It Can’t Be
It was the first week of classes. 2nd year, ‘fall’ term… My first day of working for Andre at his book store hadn’t been much more than learning how to punch ‘Book Worm’ cards and use the cash register since I’d never worked retail before. Because Andre had been working alone that day, he didn’t have much time to do anything else…
The fun started on Day #2. I’d been ‘warned’ that I’d be working with ‘Sookie’. Admittedly, I was picturing a small elderly librarian type once he told me that she was ‘meticulous, but friendly enough to make up for it’.
I was waiting, sitting on the window ledge with a highlighter and the book for my Poli Sci class when a tiny blonde in a very short skirt nearly ran me over on an old BMX bike… red panties.
She was moving like she was being chased… hurriedly locking her bike next to mine to the ornamental gate around the nearby tree and digging a pair of heels out of her backpack to swap with her Keds while she unlocked the door…
She looked over at me and forced a smile. “Gas-bag prof explained and re-explained an assignment like he was teaching Special Ed so now I’m running late.” I could honestly say that I’d never seen pissed look so hot. The red panties might’ve had something to do with it.
“The shop doesn’t open for half an hour. I’m sure you can make up the time.”
“Hope so. It’d be nice if the owner hired some help… It’s just me and him… well, me or him.”
“I’ve noticed… He should sell the cups and let the coffee be self serve. It would be more efficient.”
She rolled her eyes up. “Thank God. I thought I was the only one who saw the flaws in a coffee bar in a one clerk shop.”
“Especially when there’s…”
She finished, “A Borders a block away? No kidding.”
I waited to get up until she pushed open the door. I was enjoying the perspective I had on her legs… especially since, in her rush, she hadn’t pushed her skirt down yet.
“Sit tight… I can open up for you in a few minutes though.”
“Are you talking about the store?” Slip.
She stopped on her way through the door to giggle at the step. “Yes. The store. I can open the store for you in a few minutes.”
I’m not sure why I didn’t explain that I was the new clerk. I sat down and went back to reading through the section I was highlighting when she’d rolled through… and waited.
It was only about 5 minutes later that she stuck her head outside. “If you’re Eric Northman, I’m going to kick your ass.”
“Why? What did he do?”
“He blew off the first 10 minutes of his shift. Get your ass inside and make yourself useful.”
I raised an eyebrow as I stepped inside. “Are we still talking about the store?” I hadn’t slipped that time.
She giggled again, but other than licking her lips, I didn’t get an answer.
Over the course of the day, we drank several pots of ‘almost stale’ coffee and ate all of yesterday’s biscotti, brownies, muffins and cookies…
She showed me where the cash for the till was kept and how to handle checks and charges and I enjoyed watching the way she licked the pad of her thumb to separate bills as she counted them…
She showed me how to scan in the new shipments of books and I enjoyed the view every time she bent over to take another book out of the boxes…
She showed me where all of the coffee bar supplies were kept and I enjoyed the view every time she bent over to get to something that had been pushed to the back of the cabinets…
She showed me how they’d look up the New York Times Best Seller List to make sure the display window was accurate and I enjoyed the view every time she put her knee on the base of the display case so that she could switch the books around…
I watched her restock the shelves and got a huge kick out of how she used the lower shelves to give herself a boost…
During downtime, and there was a lot of it until 2 o’clock, she would lift herself onto the counter to study and occasionally fling herself to the floor to run to grab reference materials…
She suggested that I do the same, use the free time to study, but try as I did political science requirements weren’t holding my interests… I had a growing interest in anatomy…
Just after 2:00 four customers came in at once. Followed by more and more… The small shop was a fire code no-no for the next 3 hours.
Bar pick up lines were bad enough, but I quickly learned that bookstore pick up lines were worse… I overheard no less than 20 guys, jocks to nerds to yuppies in training and back again tried just about everything to get a date (or just a rise) out of Sookie. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the view.
‘Since you don’t have an adult book section, why don’t I just take you home with me?’ Seriously?
She answered, “Ailse 3. Knee level. There’s a book on the history of lingerie.”
‘I think I was looking in the wrong section… I found art right here.’
She answered, “Anorexia nervosa is on aisle 2. Twiggy’s bio is on 5.” She wasn’t that thin. Tiny. Not unhealthy… but still barely 100 pounds soaking wet…
‘I’m looking for a bedtime story. Would you read The Joy Of Sex to me?’
