Remember When This Was Fun Entry
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Prompt: Today, I bought a red wallet.
Wallet: (www . artbox . co . uk /images/bags/09117-1a . jpg)
Rating: M for some mild language
Disclaimer: S. Meyer owns Twilight. I own a Team Edward ring. It came out of a cupcake.
Beta'd (on extremely short notice) by the amazing SqueakyZorro. Thank you, dahling. Thank you.
Today, I bought a red wallet. This isn't something out of the ordinary for me. Admittedly, I have a pretty severe shopping problem. I should qualify that—a severe thrift store shopping problem. I can't exactly pinpoint what it is about other people's junk, but I need to have it. If I'm really being honest with myself and admit to an ounce of my crazy, it's because I can't bear to think of something floating around the universe wholly unloved. It breaks my heart.
My closet, at this point, is filled to the brim with really awful polyester dresses from 1965—that I haven't exactly gotten around to wearing. Then there are the T-shirts. I'm pretty embarrassed by the outlandish number of them, my favorites being the bright red one that says "My Other Shirt Has Che Guevara On It" and of course, my precious, precious Alf t-shirt.
Also, I might be a hoarder.
A clean hoarder, but a hoarder nonetheless. I tend not to invite friends over anymore because all they can seem to focus on is my mishmosh collection of...stuff. The conversation is a combination of "Why in the hell would you pay money for this?" and "What is that gunk all over it?"
Mostly the "stuff" consists of knick-knacks, gnomes and weird art—I've got four Keane Eyes paintings. They give me nightmares, but they deserve a home, too.
Simply put, I can't help myself. I see it on the shelf, lonely, begging me to take it far, far away from the land of misfit toasters and outdated cell phones. Especially the sparkly, shiny things. Oh, I love those.
Sometimes I worry I've taken on too much of my cat's personality. We spend a lot of time together. Emmett will risk life and limb to swat at something shiny. Or to simply sniff it. Fortunately, that particular trait hasn't entered my psyche. Well, not yet.
Lucky for me, Forks has a great thrift store. Apparently, this tiny town is full of junk that no one wants. And it's all mine! Insert maniacal laughter here. Metropolis is my all-time favorite place to shop. Not exactly an apt name, but it's full of treasures just waiting to be sold.
It's Wednesday and my shift at Thriftway ends in the early afternoon, so I spent a good chunk of time browsing the aisles, giving each shelf my full attention.
And there it is. The ultimate thrift shopper's dream. Something brand new in a store full of old things. I feel silly with excitement!
Don't get me wrong, I love the old stuff too, but I'm not rolling in the dough. I work at Thriftway as a cashier, and I eat a lot of soup. A brand spanking new Hello Kitty wallet is the diamond in the rough. The icing on the cake. The cat's pajamas, the bee's knees...okay, I'm done.
I figure I shouldn't press my luck today and discontinue my browsing spree. I find one amazing treasure—and I certainly can't understand why someone wouldn't want this. It's so cute! I give it a last-minute inspection, make sure there aren't bugs inside...or a chunk of someone's hair...hey, I've seen it all.
This wallet is perfect. And it's going to be all mine in about two minutes when I pay for it.
Right. And now I have to go pay for it. This is the part of thrift shopping that I have the most trouble with. It's downright painful. Not because of the money, though. I have three dollars. I have like twenty dollars today...it's definitely not about the money.
It's about the girl.
I might have skipped the part about how I'm obsessed with the cashier at Metropolis. Did I forget to mention that I've had a life-threatening crush on Bella Swan since my senior year of high school? Which happened to be the year that I moved here. And that every single time I see her I feel like my stomach falls out of my butt and my knees disappear? I didn't? Oh. Well, yeah, that's what happens.
The process of walking up to the register without dropping dead from lust is a complicated one. I have to give myself a pep talk. "Angela, you will not stare at her chest. Those perky breasts are not on display for you. You will act like a normal person—not like the complete freak that you are. And most importantly—you will not say anything. Just remember what happened the last time you spoke. That was a disaster." My mind flew back to the past...
