I don't know why I felt I needed to let him know this.

"That's okay. He was nice."

"He's very nice."

"He had a girlfriend and she cheated on him. That's bad huh?

"Yeah, that's not cool." He shoved his hands in his pants pockets casually like it's something he doesn't even think twice about.

"Have you cheated you look like a... what do they call a guy that has sêx with a lot of girls? Shit, why did I just ask him that very personal question? Sometimes I have no filter whatever is in my mind just comes out.

"Player...manwhore...womanizer?

"Are you a player or a manwhore?

"Would that upset you if I was?

"Why would it upset me?

"I would assume a woman like yourself, would find it disgusting?

"I barely know you, and what do you mean by you assume a woman like me?

He took a minute to answer like he himself was trying to understand what he meant, "just that you seem different."

"Is different bad?

"No."

"But you think I'm crazy right?

"No, not at all." His eyes hovered on mine I quickly avert my eyes.

"You don't have to lie I know you think I'm weird."

"I don't know you enough to categorize you as weird."

"Weird can also be someone who is funny, unusual, rare, remarkable, fantastic, different, outlandish, peculiar, astonishing, extraordinary, wonderful, offbeat, new, curious, odd, bizarre, alien, unfamiliar, romantic."

"I like that. See everyone has there owned unique imprint in this world. Maybe weird is actually beautifully designed."

"You are a smart guy aren't you?

"I know a thing or two." He rolled onto the heels of his shoes in a slight rocking motion. He didn't sound cocky in his reply more like just confident of himself.

I see my brother's car pull up. "Oh, that's my brother."

I ran over and tripped over my damn feet. Falling flat on my face. How mortifying. I stand up quickly but someone is already helping me up.

"Shit, are you ok? Erik asked.

"Just my clumsy feet."

"Are you hurt? He seemed genuine in asking.

"I'm fine." I was mortified that he'd seen me fall and with all the shit that has happened today I have no idea why he is still here.

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