Alllllll riiiiight so here you go as promised another chapter! Rapid fire action!
“So, a rabbi and a priest walk into a bar.”
“Oh god, no,” I muttered, sending a glare over to Jason as I placed the Sonic Youth album in its proper place. “Please don’t do it. Your jokes are the worst.”
“What? I thought you loved my jokes. I mean, you never smile or laugh but sometimes the corner of your mouth twitches which I assume is your form of laughter.”
“It’s my form of revulsion actually. My mouth twitches because I’m trying not to puke.” I frowned, absentmindedly flicking through the stack of albums. “I smile sometimes,” I said softly after a moment.
My head whipped up when Jason let out a loud guffaw and I narrowed my eyes when he clutched his stomach as if what I’d said was the most hilarious thing. “This,” he said, barring his teeth in what looked like a grimace, “is not a smile.” He shook his head, brushing a tear from the corner of his eye. “You’re lucky the clientele digs moody types with musical knowledge because I don’t think you could pull off the cheery salesperson act.”
“I consider that a blessing.”
“You know what? So do I. You might be hard to get along with, prickly, easily riled, bad tempered, antisocial, rude, humourless and snide but I kind of like you.” Jason nodded seriously, giving me a wide grin. “Yeah, I’m glad I hired you.”
“Was that supposed to be a compliment?” I grumbled, shaking my head and going back to alphabetising the new arrivals.
After a moment of silence, Jason said casually, “I have seen you give a genuine smile before.”
“Oh yeah?” I replied mildly, not really paying attention.
“Earlier today actually. When you got out of Flynn’s truck. Of course, you didn’t let him see but as soon as you turned around, very briefly, your lips stretched into this tiny little smile that actually reached your eyes and then it was gone. I was wondering if maybe I’d imagined it but I don’t think I did.”
I gritted my teeth and kept my eyes down. Was he right? Had my mask slipped?
“Maybe you’re falling for him.”
My gut lurched and my heart stopped beating at Jason’s words. My wide eyes connected with his light blue gaze. “No,” I said firmly, leaving no room for doubt.
He raised an eyebrow in disbelief and I was the first one to break eye contact. “Okay, then what about Aaron? Are you falling for him?”
I rolled my eyes trying to keep my expression blank. “Why do you care so much about this?”
“You didn’t deny it!” he said excitedly, jogging behind the desk and picking up the phone. “I’m calling Aaron to tell him the good news.”
“What?” I half yelled, racing towards him and hanging up the phone just as he said, “Hey, Aaron.”
“What the hell are you doing?”
“I was just going to make Aaron’s day,” Jason said with a shrug, leaning forward on the counter and grinning at me. “He’s totally nuts for you just in case you haven’t noticed.”
“Well, it isn’t mutual.”
“Then what about Tyler Flynn? Word on the street is the two of you hang out all the time. He usually drives you to work and always picks you up so what’s the deal?”
I let out a groan and leaned my head back to stare at the ceiling in defeat. My temples were throbbing and the sound of Jason’s voice was not making things better. His questions were in fact, making the throbbing multiply in intensity. “I have a headache,” I said, avoiding his question because I had no answer for him. What was I supposed to say? I trusted Flynn? When I touched him it felt like all the crazy pieces inside of me that threatened to drive me insane settled down, made sense even?
What about the odd happiness I felt when he didn’t turn away from me, didn’t walk out of my room and give up even though he had every right to?
I shook my head and turned around, biting my lip and planting my hand on my chest where my heart was beating a lot faster than usual. It means nothing. I told myself, walking back to the stack of albums waiting to be shelved.
“So you’re not going to answer?”
“Nothing to say,” I replied.
“I thought you’d be entertaining when I hired you,” Jason said, slumping forward and resting his cheek on the desk in front of him. “Done anything illegal lately?”