Rules of a Rebel and a Shy Girl(6)

By: Jessica Sorensen



Uneasiness crushes my chest, and I retrieve my phone from the pocket of my shorts to send her yet another message. Then I get back into the car and send Luna, Wynter, and Ari, three of my best friends, a pleading text that I’m stuck out on the highway and need help.

While I wait for them to respond, I lock the doors and flip on my emergency lights, crossing my fingers no one stops. That might sound crazy, but the last time my car broke down, a guy stopped and offered me twenty bucks if I sucked him off in the backseat. He was forty-something with a godawful comb-over, and he was sporting a shiny wedding ring. So, not only was he a complete creeper, but a cheating bastard, just like a lot of the guys my mom dates.

When I told him just that, he looked as if he wanted to slap me. Thank God Wynter showed up, or who knows what would’ve happened?

I shiver at the thought, nausea winding in the pit of my stomach. The ill feeling expands as my mind wanders to my job and how many creepers I’ve met there over the last couple of months. It’s my own damn fault. I chose to work at the shithole when I knew the shitty rep the place has. I chose to put myself in that situation in order to pay mine and my mom’s bills and still afford to attend school, which will hopefully help me get ahead in life instead of continuously being behind like I’ve been for my entire childhood.

I chose, I chose, I chose my luck.

I lower my head to the steering wheel. “God, what I wouldn’t give to have just one single moment when it doesn’t feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Is that too much to ask? To just have one lucky day when my cards align?”

I don’t even know who I’m talking to, but they definitely answer with a big fat no as my phone buzzes with messages from both Luna and Wynter.

Wynter: I’m actually at the airport, getting ready to head to New York to see my grandma, so I can’t :( You should try Luna, though. I think she’s in Ridgefield for the week.

I soon discover that Wynter is wrong about Luna as I open the other message I received.

Luna: Oh, my gosh! That sucks! I wish I could come get you, but Grey and I are already on the road to Virginia. We’re about three hours out, but we can totally turn around and drive back if you need us to.

Despite the panic strangling the air from my lungs, I can’t help smiling. Luna’s one of the nicest people I know, and if I told her to turn around, she would. But I’m not about to make her bail out on her road trip with her boyfriend so she can come pick up my pathetic ass.

I text back and tell her it’s okay. Then I message Wynter to have fun in New York with a tiny flame of jealousy burning in my chest.

It’s Thanksgiving break. I should be going on trips to spend the holiday with family or at least doing something other than being stuck on the side of the road after getting off from a job that makes me feel disgusting inside.

I shut my eyes and take a few measured breaths, but the memory of a few hours ago flashes through my mind and my chest constricts.

Music booming, lights flashing, and the air reeks of alcohol and dirty money.

As I walk by the bar, a man slips a twenty in my back pocket. “Let me buy you a drink, gorgeous,” he says with a toothy grin, his hand resting on my hip.

I fight back the urge to smash my fist in his face for putting his hand on me and, instead, smile sweetly. “Sorry, but I can’t drink on the job.”

His other hand finds my waist, and he drags me toward the stool he’s sitting on. He smells like stale peanuts, and his bald head reflects the neon ceiling lights.

“How about this, then.” He leans in, dipping his lips toward my ear. “When you get off your shift, you meet me out back.” His hands wander toward my ass. “I promise I’ll make it worth your while.”

I lift my hand instinctively to slap him across his face, but Gus, the manager, shoots me a warning look from behind the bar. Correcting myself, I plaster on the fake smile that’s starting to feel more real with each passing day.

My phone buzzes in my hand, startling the bejesus out of me. My fingers tremble as I swipe open the message, hoping upon hope it’s from Ari, replying that yes, he’ll come pick me up. But Luna’s name pops up across the screen again.

Luna: I texted Beck and he said he stayed home instead of going with his family to Vail, so he’ll come get you. Just let him know where you are. And make sure to text me when you get home, so I know you made it back safely :)

Her text is sweet, but the mention of Beck makes my stomach ravel into knots. Beck is still one of my best friends in the entire universe, maybe more than even Wynter, Luna, and Ari combined. But even though I tell him almost everything, I’ve never mentioned and never plan on mentioning my new job. And if he sees me in my uniform, reeking of sweat, beer, and disgustingness, he’ll know something’s up.

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