"Okay, sure, no problem."  

*** 

After my shift, I went over to Ashley's house. "Hey," I said, as I greeted her with a kiss.  

"What's up?" she asked. 

"Oh nothing much," I said coyly. It was obvious I was hiding something because I was trying to conceal the huge grin on my face.  

"What's under your arm?" she asked. 

"What this? Oh this is nothing. It's just my STAMP manual." 

She grabbed the binder and read the title. "Store Trainee Advanced Management Program. Oh my god, are you training to become a manager?" she said with more enthusiasm than I expected. 

"Yeah, I was promoted today." 

"Congratulations, Trevor. I'm really proud of you." 

"Thanks." 

"We should celebrate."  

"Okay, what do you have in mind?"  

*** 

The entire place was outfitted in ancient Greek décor. In the front of the restaurant was a large statue of what resembled the face of Parmenides on Zeus's body. I couldn't figure out if this was an insult to Zeus's face or Parmenides' body. I figured it was probably both.  

The atmosphere was buzzing, as usual. The place was always busy. It was not so much that the food was good, but the portions were huge, and it was also really cheap. After an hour of waiting, we were just happy to get a table.  

"I feel like I'm on my way, you know? I'm happy Darrell is out of my life and things are finally looking up again." 

"Darrell sounds like a real loser, I'm glad I didn't have to meet him."  

"I'm glad you didn't have to meet him as well. He might have sucked you into his vortex and ruined your life too."  

"It's interesting how you told me how you were thriving without him, then you meet up with him and almost instantly you lose everything, and as soon as you get rid of him, you thrive again - you have a new job, a promotion, more money... and me!" 

"Yeah, some people are just like that, you know? Everything they touch just turns to rubble. Unfortunately for me, I had to find out the hard way." 

"Yes, but it also says a lot about your character and what kind of person you are when you are unhindered." 

"Yeah, he was like a cancer to me, like kryptonite to Clark Kent."  

"But now you're cured." 

*** 

We paid for our bill and discussed what to do next. The night was still young - the sun was about to set and the skies were clear. 

"Let's go down to the beach and watch the sunset," she suggested.  

We walked slowly west down Davie Street, holding hands and taking in the warm summer air. 

"Hey!" a recognizable voice shouted out from across the street. I turned around and sure enough, it was Darrell. He was with his good-for-nothing sister, Carla, and they were eager to approach us. "Where's my money?"  

"What are you talking about?" I said. We were now standing face to face. I let go of Ashley's hand in case Darrell tried to fight me. He was a bit of a loose cannon - a dimwitted thug with a quick temper - always a dangerous combination.  

"What do you mean 'what am I talking about?'" he responded, showing no attempt to conceal his ignorance. 

"Look, Darrell, I don't owe you any money, okay."  

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