Chapter TwoMature

"Amelia? Hey, I'm stopping. We're gonna get some food." Max gently shook me awake.

    I grumbled and my eyes fluttered open. He looked tired. I glanced around and it seemed like we must be in a truck stop. There were bright lights everywhere. Eighteen-wheeler trucks were parked in most of the spaces and there was a small café nearby.

    "Where are we?" I asked, yawning and stretching.

   "Near the border of Pennsylvania.  I figured you might be hungry, you haven't eaten since before noon today. By the way your stomach has sounded, even longer than that," He chuckled.

    "What time is it, anyway?"

  "Near ten. You fell asleep pretty quick. I guessed you hadn't slept much in a while."

    I nodded in agreement, "Not really, since Adam died, I can't sleep at night."

    "I can imagine. Bet you haven't been able to eat much, either."

    I shook my head, "No, I guess I've been way too depressed to eat most times. And, when I am able to eat, I can't keep much down."

    He nodded his understanding, "So, are you hungry now?"

    My stomach growled loudly, as if to answer for me, I blushed, "Yes... I could eat an elephant right about now..."

    "Let's go, then. I don't think they sell elephants here, but their food isn't half bad."

    I got out of the car and stretched. I hadn't moved much since I had gotten into the car, and my muscles felt a little cramped. Then I walked around the front of the car, towards Max. My legs wobbled, and I fell. He saved me from smashing my face on the pavement, by throwing his arm out and catching me.

    "Don't drink so much, you're still underage, remember," he joked, setting me back on my feet and offering me his arm.

    I wrapped my arm through his and smiled. He had a corny sense of humor but it was cute coming from him. It Kind of reminded me of Adam, made me feel safe again, like Adam used to. I felt as if someone gave a damn whether I lived or died. Like maybe I could come to see him as family. I don't know why I felt this way, I'd known this man for less than twenty-four hours!

    He held the door open for me and we walked inside. I expected the small café to be kind of gross and dingy. I expected the waitresses to be old women. I expected it to be nothing like it was. Not to say this was some fancy restaurant. The tables were clean and the floor was shiny. There were many people, mostly truck drivers, in here. Many of them seemed to be regulars, as they called to the waitresses by their names and the waitresses seemed to know the names of most customers.

    One waitress came over to us, smiling, and said, "Table for two?

    "Yeah, do you think we can get a booth?" Max said, pleasantly, flashing her his winning smile.

    "Of course!" she glowed, blushing pink, "Right this way...."

    The booth she brought us to was one in a dimly lit corner. It was nice. Not in the center of the crowd; I still wasn't comfortable being out in public. Didn't want people to stare at me or ask questions. I didn't want to feel the pain that came with talking to people. Somehow, the pain backed off a little while I was with Max.

    "Can I get you guys anything to drink?" the waitress asked, staring at Max.

    "I'll take a coke," Max said.

    She glanced at me and said, "And how about you?"

    "Same," I said and made an attempt at a smile.

    She nodded and walked away, swinging her hips in an exaggerated manner. Her black pants and powder blue shirt clung to her perfectly shaped body. Many guys in the café turned to stare as she walked by. Max was even staring. This gave me a slight twinge of something like jealousy. Not the kind of jealousy you might think. I was feeling jealous in a way I'd have felt if Adam had been looking at a girl with lust in his eyes. Not real jealousy, more like a feeling of protectiveness.

    He seemed to notice me watching him stare and blushed, turning back to me, "So, see anything you like?"


  "On the menu?"

   "Oh! I don't know.... I haven't eaten in a while, so I'll have whatever you're having."

    He rolled his eyes a little, "Typical girl. Won't tell me what you wanna eat."

    I sighed and said, "Yeah, I guess. Just not sure what's good. Or what I can hold down.”

    He laughed a little, "Every thing's pretty good here. If you can't hold it down, I'll get you some soup. Have anything you want."

    "Yeah, thanks, but I think I'll still stick with whatever you have."

    "Fine, have it your way," he smirked.

    At this point, the waitress came back with our drinks, "You guys 'bout ready to order?"

    "Yeah, we'll each have cheeseburgers with fries," he looked at me, checking if I wanted to change my mind. I didn't; at this point, the thought of a cheeseburger made my mouth water.

    "Will that be all for now?" she asked, keeping her eyes locked on Max, again.

    "Yep, I'm pretty sure we're good, for now."

    She nodded, smiled and walked off. Her hips looked as if they might hit some one's table and knock things down, if she swung them much more.

     I was getting irritated. I shouldn't be, but I was. He was sitting here, with me. He was staring at some other girl, just because she was sexy. Suddenly it hit me how absolutely ridiculous I was being.

            Max was a free man. I had no claim on him; he was free to stare at (and drool over) any girl he wanted to. I had to hold back the giggle that was bubbling up inside me at my own stupidity.

    Max noticed my struggle with laughter, smiled, and asked, "What's so funny?"

    "Nothing," I quickly tried to put on a straight face, but it didn't work. I giggled a little.

    "C'mon, I haven't seen you look so happy; tell me what's on your mind. I wanna have an idea of how to keep that smile on your face."

    "Umm... well, it's just kinda funny how every guy in here practically drools over our waitress." I blushed a little.

    His face turned bright red, "Oh... Umm..... Yeah, I guess...."

    I giggled, "Yeah, It's just funny to watch all you guys drool over a woman just because of her body."

    He rolled his eyes, still blushing, "Like you've never wanted to drool over some guys body?"

    "Yeah, but the difference is, I'm much more subtle about it."

    We both started laughing at the conversation. It felt good to laugh like this; it dulled the pain I constantly felt. It was kind of like a painkiller... Would I become addicted? Would I crumble when this guy who was barely more than a stranger left? I seriously hoped not. That would mean I had some kind of... Knight in Shining Armor syndrome, wouldn't it?

    We laughed until our food arrived. Then Max stared at the waitress then averted his eyes,

 "Thanks," we both said. I restrained another giggle, as his face turned deep red once more. The waitress sauntered away, looking a little disappointed at Max's reaction. Meanwhile, my mouth started watering. I hadn't realized how hungry I really was, until the food was set in front of me.

             My stomach growled loudly, erasing Max's blush with a brilliant smile and a laugh, "Guess you really are hungry."

    "Yeah, I guess." I giggled, picking up a fry and taking a bite. The flavor was magnificent.

 Probably nothing more than your average truck stop French fry, but to my famished stomach, it was amazing.

     Max took a bite of his burger and chuckled.

    "What?" I asked, knowing he was laughing at me.

    "You guess you're hungry, but that face tells me you're starving and right about now, that's the best thing you've ever tasted."

    I swallowed a large bite of my own burger and said, "Yeah, I guess I was hungrier than I thought."

    By the time we had finished eating, I was so full, I thought I'd burst. Max had all but forced me to drink three sodas and eat a rather large piece of cake for dessert. He claimed he just liked to see a girl who wasn't shy about eating. I'm pretty sure he was under the impression I had gone hungry longer than I let on.

    We walked back out to the car and I wrapped my arm through his once more. I was oddly happy now; it was almost like I was walking on a cloud. Maybe it was all of the calories and sugar I had just ingested. Maybe it was something entirely different.

The End

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