I had pulled a 16-hour shift and walked home in that storm. I was soaked through and through. Even though the rest of me was shivering, my feet were burning. Eventually, I managed to get the key into the keyhole, but not before ‘today’s damned special’ tore its way through the wet paper bag and splattered onto the ground. I picked up the container and decided to leave the wreckage for the night critters. If I found it there in the morning, I’d have to clean it up, but I was too lazy to do it now. Or maybe the rain would wash it away.
I rid myself of every comeback I had wanted to deliver to the rotten customers with an exhale. They’re shady, sleazy or just crazy, and they crawl out from under their rocks for the night shift. Ah, the privileges of waiting tables at Stew’s. I’ve been working there for four years and I still have no idea who the hell Stew is…maybe one day I’ll bother to ask. Denny owns the place and I find it far more amusing than it probably is that he doesn’t own a Denny’s.
I couldn’t take another second smelling like hamburger and pastrami, so I tore off my clothes and dropped them to the floor. The shower at the end of a shift is my favourite ritual. I let the heat soothe my sore muscles, but my feet were hurting especially bad; I slid myself down and massaged them under the warm water.
Even simple things are difficult on nights like these. I dry myself with a damp towel from the morning and throw on one of Noah’s plaid shirts. No, to hell with Noah; they’re mine now. I throw my wet hair up with a billion year old scrunchie and head into the kitchen to find a billion year old leftover in the fridge. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but week old pizza is the best option and so I decide to grab the freezer-burned tub of ice cream and a cold beer. I don’t have people over, but if someone decides to break in, at least there’s plenty of beer. In fact, that’s pretty much the only thing worth taking…and those plaid shirts.
I take a few spoons of the Chocolate Mousse Royale from Baskins and then I wash it down with a Moosehead because I like to pair things up in a sensible way. Ah, the joys of having no time or food to cook because I work too much for far too little. Peanuts, anyone?
A car door slams and I make my way to the window. It’s a black Caddy but I don’t see anyone. I lock the window and head to the washroom to do a half-assed job brushing my teeth and that’s when I hear the knock on my front door. Probably some drunk knocking on the wrong one. I look out the peephole and there’s no one there. There it is again and I jump back. What the hell is going on? There’s another knock and it’s loud; it sounds as if someone is kicking the door now. I feel my heart pounding, but then I hear “Catarina? Ms. Catarina Vallez-Redmond?” I walk over to the door and open it. Standing there, in front of me, is the smallest man I’ve ever come face to face with. “Ms. Vallez-Redmond? I’m Nico. Jeremy sent me to take you to the airport.” I just kept looking because when you have the kind of week I’ve had your reaction time is pathetic.
“Yah. No. You want the next door over.”
“Oh, excuse me. My apol…” I’m too tired to be polite so I close the door, and I see Nico making his way to Cat’s place.
I don’t know who the hell Jeremy with the Cadillac and ‘the Nico’ is but I’m wondering if he knows Cat had Shirtless Serg, the super’s nephew, over until 5 a.m. and some other guy the night before that. Maybe he doesn’t care and he’s got enough cash to splurge on someone ‘casual’. Actually, it’s not the thing at the forefront of my mind. What I really want to know is why Cat couldn’t be Redmond-Vallez instead. That just sounds so much better. Maybe Catarina Vallez-Redmond is just like her other fake parts. I don’t mind her. She keeps to herself and at least says hello or good morning, unlike the jerk face that was there before her. She’s actually the perfect neighbour…civil but a complete stranger otherwise. Anything I know about her is strictly from observation. Hey, my cable is down all the time so what’s a girl to do to keep herself busy…sit by the window and paint my toes with the only colour I’ve used in the last six years: OPI’s I’m Not Really a Waitress. Got it from Gina when I worked at Sunshine Grill. It was a birthday gift and one day I hope to wake up and it won’t be ironic that I’ve got it on. Wouldn’t that be something?
I plunk myself on the couch and curse Jeremy and his Caddy. Screw Cat…it’s his life I want. I want the Caddy and the mansion that I’ve fabricated in my head…and my very own personal Nico.