Disclaimer: I do not own Flawless or the song And Still by Reba. I just got an idea from them :D
Thousands of people live in New York, and she had to run into him.
She spotted Carmine across the street. It had been years since she'd actually seen him, though she thought about him often. She had long ago given up her fantasies about her and the hot pizza boy lasting forever. His family opened another pizza joint on the other side of town, he followed them, and Cha-Cha hadn't had the nerve to ask to tag along. Leave her girls? It wouldn't have been more than forty minutes, but to her it would have been the other side of the world. She didn't have the money to visit him on a daily, or even weekly, basis. Managing the new store, Carmine didn't have the time. Seeing him so little felt like she was teasing herself. Dangling a good thing in front of her that she knew wasn't supposed to be hers. Her all or nothing nature won over, and the two decided it wasn't working. Their year long thing ended abruptly and Cha-Cha told herself it had been lust rather than love anyway. Lying to herself normally worked.
The truth was, she'd fallen head over heels for the idiot. She'd had an idea it would work out, he'd been looking at her differently since Walt's graduation party. Despite Grace's attempts to keep him to herself that night, Cha-Cha had had her moments too. One hand traveling down his chest as she passed was all that was necessary to get his attention. Whether or not her girls approved, she'd jumped at the chance to ask him to dinner when they got word he was single. She'd been smiling and giggling to no avail for too long. He was too involved with his pizza to realize she was flirting, so she took it upon herself to get the invite out there. The two seemed to hit it off quite well. Once Carmine realized he was on a date, anyway. Cha-Cha had loved every minute of it, and was sad to see it end.
She'd been twenty three then. Now here she was, five years later. When she saw him there on that busy street, those feelings came back again.
Cha-Cha looked around for a store to duck in, but there was no where to run. No where to hide. The inevitable happened. He saw her, smiled, and crossed the street. Cha-Cha bounced nervously on her heels, glancing at anything but him. He walked up to her, looked in her eyes, and the world stood still.
He had the same laughing eyes, but behind them she saw more of a seriousness than he'd had before. His goofy smile was in place, and still he seemed to give off a…successful vibe. Not 'rich and successful' but 'I'm not just a pretty face anymore'. He'd had five years to mature after all, and Carmine couldn't be referred to as the pizza boy
"Hey," he beamed. For the first time in a while Cha-Cha was caught off guard and speechless. She focused on taking in the changes and savoring the familiar. She couldn't move, and her emotions were running wild. Carmine stood there patiently, smiling his goofy grin the few seconds it took for her to get her act together.
"Hey yourself," she said, a smile forming. "What are you doing over here?"
"I'm just here for the day, ya know, checkin' in on my dads store," he answered, head bobbing with every word. "He sent me out to deliver a pizza. Haven't been delivering in this neighborhood for a while, I'm surprised I remember where I'm going." He was clearly impressed with himself. "So wow, I didn't think I'd run into you, what a nice surprise." Carmine smiled, oblivious to her disappointed look. Cha-Cha giggled nervously. Had the thought at least crossed his mind?
He said, "How have you been? It's great to see you again, you're really a sight for sore eyes."
"I can't complain," she said. "Rusty's club is doing better than ever. I'm not the numero uno dancer anymore, but… Oh, I'm doing fine. I can still get a round of applause that beats our eighteen year old slags now and then." Twenty-eight was still young, but not what the creepers at the club wanted on a regular basis.
They moved closer to the building to get out of the way of traffic, and talked as the people rushed by. "How is Rusty doing? All the girls?" he asked, and Cha-Cha almost melted at the sincerity behind the question. It wasn't just an automatic polite response like you get from most people.
"We're all doing great. Ivana's got a new man we'd all kill for, Grace's pretty much being trained to take over for Rusty and-"
"Wait, where's Rusty going?"
Cha-Cha couldn't hide her laugh. "Retirement."
