4. AWKWARD SITUATIONS
After parking my car across the road from the cafe, I cross the quiet road. I should start thinking about getting a job, it only needs to be after class and weekend work. I can’t let my dad pay for everything, I already feel bad that he is paying rent for me.
When I reach the large door, next to it I notice a flyer on the window and my breath hitches. It’s like the universe knows I need a reason to stay here. I take the flyer off the door and head inside. Liv notices me immediately and begins to wave me down. I motion to her with one finger saying ‘one second’ and quickly make my way to the counter.
A curvy blonde girl with pink bangs approaches me and pulls out her notepad. “What can I get you, babe?”
I watch her twirl the pen on the ends of her hair. She seems around my age and probably goes to the same college as everyone here.
I place the flyer down on the counter, “You’re hiring,” it isn’t a question, but the uncertainty in my voice hints for a confirmation.
“I’ll get my uncle,” she tells me and looks over me. A small smile forms on her lips and she turns on her heel. Before she disappears behind the small, green door, she turns back to me. “I’m Mia.”
“Calla,” I reply with a smile.
I stand there unsure what to do and fiddle with my fingers. I take a glance back to the table where the group is sitting. Theo flashes me a grin but his expression quickly turns quizzical. Before I can try and silently explain to him, my attention snaps back at the sound of footsteps approaching.
The man in front me is nothing like I had expected. I’m not exactly sure what I expected, but this isn’t him. His long hair and beard fill most of his face. However, his dark blue eyes, blue enough to belong to the deepest part of the ocean, take the stage.
I can’t pinpoint an age bracket for him. A part of him looks young enough to fit into college and the other part of him looks old enough to be my dad.
“You’re looking for a job, aye?” He asks and runs his tongue over his front teeth making a sucking noise. His voice is filled with a thick Australian accent and I wonder what brought him here.
“Yes,” I nod in agreement.
“Perfect, you’re hired,” he tells me and makes his way back behind the green door without turning back. I stand there, not sure what just happened. Mia gives me a sympathetic smile, “When can you start?”
“Tomorrow?” I ask nervously.
“What time can you come in?”
“I have class until two, so two thirty?” I say, taking into account how long it will take me to quickly drive home and change before coming here.
“That’s no problem, I’ll see you tomorrow. We can talk about the rest then,” she says smiling and I take that as my cue to leave. There is already a few people waiting to be served behind me.
When I finally make my way over to the table, Theo and Josh are arguing over who gets the last slice of pizza.
“It’s mine, you already had your half,” Josh argues.
“But you don’t even want it, you just said you’re full,” Theo reasons, reaching for the slice and Josh smacks his hand away. The more time I spend with them, the more I start to see how their relationship between each other works. They act like brothers but they definitely aren’t. There is no resemblance whatsoever but I assume they have known each other for a long time.
“Did you just get a job?” Liv raises an eyebrow at me as I sit down next to Theo, it was the only space that was available in the booth.
“Uh yeah, but the boss seems a little strange,” I admit and she laughs, like that’s already a known fact.
“Yeah, he is,” she admits and leans into Zach. He gives her a kiss on the cheek and whispers something in her ear. I turn away to give them a little privacy. Theo and Josh are still arguing, I don’t even think they know I am here.
My eyes travel across the table and land on Ace. However, my view of him is obscured by the ridiculous amount of dark hair. A girl that I haven’t seen before has positioned her body to be almost in Ace’s lap.
I pull a disgusted face as I see them swapping spit. The asshole has a girlfriend, who would have imagined.
“I didn’t see you there,” Theo beams as he turns to face me and throws his arm over my shoulder. It feels like a friendly gesture and nothing more so I let it slide.
“Hey,” I smile back at him.
“You’re still coming to the party?” Josh pops his head over Theo’s shoulder and I can’t help but laugh at how goofy he looks.
“Do I have a choice?” I sigh, hoping to get out of it.
“Definitely not,” Liv joins in the conversation.
No one says anything about Ace and the serious amount of PDA that is going on across from us. I watch as Ace tries to push the girl off him, but she doesn’t take the hint. After a few more attempts of this, he seems to get frustrated. “Off,” he snaps.
Her beady eyes widen but she climbs off him, reluctantly. I feel bad for her and instantly wonder what she sees in him. Yes, he is good-looking but good-looks don’t make up for an ugly personality.
She looks at me and her gaze instantly drops down, obviously embarassed that I saw Ace talking to her like that. I look back at Ace and our eyes meet. He glares at me in a way that implies that he isn’t too happy that I am here but he doesn’t say anything. He turns his gaze away from me.
So we’re up to the ignoring each other stage. That I can do.
I get out of the shower and suddenly hear my phone ringing. The noise is coming from downstairs, I must have left it on the kitchen bench.
The only person it could be is my dad. I haven’t called him since getting here on Friday and I know he’s probably getting ready to get into his patrol car and drive here. I am excited to tell him that I have found a job and everything is falling into place. I am making friends and the classes seem to be easy so far. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to come here after all.
No one is home, Liv text me and told me she and Zach went out to a movie and wouldn’t be home till late. I haven’t seen Ace for a few days and I almost forgot that he lives here.
I wrap a towel around my body and quickly rush downstairs to answer my phone. I round the corner into the kitchen and collide with something hard. It feels like I just walked into a brick wall. My head throbs and I swear I see stars for a few seconds. The towel that I was holding onto for dear life, is now fallen at my ankles and I struggle to come back to my senses. However, when I do, I find myself in a situation that I would rather be unconscious for.
I am naked and staring into a pair of amused eyes. Ace.
To make matters worse, Ace is shirtless. My eyes trail down his body and I can’t seem to stop myself. He must have had a shower as well because his hair is wet and there are still small drops of water on his chest.
I feel like I can’t move fast enough. I reach for the towel that I dropped and cover myself but it doesn’t change the fact that he has already seen me naked.
This day can’t get any worse.
I don’t have to see myself to know that my face is a deep red. I open my mouth but nothing comes out. I don’t know what to do or say, I stand there frozen.
Ace is staring at me, his expression is not amused anymore. His eyes dark. He seems pissed, again. I am starting to think that’s his usual demeanor. How he has such nice friends baffles me.
“I thought I told you to watch where you’re going.”
My mouth drops open and I am once again surprised at how rude he is. I can’t deal with him and I won’t let him talk to me like that. Not today.
“What’s your problem?” I snap, my anger taking over. I forget that I am standing in front of him, with only a small towel to cover myself. “What have I done for you to hate me?”
He watches me, his face softens a little but that could have just been my imagination. “Just stay out of my way,” he warns and walks to his room, slamming the door behind him.