A/N: Ok I've just re-read Fried Green Tomatoes and I thought, how about a story where Emily owns a cafe so today I wrote this but it morphed into a sandwich shop when I thought of a name for it. I have a vague idea of where it could go and at the moment I don't think this will stretch to that many chapters, but it has been known for me to be wrong before.
I never intended to have three stories on the go at once but I really wanted to try my hand at writing in the first person. It's a style I have huge admiration for but it doesn't come naturally to me and I find it quite hard to write, so apologies if this is a bit weird in places.
As ever reviews are always appreciated even if they tell me to never write in the first person again!
The title is rubbish and is based on a really bad joke (It will appear at some point for those of you who don't know it) but funnily I struggled to think of anything that great to do with sandwiches. If you come up with anything better please suggest it.
I stood on the corner of the road staring around me, it was cold and the biting wind was cutting through my coat making me shiver. Sometimes I wondered what awful deed I did to deserve this.
"I'm fucking freezing, it's raining and I've managed to get the shittest job in the world" I muttered under my breath before looking around again for somewhere to take refuge.
I only started a couple of weeks ago and my boss, Mandy, was already turning out to be a total bitch. Mandy's a friend of Effy's mum. I'd stupidly mentioned to my best friend that I needed to make some money before I went travelling, so as usual she'd meddled in my business. I was round her house when Eff's Mum called me.
"Naomi, come down here there's someone I'd like you to meet. I'm sure she can help you." Anthea said.
I shot a look at Effy who shrugged "I don't know what she wants. Maybe she wants to set you up with one of her skanky friends."
I scowled at her, "Fuck off Eff, your Mum said she. I'm not gay remember?"
Effy smirked, "I think eventually you'll see I'm right about that."
I sighed, because I shagged around but never really showed an interest in having a relationship with a bloke Effy was convinced I was really a closet lesbian. It would piss me off if it wasn't so funny.
Reluctantly I got up off the floor and went downstairs.
"Naomi, I'd like you to meet my friend Mandy. She's looking for a new, I suppose you'd call it an assistant?" Anthea said looking questioningly at Mandy.
"General dogsbody is more like it. I need someone to cater for my every whim." Mandy said with a smirk as she looked me up and down.
I tried to stop myself recoiling but I knew a strange look had crossed my face, even if it was fleeting. I forced myself to smile, "I'm used to being ordered around, it'll make a change to get paid for it."
Mandy burst out laughing, "Good answer. So you've got brains as well? Hmmm, I think you'll do nicely."
I watched as she raked her eyes over my body again, stopping to linger over my arse and tits.
I looked over to the doorway where Effy was watching in amusement. I raised my eyebrow, asking what I should do but Eff refused to engage in our silent communication.
I shot her a look that said 'bitch' before I turned back, "So do I need to give you a CV or have an interview or something?"
Mandy raised her eyebrow, "Or something sounds intriguing. I'm sure you'd pass with flying colours but you could always stop by the office when it's quiet and we can see what special talents you have."
I panicked, I really needed this job, but what she was implying was wrong on so many levels.
"Oh, er, um, ok." I stammered turning red.
Mandy walked over to me with a business card in her hand, "Don't panic Naomi, I'm just teasing. Turn up at this address at 8.30 on Monday morning. We'll take it from there."
That was two weeks ago and ever since I've practically been her slave, running errands for her, acting as her personal cloakroom come waitress at events and pretty much being at her beck and call 24/7. For fuck's sake the other night I was asleep when my phone started to ring, I answered only to find Mandy on the other end.
"Jesus Naomi, what have I told you? Answer within four rings otherwise you're fired." Mandy stated.
I was half asleep but I managed to mutter an apology before asking, "What do you need?"
Mandy gave a throaty laugh, "I think you know the answer to that gorgeous. But in the mean time just do as you're told and don't let me down. I'm doing you a favour."
I shook myself from my reminiscing and tutted, some crappy kind of favour, making me do all sorts of menial tasks just to get minimum wage. That was before you took into account the constant innuendos and flirting, it's practically sexual harassment. I took a deep breath and looked at the list in my hand, which has started to go soggy in the rain. Mandy had sent me out to get the lunch order again and it had particularly amused her because the weather was so bad.
There were cafes, take aways and shops dotted about near the office so it wasn't like it was hard to find somewhere to get food. But of course Mandy had to fuel her sick sense of humour by making each lunch order have a theme so every day I had to find a different place to get it. Today I needed sandwiches, that meant a sandwich shop. Fucking genius Naomi, no wonder I was on minimum wage. But these are no ordinary sandwiches (unfortunately they weren't M&S sandwiches either, that would have been far too simple.) I was sure Mandy had done it on purpose, making up weird combinations as a test for me, it's the type of thing she finds funny, like I said the woman is a bitch and has a twisted sense of humour.