She answered, “No, but I can recommend There’s A Monster At The End Of This Book. I read it to my kids all the time.” That guy bolted like she told him she had AIDs and a gun, but it worked. When she realized I’d overheard because I was laughing, she winked at me.
One asshole actually rubbed up against her. ‘Can you help me find some biology materials?’
She took his hand and led him over a couple of aisles and put a book in his hand… he tossed it on the floor and stormed out calling her an uppity twat… when I looked later, she’d handed him a book about VD.
My favorite… ‘Café latte and your number.’
She scribbled on the side of his cup and handed it to him with a smile. She’d written 720… The Dewey designation for Architecture. He didn’t get it… But I sure as fuck did.
Then there was the gaper’s block of nerds who gathered on the couches near the coffee service… the dozen or so creatures must’ve drained as many pots of overpriced Columbian while they enjoyed refill after refill as long as Sookie was at the front to be asked. They all looked at me like I’d threatened them with a swirly. She was much friendlier with them than she was the more vocal tools because they were harmless and as it turned out, great tippers even if they were drooling and got a chubby every time she offered to top them off.
When we finally locked the door behind the last of the customers at 6, Sookie walked me through closing…
She washed the coffee pots while I pretended that drying was a priority over the way her tank top was killing me. Our height difference (especially since she’d taken off her shoes once the store was closed) gave me a view worth killing for.
She walked me through the inventory program on the computer and showed me how to add more books to Andre’s orders… The way she leaned into the screen and bit her lip when she concentrated, had me almost as fucked as her fan club of Hobbits had been.
She hopped up to sit on the counter while we cashed out the till… it put her at eye level and if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to go back to start recounting the cash because every time she giggled while she tallied the checks and credit receipts, I lost track of what the fuck I was doing. 5, 10, 15, 20, 15, 20, 15, 20…
When I was finally done, she handed me a stack of receipts and checks. “Am I double checking?”
“I figured you’d want to get those numbers.”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “Last time I checked, our area code isn’t 4 heart 4.”
I looked through them, not realizing that I’d been given just as many phone numbers as she’d gotten cheesy lines. I’d been too busy watching her reject drone after drone to notice that anyone had looked at me twice. “One of them is a guy.”
“You’re surprised? You know you’re all kinds of cute.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. The vote is in. You’re cute. 22 co-eds can’t be wrong.”
“It’s sad that none of them have a seven, two, heart number.”
She giggled again. “Denver.”
I laughed at her. “That’s funny, last time I checked, Denver didn’t have a lot of southern accents… Architecture huh?”
She leaned back on one hand and jokingly flipped her hair over her shoulder and when she did, I lost grip of the paper in my hand. “Call it a delusion of grandeur… growing up in a trailer park gave me a passion for wheel-free structures.”
I might have drooled when I squatted down to pick up my mess. I wasn’t paying the first bit of attention to what I was picking up. I was too busy studying her legs… from her pale pink nail polish… the delicate gold anklet with a bird charm… smooth tan legs… My fucking eyes crossed and I barely managed to choke out ‘me too’ past the lump in my throat before she put her tiny foot on my knee to help her leave the counter.
I was fucked. Completely and totally fucked.
When we left that night, we both headed in the same direction. She stopped about a block from the campus to jokingly ask if I was following her… We were both on our way to the cafeteria in the student union so that we could eat ‘real food’ before they closed… I was going to sit with her until a couple friends spotted me and called me over to sit with them… Those assholes noticed me staring at her… watching her hover over her text book with the straw of her drink resting on her bottom lip… They wished me luck because she was a ‘frigid hose beast’…
And when we left, we realized that our dorms were one building away from each other…
I was so fucked that I was sure I was going to lose the bookstore job for not being able to keep my hands to myself… so when I got back to my dorm that night I finished filling out the stack of applications on my desk so that I could drop them all off on my way to the book store the next morning…
I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or if I wanted to throw up when Andre arrived to unlock the store that morning (there wasn’t a single fucking thing about the way he arranged the display case that could be called entertaining), but I knew exactly what I was feeling when Sookie came in at about 11… She was wearing a bikini top and cut off shorts… Her hair was held away from her face by the sunglasses she pushed up to rest on top of her head. She kissed Andre’s cheek and gave me a little wave on her way to the back to change and Andre joked with her that if she kept coming to work dressed like that, he’d have to put poles in…
Sookie was barely out of the back room in her light blue sundress and high heeled sandals when Andre took off. Just like the day before, business was slow until 2… and just as full of tests.