This is going to be the day that I talk to her. I've been coming here at least once a week for a year. A frigging year! I can't take it any longer. I need more than the standard, "That'll be $7.50." and "Have a nice day." It's her job to say that to me. I want her to say something else to me. Something like, "You have such interesting eyes."
Oh my God, I want to kill myself right now for even thinking that. I'm such an idiot.
I'll start the conversation. I'll ask her how her day is; maybe she'll be so appreciative that a customer was interested in how she's doing, instead of mumbling hello and throwing their money on the counter. She must hate being a cashier.
There was a gasp. It came from my mouth.
I'm a cashier. I AM A CASHIER. That's it! We have the same job! This can be our bonding moment. That's the ticket, Angela. You are so smart.
This is my moment. I'm next in line. I place my items on the counter. I adjust my glasses, pushing them back against my nose. The urge to crack my neck is strong but I deny myself.
"Uh, hi." She looks embarrassed and shakes her head slightly like she can't believe I had the audacity to call her by her first name. This is not a good sign.
She begins ringing up my pile of junk. I realize today's collection is weirder than normal: sushi print pajamas, Paddington Bear, a piano phone, a Billy Idol cassette, and a pair of Timon and Pumbaa salt and pepper shakers.
Wow, I am a scary person.
An awkward laugh escapes and I'm sure my cheeks are tinged with embarrassment. "I like random stuff..." I trail off because what the hell else can you add to that? Yeah. Nothing.
"Yeah," she says, nodding, still not looking at me.
I take a deep breath. And I just put it out there. This will fix this awkward moment right up. I'm sure of it.
"Being a cashier sucks, doesn't it?" I say with...enthusiasm? Really, Angela? Really? Did you just say "sucks" to her?
"Uh, um, I guess. I mean, I don't know...it's okay," she says, mumbling. She bites her bottom lip and does the head-shaking thing again. Based on her facial expression, it's obvious that I'm freaking her out and being creepy.
"Cool," I say, not knowing how to stop being a dipshit. I pay her, and she hands me the plastic bag filled with the most random things ever. I take it and smile awkwardly.
"Yeah, well thanks, and have a nice day," she says in the same voice I've heard for months now. The cashier voice. The same one everyone gets.
I power-walked out of the store that day.
And the Creeper of the Year Award goes to...Miss Angela Weber. Way to go, champ.
I learned my lesson that day. No talking, except for please and thank you. I'll lust over her from afar, and that'll have to be good enough. Sucky, but good enough.
I place the red wallet on the counter, and when she goes to pick it up, she stops herself, looks up at me, back down to the wallet, back up at me again and says, "Where did you find this?"
I look to my left, my right, behind me. No one else is around. Is it possible that she's speaking directly to me? I panic. She looks a little upset.
"On the shelf?" Why it's a question, I don't know.
"Are you sure?" Her eyes search mine. How I've longed for this day! However, the seething look in her eye isn't what I'm hoping for.
"Yes?" I answer nervously. Ugh. What is my problem?
She shakes her head, distracted. "Shit," she says under her breath. She takes the wallet and holds it in one hand, then strokes it lovingly with the other. Again, she says, "Shit. Shit, shit, shit."
This is not normal behavior. I feel a little less like a weirdo in comparison. So I ask, "Are you okay?"
My question seems to break the spell the wallet has over her. She turns to look at me and her eyes are sad. She's frustrated. Over a wallet?
"I'm usually so thorough when we get donations. One of the perks of working here is that I get to look through every single box with a fine-tooth comb. I get first dibs on all the great stuff. I can't imagine how this slipped past me."
My heart races. She loves junk, too?
"You like this wallet? I mean, I can give it to you. Or, I mean, I can not buy it, and then you can buy it, because it's not really mine to give at this point. That would be equivalent to like second-hand stealing..."
Shut. Up. Angela.
She cracks a smile. "You would do that? Let me have it?"
"Well, sure," I say with a shrug. "If it means that much to you. I grabbed it because it's not everyday that you find something so cute in here."