Finally I spotted a small shop nestled in the background to my left. I'd almost missed it as it was so unassuming. My brow furrowed as I noticed the name of the shop, in curly black writing the sign read 'SandFitches', it was obviously some sort of pun on sandwiches but it was lost on me. Anyway the shop looked my best bet and it was also the closest so I headed over.
I walked towards the door which was painted a deep red colour, it looked welcoming and I'm not really sure why I missed it before, too blinded by the flashy signs of the corporate chains I suppose. I fucking hate all of those big companies, bullying and bulldozing their way into towns and cities all over the place, making them all look the same.
I sighed loudly before muttering my new favourite mantra, "I am Naomi Campbell, I am only doing this until I can get enough money together to go travelling, then they can all fuck off, especially that perv Mandy."
I chuckled to myself as I pushed the door and entered the shop.
I wiped the cloth over the counter for the hundredth time, I hated days like today. Slow days where I had no customers at all and the hands on the clock seemed to travel backwards. I don't mind quiet periods during the busier days, I usually take a break and read, but not when the whole day is like being in a graveyard. Actually I quite like graveyards, they're quiet and I find it interesting to look at the headstones.
We mainly deal with office accounts, lunches or supplies to the internal cafes that sort of thing, so most of our customers don't come anywhere near the shop. Also the weather is so bad at the moment that we won't even get the passing trade we'd usually get. The only customer I'd served today had come in to shelter from a particularly vicious downpour and felt shamed into buying something. Well, I shamed him in to buying something if we're being honest.
I sighed and looked out of the window where my eye caught a blonde woman seemingly headed towards me. It's difficult to tell because it's raining but she seemed about my age and from where I'm standing she looks pretty attractive. Fuck it, who am I trying to kid? I'm so bored any company would look attractive to me right now.
I watched as she paused in the doorway, muttered something to herself and then entered. I was right she is attractive, even if she looks a bit like a drowned rat at the moment. But she also looks pretty pissed off so I'm guessing she's not here out of choice. I continued to study her as she closed the door and shook herself to get rid of some of the rain, suddenly she stopped.
"Sorry, I seem to have messed up your clean floor." She said with a shrug of her shoulders which scattered more raindrops everywhere.
I shrugged back, "It's ok, you're only the second customer I've had today so it's nice to have some human interaction at last and it'll give me something to do once you've gone."
She ran her hand through her bedraggled hair before looking at a wet looking list in her other hand, "I need to get some sandwiches."
"Well, you've definitely come to the right place. Sandwiches are what we do best, being a sandwich shop and everything." I said with a smile.
She looked at me with a confused expression, "I know that, which is why I came in."
Ok, so no sense of humour then, "Sorry, I was just making a joke. How can I help?"
She rattled through a list of really odd sounding sandwiches, I mean who asks for beef, apple sauce and anchovies for Christ's sake? But hey, the customer is always right so who am I to be judgemental as long as the bill gets paid.
When she finished she handed me the list and I couldn't help making another joke, "Are you on a mission for a load of pregnant women?"
As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them. The confusion returned to her face and she stared at me like I was really strange. Then suddenly her frown was replaced with a smile. It lit up her face and I noticed her stunning blue eyes. Fuck I was wrong, she's not attractive, she's gorgeous.
She stared at me for a while before saying with a chuckle, "Sorry, I didn't have a clue what you were on about at first but I get it now."
"You know, weird cravings and all that..." I continued in explanation but she cut me off.
"Like I said I understand the joke now. In answer to your question, no they're not for a group of pregnant women, although that might be slightly more rewarding. I'm working at one of the local offices and my bitch of a boss sent me out for the lunch order, in the pouring rain, on purpose. I'm sure she made up the odd combinations just to see if I'd be able to get them." She said with a frown.
I smiled in sympathy, "That's why I'm my own boss, no one to please but myself. Well actually my twin sister owns half the shop but she prefers to be a more hands-off investor."
"What like a silent partner?" she asked.
I couldn't help it but I started to laugh. I saw an annoyed look pass across her face but I had a fit of the giggles and couldn't stop.
"What's so fucking funny? That's what they're called, silent partners, people who invest but don't play an active role." She responded indignantly.
Her explanation only made things worse and by now I had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks. She moved her hands onto her hips and scowled at me.
"You know what, just forget it. You've just made a big mistake by taking the piss out of me because now I'm going somewhere else to get my sandwiches. Give me my list." She demanded angrily as she thrust her hand towards me.
I stopped laughing, partly because it was a big order but mainly because I didn't want her to think she was the reason I'd been laughing. "Look I'm sorry, I wasn't laughing at you."
Her blue eyes were now steely and her voice was cold as she repeated, "My list."