The flirting horde was just as bad… I couldn’t help but wonder when the memo went out that book stores were the new meet-market.
It was about 4 o’clock when some guy came in and bought some required reading list Cliff’s Notes… and asked Sookie for her number.
She giggled at him. “You know, I don’t ever call myself. Why don’t you ask my boyfriend…” Then she used one of the shelves behind the counter to lift herself and kiss my cheek. So fucked.
It was bad enough the first time, but… she did it 3 more times before closing. Once she’d gotten my lips when I made the ‘mistake’ of looking at her.
She bumped into me about a hundred times and I’d be lying if I tried to complain.
Just like the day before, she washed and I dried.
She watched me use the inventory to make sure Andre’s orders were right.
And then we tallied the till…
She waved a stack of checks at me. “Slow day. Only 15 numbers.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “I must’ve missed out on a few because some of them thought I was spoken for. I did have a pretty blonde kissing me every few minutes.”
She gasped. “Did you!? I must’ve missed her.”
Fucked. So very fucked.
She was even hot when she was full of shit.
Since Sookie sat with a friend for her dinner that night, I ended up sitting down at an empty table. I didn’t get much studying or eating done before Sam came over to join me. The fucker made fun of me for being preoccupied with her again… but decided in favor of bitching about his Chem lab… and I was pretending to be paying attention to his whining when Sookie got up to leave and I couldn’t gracefully follow her out.
But I didn’t need to.
She didn’t wait for Sam to shut up. She leaned over to my ear and whispered, “Quick question.”
The way her breath hit my neck… I had to clear my throat, twice. “What’s up?”
“You’re A- dense… B- shy… C- uninterested… D- a virgin…” Dying. Getting hard. Forgetting where I was. About to break the arm off of my chair…
“E- none of the above.”
When she pulled away from my ear, she kissed me. More than the ‘ask my boyfriend’ pecks I’d gotten that had already driven me up the fucking wall… she nibbled my bottom lip just right… I could’ve died. I might’ve died. “Good to know. See you at work tomorrow.”
Neither of us were on the schedule until 2 o’clock because we both had classes until 1:30…
I had two classes scheduled and when I saw her walk into my History requirement with Professor Quinn my mouth went dry and no matter how much of my soda I guzzled, it just kept drying out. The lecture hall held about 200 students, but Sookie Stackhouse just stood out. She sat next to two guys she knew enough to greet and put her feet on the chair in front of her to use her knees as her desk. When she wasn’t eating graham crackers and sipping a Yoo Hoo from a straw, she was chewing on her pen cap… Dead. It was a good fucking thing that Quinn’s syllabus had every little detail because I didn’t hear a single goddamn word of what he said.
I lost her after class thanks to a Mountain Dew inspired pit stop and ended up sitting in the lounge near the Lab room waiting for my AutoCAD class to start. I was making notes for the first of 8 papers that Quinn required when Sookie sat down next to me with a Twix between her lips. She didn’t say anything. She just pulled out her History text and a legal pad. She settled onto the couch sideways with her legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle.
I wanted to say something but I was having a hard time thinking of something that could be called small talk instead of a proposition… I finally settled on her anklet…
“Did your kids get you that for Mother’s Day?”
She giggled without looking away from her book. “That was a graduation present from the love of my life.” Ew.
“Professor Quinn should know better.”
She smirked and reached into her backpack to grab her wallet and held it out. It was a picture of her with a guy in an Army uniform. “It broke my heart when he left. Now he’s with a girl named Crystal and he’s planning on marrying her.”
Fuck me. She wasn’t any less tempting when I thought she was hung up on an ex.
“We go way back… Flip it over.”
The next picture was two kids… well, a little boy and a baby… He was about 5 with a mop of curly blond hair. He had a cast on his arm and he was holding the baby. The baby was too swaddled to see its face but the little boy looked so proud, you’d have thought the baby was his. “Big brother?”
“Yep. Jason. He practically raised me. I’ve got plenty of kin, but he’s my only family.”
“Why the bird?”
