When I walked into my room, I saw him.

“What the heck are you doing in my room, Winston?”

“I heard you had Doritos, and I’m really hungry,” answered Winston, my 15-year-old brother. Winston was always being annoying. It was as if it were his full time job, if 15-year-olds had jobs. But I had a job, and I was already late.

“Well, those Doritos are mine, so get out of my room!” I shouted at him as I grabbed him by the collar and threw him out. As quickly as I could, I changed into my work outfit and ran out of the room and down the stairs.

“Bye, Mom, I’m leaving!” I called to her. As I had thought, the answer soon came out of her bedroom, which she practically never left after her divorce with Dad.

“Bye Cathy, don’t forget your keys!

I sighed and grabbed my keys out of the key bowl and walked out of the front door into the misty morning air. I began to wish that I had brought a coat, but I was too lazy, so I just began to walk down the street to work. I liked where I worked; it was a sort of makeshift safe haven for me. I was a barista at a small coffee shop. Yes, I know, I have a weird taste in safe havens, but they work for me. As I finally reached my destination, I thought about what excuse I would make for my lateness. Settling on the usual, “I was helping a hobo across the street” to make me look like a better person, I walked into the shop.

“Sorry Miss Barnes, I was helpi…”

“Yeah, yeah, Cathy, you were saving a puppy from a burning building, go get to your workplace.”

I smiled. Miss Barnes owned the coffee shop, and sometimes, I felt like she was the only one who understood me. Still smiling, I walked over to the coffee maker and began to wipe it down.

“Hey, Cath.”

I sighed as I heard the familiar voice: Brian Wallden, the human version of accidentally getting chili powder in your eyes. Every morning, he would show up at the coffee shop exactly four minutes before it opened, order the same, exact cappuccino and smoked ham and parmesan cheese sandwich, and then sit at the same, exact table in the corner on the left. Even worse, he would always sit there for exactly 23 minutes and lowkey flirt with me.

“Hey, Brian, what would you like to order today?” I asked him, my voice laced with sarcasm.

“You know? I think I’m going to try something new today. How about a latte?”

“Why the sudden change, Brian? You might hurt yourself,” I answered flatly.

“You know, it would be nice to have someone to share the latte with, Cath.” Oh God, here we go again, another 23 minutes of Brian’s usual nice guy act.

“No thanks, Brian, I already ate this morning,” I lied. Looking at the clock, I saw that Brian had already been here for 26 minutes. What was his plan now?

“Aww, have I overstayed my welcome?” asked Brian. I glared at him so hard that I could swear that my gaze could burn through metal. ”Woah, Cath, I was actually going to offer a peace treaty.” I raised an eyebrow at him, wondering what lie he’d use today. “If you go out on one date with me, I’ll never bother you again. Deal?”

I thought hard. Was I really prepared to spend a couple of hours with Brian so that he’d never bother me again? After thinking for a couple more minutes, I turned my head back to him and made the worst decision of my life. “Deal.”

One thought on “Deal”

  1. Dear Arina,
    I love how you leave us hanging at the end. I’m curious how the mother being divorced ties into all of this…..does Cathy need a male figure in her life? I love the descriptions that take you to the scenes…love, love, love: )
    Mrs. Alsado

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