"Yeah, it is really cute. But I'd buy it even if it was old and ratty. I love Hello Kitty. Probably more than I should," she admits with a shy smile.
"Oh, really? I've found a few cute T-shirts and little plastic figurines at the Village Discount in Port Angeles. You should check it out." I realize that I've just told her to commit thrift store treason. I backpedal. "Or if that's like against the rules, I could keep my eye out for you."
She laughs, a real genuine laugh. "No, no, it's okay for me to buy stuff somewhere else. I'll have to wear a mustache and a trench coat, and probably skulk a lot, but I can make it happen." She winks.
She's teasing me. She's talking to me. I'm talking back and not saying ridiculous things.
Best. Day. Ever.
If only I could tone down the big toothy smile I have on my face.
"So I guess this is yours then, " I say as I hand her the wallet.
I want to say so much more, like how much I love it that she loves Hello Kitty. Or how adorable it was when her eyes lit up when I offered it to her, and how beautiful I've always found her quiet, shy demeanor.
Especially, I want to ask her for her phone number.
Although I don't think it's possible, her smile is bigger and brighter.
"Yes, I suppose it is," she quips sweetly and swipes it from the counter. She holds it against her chest. Oh, how I want to be a red wallet in this moment.
I can't help but comment. "A little bit of a Hello Kittyphile, aren't you?"
Her face gives away her embarrassment.
"Honestly?" She looks at me warily. I nod. She takes a deep breath and continues, "It's like a disease. I can't help myself. Those cute furry cheeks, the sweet little whiskers... Oh, and the ears and the little bitty red bow..."
"Wow, you've got it bad." My comment seems to bring her back to reality.
"I do. But isn't admitting you have a problem the important first step to recovery?" she asks, her tone sarcastic.
"Something like that; however, I doubt they've seen a case as severe as yours."
"Oh, very funny, Miss America of Junk."
I can't hold back my laugh. That's a perfect description. Wait. Is she calling me pretty?
Conceding, I say, "Okay, pot meet kettle, I get it. Point made."
"You're funny," she offers randomly. I meet her eyes and shift awkwardly, not knowing what to say next.
"Thanks. I mean, so are you?" I break eye contact and stare at my shoes. I'm so nervous, even though she's incredibly easy to talk to.
She tucks her hair behind her ear and chuckles at my ignoramus comment. She takes a deep breath as if readying herself for a challenge and quickly blurts out the something I never expected.
"How about instead of continuing this painfully awkward conversation at my register, we ransack that store in Port Angeles together. After my shift."
My eyes are definitely bugged out of my head and my mouth is absolutely hanging open.
I blink. A lot.
"Yes, definitely. Please. Okay. All right." I need an intervention. I can't form complete thoughts, much less sentences. I feel my glasses slipping, so I push them back up onto my nose.
"Those are pretty. Your glasses," she says, nodding in my direction. "They're perfect for your face," she adds, her voice slightly wavering.
That's it. She thinks I'm pretty. Cue the choir and the angels and the bright lights. I can die now.
"Thank you," I reply sincerely. Wow, look at me all speaking normal and stuff. "So what time should I meet you here? After your shift ends."
She smiles at me. "Five. Meet me back here at five."
"Okay, I will. Um, I'm Angela by the way. I guess I should add that since I'm not wearing a nametag," I say, pointing to my chest and continuing to blabber once again.
"Oh, I know who you are, Angela Weber," she says, eyeing me skeptically. "We went to high school together. You never talked to me. Now you work at the Thriftway, you come in here once a week, and you still never talk to me. Until today."
Oh, that smirk. I really, really like that smirk.
"Well, I'm talking to you now aren't I?" I ask, feeling just as snarky.
"Yes, you are, and I like it much better this way."
Giddy. Both of us are absolutely giddy. Lame, but giddy.
"I'll see you at five, Bella," I say again and walk backwards out of the store, never breaking eye contact. Until I hit the door and I won't go into detail about the spectacle I made.
I walk out of there, stare up at the cloudy sky and thank my lucky stars. I'm going on a date with Bella Swan.
BEST. DAY. EVER.