Written by: TVM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Pretty girl say what?" I asked as she grinned and nodded her head to confirm the invitation was real. "UMMMMMM...I dunno."
"How about a cup of coffee, no pressure" Alex said quickly. Thinking that I was freaked out by her sudden invite and I guess I was a little but that soon wore off as I managed to push all of the nervous thoughts out of my mind and replied, "No pressure for real?"
"Just talking" She said as my manager, Mr. Simpkins came out of the office and made his way to the front, giving us both a strange look.
"OK" I said to Alex as she smiled.
"Is there a problem?" Mr. Simpkins asked.
"Not at all, I was just leaving" Alex said. "This young lady was informing me of the latest releases coming out next week. That one does sound very interesting, the Horton movie?"
"Yeh?" I asked and being totally clueless as to what she was talking about for a long moment. But once I clued in I played along. "Horton Hears a Who? I'll put you on the reserve list k?"
"That's it, my little sister will just adore that" Alex said as she made her way to the door.
"OH Alex, about that date" I said as she looked back. "I will...look it up for you? Just come back in when you bring those other rentals back and we can talk about it."
"Looking forward to it" She said with a huge smile. "Bye."
"Bye" I said as a deep crimson blush washed over me. All of that being washed away by simply looking back at Mr. Simpkins who had a really sour look on his face. "What?"
"Do you think I am stupid?" He barked.
"You and that homosexual were obviously making eyes at each other and did you actually just make a date for sex with her?" He asked as my bottom lip dropped in complete brain numbing shock. Don't get me wrong I knew that Mr. Simpkins was a bit uptight but this turn of events was beyond anything I had expected. He was obviously not happy about me and Alex flirting. Come to think of it, that's probably what drew him out of the office in the first place. "Answer me damn it."
"We did not make a date for...what you think" I said in a barely audible voice. "I'm sorry if you don't approve I won't talk to her inside the store again unless it's on a business matter."
"Well that is not acceptable, I do not approve of your lifestyle" He barked and to my absolute shock and horror I spotted Annie slowly coming down the street from the direction of our apartment. Mr. Simpkins barking more of his garbage as she came in and smiled at me and said the one thing she probably shouldn't have said, "Hey girlfriend."
"Girlfriend?" Mr. Simpkins asked as he moved next to Annie and glared down at her. She backed up a step nervously. "You and Elizabeth are girlfriends did you say?"
"Yes sir" Annie said, looking scared.
"That is disgusting" Mr. Simpkins snorted.
"Mr. Simpkins nooo, she means girlfriends like friends who are girls" I said in a pathetic attempt to keep my job. "Right Annie?"
"Huh?" Annie asked in complete confusion.
"I am a former baptist minister young lady and I do not tolerate homosexuality in my presence" Mr. Simpkins said as he pointed to Annie and then me. "You faggots are ruining the world for us good hearted god fearing Christians who want to live a decent and moral live. I should take hold of your hair and jerk the homosexuality out of you."
"Are you stupid?" I asked as he looked at me and I picked up my name plate, the one made of metal as a weapon of sorts. Then reaching under the counter and clicking the power button for the video surveillance system to turn it off. We usually don't have it on anyway thanks to the cheap ass attitude of the manager, you guessed it, Mr. Simpkins. "I've heard enough of your mouth, OK you want me gone, I quit."
"No you don't quit you're fired, it does me good to fire you" He said with a girly finger point. I moved in front of him and between him and Annie and her hand found mine, she was literally trembling. "You will never work on this block again Missy and as for your little job...well I'm gonna have a talk with her employer and see that she is fired too."
"Noooo please, we can't pay the rent without that job, ohmigod..." Annie said as I turned and opened the door and pushed her outside and hugged her. Making sure my now ex-boss was watching, I leaned in and kissed her cheek and gave her a 'certain' look. She looked at me in shock, the panic now gone from her eyes. "What was that? OH no he's coming out..."
"I will not tolerate that sort of blatant homosexuality in front of my store..." He said with a finger point. I have never been that mad in my life and for some reason looking around I noticed the street was quite busy for this time of night. That's when the plan of revenge (sorta) came to my mind and I knew if it worked that Mr. Simpkins would never bother us again. I quickly grabbed his slimy hand and pressed it to my breast and felt his fingers close around it. God that felt creepy and just, totally disgusting, but it only lasted a moment as I pushed his hand away and screamed bloody mercy. "What did you do that for?"
"YOU GROPED ME YOU SLIMY HOMOPHOBE, OHMIGOD HE GROPED ME" I screamed as he looked at me in shock and virtually every person in the vicinity looked our way as he lost his breath and couldn't muster a reply.
"You get my girlfriend fired and I'll go to the cops" I said as Annie hugged me from behind. Not sure how she reacted at first but she would later tell me it shocked her but after I explained she understood.
"But...you...your hand...forced me..." He babbled. "You...not...me..."
"You think anyone will believe that?" I asked. "And I'll tell your wife...you're..."
