Chapter 40

It was raining outside so naturally the mall was packed. People were swarming the elevators and escalators- I had to use the stairs. They always freaked me out, I mean you can see the cracks in between them and the ground and everything. I'm waiting for the day my shoes fly down into them and everything. Or the day they decide to give out and I slip right through the cracks. Unfortunately for me, that day wasn't today.

Paul had insisted we hang out. When I said I might have to watch the kids he offered to go to IHOP. He never offered to go to IHOP. He hated IHOP. Today was it- I was getting dumped today, I was losing Paul Spinella. I hung my head and looked around blandly at all the people walking around filling their arms with bags of stuff they probably didn't need. Their lives were all whizzing right around me, it felt like mine was over.

Jess-ee-cah was supposed to be working but on my ride over I got a tezt asking me if I wanted ice cream- she needed girl time. This was a tell-tale sign she had chickened out. Thomas wasn't dumped and Jacob was manning the Pretzel Shack with gross Tom. So as I avoided the demise of my relationship with Paul Spinella, I decided to visit Jacob. The poor guy deserved that at least.

He stood behind the counter folding pretzels like he always did when Jess wasn't working. His mouth was a tight line, and he was clenching his teeth a lot. "Jacob," He looked up. "Hey," I smiled a little at him. He nodded and kept folding thinking I was just passing. I walked up to the glass display of sugar covered and plain and any other kind of pretzel.

He looked up at me. "Hi," He said.

I waited. "So," I said. "You finally told her?"

"What?" He said. He was surprised a little by this. He stopped folding- thank god, it was getting awkward just staring at him folding pretzels that would be dipped in frosting. Pretzels that could potentially cause the next heart attacks of obese America.

"Who?" I said as a joke. I lost him. He stared at me blankly. I forced a quick smile. "Jess-ee-cah, duh..." He shrugged and started folding again. I didn't know why I was bothering, but it was Jacob. After six months of being in love with my best friend, he deserved a bone to be thrown to him. I opened my mouth.

"What did she tell you?" He asked suddenly. "Did she tell you she would have gotten us fired if mall security saw us fighting?"

"Nope," I said. "She must have cut that out." My eyebrows went down.

"Well." He was pissed about this. "I said that Thomas was a dick- I mean," He stopped folding. "You have to agree with that. He treats her like crap. He just comes here for free pretzels, he doesn't even give a shit about any of the stuff she does for him." He planted his hands on the counter. "And she flips the shit on me, yelling and then when I start to justify what I said she thows a lemonade on me."

I raised my eyebrows. For some reason this all is a lot more Jess-ee-cah than I thought. "So I just give up," He says lifting a hand up flicking it away. He's on a role so I don't point out how dramatic he's being. "I just said it and she just stared at me. I look like I pissed my pants and she just stares at me so I leave. Then the bitch just doesn't show up to work ever again. Yeah, I finally told her, and all I got was a crouch-full of lemonade."

I bit my lip through that last line- it is kind of classicly Jess-ee-cah but I try not to laugh. "Look," I said. "If she didn't know that Thomas was an asshole she wouldn't have flipped out on you. But you weren't exactly dropping the most obvious hints either. She had no idea..."

He looked at me. "I was going to ask her to Prom before that dick-head asked her out." He said. "But no," He started folding pretzels messily and quickly. "She had to choose him."

I watched him sadly. "Jake," I said softly. "Hang in there." He slowed his folding and kept listening. "She told me she was going to break up with Thomas." He looked up at me and our eyes met. I smiled a little and I saw everything lift. He had hope again. "I'll get her into work again, just make sure you don't get her pissed again or else you're going to be asking her out with a crouch-full of pepsi or something."

He smiled a little blushing. He realized how crazy he must have sounded. "Thanks," He said softly.

I smiled. "Hang in there," I said starting to walk away.

He exhaled shaking his head and wiping his hands off with a rag. "I'm trying," He said. "I'll see you later, Rainie."

I smiled and waved. I walked through the flow of people. I try not to think about the inevitable. I'm getting dumped today. This is it. I walk slowly to the Gap. It was packed with mothers and carriages- Steve was manning the cash register with some of Paul's co-workers but I didn't see Paul. The shirts wers all folded perfectly- which meant he had to have been here. He even told me to meet him here when he got out of work, and knowing him he would have at least texted me saying he wasn't going to work or something.

In the end I came up Paul-less, I walked out into the mall. "Rain," I looked up and saw him. He was sitting by the escalators. He stood up and smiled at me. "Hey," He said. "Where have you been?" I looked at him smiling at me. I was more than officially confused.

"Oh," I said. I pointed behind me walking over to him. "I was just-" He met me halfway sliding his hands around my waist and he kissed me quickly.

"I quit today," He said smiling. "I got interview calls from three of the seven stores I applied to."

I stared at him. He was happy, in fact he was never normally this happy for no apparent reason. He was too happy to dump me I assumed, but then again a Paul Spinella has never dumped me before. Maybe this was reverse psychology. Or maybe he was just confusing. Or on drugs. I had no idea. I forced a quick smile. "Really?" I said. My voice lacked the enthusiasm to match his, but he didn't notice.

He kissed me. "Do you want to go?" He asked.

I must have seemed liek a space cadet because he quickly added, "To IHOP, I mean."

"Yeah, sure," I said. He kissed my forehead and moved his fingers into mine, weaving them together. I kept up with him in a state of disbelief. This was weird. Simply and remarkably weird.

He turned down my street and I turned up the volume. He groaned and gave me a look. He came to my house. "Get out," He said. He reached out for the radio but I slapped his hand away. "No," I said. "This is my favorite song."

"You have to be kidding me," He said. He hated hip-hop and for the first time I had turned on the actual radio fo his car. I smiled and leaned in kissing him. He kissed me back before pulling away and turning off the radio. "I'll call you tonight."

I shrugged, kidding around. "If you want to I guess," I couldn't keep a straight face. He smiled a little at this. He was so happy today, I grew used to it. "What are you doing tomorrow?" He asked.

"I have to watch the kids," I said. "You can come over and help."

"Sure," He said. "What time?"

"Whenever," I said reaching for my car-door. "We'll probably be slip and sliding all afternoon anyways."

"What?" He asked. I smiled and kissed him goodnight. I was late for dinner and had promised Queenie I'd be there.

"You'll see," I said. I opened the door. "Talk to you later if you decide to call."

He smiled. "Yeah," He said. "Bye." I was already out. I smiled at him and shut the door. I walked up the front steps and watched him drive away. That is, I watched my boyfriend drive away. I felt overwhelmingly calm with that fact. I still had a boyfriend.

A/N: I missed you all. I wasn't sure where to start with my triumphant FanFiction comeback so I started the process of rereading. I reread all of my pieces except for this. But when I saw how all these people were adding it to their favorites all of a sudden, I decided to check it out. But here it is. A new post. My first in a goldfish's lifetime.