Vicki dropped me off at my apartment, made promises to call with plans for tommorow. I waited until she had dissapeared around the corner before I climbed into my car. The night was still young. Plus, if Vicki knew I was going out directly after being out with her, she would probably get all weird about it.
On an impulse, I stopped at the Denny’s on Park Street. This place was so awful it could almost be reduced to kitsch. There were a few late night stragglers inside, mostly old people who smelled like stale sticky buns and cigarettes who mulled silently over watery coffee and limp rubbery eggs with too much pepper spilled on top.
I sat at the counter, ordered a hot chocolate and pulled out my book from my bag. Soon, I became so absorbed, I didn’t even notice the guy two seats down, watching me intently. He never bothered me, never said a word, but I knew he was looking at me. I stole a glance, and he looked away quickly, embarassed.
I turned in my seat and glared, "What?" I said.
The guy slid down until he was in the seat beside me.
"I’m sorry," he said, "But for a second, I could’ve sworn that you were Meg White. You know, from the White Stripes?"
"Of course, from the White Stripes," I said, inching away from him.
"No, really, you look just like her," he continued. I turned to face him, I eyed his indie rocker sideburns, Belle & Sebastian tshirt, and his lopsided, embarrassed smile. He was actually kind of cute.
"Is that some kind of lame pickup line or something?" I mumbled, feeling a little annoyed. I wasn’t really in the mood for guys after today.
"No," he said, blushing, "I meant it as a compliment. I think Meg White is a really boss chick."
"Oh," I said, "Me too." We shared a silent moment, smiling down at our shoes.
"Doesn’t this place totally just creep you out?" I said.
"Reminds me of Buffalo ‘66," he said.
"Exactly!" I said, excitedly, "I actually laughed at myself when I ordered a hot chocolate just because I thought of that movie."
"That’s so weird," he said, "I was just watching that movie the other night, and tonight, I had this strange urge to go to Denny’s."
"Wow," I said laughing, "I’m Mara by the way."
"Mara, nice name. I’m Ethan," he said. He didn’t stick out his hand like most people do and that was the first sign that he was going to be alright in my book.
"Ethan," I repeated.
"So, you go to Penthmore University?" He asked.
"Yeah, you?" I asked.
"Yeah," he answered, "Although, I can’t believe I decided to stay here over the summer. But, I didn’t want to quit my job and I couldn’t figure out where to go…"
"Wait a second," I interrupted, "Don’t you work at that record store in the old part of town?"
"Yeah…?" He said.
"I’ve seen you there. I remember you blew up on that idiot guy who asked you if you guys carried any Flava Flav albums. Like you guys actually would or something. That was classic!" I said.
"Wow, you remember that?" He said laughing.
"Yeah, I was like, that guy is so awesome."