"...cheating on her" Annie said from behind me. "And I'm a good liar too."
"OK, what do you want? Money?" He asked as he pulled his wallet out and offered me everything in it. I slapped his hand away.
"You need help" I said as I laced my fingers with Annie's and walked off. Leaving him standing there in shock. We didn't go far as we stopped a block or so away and looked back to see him scrambling out of the front of 'Video Plus' and getting into his car and peeling out moments later. Annie hugging me protectively. "Slug."
"That was a good one with the titty grope" Annie said. OK, here's something that has really surprised me about Annie lately. When I first met her she wouldn't even look at porn on the internet nor would she say a dirty word to save her life. But the longer we've been friends the more out of her shell she seems to come and with it comes a new bolder attitude towards her blossoming sexuality (99% of it in private). I've even heard her use the F word once or twice here lately when she got mad. "And that kiss MMMMM baby. But you missed my lips, wassup with that?"
"Shut up" I said as we both laughed. "I think you really do wanna be my girlfriend."
"Nahhh" She said simply. A jet black Cadillac rolling up into the spot directly in front of us. "Hey it's my boss."
"Think he's a homophobe too?" I asked as she laughed. "What?"
"I doubt it, he's gay, that's Mr. Stone" She said as a very handsome man in his mid to late 50's stepped out of the drivers side and a young (hint: much younger) man stepped out of the passengers side. Kevin O'Reilly is the boy/man's name according to Annie.
"Evening ladies...Annie?" He asked.
"Hi, Mr. Stone" Annie said with a bright smile. "This is my girlfriend Liz."
"Hi" I said as he smiled pleasantly. Weird moment.
"What are you doing here so late?" Annie asked.
"Kevin and I were talking and he seems to think if we are here he can come up with some ideas to save the place" Mr. Stone said and obviously referring to the stud boy standing next to him. "It's not looking good."
"OH boy, you said you were gonna let me go..." Annie said.
"I'm not until I absolutely have too sweetheart" He said. "Since you started working here we've had a nice uptake in business. But it's just not enough to get us out of this whole."
"Losing money?" I asked as he nodded.
"If I could only find someone with the drive and personality of my last manager, he was purely sensational" He said. "But Borders Books lured him away with the promise of better hours and pay. Ever since it's been downhill. I simply am lost in this business."
"Mr. Stone selling books just isn't enough anymore" Annie said. "You need some other things to make people wanna comeback."
"What do you suggest then?" He asked as Annie offered no immediate reply. A seemingly stupid idea at the moment storming my brain. I remembered back a couple of years ago when I was still living with Mom, they had this bookstore not to far from our house that offered the internet for an hourly fee and for some unknown reason that little nugget had popped into my mind at that exact moment. Prompting me to say, "Internet café."
"Huh?" Annie asked as I shrugged and noticed a smile on Mr. Stone's face.
"It's something I bet you haven't tried" I said. "Right?"
"That's brilliant and in this location it would make money, think about it Douglas, Brookins State College is right around the corner" Kevin offered.
"Yes a potential boon I assume but I sadly cannot afford to invest anymore money in this venture without fear of financial failure" He said as my heart sank. "It's simply to costly."
"A thousand bucks?" Annie asked. "We've made that much in just the last few days Mr. Stone, I know I did the books last night."
"Yes so you did" He said with a pleasant smile. Her moving in front of him before going on, "For a thousand dollars we can get two, maybe three decent computers to start and see if it goes well. Please? I really like this job and you and Kevin are so nice."
"What about, soda, coffee and cappuccino?" I asked as Annie looked back at me with a smile. "Sandwiches, homemade if need be and we could sell them to all the college students who come in, if there are any. Maybe they come here like to do research on papers or what have you and get a soda and sandwich at the same time. We could kinda be an all in one shop. If we sell them cheap and they are good I bet people will come back a lot more often."
"Well aren't we a fountain of ideas" Mr. Stone said as I smiled.
"Yesss she is" Annie said as she hugged me. "So smart, that's why she's my best friend."
"So is this girlfriend slash best friend of yours employed?" Mr. Stone asked with an amused smile.
"As of about 5 minutes ago, no" I answered. "Long story, you looking to hire me?"
"She should be in charge" Annie said firmly. "Seriously Mr. Stone, she's really smart and I think she could handle things."
"Might be about the time to catalog everything on computer" Mr. Stone said.
"You seriously don't have a computer at all?" I asked as Annie giggled.
"I get a hand cramp if we sell a lot of books" Annie giggled.
"Mr. Douglas Stone Age" Kevin said as we all laughed. Mr. Stone looking to Kevin with a 'knock it off' look.
"I don't know the first thing about them" Mr. Stone said. "Computers mystify me."
"Me too" Annie said.
"Annie kool-aid mystifies you" I said and covering up as she gave me a seriously dirty look and smacked at my arm in protest.
"I resent that" Annie announced as she glared at me.
