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“Hello Lisa’s,” a perky voice said into the phone. That voice could only belong to one person. Wynonna. Also known as (to me exclusively), Queen Bitch. I don’t like her and she sure as hell doesn’t like me. Wynonna likes to act like she’s a saint and that she loves everyone and everything but she and I both know how fake she really is.
“Hi Wynonna,” I said also in a fake happy tone.
“Hi,” she said giggling, “who, may I ask, this is?”
I pulled the phone away from my ear and stared at it incredulously. Girl knew exactly who this was.
“This is Alexis,” I said in a snarky tone. I really wasn’t in the mood to play games with anyone.
“Ok, Alex. I’m sorry, what was the intention of this call? Are you calling to order something or do you perhaps have a question about something.”
This girl was getting on my last nerve and I just woke up. Today was going to be the worst.
My hand tightened its grip on the phone. “No,” I said a bit louder, “this is Alexis.”
“Oh Alexis,” she said laughing innocently. “You sound like a man.”
“I’ve spoken to you on the phone before,” I said perplexed.
“Oh, yes I know but you know how things are now-a-days.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” I said sighing.
“You know, with sex changes. How is yours coming along?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I yelled into the phone. “I am not having a sex change!”
“Could’ve fooled me,” I heard Wynonna mumble over the phone.
“You want to say that again?” I challenged.
“I said, what do you need?” Wynonna said instead.
“Am I still scheduled for work today?” No matter how much I hated Wynonna, I had to play nice because she was my manager. She wasn’t really my boss but she had hiring and firing rights and I had to get on her good side since our actual boss wasn’t always present to see how things were going on at work.
“Yes, you’re still scheduled. Don’t be late,” Wynonna said hanging up.
I angrily sighed and ripped my blankets off my body. It was raining heavily and though I needed the extra money for school and shopping, I hated working. It was tiresome and I really didn’t like our clientele. I worked at the best diner in my small little town. You’d think that living in a small town and working in a mediocre sized diner, we wouldn’t get many customers but a lot of people from neighbouring towns come over just to eat at our diner.
My stomach made a loud growling noise as I went to the bathroom. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten the week old pasta that was in my fridge. So now, not only will I probably have a stomach ache from bad food, but I’ll have to work all day while on my period. Fantastic.
After showering and eating, I went online for a bit and spent a ridiculous amount of time watching, “The Boyfriend tag,” videos.
It was 3pm by the time I got bored and looked outside my window to check the weather; it was raining harder than before. I rolled my eyes dramatically as I got ready to go to work. My shift was from 4pm to closing (10pm).
I have this routine where I turn on the radio to listen to music while I got ready. I was about to walk away and wear my uniform when one of my favourite songs came on. I listened to it and danced around a little bit. After it ended, another one of my favourite songs came on, so I of course had to listen to it too. Before I knew it, I had listened to five songs and I was seriously running late for work.
So with my luck, I made it to work with a minute to spare, with no makeup. My umbrella also happened to break during my run to work, so I was soaking wet. Plus, to top it all off, my boss, Xavier, was standing behind the register with the root of all evil, Wynonna.
“Hi Alexis!” my boss said happily. “Good to see you? How’ve you been?”
“I’m ok. Yourself?” He came over to me and gave me a tight hug.
“Oh I’m swell, thanks for asking.” Did I mention that I love my boss? Because I do. He was a kind man. “I was about to leave but I wanted to see you and to say hi before I headed out.”
“Great for you to make it on time for once,” Wynonna said before I could reply to Xavier. “I cannot remember the last time Alexis made it on time Xavier. You got lucky today if she made it on time. Better buy a lottery ticket since this is a once in a lifetime occurrence,” Wynonna said in a happy tone. I could smell her jealousy. She was just angry that Xavier liked me more than her. The only reason she was manager was because she has worked at the diner longer than I.
“Ok, Alexis, well I’ll see you around. I’ve got to go. Bye now.” I smiled smugly at Wynonna because Xavier completely disregarded everything she said.
“Oh, Wynonna, were you saying something? Xavier didn’t seem to catch that.”
Wynonna rolled her eyes and pointed to the break room. “Just go get ready so I can leave.”
With it being so slow, there was only one cook working today. The one cook who sat on a stool in the kitchen smoking a joint. I waved at him before I went to the break room to drop off my purse. He couldn’t get in trouble because I knew that Wynonna was his dealer.