"Seriously err," I paused, I didn't even know her name, "sorry I don't know your name, I'm Emily by the way. I wasn't laughing at you. It's just no one has ever described Katie as a silent anything before. She's the loudest, most obnoxious person you're ever likely to meet."
She raised her eyebrow and stared pointedly at me "Yeah? I'm not so sure about that."
"Look, why don't you take a seat and I'll bring you a sandwich over, on the house of course. Then you can eat it while I prepare the rest of your order." I offered.
She paused for a few seconds before glancing at her watch and shrugging, "I suppose that's a fair way to make up for the appalling customer service in here."
"Menu's up there" I said pointing to the board, "Let me know what I can get you."
I watched as she studied the menu carefully, biting her bottom lip in concentration. It was sexy as hell. Her eyes scanned all the choices and then began to focus on certain options. I stood patiently while she made up her mind and could tell she'd narrowed it down to two choices by the way her eyes kept darting backwards and forwards across the board. If this was going to take a while I might as well make the best use of my time. I allowed my gaze to fall from her face and trail down her body. I couldn't see a lot as her coat was done up tightly but even with my restricted view I could tell she was in good shape. I checked out her slender waist and hips, if I leaned forward slightly I could just about make out the curve of her arse. Hmmm, very nice, I'd score it about an 8 I'd say.
"Ahem" I looked up to find her staring quizzically at me. Fuck she'd caught me looking at her. Just deny everything Emily, act normally and pretend nothing was going on.
"Have you decided?" I asked brightly with a big smile.
"I'll have the tuna and rocket melt please and you can throw in a coffee given you were just perving on me." she responded with a raised eyebrow.
I started to redden, "No I wasn't, I was just waiting for you to decide and thinking where everything was for your order."
She looked at me sceptically, "If you say so. I'll just go and sit down shall I?"
I nodded, pleased that I seemed to have got away with it, "Sure, I'll bring it right over."
I made my way over to one of the nearby tables, she must think I'm an idiot, she was totally checking me out. Mandy's given me enough practice at recognising the signs. I seriously contemplated leaving my coat on just so she can't get a better look but it's soaked and starting to seep through to my clothes. I don't want to sit in wet clothes all afternoon, especially not around Mandy who'll probably make some suggestive comment about them clinging in the right places or a wet t-shirt competition.
It was quite amusing when I caught, did she say her name was Emily, I think she did, anyway sandwich girl looking me up and down. I watched her trying to work out what was under the coat and she'd actually licked her lips when she leaned forward to get a better look at my arse, I don't think she even realised she was doing it.
I sighed, what is about me and lezzas, aren't they supposed to have a gaydar which would clearly be pointing towards heterosexual when it came to me. Even so I seem to attract them like flies. Well ok not exactly flies, there were two women that had shown a vague interest in me. I didn't even seem to attract a particular type, I mean Mandy and Emily were totally different. Mandy leered at me and it felt creepy, like I was being stalked. Emily was looking at me appreciatively and it was incredibly cute when she blushed because she'd been caught.
I jumped as a plate with a toasted ciabatta was placed on the table in front of me.
"Sorry I didn't mean to startle you." Emily said apologetically, "where do you want this?"
I looked at the cup she was holding and couldn't help the corners of my mouth twitching slightly.
As if reading my thoughts Emily shook her head, "I brought you a coffee because you asked for one and you look cold, it's not an admission of guilt."
Now I couldn't help the smirk appearing on my face, "I'm not sure that would stand up in court."
"So you're planning to sue me now? On what grounds?" she asked.
I thought for a minute, "Excessive perving."
I could see she was trying not to smile, "I'm not sure that's a crime and anyway you don't have any evidence."
"Your honour may I present exhibit A, the coffee given as a bribe to make me keep quiet about the excessive perving." I replied pointing at the cup.
I watched as Emily's eyes narrowed and she turned away, taking the coffee with her, "I'd better get on with your sandwiches."
"Hey, I wanted that." I called after her, secretly disappointed she'd left, I was enjoying our flirtatious banter. Not flirtatious, Naomi, just banter.
Slowly she turned back towards me and made her way to the table. I gulped as she leant over my shoulder so her mouth was was next to my ear as she gently placed the coffee down. I could feel her breath tickling the hairs on my neck and it caused my heart to beat faster.
"If you want the coffee isn't that like saying you wanted me to check you out too?" Emily whispered huskily.
I closed my eyes as the reverberations of her speech caused goosebumps to appear on my skin. Suddenly she laughed and walked behind the counter again. I sat for a few minutes trying to regain my composure before I started to eat my sandwich. I could hear Emily humming to herself as she moved around putting the order together.
What the hell just happened? I thought back and started to go red. As much as I'd like to deny it I'd been flirting with her. I risked a glance in Emily's direction and was glad she was facing away from me assembling one of the sandwiches. She stopped and pushed a strand of hair behind her ears. I hadn't really noticed it before but it was a deep red similar to the paint on the door. It looked soft and I wondered what it would be like to run my hands through it.