"I know!" she exclaimed. "That's what I said! I told her, 'Rusty, you're way to young to retire, and you know you could never get yourself off that stage.'"
"She's too good to quit," Carmine insisted, as if Rusty were there to hear. "She'll be a hundred and three and still bring the house down."
"She's just pissed she's forty, that's all it is. It'll pass, believe me. She lives for the spotlight."
"Remind you of someone?" he joked.
"Me?" she asked, feigning shock.
"As I recall, you wanted your-"
"'As I recall'?" Cha-Cha asked. "Since when did you start using phrases like that?" She said it once more, sarcastically and giggling. "As I recall."
Carmine blushed slightly. "I dunno." Back to his simple language.
"Oh honey I didn't mean to embarrass you! I'm sorry, go ahead."
"Nah, you didn't, I guess that was sorta outta character for me."
"Really, go ahead." She wanted to hear him talk about her.
"I dunno, I just remember you always getting up on that stage, and if you didn't what you wanted from the crowd you'd double your practices til you did." He sounded impressed.
They laughed about old times and all they'd been through.
"Do you remember how determined you were to learn the area when your family first moved here?" she asked. "Or your family was here and you came after…I forget. But that was impressive how quickly you caught on."
"It's because I was out for every lunch and dinner my first two weeks. I mean, yeah, folks are gonna order everyday, but pop had two other guys working there with me. He kept sending me out though, saying customers were requesting 'the new guy'. I'd only been there a few days…" How did they know about him? He seemed as confused now as he was then. "But that did make me learn the streets."
Cha-Cha smiled smugly. "I do what I can to help."
Carmine's eyes widened. "That was you?" She nodded, trying to smother another wave of giggles. "But how did you afford that? And I was all over the area."
"I think I only actually paid for three of those," she guessed, amazed at herself. "I have lots of friends, honey, and everyone loves pizza. Especially when there's a hot delivery boy involved."
Carmine laughed loudly, and that's when he hugged her and said, "I've missed you."
The world froze again, and Cha-Cha's arms hung limp at her sides. For a moment she thought she was stuck, but she forced her arms to wrap around him. She held on a little too hard and little too long for just an acquaintance. Her heart was screaming at her, telling her she definitely still loved him. She feared it was painfully obvious, but Carmine just smiled as she released him. Thought nothing of it.
A woman rounded the corner, eyes brightening when they found Carmine. Cha-Cha assumed it was the same type of double take that she'd done the first time she saw him.
That's when she walked up to him. "God Carmine," she laughed, "your father sent you an hour ago."
"I ran into an old friend," he explained. Turning back to Cha-Cha, and motioning to the woman he said, "This is my wife."
"Jessica," the woman said politely.
"This is Cha-Cha," Carmine said. "We used to date when I lived over here."
"I know, honey," Jessica said, playfully sarcastic. Turning to the drag queen, she continued. "I was Cha-Cha this and Cha-Cha that when I first met him."
Cha-Cha gave her best smile, but she was dying inside.
"Anyway, hun, your father." Carmine looked at her blankly. "Your father. Needs you back at the shop. Dinner rush."
"Right!" Looking back to Cha-Cha he said, "We gotta go now, it's getting late. It was so good to see you."
"Nice to meet you," Jessica beamed.
Cha-Cha nodded. "You too."
Then they walked away.
"I had no idea he was bi!"
Cha-Cha hurled the tissue box at Ivana. "That's not the point!" Rusty grabbed Cha-Cha's arm before she could throw something else. The older drag queen let go after an appropriate amount of time and wrapped an arm around her sniffling friend.
"Oh Rusty," she cried softly, "I saw her coming and I thought maybe-maybe she was just some stranger, or a coworker, or something. No I wanted her to just walk by! And when he told me who she was the world just-just stood still." Rusty cooed and shh'd, listening like she always did when one of her girls was upset. "I couldn't move, and all I could feel was this…aching in my heart, saying I love him still."