Wynonna liked to bring extra clothing to work all the time since she didn’t like to be seen in public wearing the diner’s uniform. I was so tempted to pull a Regina George and cut up her clothes, but I thought better of it.
When I returned, Wynonna was heading to the break room to grab her stuff and leave when some guy came in. He was dressed in a leather jacket and had light red hair. From where I stood, he had beautiful eyes and a nice build to him. He looked almost like the bad boy type but had innocence to him. His body screamed, “Try me! I can take you! I’ve beaten guy in bars three times my size.” However, his eyes screamed, “help, I’m a lonely kitten and all I want is love.”
He flashed a blinding smile as he came up to the front of the diner to order.
“Hi there,” he said kindly. A bit too kindly.
I wasn’t having it for a minute.
“Oh, hi there!” Wynonna said out of nowhere. Wasn’t this girl on her way home?
The guy nodded to her and looked at her for a bit. I rolled my eyes and turned around to excuse myself so they could flirt, but the guy spoke up before I could get away.
I slowly turned around and gave him a fake smile I had mastered over the course of working at the diner.
"Alexis, I can take care of this customer, why don't you go wash the dishes or something," Wynonna said brushing me aside.
"I'm not paying you to stand around and do nothing," Wynonna snapped.
I turned away and went to the kitchen to wash dishes. Wynonna always did this when I was about to serve an attractive customer. She'd come in, tell me to go away and she'd serve them. The funny thing about her doing this all the time was that it meant that she was never successful. All the guys could see right through her, that or she annoyed them to no end.
I peered down into the sink and my blood instantly boiled. There weren't even dishes in the sink! Either they'd been done already or they hadn’t used any of the dishes today.
I had to take a few deep breaths. I couldn’t lash out at Wynonna. Give her a hint of attitude, use sarcastic and snarky tones, I could do, I could easily pass that as being friendly and meaning no harm, but I couldn’t actually lash out at her because I could get fired for that.
“Breathe Alexis, breathe. You are calm, you are serene. You’re cool like a cucumber.” I said aloud. “Breathe…breathe. Oh what am I doing? This isn’t working.”
I stomped back out to the front of the diner when I saw Wynonna cross her arms and glare at the red headed guy. "You don't know what you're talking about!" She said in a venomous voice. “You can’t say that to me!”
"You shouldn't talk to customers like that," he replied in a smooth cool voice. His voice was deeper than I had anticipated, now that I actually paid attention to it. It didn't suit his look but I liked it. "Didn't you get the memo? The customer is always right."
In that moment, I witnessed something miraculous. Wynonna was silent. She didn't have anything to say to him. The guy looked over at me and smiled. "You're back!"
It was a clear dismissal to Wynonna, who huffed, went to the break room, grabbed her stuff and practically ran out the door.
"You gotta tell me what you said to her," I told him walking up to the bar table that separated us.. Up close, I could analyze his hair thoroughly. I really liked the color of his hair. It seemed to shine and radiate a certain glow that I couldn't describe. I've always been fascinated by people with red hair. Since I didn't know his name, I decided to call him Red.
"I didn't say anything to her," Red said after he drank his water. He smacked his lips and gave me a wink. I squinted my eyes at him and he started laughing. He had really nice teeth...and smile, but that didn’t matter.
I squeezed my cheeks to stop myself from smiling. I still didn't trust him for some reason and I didn't want him to think that just because he got me to smile meant that he had won me over.
He must've noticed that I was trying not to smile because he just smiled wider.
"Seriously what did you say to her?"
"Nothing much," Red shrugged. "I just don't like bullies and I saw the way she treated you. It wasn't cool."
"Uhh, wow. Thanks."
"Is she always like that?" Red asked.
"Yes, but to be fair, I'm not the kindest person to her either." Now I felt bad for being rude to Wynonna.
"You and me both," he said somewhat comforting me.
Red stared at me as he tapped his fingers on the table. His eyes searched my face as if he was looking for something. His eyes stopped scanning my face and he looked straight into my eyes and grinned.
"You're beautiful," he said smiling.
"You smile too much," I said attempting to divert the conversation from where he wanted to take it.
"I'm only smiling because you're a vision," he said. I rolled my eyes and sighed. He was lying. There was no way he could find me beautiful. There wasn't anything wrong with me. I didn't consider myself ugly but I wasn't a model either. I was about 20 pounds overweight and I was 5'2". I had a bit of a muscular manly build (mostly in my arms) and really short hair.
