Friday, October 23, 2015

A little hidden gem


Ya'll I was going through old files and I found this lovely gem below, from when I first started PS Girl and was contemplating turning her 5-word story into a book. Things turned out a tad different, but thought you might enjoy what I had written last year.



I swear, one more mention of pumpkin spice anything and I will lose my mind.
         I tap my keyboard and stare at my co-worker Jane as she swirls her Starbucks cup. She's more in love with pumpkin than with her husband I think. I hate this time of year.Leaves! Sweaters! Fires! Snuggling! Perfect for cute girls who have some hottie to snuggle with, and who can wear leggings with boots and have it not look like they need surgical tools to extract their flesh from them later. I look down at my cotton pants (with a hint of spandex, thank God) and sigh. Even if I liked pumpkin, how many calories are in those things? Probably just as many as my hot chocolate splurge (made with real milk and probably what amounts to a week's pay in Ghiradelli). Heaven help me, I need a life.
         I jump at my name and nearly knock over my (still full) water bottle. Dean stands in my cubicle doorway, and I'm sure I have a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. Because of course my boss catches me daydreaming and not working. I plaster a smile on my face. "Yes?"
         Dean ambles over and leans against my desk, as if whatever he has to say is not insignificant but not urgent either. Figuring out Dean is like navigating a corn maze; seemingly simple, but harder than one would think. On one hand, he's Mr. Boss. Has it all together. Good at his job. On the other hand: his wardrobe. I glimpse now at his checkerboard Vans and wonder if they're against company dress code. He looks like a college kid, and not like he's thirty.
         "Working hard?" he asks me.
         "Or hardly working," I quip.
         He smiles at me. "You got any plans for this weekend?"
         As if. "Sadly, no."
         He glances at the mile high stack of papers on my desk and then back at me. "You want some?" Before I can even begin to wonder how to respond he speaks again. "I just poured over the company manual and interestingly enough, me taking you out doesn't violate anything." His brown eyes linger on my face and that is the only thing keeping me from peeing my pants. "Well," he says. "What do you say?"
Years of being the geek in middle and high school have made me cynical about any male interest, and instantly, distrusting Kacey roars to the surface. I study Dean’s face, nothing there but seeming honesty and a smile. I swallow down the rising nausea in my throat. “What did you have in mind?”
“Let’s start standard: dinner and a movie. I’ll pick you up at six.” He stands, as if he’s just confirmed that my weekly reports have been turned in. “Text me your address.”
Before I can nod he turns and leaves.
Did that really just happen? Dean Marsden just asked me out? For tonight? I swivel back to my keyboard, staring mindlessly at it while my heart tap taps out a too excited pace. My dead Nana could have shown up at my doorway and it would have surprised me less. Good gosh. I blink and stare at my computer. Get yourself together, Kacey. Dean could be watching. I tap out a few keystrokes, finishing the email I was starting before he stopped by. 
Six o'clock. I normally leave right at five. Then it takes twenty minutes to get home. What should I wear? Most girls would probably have their skinny jeans all laid out in a row. I don’t understand skinny jeans. As if jeans aren’t constricting enough, who would want to make them even tighter. I still wear bootcut. My mom swears that they’re classic and never go out of style. They’ll work, right? And what else? Should I curl my hair? I twirl a brown strand around my finger. Plain. Doesn’t hold curl. I wear it straight. Well, so what? Dean’s seen me every day for fourteen months. He knows what I look like.
And that’s just about all he knows.
I reach for the invoice on top of my stack, keying in account numbers almost without thinking. At this point, I nearly have all 200 of our company memorized. Luckily so, because my brain is instead thinking about Dean’s checkered Van’s. He wears a pair nearly every day. Loves them. Wears bright colored button downs that do not violate dress code. Shaves. Combs his mousy brown hair. He’s put together. Makes a good living as executive vp, here (I had to fill in for Jane when she had her baby and wrote his paycheck. Definitely makes a decent living.) He’s thirty. Single. Graduated from Alabama. Which could be a problem for our kids because I’m an Auburn girl.
Our kids. Oh Lord, Kacey, get a dad gum grip.
I fly through the invoices, piling them up neatly on the other side of my computer. My hand bumps against my water bottle, so (guiltily) I open it and take a swig. The email notification on my desktop pops up. I click through. An email. From Dean.
Did you get that third quarter report done? I need to give numbers to Graham.
Crap, I forgot. I glance at the purple sticky note on my desk. “Qtr Report” stares up at me. I know I’m losing it if I’ve abandoned my list. I shove the water bottle aside, and, fingers flying, generate the report and send it to print. The first page spits out from the printer as I rise from my chair. Grabbing it, I knock my water bottle, a deluge of liquid rushing toward my keyboard.
“Oh!” I shove the keyboard aside and use the first thing I can think of to stop the water. My leg. Water seeps into my pants. Eyeing the tissue box I keep on the far side of my desk I keep my knee in place and shove my other leg out, hooking the tissue box with my toe. I give a slight moment’s contemplation to how I must look. If only Dean could see me now.
I smirk. Then again, maybe he’d like the sight of his date spread eagle across her desk and half wet. Poor man. This is about as kinky as I could possibly get.
One jerk of my (underworked) leg muscle and the tissues fly across the desk. They are hardly what I need to sop up half a bottle of water, but they’ll suffice. Most of the liquid it seems is now absorbed into my cotton pants. Once my desk is halfway dry, I print another copy of the report and toss the water logged copy in my recycling bin.
I run my hands through my hair, smoothing it back. Gathering my dignity, I grab the report and head to Dean’s office down the hall. His door is open, so I knock on the doorway.
He looks up from his computer. “Hey”
I walk in, ignoring the slight arch of his eyebrow as he eyes the huge water stain on my leg.
“What happened?” he asks.
“I got in a fight with a water bottle.”
“Those things can be very violent”
“They’re known to jump out at unsuspecting women. I should have known it was coming.” My gosh, I’ve turned into a flirt.
“Did you win?”
“It was a long hard fight, but I prevailed. My karate instructor will be proud.”
Dean’s eyebrows arch. “You take karate?”
“Yoga, but close enough.” I step forward. “Here’s the third quarter report you needed.”
“Oh yeah.” Dean jumps to his feet and takes the papers, flipping through the pages, nodding as he does.
I didn’t even glance at them but they shouldn’t be bad. Sales are steady for us this time of year. We sell rash cream and pain meds for crying out loud. Those things are constant, like the tides. Or the muffin top I sport that no amount of time at the gym can change. Dean keeps his head buried in the report. I take a step back. I should stop by the women’s restroom on my way back to my desk and try to wring some water out of my pants.
“What about that other thing?” Dean asks.
I stop. Other thing? The only thing he needed today was third quarter reports. Did I miss an email from him? “Other thing?”
He pulls his phone out of his pocket, glancing at the screen before looking at me. “I have no unread texts. I really hope my date for tonight isn’t having second thoughts and blowing me off.”
I giggle.
Giggle? Like I’m twelve. Which evidently, I am. I clamp my lips shut, stopping myself. Death to the giggle! I nod my head. “I’ll get right on that.”
Dean smiles. “Good.”
I nod again, because at this point I can’t string together a coherent thought. Turning, I force myself to walk from the room. I swear, I hear my cotton pants chaffing my thighs as I leave.


