The Love Song (3)

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Thank God, I sighed when Decklan managed to push his last fan girl out the door, and flip the open sign to closed. Finally, I was able to let the fake smile that I had plastered across my face all day, slip off. Blasting the small beat up radio, which was normally tucked away on the floor next to the garbage cans, I began the process of closing up Everything Roni.

I had always hated closing shifts, particularly when I was by myself. There was a huge checklist to complete, so the shop could open up the next day and run smoothly. Normally I would do anything to get out of closing, which typically included bribing Abby to do it for me with some type of food item like a coffee at Starbucks. The only reason I had taken it today was so I could be present for the whole meeting.

Decklan had disappeared into his mother’s office after quickly cleaning up his laptop and sign up sheets for the game’s registration. Because of a late dinner rush, I never had a chance to sign up to play. However, as I made countless macaroni dishes and mulled over participating, the idea of playing seemed less and less desirable.

Humans versus Zombies had never been part of my plan to escape this tiny horrible town. I was going to work for the summer, and save money for college. I would earn a degree in something mindless like English or Communications to please my mom. God knows she would never let me pass up a higher education, to become a singer. Once I was done, I would move out to L.A. and follow my dream.

Teagan Mikey Harper was going to be a famous singer. I just needed to get over the fear of singing in front of people first, which was why leaving Brookfield was so important. By skipping out of town, I could leave behind all the insecurities I had built up while living here.

I danced around behind the counter singing into the handle of the mop, as Single Ladies poured out of the speakers:

“Now put your hands up!” I belted out, and threw my arm up into the air. Taking one of my totally uncoordinated moves a little too far, I danced over the water bucket and collided with the floor.

“Are you okay, honey?” Mrs. Brody asked seconds later, her office door swinging open. “You are not having a lucky day.”

“Um, yeah,” I answered, blowing hair out of my face.

“Alright dear. I’m going to head out now. Make sure the lights are off and the door is locked when you leave. Decklan can stay and help you for a bit,” Mrs. Brody called. A few seconds later the back door slammed shut, and I was left alone with him.

“Fall again?” he asked, coming over to help me up. “My hand’s going to get sore from helping you up all the time.”

My face flushed red as he pulled me to my feet. “The bucket attacked me,” I told him, staring down at the culprit that had emptied a whole gallon of water across the tiled floor.

Closing my eyes in a mixture of embarrassment and frustration, I wrung out the bottom of my shirt as best as I could.

“Oh dang, it’s completely soaked through. Here, do you want mine?” he asked, pulling at the hem of his shirt.

“Ah thanks, but no thanks,” I told him looking away. As much as seeing Decklan shirtless would make my list of ‘top ten best things that had ever happened to me’, I would probably be too shocked by his abs to finish cleaning up. I had already made a fool out of myself in front of him three times today. There was no point in making it worse. “I’m almost done anyways. I’ll just head home right away and change.”

“Are you sure? I think I have an extra one in my gym bag,” Decklan offered again as he stepped away from the spreading lake on the floor.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Suit yourself,” he told me and leaned against the counter, “By the way, I really like your hot pink sports bra.”

Hands shaking, I almost dropped the mop again. “Fine, just give me the dang t-shirt,” I cried, trying to sound angry instead of humiliated.

Scrubbing a non-existent spot on the floor as he tugged off his shirt, the song on the radio changed to SexyBack. I cringed. Great, now some upper power was mocking me via radio.

“Here Mikey,” Decklan said handing it over. Taking the shirt, the still warm fabric greeted my hand, and I mumbled a thank you into the floor. “I’ll be right back,” he said as he jogged over to the office.

“Sweet and sour sauce,” I groaned palming my forehead. Why did I always act like a complete moron in front of him? Where had all my angry confidence, which CC had provoked within me, gone?

It most likely shattered on the floor when I tripped. When Decklan turned into Prince Charming and helped me up off the floor, anything left over probably evaporated. I’m sure his Abercrombie modeling stunt moments ago hadn’t helped either.

Ripping off my see through wet shirt before he came back, I pulled his oversized blue polo over my head. Taking in a deep breath, I inhaled the familiar scent of Decklan’s fierce Old Spice cologne. His father had given him his first bottle when we were in grade school, and I was happily surprised to see that it hadn’t changed.

“What did you say?” Decklan asked coming out of the back room with a cut off hanging over his muscular frame. His guitar case was gripped loosely in his left hand. The combination of athletic jock and sexy music man made me bite my lip.

He raised an eyebrow when I didn’t respond.

“Um, what?” I asked shaking my head, but as soon as the words fell out of my mouth, his question came floating back in my mind. “Oh, nothing.” I replied, my eyes getting big. How could he have heard me? I hadn’t meant to be so loud before.

“No,” Decklan frowned, “You said something like... sweet and sour sauce?” He sounded unsure of himself, but questioned me anyways.

“Oh that,” I laughed nervously, “I was just mad at myself for spilling the water bucket everywhere. Now it’s going to take me twice as long to clean up.”

Decklan leaned back against the counter with a smirk, knowing that he had heard correctly. “So… you swear foods?”

“Well, when you say it that way, it sounds childish.” I began mopping up the slick floor to avoid looking at him.

“That’s because it is,” Decklan said with a smile.

“I just try not to swear, it’s rude.” Ringing the mop out into the bucket, I slapped it back down onto the floor, soaking up more of the spill.

“So, you don’t ever swear?” he asked, flipping his hair out of his eyes.

