“I’ll message you later so you can pick me up, yeah?” the girl asks, swinging her coat around her shoulders as she stands up from the table.
“Yep, have a good shift,” the boy replies. She bends down and they share a quick kiss before she turns to leave.
“Nice meeting you two!” she says, waving cheerfully. The boy’s friends wave and make friendly noises. The boy watches her as she walks away down the street, a desperately helpless smile on his face.
“Look at him, he’s so smitten,” one of the boy’s friends says once the girl is out of earshot. The boy turns back sheepishly.
“I’m surprised though,” the other one says. “She isn’t your typical type, Will. She’s so bubbly compared to some of your last few girlfriends.”
“Yeah, nothing like Jessica. God, all that black eyeliner, the black clothes, the black hats, and I don’t think I ever once saw her smile.”
“Oh c’mon, Jack, I know you liked Jess,” Will says weakly.
“Sure I did, she was cool, but dude, sometimes she was so depressing to be around. Right, Brian?”
“Yeah,” Brian agrees. “I like Penny much more. She’s a nice change of pace for you. You look much happier than you’ve been the last couple months.”
“So you two do like her?” Will asks, relieved.
“Fucking ‘course we do. She seems great. Fucking funny, too,” Jack says. “By the way, can I have the rest of her sandwich and fries?” Jack asks wolfishly. He had been eyeing hungrily it since she got up.
“No, she’ll want it later,” Will says, pulling the plate closer to him unconsciously. “Have some of my fries if you’re still hungry.”
“Sweet, thanks man,” Jack says as he piles the fries onto his own plate.
“How did she end up pulling you out of your shell anyway? We didn’t think you were up for anything yet.”
“What Brian means,” Jack says, his words barely understandable around the food in his mouth, “is we were worried you were going to start writing poetry and spending all your time in coffee shops and –“ the rest of the words get lost as he shoves more fries in his mouth.
“You met her, it’s hard to not just be happy around her. She’s infectious isn’t she?” Will and Jack agree. “I think she could tell when I started that things weren’t exactly sunshine and rainbows for me. I was fine when waiting on customers, but when I was in the back away from them… well, you know.”
“You looked like you were a fucking hot mess from Jess ripping your heart out?” Brian offers.
“The bitch,” Jack adds.
“Yeah, I looked like that. Anyway,” Will continues. Jack and Brian silently notice it is the first time he doesn’t defend Jess against criticism. “I didn’t realize at first, but she was just always making an effort to cheer me up.” Will shrugs. “I don’t know, I can’t imagine I was enjoyable to be around then.”
“You weren’t,” Jack says.
“Thanks,” Will replies sarcastically. “Well, she just kept at it. The first time I finally made a joke you would have thought I saved a puppy she was so happy. It still took a long time for me to realize she liked me.”
“When did it finally click?” Brian asks. Will laughs at the memory, and smile tugs up one corner of his mouth knowing the two of them will enjoy the story.
“So, you know how sometimes someone will do something, something you never realized you were attracted to or found sexy, and it takes you completely by surprise? And all of the sudden you see them totally differently afterward? Like they are almost a whole new person?”
“Surprise boners are the best.” Jack interrupts.
“Real classy,” Brian says, sarcasm thick in his voice.
“What? They are!” Jack says trying to defend himself. He relents to Brian’s look. “Sorry, sorry, go on Will.”
“Well, one night when we’re working together, the restaurant isn’t crazy busy but Amanda called out sick so we’re slammed cause we’re down a person and they already don’t staff us enough for busy nights. We’re running around trying to get all the orders in, deliver drinks, clear and reset tables quickly, everything, call away mains…” Will trails off at their blank stares. Neither of them has worked in a restaurant before. “Whatever, we’re busy. Anyway, I got one of my tables orders wrong. So I bring the burger out to the table and they’re like, ‘Sorry, I ordered the chicken option for the burger.’ So, of course, I go, ‘Oh, sorry about that, we’ll get that fixed straight away,’ blah blah blah. They were really nice about it at least, thankfully, since I was already so stressed out from the busy night.
“So I bring the burger back into the kitchen and shout out that we had a misfire, who wants a burger. Penny was getting more cutlery from the kitchen, yells out ‘Dibs!’, hip checks one of the line cooks out of the way, grabs the burger off the plate, and proceeds to absolutely demolish the burger. I shit you not, it took her like 4 bites in the span of about fifteen seconds to get the whole burger down. It was fucking impressive especially because she is so tiny. And for some reason, I found it unbelievably sexy. I just stood there dumbfounded afterward, jaw hanging open. She just walks past, pats me on the cheek and says ‘Thanks for dinner, I was starving.’
“Benny came over to me as soon as she was out of the kitchen and gave a nudge in the ribs. ‘Aw, look at that, you two finally had your first date.’ The rest of the shift flew by after that. At the end of it she asked me if she could pay back the favor and buy me dinner some time,” Will finishes. He shrugs. “I, of course, said yes.”
“She asked you out! ‘Course she did. I like this girl more and more,” Jack says.
“I do too. You two will be good together,” Brian says.
“Good, now that we’re done talking about that,” Jack says, “I’ve got something I need settled. Dan and I were having an argument yesterday about whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich.”
“A hot dog is NOT a sandwich,” Brian says emphatically.
“But!” Jack counters, “What constitutes a sandwich? It’s got bread, meat, condiments, sometimes other additional toppings. Sounds like a sandwich to me.”
“No, no, no,” Brian says. “The bread is critical, defining part of a sandwich. A hot dog bun cannot count.”
“What about subs, though?” Jack says. “You can’t argue that a sub isn’t a sandwich.” The two continue to debate the finer points of sandwiches for an altogether longer time than is reasonable.
“Will? Care to weigh in?” Jack finally asks him.
Will shrugs. “Could go either way.”
“Ah, you’re no help.”