Whoa, hang on a minute. Had I really just thought about running my hands through her hair? Hastily I turned back to my sandwich and took a large bite. As I chewed furiously I tried to regain control of my brain. I was going to kill Effy, stupid cow planting all these ridiculous ideas into my mind. If she hadn't been banging on so much I would just be sitting here enjoying the fact I'd got a free lunch. Instead I'm desperately trying not to stare at the cute redhead making the sandwiches.
Fuck it, there I go again. Cute redhead? I am clearly delirious and need some fresh air.
I finished the last bite of my meal and washed it down with the remainder of the coffee. I picked up the dirty dishes and placed them on the counter with a clatter.
"Thanks for lunch Emily but I really need to get back to work." I said far more confidently than I felt.
She turned round, "I haven't finished your order yet, I'll only be a few more minutes."
I shook my head, "It doesn't matter, I'll just take what you've got. It's probably all going straight into the bin anyway so I doubt it'll matter if it's not complete."
"Oh ok," Emily replied. Was it just me or was there a hint of disappointment? Maybe she was banking on full payment as I was probably going to be her best customer today.
"Look I'll pay you for the whole order." I stated and cursed my stupidity as a look of hurt passed across Emily's face. That was clearly not the reason she was disappointed.
"It's fine, you don't need to pay for things you haven't received." She replied coldly.
"I only meant I wouldn't want you to be out of pocket or anything. You know, because I have to go, without all of the sandwiches..." I said nervously looking at the floor.
When I looked up again Emily was standing in front of me holding out a bag, she was smiling and the sparkle was back in her beautiful brown eyes. No, no, no Naomi, stop thinking about her like that. Pay for the sandwiches and get back to work as fast as your legs will carry you.
"So, um, how much do I owe you?" I enquired getting my wallet out.
Emily started totting it up in her head, after a while she looked back at me, "That'll be £18.47."
What a fucking bitch, Mandy had only given me £15. She knew it wasn't enough to cover the whole order and she also knew I hadn't been paid yet so I had hardly any money to cover the rest of it. Emily seemed to notice my hesitation.
"Is everything ok?" she asked with a concerned expression.
I sighed, I might as well come clean, "Look this is totally embarrassing, especially as you've given me lunch for free, but my bitch of a boss only gave me £15. I've only just started working there so I haven't been paid yet, but I'll give you what I can scrape together."
I put the notes on the counter and poured the change from my purse next to them. I began counting out the remaining money but Emily stopped me by placing her hand over mine.
"£15 is fine, I don't want you being out of pocket either." Emily said gently.
"No it's not fair, on either of us." I hate injustice, always have done. I suppose I get that from my Mum who is always campaigning for something. "Look it's my boss' fault so I'll just go back to the office and get it from her. What time do you close, I could bring it after work?"
"Er, we shut at about three, there's never much business after the lunchtime rush." Emily replied.
Damn, I didn't finish until at least six, and that was only when Mandy decided she was bored, often she kept me there later. I put the coins back and was trying to think of an alternative suggestion when I saw a small smile creep across Emily's face.
"How about you bring it in tomorrow lunchtime? I can make you another sandwich then, a different one this time." She suggested.
I blushed, "Sorry but I can't really afford to eat here, not that it's expensive, I'm just a bit broke at the moment."
Emily shook her head, "Don't worry it'll be on the house again, I've enjoyed your company."
"I'm not a charity case" I replied indignantly. I felt a bit mean because she'd paid me a compliment but stubbornness and pride always win out where I'm concerned.
Emily held up her hands, "Ok, how about I use you as a sounding board for my new recipes? Think of yourself as my sandwich tester."
I was about to protest but then I thought what the hell, I get a decent lunch and I can spend more time with Emily, "Ok, if you're employing me I suppose I have no choice."
My stomach flipped as she beamed at me, I took the bag of sandwiches and walked towards the door. Suddenly I thought of something. I turned back and caught her staring at my arse again. She quickly looked up.
"My name's Naomi by the way, just in case you were wondering who you were perving at." I said with a smirk.
She repeated my name slowly and pretended to think, "Nah I think I prefer what I've been calling you up until now."
I raised an eyebrow, "Which is?"
"I can't possibly tell you that." She replied with mock indignation.
"Fair enough, see you tomorrow sandwich girl." I said as I exited the shop, leaving her standing there with a stunned look on her face.
I slowly began to walk back to the office when I heard the door of the shop go, I continued to walk until I heard her voice call out.
"See you tomorrow Hottie McNicearse," I stopped and smiled to myself, but I refused to turn around.
"Oh and Naomi," she called seductively.
This time I turned back to find her grinning at me.
"I'm definitely getting a better nickname than sandwich girl." Emily said with a wink as she closed the door.