I gaped at the wall in front of me. I didn't even know where to begin. Shit. What the hell was the difference between all the different brands? I bit on my lower lip. I was fucked.
"Are you okay, young man?"
I jumped, turning to an old woman. She was pushing a small cart and smiling kindly at me.
I spluttered for a few seconds. "She wants me to get her tampons," I said in a small voice. "She ditched me!"
The old woman laughed. "I did the same thing to my husband when we got married nearly 50 years ago."
"Gross. We're not married," I said. "Why are there so many different brands?" I groaned. "Why can't she just be happy with pads?"
The old woman laughed again. "You think it's easier than tampons?"
She pointed further down the aisle and I groaned, tossing my head back.
"Why are women so picky!?"
She giggled. "What's her waist size?"
I frowned. "I don't know!"
She sighed but still looked amused. "If you had to guess." I moaned and held my hands out so they were about half a foot away. "And her hips?"
"Fuck," I grumbled and did a little wider.
"You want to get her medium then," the old woman said.
"But what kind?" I said, gesturing at the wall. "There are a million brands!"
"Hmm.... What does she do for a living?"
"Make my life hell," I spat. "She works with horses."
"Get her Always then," she said, pointing to a green and pink box. "I used to work with horses, too, and they always did well with stopping the flow from escaping."
"Gross," I said and turned red when she started laughing some more. "Could you not?"
"You're still down here?"
I turned to see Willow standing there with her cart full of things.
"You ditched me!" I yelled indignantly.
She looked over my shoulder and laughed. "Thanks for helping him out, Mrs. Timothy."
"You're welcome dear," she said with a giggle. "Poor boy looked like a deer in the headlights."
"Just go pay for the groceries," I snapped, painfully aware of how red my face was. "What?" I demanded when she didn't move.
She arched a brow. "I can't pay for the tampons with them still in your hands."
"Fuck," I moaned and threw them into the cart.
Smirking, she went to the closest line.
"She really is a good girl," the woman said suddenly and I looked at her. Her face was serious. "She just misses her mom."
"Cancer, right?" I asked and she nodded. "Well, thanks for helping me I guess."
"You're welcome. And, if it makes a difference, I'm on yours and Willow's side."
I frowned and watched her walk away. She met up with a man at the pharmacy and kissed him on the lips. He smiled down at her, leaning on a cane and hugged her. I shook myself and went to the checkout lane where Willow was unloading the cart. She sighed as she lifted the beer cans with difficulty.
"You're so helpful," she grunted.
"Anything to make your life easier," I said, tossing down a pack of gum.
When we got back to her house, she began to unload. I looked at the case of beer cans and thought back to the old couple, showing their love for all to see outside the pharmacy. I frowned and glared at the case. Why had they made such an impression? Because they had been married for so long and still in so much love?
"Are you having a stare down with the beer?" Willow asked, staring at me.
I hadn't even realized she was standing there.
"No," I snapped and picked the case up.
Shit it was heavy. I carried it in and put it on the kitchen floor. Aaron was laughing at me.
"She made you get the tampons?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, wrinkling my nose in disgust. "Luckily this old lady came and helped me out."
"Yeah, Mrs. Timothy has always been the kind to help out a person in need."
"Would you open the fucking door!?" Willow shouted from the garage and we both cringed.
I ran to open it and she pushed past me with her hands full of the paper bags. I cringed again as she slammed them on the counter. Making sure that was the last of the groceries, I closed the garage door and yawned. It was after 6 and I started to go upstairs.
"Where do you think you're going?" Willow snapped.
I glared at her. "Who are you? My mother?"
"You're helping me with dinner," she said.
"I'm not hungry," I said loudly over my growling stomach.
"Get your ass in here and start seasoning the meat."
I groaned but did as she said, snatching the packet of ground beef from her and looked around.
"It would help if you told me where the seasonings are," I snapped.
She pointed to a cabinet by the fridge, starting to chop up an onion. I dug through and found salt and pepper.
"That's it?" she asked, looking at it doubtfully.
"Just focus on your damn onion before you cut yourself," I said then smirked. "Actually, that might be entertaining."
She rolled her eyes and I went to the fridge. I looked around until I found some Worcestershire sauce. I grabbed it and didn't bother measuring it out.
"Ready for the onion?" she asked and I waited for the bitchy comment.
It never came. Instead, she just waited patiently. It was obvious she took cooking seriously.
"Yeah, I'm ready," I said and she slid it off the cutting board. She sniffled. "Aw, don't cry Little Willow. They're just onions."
"Shut up," she said and went to the sink, wiping her face on the sleeve of her arm.
She washed her hands and I crafted the hamburgers into perfect circles. I set them carefully on the provided plate and turned with the mixing bowl. Willow was leaning against the counter, watching me with a curious expression.
"What?" I asked, pushing by her to get to the sink.
"I thought you hated hamburgers but you look like you just had the time of your life."
"I never said I hated them. And I like to cook, thank you very much. I just don't get to do it very often."
"Why not?" she asked, picking up the plate and going out back where her father had gotten the grill ready.
I frowned, sitting on the patio set. "Polly. She insisted on making my meals for me. I think it was just an excuse to get away from my parents, though."
"Have you heard from Polly?"
"No," I sighed. "I was hoping she'd be by."
"It's only been one day."
"It feels like longer," I said, looking at their backyard.
They had a large pool and hot tub. Perhaps they'd let me go swimming. It would be summer soon and, after today, a cool dip in the pool would be like heaven.
"Why don't you call her?"
"Cell phone's gone," I muttered.
She rolled her eyes. "I have a phone, retard."
"Shut up. I'll call her tomorrow, I guess," I sighed. "Jesus, I'm exhausted."
"Welcome to the ranch, Nathaniel Banker."