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Chapter 4

Pulling her apron off, Veronica punched out on the time clock, and headed to her locker to get her coat and purse. She was so glad to be going home; it was too bad she had to come back at seven tomorrow morning, she really needed to get a new job. Groaning, she focused her attention on the couple in front of her and rolled her eyes. It was the girl who worked the front end, hanging on to who Veronica assumed was her boyfriend. Veronica watched in horror as the girl batted her eyes at the guy before turning her back to him so he could wrap his arms around her waist and walk with her from behind. It made her want to puke, to really vomit. Veronica wasn’t so sure if it was because they actually made her nauseous, or because she wished she was the girl.

All her life she’d been the one outside looking in, the one just off in the shadows on the edge of the crowd waiting for someone to notice her. Not that she minded so much; well she’d taught herself not to mind. It used to really bother her until she realized it wasn’t a good way to for her to live her life. But she always had a list a mile long of things she would and wouldn’t do in relationships; making out and walking slow in front of people was one of them. She sped up and cut in front of them, with a frown on her face. She really didn’t have time for young love. She hurried out of the store, her face buried in her purse, trying to locate her keys.

“Hey Veronica.”

She stumbled, slowly lifting her eyes. It was him.

“All done for today?”

Veronica barely smiled, “Yeah, thank god.”

“Well, have a great rest of the day,” the guy said with a smile.

“Thanks, you too.”

He winked and walked past her into the store. Veronica groaned to herself. Stupid, she was so stupid! Why couldn’t she talk to him? Everything always came out wrong; everything sounded so damn lame. When James had first come to work in her department she hadn’t really paid him much attention. That was until she actually had the chance to work with him. God he smelled so great and he had these amazing green eyes and he was nice, he was genuinely nice. From that point on she’d been hooked. The “crush” started and grew to such proportions that she couldn’t even be in the same room with James without butterflies and that nervous, nauseous feeling. Lately though, it had escalated to such heights that she refrained from talking to him unless it was absolutely necessary. Still, that didn’t mean she couldn’t smile or laugh at his jokes or just say “hi”; no she still did that. What she avoided was lengthy conversations where she might blurt out stupid things that made no sense. It happened often with guys she liked.

James was different though. He listened, he asked questions, and he didn’t walk away while she was talking to him. She was sure he knew what other people she worked with knew, which was secrets were never kept in the deli. Yet, he never acted like he knew HER secret and he never treated her any different, like other guys did if they found out. She would be forever grateful to him for that.

Veronica made her way through the parking lot to her car, unlocking it and getting in. Started the engine, she turned the heater on and let it run while she got out and brushed the snow off. Really she just had to find a way to become more comfortable with James. She had to get him on her level some how. She could just ask him out sometime. She stopped, laughing. Yeah right.

Stuffing the snowbrush in the back seat, she slipped back into her car and headed home.