My phone glares at me, and if it could laugh, it probably would be. Eighteen minutes. Three fourths of my closet is strewn across my bed and my floor. Lacy will have a fit. I glance at her bed pushed against the far wall. She’s more neat freak than I am. I make a mental note to text her before I leave. She’ll be forgiving. I have a date, something that rarely happens, and that never, ever turns out well.
I hold the blue sweater up to my chest and stare in the mirror. Sexy? Alluring? My reflection stares back at me. Nope. Definitely ‘Third grade teacher’. I toss it aside. The bootcut dark jeans are a definite go. They’re flattering. Comfortable. I don’t own a little black dress, and besides, we’re going to dinner and a movie for crying out loud. Should I wear a skirt?
I rummage through my closet for the denim skirt I own. Don’t I own a denim skirt? I may very well be losing my mind and making things up. Ah, there it is. I grab it, tearing it from its hanger and throw it on. I snag a pink cotton shirt as I bunny hop back to the mirror, tugging the skirt over my generous hips. Why do people call them generous hips anyway? My hips do not make donations to the United Way or anything. They are just big. “Baby birthing” my Aunt Kimmie says. Right. Because that’s what every single girl wants to know she has.
The skirt actually doesn’t look half bad I tug the shirt over my head. That will do, though good gosh, Kacey, put a cami underneath it. No use having my boobs fly out at dinner. At least on the first date. I remove the shirt, find a cami, find cute tights to layer under the skirt, and am yanking mismatched socks on my feet when my phone chimes.
Outside your door and knocking. Did you move in the past hour, or have you lost your hearing?
Be right down!
I make sure my shirt it on and covering my goods before bounding down the stairs. Amazing that none of my roommates are home. There are five of us that live here. Thought Lace and I are the only one that share a bedroom. It’s like college, only we all have bills and don’t get long breaks over Christmas anymore.
Continuous knocking comes from the front door. Jokester. I should have known. I reach the front door and barely pull it open. I do a quick assessment of his outfit. Dark jeans. T shirt. Fleece jacket. Vans. Of course. I narrow my brows. “Are you a Mormon?”
Dean raises an eyebrow. “I’m from Troop 405 ma’am. Would you like to buy some cookies?”
He flashes a smile. I’ve never felt attraction for Dean before. Not that he isn’t cute. He’s a decent looking guy. But two minutes of banter on my front porch and I have a sudden urge to rip his clothes off. I open the door, more to let the cold air calm down my lust than anything else. “Come in.”
Dean steps inside and glances around. “You live here alone?”
“Oh gosh no. There are five of us.”
“Cheap rent.” And it’s not an apartment. I glance around. There’s something endearing about living in a house, even if you do share it with nearly half a dozen people. I wonder if I should give him a tour of the house. Does he expect that? When I look at him he’s staring at my feet.
“Nice socks,” he says.
I glance down. Purple stripes on one foot. Penguins on another. Dear heavens. Then again, Dean wears Vans. Tonight's are black and neon green. I wiggle my toes. “Shh...the penguins are very sensitive.” I move past him, grabbing my boots and shoving my feet into them. I snag my coat from the hook by the door. It’s normal for October here, and not too cold. But am half amphibian and am cold everywhere, so figure I better be prepared. I turn back to Dean. “Should we go?”
Dean’s car is like him. Older than you would first think.

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