“Well,” I sighed, “If I’m in a particularly grumpy mood or CC stops by, then maybe. Usually it’s a combination of the two,” I grumbled. Oh shit, I thought, I shouldn’t have complained about CC to Decklan. What if he still likes her? Oh shit, I just thought shit!

“Aren’t you supposed to be helping me and not picking on me?” I demanded, changing the subject. I just wanted to go home, so I could forget all the awkward events that had taken place throughout the course of the day.

“Hey,” Decklan defended himself, “I gave you a shirt to wear, didn’t I?”

“And how is that going to help me get out of here faster?” If I didn’t hurry, I was going to miss the new episode of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader.

“How about you sign up to play the game, and I’ll do the rest of the closing work,” he suggested. “Besides, I think that spot on the floor is pretty clean now.”

His words caught me off guard, and I quickly looked up at him in surprise. I ignored the sarcastic comment, and searched his face; behind the teasing, his eyes were bright and serious. “You want me to play?”

“Of course,” he said smiling at me as he pulled his instrument out of its case.

“Um, why’s that?” I questioned. Drumming my fingers against the counter, so I couldn’t hear my pounding heart, I closed my eyes.

“Because I think you would be good at it.”

He strummed the strings of the guitar and I snorted. “You’re kidding right? I just tripped over a stationary object, and you think I’m going to be good at playing a giant game of tag?”

“Well, I said nothing about your coordination. But, I do think you’re sneaky. Wanna hear a song?”

“Sneaky?” I demanded as I rolled the mop and bucket back into the janitor’s closet. What the heck was that supposed to mean?

“Oh Mikey, Mikey, Mikey,” Decklan sang, his clear, strong voice echoing through the empty restaurant, “She only swears foods like sugar, spice and everything nice. She doesn’t like a sailor’s mouth, but instead prefers a chefs-”

“Oh God,” I said cutting him off. He might have had a dreamy, make-you-want-to-melt kind of voice, but his lyrics needed major work.

“What? Didn’t think that was a Grammy winner?”

“No, not at all,” I told him straight, “Now tell me. Why do you think I’m sneaky?”

Decklan chuckled. “I just remember how convincing you were in grade school. You always managed to trick me into handing over my fruit snacks.”

His words surprised me for the second time that night, and I dropped the tip jar I was holding in embarrassment. My face burned red as I began scooping pennies back into the container that read: tips for college fund, but the d was crossed off.

It was the first time that Decklan had ever mentioned our past friendship, since we started high school. Not only was it awkward that my snack thievery was what he remembered from our past time together, but also it made me wish that we had never let a gap grow between us. It would be nice to go back to the days when Decklan wasn’t the golden guy, and instead was the geeky boy who could kind of sing, and loved Pokémon and playing kick the can. Then, I would be the only girl who liked him.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call that sneaky. Just me being a hungry pig.”

“Oh God,” Decklan rolled his eyes. Jumping down from the counter, he crossed the kitchen moving towards me; “Please don’t tell me you’ve turned into one of those girls who always thinks they’re fat?” he grabbed my hand and rubbed my palm with his thumb in a comforting sort of manor.

I didn’t respond. Instead I stared at my feet and tried to focus my attention on the cracking rubber of the converses that I was wearing. But, it was hard with him touching me like that. My skin felt like someone had dunked it in gasoline and lit a match.

Decklan sighed. “What happened to that smart girl who always got 100% on homework assignments?”

What a smooth talker. It was my turn to roll my eyes. “You only say that because I was nice enough to fill in your assignments as well.”

Truth was whatever kind of girl I had been, how Decklan remembered me, that girl was gone. She had disappeared at the start of high school. Now I was just shy and boring Mikey. No longer did I have the guts to steal fruit snacks from Decklan Brody.

“Maybe,” Decklan smirked as he backed me up against the counter, “but I still think you should play.”

“Um, I don’t know…” I said trailing off. All I could think about was the strand of my hair that Decklan was tugging on.

After CC had left, I began to rethink the challenge I had made with her; it had really been just talk anyways. My life would be a lot easier if I stayed out of her way. The wicked witch of the world would go out of her way to embarrass me.

“Please Mikey?” Decklan asked pouting his lips, “It will be a lot of fun, I promise. Think about the cool vacation you’d get to go on if you win.”

The cool vacation I would get to go on with you. I know he didn’t say it out loud, but it felt as if Decklan wanted me to do this for some unknown reason. Maybe so we could see each other more often, and rekindle our long lost friendship? As unrealistic and delusional as the thought might have been, I would probably do anything for the boy in front of me.

Screw what CC said, even if it was true. I was going to win Humans versus Zombies, and spend the most amazing time with Decklan. Then he would see that I’m good enough for him. We belonged together.

Taking a deep breath, and handing over the tip jar that had about ten dollars worth of quarters in it, I responded. “Okay. Sign me up.”

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Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed chapter three. What do you think about Decklan??

On a different note, any One Direction fans out there? My sister just posted her first fan-fiction, so if you enjoy reading those click on the extrenal link on the side of the chapter which will take you to her story. It's called "Summer in London"

Since we are on the topic of One Dirction, I might as well ask another question.

Question #4: Who is your favorite member from One Direction? If you don't like 1D, who is your favorite musical artist?

I would have to say Niall. Gotta love the Irish accent!

Please remember to vote. It only takes two seconds!

Peace and Cheers,

Ali

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