"Are you here to eat or to bother me from doing my job?"
"Ohh I'm sorry," Red said giving me a puppy dog look. "I didn't mean to keep you away from all these customers," he said looking around the empty diner.
"Ha ha," I said fighting to laugh for real. "What can I get you, Red?" I instantly winced from my stupidity.
"Red?" He asked grinning. "I like that. Not original but I like it."
“I didn’t mean that.”
“I don’t mind,” he said.
I picked up a menu and handed it to him. “You want to check this out?”
“Why are you so eager for me to eat? Do you really want me gone that much?”
I sighed and looked down at my hands, “sorry,” I mumbled.
“It’s ok, doll.”
There came a silence between us that wasn’t awkward. Red was looking at the menu and I was drinking a can of coke while I studied him. He looked like a good guy. Like a guy who would try his best to protect other people. Sort of like what a cop is supposed to be.
“Where are you from?” I asked. Since the town was so small, I practically knew everyone. The whole damn town came to the diner when the weather was fine.
“Far away,” he said avoiding my eyes.
“Far away where?”
Red nodded, got up and grabbed his glass of water. He walked over to a booth and sat there. I followed him.
“What are you doing in Alberta?”
“Talking to you,” he said smiling.
“Stop avoiding the question,” I said smiling a bit.
“Canada is really nice,” he praised.
“So is New York.”
“Not for me,” he said giving me a sad smile.
I wanted to ask him more questions but I pitied him so I let it go. “Do you want anything to drink other than water?”
“No, I’m fine,” he said carefully taking off his leather jacket. He had nice strong arms. Red cleared his throat and my eyes snapped to his. “My eyes are up here,” he said with a shit eating grin.
“You think you’re so cool,” I said in a mocking tone.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that, but I am pretty great.”
“How humble of you.”
“So what’s your favourite thing to eat here?” Red asked after another minute of silence.
I shrugged and looked towards the kitchen door.
“Oh come on, you’ve got to have a favourite meal.”
“I like literally everything here. They all taste great. Just depends on the day and what I’m craving for.”
Red hummed and grabbed my hand. I quickly pulled my hand back. “What are you doing?”
“I’m just looking at your hands,” he said reaching for them again. “I give really good massages,” he said.
This time, when he grabbed my hand, I didn’t pull it away. True to his word, Red gave really good massages. My hands were over worked and I had a few calluses.
“Your hands are dry,” he commented quietly.
“Well, I’m sorry. I’ll be sure to moisturize them just for you next time.”
“Hey now,” Red said raising his eyebrows. “Don’t get sarcastic on me. I’m trying to give you advice. Just moisturize your hands. You’ll thank me some day.” Red kissed my hands before he gently set them onto the table.
“You’re odd,” I said.
Red shrugged nonchalantly. He took a deep breath and furrowed his eyebrows. “Is the weed I smell?”
“Yeah, the cooks smoking it in the kitchen.” I didn’t know why I told him that. He could’ve been an undercover health inspector.
“He’s allowed that?” Red asked.
“Well no one’s going to complain,” I said shrugging. “It’s not like he does it all the time, just today since we’re not busy.”
“Yeah,” I said not knowing what else to say.
“So tell me about yourself,” Red said.
“There’s nothing to tell,” I said shrugging. “My life isn’t interesting.”
“There’s always something to tell,” Red said urging me on.
“Fine,” I sighed. Where do I even start? My mind went completely blank. It was like a friend asking me what my favourite song was and forgetting every single song I’ve ever listened to. “I’m 20 years old. I’m about to go to university soon. I took 3 years off university to save money for school. I don’t want to loan any of the government’s money.”
“You want to support yourself. I respect that,” Red said smiling.
“I want to study psychology,” I said getting more comfortable with him.
“That’s awesome. What made you want to do that?”
I shrugged. “I never really thought about that. I guess the human brain and how it works fascinates me.”
Red smiled at me and took a deep breath. “I use to go to Columbia University, but then some things happened and I dropped out. I’m 22 by the way.”
“You have a baby face,” I commented.
“As do you,” Red said.
“What did you study at Columbia?”
I knew he didn’t live up to the bad boy image he wanted to personify.
“So did you move up here with your family?”