“To remind me that even something as simple as a bird has the sense to look for better weather.”
I wanted to ask. It was just curiosity, but I still didn’t think it would keep the conversation light if I probed, even passively, if we had more in common than architecture and trailer parks… like our reasons for preferring out of state tuition to staying closer to ‘home’.
She started packing up her things which made me notice the time and when I looked back at my notebook, I realized that the last thing I’d written was Waterloo… It sagged down the page and was barely legible.
I don’t think she noticed, but she ended up in my AutoCAD class too. I hadn’t had Meadowbrook yet, so I had to force myself to sit as far away from Sookie as possible so that I could concentrate. I ended up sitting at the front of the class and knowing that she was behind me was nagging me. It didn’t matter what she was actually doing… My fucking imagination invented new ways to use computer chairs. I might as well have had my syllabus mailed to me since that’s all I took from the class.
After getting hung up at the student union in the lunch rush, I finally got to the bookstore 2 minutes late and Andre’s Camry was already pulling away from the curb…
Sookie was sitting behind the counter on a box with a bag of chips and a sandwich when I walked in with my lunch and warned me that I had about 10 minutes to catch my breath and choke down my food before we got slammed…
She ate her lunch in 5 and then ran to the bathroom to brush her teeth so that her Rueben wouldn’t scare away customers. I was hoping she’d change… the short jean skirt was back and fucking with me… especially since she was wearing a snug black t-shirt with it… no bra…
She might have been trying to kill me.
She didn’t change…
And I swear, the powers that be were fucking with me because the air conditioning was set to Alaskan Tundra…
I had to remind myself more than a few times that she had eyes… she’d had the chance to use ‘ask my boyfriend’ twice and both times I had to stop myself from grabbing her.
But I made it.
I kept my hands to myself until closing time.
We counted while she sat on the counter…
When we were done, she popped my chin with a stack of checks and receipts. “Want these?”
I shook my head.
She giggled and pushed herself off of the counter and went over to settle on the sofa. “Kind of a waste of a pussy magnet if you ask me… but hey… whatever floats your boat.” She started pulling her books out and stretched out on her stomach.
“You aren’t heading out?”
“No… not in the mood to deal with my roommate tonight. I’m stalling until she leaves for the night.”
“Did you get a new one?”
She snorted. “I wish. Arlene accepted Jesus into her heart over the summer. She wants to pray together.”
I shrugged and sat down on the other sofa. “I guess it could be wor…”
“No. No it can’t… She found Jesus, because Gabe showed her the way… Last year, she was planning her Bat Mitzvah because of Ira and left the room every time I tried to eat a BLT… Jehovah only knows what’s next. She’s a spiritual lemming and by the time she’s done dating her way through the student body, she’s going to have an honorary Doctorate in Theological Studies from the University of Flakes R Us.”
“Sounds like fun. I have a new one. My last one moved off campus to live with his 45 year old girlfriend. My new one has 4 computer monitors on his desk and between whatever MechWarriors is and chat rooms, I’m not sure he leaves the room. He’s disappointed that I have no idea what a terabyte is and wants me to go to some convention with him because I used a Star TREK and a Star WARS reference in the same joke. Beam me up, Han Solo.”
She giggled. “Nice…” The way she was laying… propped up on her elbows… her heels were resting on her ass…
I needed to leave before standing up would be painful. “I guess I’ll head out. Are you going to be ok going back alone?”
“I’ll be fine, but you’re welcome to stay. When Andre hired me, I warned him that I was going to bogart his stacks.”
“What are you planning on doing for dinner?”
She tilted her head while she thought about it and then… fuck me… she bounced onto her knees before leaving the couch to grab the phone. I watched her dial by memory and went ahead and grabbed my book bag from behind the counter. “Chowwww, I’m hungry… I know that, but I’m not in my room. I’m at the bookstore… I thought you’d see it my way… I have company… Just one… I love you… K. See you in a bit.”
She climbed back to her spot on the sofa and breathed a very self satisfied breath. “Dinner’s on the way. Chinese, well… probably some Sushi too. They started making it when it became ‘cool’.”
“I clearly need to work on my phone skills.”
She smiled at the page she was on and highlighted something. “My first job when I got here was waiting tables at Hunan Café down the street, but my class schedule wasn’t working out. Chow’s folks own the place. He’s bringing yummies when he goes out on his next delivery.”
