I’ve been itching to post something but couldn’t think of what to do until I read https://lifesfinewhine.com/ short story and remembered about a short story I wrote a few years ago. Thanks, hun!
The clouds above the junior college rolled lazily toward the west. A storm had passed just yesterday evening but pieces of it still lingered in the breeze. A girl, tall and thin with hazel eyes and dirty blonde, mid-spine length, hair was rushing to one of the four buildings on campus. Her blue and black striped sweater protected her from what her matching shorts couldn’t: the fiery sun. It was early March but, in the south, that just meant that spring had already greeted everyone with warmer air and greener grass.
The door to the girl’s destination was a bit heavy and sported an electronic keypad lock that was only ever initiated past 5 p.m. She grabbed the metal door handle and gave it a short tug before stepping inside. Just as the door was starting to close, a boy slipped his hand around the handle and gave it an extra identical tug. He was a muscular boy of about 6’3 and wore his brown hair in a modern style, with just a few inches extra, brushed back. He had brown eyes and a dash of freckles across his tan face. He wore a black t-shirt with the words “Dribble 4 Ur Life” in red print on his chest. He ran a hand through his hair, trying to right what the wind had wronged and sighed. His grey sweatpants swished as he made his way to the vending machine just a few feet away.
Both of them paused, slightly unsure of who would use the machine first. They’d gotten there mere seconds apart.
“I don’t know what I want, you can go first,” the girl offered, pulling out a teal colored wallet from her backpack.
“Well, I guess we’re in the same boat, then,” the boy smirked as he produced a crumpled mess of dollar bills from his pocket.
“What’cha thinking about getting,” the girl asked, a note of southern in her voice.
The boy mulled it over and finally shrugged. He had no idea. Half the time, he never did. He would just walk up to the vending machine, shove some cash in, and press whatever number he saw first. However, he felt nervous to do that, this go around. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt like now was a good time to actually decide on what snack he’d like to consume today.
The girl nodded slowly, as if his uncertainty were somehow useful information. She noted his curious glance at her, asking her what she wanted without even having to open his mouth.
“Chips and chocolate… I think.”
“Wow, 2 snacks. Someone’s hungry,” he chuckled.
The girl playfully rolled her eyes before responding, “The chips are for the hunger, the chocolate is for the craving.” She looked to the row of chocolate bars and rested a manicured hand under her chin.
“Alright then, what type of chips are you hungry for and what chocolate are you craving,” the boy asked, noting how none of her nails were a matching color. It was obvious to him that she wasn’t big on making one specific decision either.
“Something with vinegar in it… Dill Pickle? No, that doesn’t sound right… Ah, Salt & Vinegar! Annd, something creamy for the chocolate.” The girl drew out her ‘and’ as she scanned the meager options of chocolate bars for ‘something creamy.’
“For creamy,” the boy started, stepping close to her,” my go-to is Reece’s Cups.”
He glanced down toward her hazel eyes, but couldn’t quite meet them, regardless of being at least 5 inches taller than her. He smiled, suddenly shy, and she smiled back, the top row of her teeth showing and two small dimples creating little pits in her cheeks. Another second of silence passed before the girl stepped forward and made her two purchases. She dropped in $2 and held her snack booty against her chest before stepping to the side and nudging her head from the boy to the machine.
“You’re turn,” she said, an extra ounce of chipper in her voice.
“Alright, then. I guess it’s your turn to help me.”
She nodded and smiled, mentally noting that she couldn’t stop doing that.
“What’s your poison of choice for today,” she joked, thinking of all the bartenders smacking their faces and shaking their heads at her in shame for such a lame joke.
“I mean if they sold alcohol I’d have more of an idea of what I want, but since they doon’t… I’ll go with something hot. Barbecue Chips maybe,” he said, copying her long draw in his ‘don’t.’
He noted a light blush on her face but said nothing of it.
“And for a drink,” the girl asked.
The boy said it without thinking. Gatorade was always his go-to for hydration.
He pushed a crumpled dollar bill into the slot and sighed as it popped back out. He snatched it up and smoothed it out before retrying. This time, it went in and he hurriedly pressed the button for Gatorade before the machine changed its’ mind and spit his money back out.
A strange sound occurred. Instead of the usual few clunks and voila, a Gatorade, there were twice as many sounds. The two of them swapped glances before the boy leaned forward and pushed the panel back. He let out a large exhale, meant to be a laugh, and took out two Gatorades.
“Sweet! Two for one deal,” he joked, staring at the blue liquid dancing around in both bottles.
“Yay for machine malfunctions,” the girl cried, throwing her arms up until she almost dropped her snacks.
“Hm. Here, then. I don’t need two,” the boy said as he handed her one of his bottles.
She slowly took it and smiled wide.
Without asking each other where each of them was going, the two made their way to the fourth floor of the building and sat down at a wooden bench just comfortable enough for a quick chat and a bite to eat. And that’s exactly what occurred. The two talked, jumping from topic to topic in a matter of fifteen minutes.
It went without having to be said, there was a connection between the two of them. Something that couldn’t be explained and something that didn’t need to be. Soon, they were sitting closer to one another, their shoulders grazing as they talked and their voices low, as if they were sharing secrets. Their breathes mingled and for a second, their eyes met and the same goal appeared in their minds. It didn’t need to be said, exactly. Regardless, the girl spoke quickly, determined to get to that goal.
“I’ve never kissed a stranger before, but I guess I’ll try anything once.”
The boy countered jokingly, “What could happen? We start dating?”
And then without anymore hesitation, they both tilted their heads and lightly touched their lips for a brief moment. They both could feel a light-headed euphoria pass between them, and then their lips parted.
The boy looked into her eyes and whispered, “My name’s Charlie, by the way.”
The girl smiled, her top rows of teeth and dimples showing again. “Mine’s Sam.”