"Honey, could you get that?" Mrs. Keeler calls into the den as the doorbell lets out its tune again.
"Alright!" her eldest Payson calls back. Playfully the blond rolls her eyes and stands, although deep down she doesn't mean it. Still it gains her giggles from the other girls in the room; three from The Rock and one from school.
"Want us to pause-?" begins Emily.
Payson shakes her head. She's seen this movie before: twice, in fact. She passes the kitchen on her way to the door.
Her mom flashes the sincere-yet-rushed smile seen so often. "Thanks, hon. Money's on the side table. Two dollar tip, please."
The delivery boy she finds standing on the porch looks about her age. That's not surprising, nor is the smile he flashes towards her as she opens the door. He does work for tips, after all. In one swift movement he's removed the box from the pouch he's carrying, bringing with it the smell of cheese and various toppings. "Evening. That'll be fifteen-twenty-two, please."
"One minute." A dull burning sensation fills Payson's insides as he watches her reach for the money. She's used to the staring; it's been normal for years, although the reason hasn't. That's still a fresh wound, and it's why her insides feel like an oven. Being watched because you're completing a double layout is one thing; being watched because you're in a back stabilizer is another.
Payson's fears are confirmed as she straightens up and catches him snapping back to attention. "What are you staring at…" she looks at the name tag on his hat before finishing, "… Razor?"
It's more a threat than a question. She knows exactly what he's staring at after all; the horribly uncomfortable brace which swallows her thin frame. Even without the halo it's noticeable, all white and metal and hard.
She's just decided to throw out how stupid 'Razor' is for a name to even the playing field a little when he flashes another smile her way. "Was just wondering if there's a smile to go with those lovely eyes you have."
Payson raises a critical eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
He pushes back the cap on his head, revealing brown hair and matching eyes. Kinda nice, actually. He isn't attempting to be mean she realizes. Still she waits. The only answer she gets is a shrug, as if he's trying to prove he's not embarrassed of what's been said.
"That was lame."
Her under-the-breath words cause his eyes to widen a bit, yet his smile widens as well. "Lame? I speak it quite fluently."
That one is so stupid she finds herself letting out a scoff. Maybe a laugh; it's border-line, making it hard to tell. Is she actually laughing at his joke? Payson watches him count out the change. Then, as he hands over the bills, he motions her way. "Ah there; see? It is a nice smile..."
He's waiting for something. Suddenly it isn't her insides which are burning, but rather her face. He wants her name. She's still contemplating whether to give it to him or make something up when her mom's voice comes through the house, "Payson? You okay out there?"
Now her cheeks really flame. "Yeah, Mom!"
She turns back to find him still standing there, an amused look on his face. "Payson? That's different."
Oh no he didn't. "Well… that's bold coming from a guy named Razor."
"Touché." He takes her hand which causes the faintest of shivers down her arm, although she can't figure out a reason for it. "It was nice meeting you."
"Um…" What's wrong with her? Payson shakes her head and tries to hand back the change. Their fingers lock in a rather awkward holding position. She clears her throat. "Keep the change."
Payson nods curtly again before shutting the door. She then lets out a deep sigh, unaware she'd been holding her breath. She shakes out any thoughts from her head. He'd just been doing his job; that was all. No sense getting worked up about it.
"Coming!" Payson makes her way back to the kitchen. Her mom's already got the plates and such out on the counter.
Her face begins to burn again. "Um…"
"Honey, I said a two dollar tip."
"Well…" Payson's competition face surfaces as she lets out a shrug. Inside though, for the first time in a long while, she's beaming. "Just thought he deserved more."