Ch. 7 Sweat Between the Boobs - SBTB

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Lokela walked out of the backroom and straight into an awkward silence between Zach and Ray. Zach, especially, seemed trapped between Ray at the counter and himself, like between a rocky shore and ugly swells in the ocean.

"Hey, what's up?" he asked his friend. "Everything all right?"

"Sure. Yeah. I was talking to..."

"Ray," she said, supplying him with her name.

"Yeah, I was talking to Ray, but now you are here and I think we should go. We should go somewhere." Zach bobbed his head.

"I'm supposed to stay here," Lokela said. The plan was to go over things in the back room in case Ray had questions. He wasn't on the clock, but in a family business, not every hour of work was paid.

"I can hold the fort. I'm good. If I get stuck on something I can call you." She seemed eager to get rid of him. "What is this, like the fifth day I've been here?"

"Second day," Lokela said.

She laughed it off. "Maybe, but yesterday was a ten hour shift. We covered everything."

"I really need a pizza," Zach said. He shouldered his bag and headed for the door.

"At ten in the morning?" Lokela asked. Zach didn't answer, instead walked out the front and propped the door with his foot. "All right, it's an early lunch. Call me if the slightest thing goes wrong."

Ray was unusually flushed, but she nodded with confidence. "No problem. I got this."

Lokela grabbed his wallet and bag and followed Zach to the parking lot at the zoo so they could go in his car.

"You gonna tell me what's up?" Lokela hiked his thumb over his shoulder at the rental store. "What did she do?"

Zach strapped his seat belt on, face crinkled in confusion.

"She...uh..." He paused. Then started the car. "She gave me her phone number."

"What for?"

Zach squinted into the sunlight and thumped the steering wheel a couple of times, distracted. He pulled out of the space. "To call her, of course. I could call her."

"Are you interested? Interested in Ray?" Lokela couldn't believe it. Well, he could believe it, but had hoped his friend had more discernment. Cute was one thing, but annoying another. Then again, he had only spent a minute or two with her. How could that be enough time to get a girl's number? "I can see the appeal, but trust me, she's a flake. Grates on the nerves."

"Appeal? You see the appeal? You mean, you didn't see her..." Zach cupped his chest one-handed as he drove down the boulevard. "You saw those perky puppies, right? And that hair?"

"The peroxide look? Yeah, I saw it and it's not my thing," Lokela muttered. He wanted to punch his friend for the dumb-ass pantomime of her breasts. Annoying or not, she was a human being.

"Peroxide not your thing? It is mine, on her at least. I could fall for that girl and hard. Shit. I already saw her once, on campus. We were at the bookstore at the same time, but didn't get a chance to talk. Today must be like some fucking fate. We were meant to get together, and shit. Know what I mean?"

"You wanna watch the road?"

"Yeah, sorry. It's just that after I saw her on campus and then she was gone, I was all...what the fuck just happened to me? That chick rocks. And then she was there at your shop, and she had some problem with a file and then she handed me her phone number. I think she's into me—"

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