Red stayed quiet for a long time before he picked up the menu. “I think I want the Mucho Burger with a side of fries. Can I also get scrambled eggs and a salad? You guys have fruit salad too right? Can I get that as well?”
“That’s a lot of food,” I said.
“I’m really hungry,” Red said giving me a shy smile. “I can eat it all.”
I got up without saying anything and gave the order to the cook. “Man, you mean I have to make something?”
“Well that’s your job, dude.”
“Fine,” he said reluctantly getting up from his stool.
I went back out to the main area and Red waved over that I should sit with him again to talk. We just spoke about school and the subjects we hated and loved.
“I really hated gym,” Red said. “I was this lanky kid and by then, most of the guys had started to bulk up. I was such a loser.”
“Well it looks like you didn’t change much,” I joked.
“You think you’re funny,” Red laughed. “Have you seen these bad boys?” He flexed his arms giving me a gun show when the cook announced that the food was done.
True to his word, Red ate all his food. He was the type of person that would like to eat and talk at the same time, but he didn’t do it in a disgusting way. It was kind of adorable.
We talked about things we loved, our hobbies and our pet peeves. I began to trust him and before I knew it, I was openly laughing and sharing stories with him. For someone I had just met, Red interested me a lot and made me happy. Most people couldn’t do that.
However, once the topic of family came along, Red’s body stiffened and he closed up. The only thing I got out of him was that he was an only child, but he did have step and half siblings.
“That doesn’t make you an only child,” I said.
“I am the only child of my mom and dad, so yeah it does.”
“Whatever floats your boat.”
“So you have four other siblings?” Red asked.
“Yeah,” I replied stealing one of his fries. He didn’t seem to mind. I smiled at how good the fry tasted.
“You’ve got a beautiful smile,” Red said. “You should smile more often.”
“Well, you still smile too much, Red.” Of course that made him smile more.
“You’re a wonderful person, Alexis.”
“How’d you know my name?” I asked.
“That girl said it earlier,” he answered.
Oh right. Wynonna did say my name in front of him.
Red looked at his watch and frowned. “I’m really sorry but can I bother you for a cup of coffee? Please.”
“Yeah, sure.” He had finished all his food and like most people, he wanted a cup of coffee to finish it all off.
Before I could get up, Red grabbed my right hand and kissed it. “Thank you,” he said.
“I’m just getting you a cup of coffee,” I said.
“I know, but you’ve done a lot more than you know. Thank you.” For some reason, his gratitude felt like there was too much meaning into it. It also sounded like a goodbye.
As I got up and walked away to get him his cup of coffee, I could’ve sworn I heard Red say, “I’m sorry.” I didn’t think much of it, so it was a bit of a surprise when I came back to the table to see Red gone.
He had dined and dashed.
I felt like a fool. Was it his plan all along? For me to trust him only for him to dash out the door as soon as my back was turned?
I was clearing up his table when something caught my eye.
Red had left his jacket. I picked it up and inspected it closely. It looked old but it was still in good condition. On the inside of the jacket, there was an ‘If Lost Tag,’ on it. There were two names on it. The first said Dean Reftic, but the Dean was crossed out and Levi was written above it.
There was a contact number on it. I contemplated whether I should call it or not. Red seemed to care about his jacket so he’d have to come back for it. But I also felt that he wouldn’t come back because he may fear the consequences of dining and dashing.
It was the next day that I decided that I was going to call Red and return his jacket.
I dialed the number and held my breath.
“Hello?” Red’s voice said after the fourth ring. His voice sounded even better on the phone.
“Hi,” I said biting my lip. “Is this Levi?” I knew perfectly well that it was him but for some reason, I was nervous.
“Guess you found out my name.”
“I’m sorry for doing what I did but I had to,” he said sounding sincere.
“I have your jacket,” I said not knowing what else to say.
“I know.” Red said. “I realize that I may sound like an asshole but is there any chance I could get it back? It’s really important to me.”
“Who’s Dean?” I asked.
“I’ll give it back to you on one occasion,” I offered.
“Anything,” Red…Levi said sounding desperate.
“Tell me everything.”
There was a long pause before Levi’s gentle voice said, “Ok.”
So that's it. I decided to end the story to there. I really hope you all liked it! Perhaps I'll write another short of this but from Red's/ Levi's perspective. Maybe I'll reveal all his secrets. Please let me know what you thought! :)