Saturday, February 26, 2011

You Don't Know Jack

Jack didn’t say anything to me about what happened the other night, except to ask if I was okay. Then, he was really quiet for the rest of the shift, barely spoke to me. Jack and I have been working together for nearly a year under some pretty intense circumstances. He didn't give me shit about my weird "high protein" diet at lunch like he usually does, and he didn't tell me about the latest super-robot he'd beaten on that XBox game he's into, "Enslaved." So, I knew he was upset with me, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why.
I finally gave in and asked Jack what was bugging him. He said that it didn’t matter, and generally kept his lips buttoned. I threatened to buy a badly written torrid romance novel and read the worst parts out loud until he gave in. Finally, he surrendered to my dire threats. I made him laugh a little anyway, so it was hard for him to keep being mad at me.
He said he was just disappointed that I didn’t trust him. I don’t really understand what he meant. We watch out for each other all the time. There was that time when we got called to a gang shooting in the worst part of east Austin, and I trusted him to watch for more shooters while I tended to the kid with the gut wound. I trusted him to cover for me with the boss for being chronically late whenever he could.
He wouldn’t give me any more information, no matter how much I cajoled or threatened, so I had to let it go. But it bothered me. The way he seemed kind of sad, and the distance he kept. Getting the cold shoulder from Jack was far worse torture than purple prose or fighting flame hurling robbers. I’d thought he was going to ask me out on a date, before the craziness with the Flame Guy. I bought a new outfit, even. A gorgeous outfit that I was dying for him to see me in.
It’s an asymmetrical dress with a full sleeve on the left side and off the shoulder on the right. Looks sexy, but covers all my scales, and it’s this deep vivid purple, just like a damson plum, exactly my color.  It brings out the highlights in my hair, which nowadays I can pass off as dye.  I went to 6 different shops looking for something that covered what I needed to cover but still looked good on me. I hit the jackpot with that dress. I got some cute little suede ankle boots to go with it. Can’t wear sandals, of course. I’ve got an extra toe on the inside of each heel, sort of like a thumb on a hand. It’s handy for picking up laundry and such from the floor when I’m barefoot at home, but looks way too freaky for sandals.  I tried on the whole outfit, along with the amethyst pendant that Ma gave me about 30 years ago for my birthday in front of the full length mirror, and I looked good. I looked downright hot if I do say so myself.
No way I was going to let that outfit go to waste. So, when our shift was over, I did it. I asked Jack out. I've never been so nervous in my life. I can’t believe I really did it, but I asked a guy out on a date. Not just any guy, of course. It’s Jack Nguyen, my partner, the closest thing I have to a real friend. As he pointed out, he’s the one guy I've ever trusted.
He looked pretty surprised when I asked him, then kind of suspicious. He actually asked me “Why?” Are guys supposed to ask you “why?” when you ask them out? I mean, I thought it was okay nowadays for a lady to ask out a man. Isn’t that part of what all that bra burning and free love nonsense was about back in the ‘60’s?
I didn’t know what to tell him. “Um, because I like you?” was the best I could come up with. I know, lame, but I didn’t know what else to say. I wonder if I blush purple because if I do, Jack probably got a really good look at it about then.
He got the cutest little half smile on his face, and he said, "That's a really good reason." He said that he was afraid I had asked him out just because I didn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day.
I’ve gotten so used to ignoring that stuff that I didn’t even notice that tomorrow was Valentine’s Day. I just knew it was our day off.  He’s going to think this means something way more than just that I wanted a chance to wear my nice outfit, and I didn’t want him mad at me anymore. He's going to think I want something serious. He might even expect sex, or at least some heavy petting. What the heck am I going to do?  What the heck was I thinking?
Maybe some supervillain will attack the city tomorrow causing mass devastation and I’ll have to cancel. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be that lucky.
D Dragon

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