[Note: Just a one-off for now guys ;) I was inspired :) But I may add one more chapter later on.]
Janet slammed the top of her alarm clock and hit 'snooze' for the fourth time that morning. She groaned and eased out of bed. She knew she had to get up, but today of all days she really didn't want to. She wanted to sleep in and play and replay the moment she and Eddie shared in the bar the night before. Her mind was still reeling from the moment Eddie asked her out. She couldn't keep the butterflies down in her stomach as she thought about it. Before that night, in a million years, Janet never would have so much as entertained the thought of dating Eddie Latekka. He was Eddie Latekka for crying out loud! They may have had a friendly bartender-patron relationship, but that was about it. People like Eddie didn't go out with people like Janet. It just wasn't done. So what had gotten into him? Was he that low from striking out with the leggy brunette earlier in the night?
Janet's eyes flew wide open. That was it. Oh, you idiot! She scolded herself and smacked her hand over her head. Eddie was just drunk and frustrated from his failed conquest with the young college chick that in a moment of insanity and drunkenness he asked out the next available female – her. Janet's heart sank. Of course, that was it. Why would Eddie ask her out if not to prove something to himself and his followers?
Janet stood before the mirror now, with a sigh threw her hair into a messy knot on top of her head, and jumped right into her day. She would handle this the only way she knew how; ignore the fact that it ever happened.
"Hey Janet, how'd you go last night?" Sully's voice boomed from behind her when she got into work. She jumped out of her skin and whipped around to look at Sully in the face.
"Fine. Why? What have you heard?" she asked and got a strange look from Sully.
"Nothing," he frowned, "Are you okay? You look more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs," he commented eyeballing her.
"I'm fine," she said walking around him and fastening her apron to her waist.
Sully shrugged, "Well anyway, as you know the Pumpkin Fest is in a week and we still haven't decorated this place. So I was wondering if you could help Rooster out tonight and – "
"Oh Sully," Janet started to whine.
"I know it's asking for a lot. You've pulled late shifts for the past week but I could really use your help around here kiddo," Sully's pooled puppy dog eyes were a dirty trick he always played on her when he wanted his way.
"Fine," Janet relented. What else did she have to do? All the other staff members had families and kids they had to be with, but not her. No siree Bob. She got to do late shifts and put up with drunken passes all night.
"Thanks kiddo, I'll tell Rooster – "
"Uh Rooster can't make it into work today," Roxy, another waitress who had overheard their conversation, chimed in.
"What? Why not?" Sully demanded.
"He broke his leg climbing up his grandmother's tree to get her cat out," Karen replied before she disappeared into the kitchen.
Sully sighed tiredly and rubbed his forehead, "Well I guess we'll have to find you another helper."
Janet stared back at him with her patented 'are you freakin' kidding me' look. She planted her hand on her hip, "Sully I can run this bar blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. I'm sure I can handle a few corny decorations," she said with a wave of her hand as she cleared some dishes off the tables.
"Fine. Your call," Sully shrugged.
"Thank you," she called after him.
She began to swab the table she'd just cleared when she heard Sully call out, "Hey! Eddie, you're here early."
Her heart began to race and her cheeks grew hot as she tried to busy herself.
"Hey Sul. Just came by to pick up a couple of heroes for Phil and I," Eddie's voice answered.
Remember, last night did not happen. Eddie was just drunk. Don't coerce the poor guy into something he was only semi-aware he was doing. Before she could make a quick exit into the kitchen, Eddie spotted her.
"Hey stranger," Eddie greeted before she had a chance to get away.
Janet stopped and turned, sweeping a strand of hair out of her eye, "Hey Eddie grab a seat anywhere, I'll be with you shortly." She tried to sound as casual as she could.
"Uh sure," Eddie said taking the menu she handed him and parked himself in a booth by the window.
A few minutes later Janet came out, she looked like she ran a brush through her hair, but other than that she looked like good 'ol Janet.
"Hey sorry," she said out of breath, "I was just clearing up some dishes," she jabbed her thumb over her shoulder at the kitchen.
"That's okay," Eddie said calmly smiling slightly as he studied her. "Wanna sit?" he asked gesturing to the seat across from him.
Janet smiled shyly, "Uh, actually I'm supposed to be working."
"Oh," Eddie replied, "That's a shame."
Janet never thought of Eddie in a romantic way – mostly because she would never have dreamt that he'd ever look at her the same way – but the way he was watching her now was making her very nervous. She snapped out of her thoughts and said, "Can I get you anything?"
"Janet…" Eddie began sensing her nervousness.
"Some coffee, or tea…," she continued.
"Actually there is something I'd like," Eddie shifted in his seat, unsure of how to precede, "Uh, about last night…"
Janet looked at him expectantly. She wanted to know how much of last night he actually remembered. "Yeah?"
Eddie raised his eyebrows and gestured with his hands, "I was a little drunk, so I just wanted to make sure…"
"Eddie don't even worry about it," Janet held up a hand to stop him from saying anything further, "You were drunk you didn't know what you were saying…"
"Well I mean I wasn't that drunk…" Eddie corrected frowning slightly.
"I mean we all say things we regret later…"
"What're you talkin about?" Eddie asked baffled while Janet kept trying to talk over him, "I didn't regret… Janet!" he raised his voice and stood up, grabbing her by the arms to still her. That did it. Janet piped down and looked up at him with her big blue eyes. Eddie was a little surprised that that's all it took to shut her up, and he smiled, humour filling his brown eyes, "That was easy."
Janet looked away, irritated about the effect he had on her now.
"I was going to say," Eddie began slowly, "since you didn't give me an answer last night, I was just making sure I wasn't overstepping my bounds here."
Janet's eyes darted up to meet his, "What? You mean you remember asking me out?"
"I do," Eddie replied playfully rocking back on his heels, getting a little shy himself.
"And… you don't regret doing that?"
"Of course not," Eddie replied frowning slightly, "I really would like us to go out sometime," he flashed her a lopsided grin and then added quickly, "But if you don't want to…"
"No! No it's not that… it's just…," Janet fiddled with the ring on her finger, "I mean I want to but… aren't you worried about how it's going to look to everyone else?"
Eddie took a step back in realisation, "Is that why you didn't give me a straight answer last night?"
"Well," Janet cringed sheepishly.
"No, I don't care what everyone else thinks. And you shouldn't either. The way I see it, it's my life and I can do whatever the hell I want to with it and with whomever I want to."
Janet smiled chewing on her lower lip, "You sure?"
Eddie looked around trying to think of how he could convince her he was for real. "You know what? What time do you get off work today?" he asked stuffing his hands in his pockets.
"Sully has me decorating this place after it closes," Janet replied reluctantly, "So it doesn't look like I'll be free until after that which could be around 2am."
"I'll come by at closing and help you set up. We'll have the bar to ourselves; we can have an unofficial date."
"Really, that's not necessary," Janet said waving her hand.
"Of course it is," Eddie smiled, his eyes teasing, "How else will I know if you want to date me for me or my money?"
Janet laughed, "Alright," she relented, "Come by at 12."
"I'll see you then," Eddie hesitated a second and then leaned forward and pecked her on her cheek, which turned pink instantly.
"See ya," she watched as he sauntered out of the bar and got in his truck to drive off. Suddenly putting up decorations had never seemed more appealing.