"We need to get the inventory on hard disk as soon as possible" Kevin said. "You think you could handle that?"
"You asking me?" I asked as he nodded his head.
"Yes, can you?"
"Yeh and it just so happens that I have a copy of the program that Video Plus uses, it should work fine" I said as Kevin smiled.
"Why don't we have a look inside and you can tell me what you think of the place" Mr. Stone suggested, Douglas as he insisted we call him. A mess from one end to the other with books and magazines laying all over on the tables and couches. I had been in several times since Annie had started working here but had never seen it in such a complete mess like it was at the current moment. I began to make mental notes as he gave me a quick 'point' tour. "As you can see we have a rather relaxed atmosphere."
"Looks like Annie's bedroom" I said as she wrapped an arm around my waist as we grinned at each other.
"My best friend don't love me she's always picking on me" Annie said as we made faces at each other. Mr. Stone watching with an approving smile.
"Douglas when are you gonna get around to moving this hideous whatnot shelf?" Kevin asked as he pointed at a large mostly empty shelf that literally divided the store in two.
"Just how do you propose we accomplish such an thing?" Douglas asked Kevin with a worried look on his face. Annie leaving my side as she walked over to inspect the large dark colored oak shelf more closely. Pushing on it and noticing it refused to move even an inch. "That thing must weight eight hundred pounds or more."
"HMMMMMMMM" Annie said with hands on hips. I'm sorry folks, I know what I said about me and Annie not being 'involved', but she sure does look adorable standing there like that. Of course what came next was typical Annie as she looked back at us and asking another of her infamous questions, "How do you move an eight hundred pound whatnot shelf?"
"I'll use my magic lesbian powers" I said as we all laughed.
"Well do you think you'd be interested in putting your magic powers to work in a place like this?" Douglas asked me. Annie excitedly bouncing (literally) back over to my side and saying, "Yesss she does."
"You do" She said with hands now on my cheeks as I smiled. "Please Liz?"
"OK" I said as she hugged me excitedly and looked back at Douglas.
"She's the new boss, right?" Annie asked Douglas.
"We'll see about that" He said. "First how what about those computers?"
"School, our old high school" Annie said.
"What about it?" I asked.
"Mr. Preston, the tech lab?" Annie asked as I nodded, "Told me when he called earlier that he had some almost new computers for sale, the school just got some new ones from Dell or Gateway really cheap. Might be a great deal if we can get in on it."
"And why is that pervert calling my girlfriend" I asked as Annie blushed and covered her face. A deep red crimson blush too, I know when I see that I've gotten her good.
"I don't like you right now" Annie hissed as I smiled victoriously. "Mister Preston is a nice guy."
"How do we get in touch with this Mr. Preston?" Douglas asked.
"I have his home number..." Annie said as I gave her my best 'you do huh?' look. She groaned and blushed and turned her back to me as I laughed. "...ummmm...I can call him for you and let you talk to him?"
"Apparently she's really cozy with him" I said as she looked back at me without the trace of a smile. Giving me the 'that's enough look'. That's the look she gives me when she's about ready to cry or fight. Usually it's means I've picked on her too much and she's asking me to quit. I always do. I took her hands and grinned as she relaxed, "Turn it off, I'll quit."
"She's got you whipped huh?" Kevin asked as he plopped down on the counter at the front of the store and watched the moment with intense interest it appeared to me. Something that sorta peaked my interest in the boy, he seemed far too interested in my relationship with Annie from the very moment he met me.
"Noooo" I said with a shaking of my head. A little annoyed at the way he chose to phrase that particular comment. "Annie's sensitive I don't wanna make her cry."
"So she just gives you that look and you apologize?"
"Kevin, shut up" Douglas said with a firm voice as Kevin piped down and seemed to be at that moment, really pissed off at the demands of his older boyfriend, or whatever they are. "Anyway, Annie how about you work your regular shift tomorrow and if you are interested Liz you can start. I'll come in tomorrow around 3 or so like always and we'll see what we can do about this computer deal."
"I like that plan" Annie said with a huge smile towards Douglas.
"What job am I being hired for exactly?" I asked.
"Manager of the internet café and deli" He said. "How about we try that idea of fresh homemade sandwiches? You work out a budget and get it to me tomorrow?"
"Why don't we just make the sandwiches tonight and see if anyone wants to buy them?" Annie asked.
"Let's get the internet thing up first, OK?" I asked. Annie and Douglas agreed.
"Hey!" Kevin said as we all looked at him. "I'm pretty good at setting up routers and networks and so if you need help I'm always available."
"OK" I said with a shaking of the head. But feeling a bit uneasy about that sudden offer. Something just didn't set right with me about that, not an 'impending doom' type of feeling just a weird 'odd' type feeling. Annie was of course completely oblivious to this and following Kevin's eyes as she walked away from me and back over to the bookshelf separating the shop in two, I figured out exactly what his true interest may be. My 'girlfriend'.