“Nice hook up.”
“You have no idea. Best. Egg. Rolls. Ever.”
“Want me to run across the street to grab you a drink? Or do you want coffee?”
“Mmmmm. Chow’s bringing a jug of sweet tea. Enough caffeine to keep us both up.” No. Her ass in that little skirt was going to do the job for me.
I’d laid back on the couch because it had been too easy to look over the top of my book to watch her feet sway back and forth over her ass while I was sitting up.
When there was a knock on the front door, Sookie did a little pushup… and then stood up on her sofa… stepped on the coffee table… then right next to my side… then launched herself to the floor by pushing off the spine of the sofa…
I sat up enough to watch the greeting. She flung the door open and took a box from Chow to run it over to the counter to set it down then back to Chow to give him a hug. Lucky fucker.
“I miss you. How you been?”
She giggled. “You do not. You’re too far up Belinda’s butt to think of me until I call you for free food.”
“Who says it’s free?”
“Hmmmm… Lemme guess. You want in?”
He nodded. “Belinda too.”
“I think that can be arranged.”
“You and Blin make 8.”
She nodded. “Chow that’s Eric. Eric… Chow.”
I waved, having no clue what they were talking about. Even if they’d been speaking in complete sentences, Sookie’s skirt had ridden up her hips and I was too focused on the extra skin.
He waved back and gave her a kiss on the cheek and a slap on her ass before he took off and she locked up after him.
She put the box on the coffee table and pulled the whole thing over as she sat next to my legs. She started giggling as she dug into the box. “Holy shit. Leftovers for days… Oooohhh. I love him…” She popped a piece of sushi into her mouth as she hopped up again to lean over the counter and grab cups for our tea. “…Eat now or forever hold your peace. I can put away more than you’d think.”
“I get beef and broccoli whenever I order takeout because I don’t know what anything is. You’re going to have to walk me through it.”
She raised an eyebrow at me while I sat up, but started opening containers…
She used chopsticks to dig around in a carton before holding something up. “Szechuan scallops?”
I took her offering and nodded. “Not bad… what else is in there?”
She grabbed another carton and picked out another portion… “5 flavor shrimp…”
I was completely prepared to sit there all night and let her feed me… Orange crispy beef, dragon and phoenix, Hunan lobster and Peking chicken… I’d refused to even go into a sushi bar with friends before, but somehow the idea of being hand fed a piece of tuna nigiri by Sookie changed the appeal. The crab Rangoon left crumbs on my lips that she used her thumb to wipe away…
Once I’d tried everything, she offered to teach me how to use chopsticks, but I opted for a fork to avoid looking like a spazz.
While we ate, she explained what she’d been talking about when Chow was there… a study group. Andre had already approved her to use the shop. It gave us full access to all of the books, the internet, the printer, the copier and all the coffee we needed as long as we paid for it. The other members of the group were going to be contributing food from the restaurants they worked for and various services… 3 related majors, 2nd and 3rd year students… Monday and Wednesday nights… a quiet place to study and a meal that wasn’t served by someone that looked like a treasure troll in a hair net… and I was invited. I was actually #8… Sookie had already counted me in.
I’d have to be a complete fucking idiot to turn down that study group.
Sookie had been burning through dinner like she’d just abandoned a hunger strike until all of a sudden, she held a carton out to me.
I shook my head. “No. I can’t eat anymore.”
“Take it. Save me from myself…” I laughed at her and took the carton and watched her flop back onto the couch. “…Why did I do that? I ate so much my fingers are stiff.”
“Is Chow catering tomorrow night too?”
She was quiet for a second before she moaned, “Oh god… don’t make me think about it.”
“Because Melissa works at Southern Kitchen… fried chicken and flounder, corn bread, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese…”
“Okay… you can stop now. I don’t want to think about it either.”
She grunted ‘told ya’ as she rolled off the couch and trudged to the back room. When she came back, she’d replaced her little skirt with a pair of baggy sweat pants. She smiled and hooked her thumb into her waisteband to stretch it out. “Much better.”
“Not fair.” I wasn’t sure if I was talking about her comfy clothing or the disappearance of her legs.
She shrugged and started cleaning up our mess. When I got up to help her, it was harder than I thought it would be. Chow had brought enough food for me and five other guys to eat, but Sookie and I had managed to eat half of it. My fingers weren’t stiff, but my legs felt like they were full of lead.
I flopped back onto the sofa, assuming Sookie would go back to hers…
She sat down against my side. “Bad idea.”
“Laying down after the busy day we had. Rice-gut is gonna put you out like a light.”
“I could just as easily fall asleep sitting up right now. At least this way I’m comfortable.”
“You won’t get any studying done.”
“I’m not sure I care right now.”
“You have to stay awake. If you start snoring, I’m a goner.”
I rolled away from her to my side. “Goodnight then.”
She tried to shake me. “Oh no you don’t. Get up, Northman.”
I grunted, enjoying how flustered she was getting.
“You jerk. Up. Up now.”
I whined, “Tired.”
“Me too, but…”
I reached back and managed to get my arm around her waist to pull her over me, putting her in the gap between me and the sofa’s back. “Then take a nap.”
I expected a fight, at least some resistance, a little wrestling would’ve been nice, but she was still for a minute… Long enough for me to realize that her head was on my arm and her legs were just about molded to mine. Matching spoons. “Damn, you’re warm… I’ve been freezing all day.”
In a questionably wise moment of bravery, I moved my hand from where I held her waist up to tweek her nipple and back again. “I know.” She twitched and just that little bit of movement, her ass against my dick…
She gasped, “Excuse YOU!”
I chuckled at her and moved again to tweek her other one. “Sorry. Forgot one.”
She jerked to twist slightly and face me, leaving her body spooned against me. “I can’t decide if that was ballsy or plain old assault.”
“Neither. It was a medical assessment to make sure you weren’t suffering from frost bite. Your nerve endings seem to be in working order. You’ll be just fine.”
She cleared her throat and raised an eyebrow. “Are you expecting me to thank you?”
“No thanks necessary. I was just doing my job.”
“So… You’re like a nipple-medic?” I couldn’t believe she managed to say that with a straight face.
I chuckled against her shoulder. “Of course not. That would just be silly. I’m a volunteer co-ed quality control technician. I received reports that you’re frigid.”
She groaned. “And what are your findings?”
“I’m keeping my analysis confidential until I’ve had the opportunity to take your temperature.”
She giggled, “Oh really?”
“Absolutely. It would be unethical to file a report without complete data.”
“No chance of getting a preliminary report?”
“That would necessitate a preliminary assessment.”
She hummed… “I’m too curious to refuse the procedure.” A green light?
I had no idea what the green light was for, but if curiosity was going to kill me then I’d have been fine with that.
I moved my hand slowly to enjoy every millisecond before she could change her mind and clobber me. Into the waistband of her sweats without any hint of refusal… over her panties… down her smooth, tight thigh… around her knee… up the back of her leg to the soft curve of her ass… and back out of her sweats again…
“Shhhh… not finished.” My hand followed the curve of her hip… over her waist… under her shirt… dragging my fingers around the swell… circling her nipple with my thumb…
When I cupped her tit… soft, perfect, filling my hand… she lifted her chin, tickling the end of my nose with hers before she kissed me…
She grabbed my shoulder to roll herself over, rubbing against me and bringing her knee up to my side.
Half on me, half on the sofa, her hips moved against my thigh…
We pushed ourselves past needing to come up for air and when we finally pulled our mouths away from each other, opening my eyes didn’t help. I still couldn’t see.
There were spots dancing in front of my eyes.
My chest hurt from not breathing.
My dick was throbbing and it didn’t help that Sookie’s leg was still hooked behind me.
“I tried to care about studying… I was just too distracted.” Her? She was distracted? No. No, she was distractING.
“Really?” My hand roamed, gliding over the skin of her leg and around to the back of her hip to pull her closer.
“Definitely. How am I supposed to stay motivated when all I can do is think of reasons to touch you?”
“Does it make you feel better to know I have the same problem?”
She smiled. “Yeah, yeah… it does.”
That was us…
The beginning of us…
The beginning of the best two and half years of my life…
The beginning of what brought my world to a screeching halt when she left.
Everything I’d done since then had been nothing more than what people do when they’re at a red light.
Mirrors, gas, gauges, inspecting fingernails, searching radio stations. Doing things that I didn’t want to be doing…
I was just killing time until I could go again.