Communication is key.
Shit, what on earth have I done?
I held up a line, get eyeballed by a rather gorgeous specimen then find out moments later, he's pretty much been crushing on me for a month. As predictable as it sounds, it really isn't. Sometimes, people win the lottery. It happens, being able to find a person who you gel with, you just fit together like a hand in a glove.
Could there be something with Mark? I have no idea. But he makes my heart pulsate. Is it love at first sight? Lust maybe. I supposed I better jot down these thoughts and feelings, desires, pleasures but currently, I'm shaking with adrenaline and excitement. I mean, there's someone out there for me. It could be Mark.
His text stared at me. I haven't responded to it yet because, like I said before, I'm excited and adrenaline is flowing through me at a stupidly insane rate that I can't keep up.
The phone vibrates, notification alerts me that its Mark. "Sorry, Peyton. With an E. You must get Napoleon Dynamite references all the time."
"Only when I tell people I'm Pedro :P," I respond back.
"Oh, so am I special?" my phone pinged.
"Better be writing an essay about that time you met me, then!"
I could just hear that deep chuckle of his rumbling through my head. Oh, that chuckle. You could hear him before you saw him. It was the type of chuckle that was pleasurable for the ears, like you wanted to crack dad jokes just to hear them laugh. A manly chuckle.
The cake was soggy and my coffee was cold. Seems like my current self. Before, the lagging heat of the afternoon sun had transferred the café into a sauna, a boring stagnant afternoon. Then testosterone was added to the concoction and it was all on like Donkey Kong. The fun has finished and the place seemed boring.
I scan through Spotify. I need a pick-me-up. “Jet Lag” by Simple Plan seems fitting. Jet lag’s about missing your other half, who is on the other side of the world. Yet, Mark’s only up the road.
Jeez, what am I even doing? Peyton, you two haven’t even had a proper conversation. You don’t even know what his favourite food is.
I try to distract myself, eat the remainder of the cake, drink the coffee. Time to move on. I need to go home.
I had just left the cafe. The sun was still pumping out the last of her golden rays, a small chill was noticeable as the day started winding down. I headed toward home when I heard someone call out my name. Peyton. With an E. Only one person cheekier enough to say that. I turned around and looked out over towards the courthouse. Mark. He had his briefcase, a jacket and a bag. I walked over towards him.
"Peyton!" He sounded excited.
"Mark," I said, the nerves coming back. He makes me nervous. He's just beautiful. "Finished work?"
"Yeah," he said, walking down the steps. "Such a badass world in there."
"Then you join this bad ass world out here," I joked.
That square jawline makes me quiver. I can see more stubble. I'm feeling a little too heated under the collar. And he's relatively tall, definitely over the six-foot threshold.
"You, okay?" he joked. "Looks like you're heating up."
"Well yeah," I said. "Not like I'm in a presence of someone hot right now."
Did I just say that? Look what a little bit of lust does to me, makes me bonkers.
"Oh really?" he said, a little toothy grin appearing. "The sun is out here too."
"I'm talking you, silly!"
I found myself following him across the road to a carpark which I think is where he's parked.
"What's your plans for tonight?" he asked, out of curiosity.
Oh no, is he asking me out on a date? A screw? Nerves are revving up again.
He unlocked his car and the lights flashed twice. Ford Ranger. Not a lawyer-ish vehicle.
"I'm not your typical lawyer," he said, reading my face.
Mud stains on the doors. A manly man.
"So?" he hinted again. He read my blank face again. "I mean, cool if you don't wanna see my pet llama."
No reaction from me. I see where this is going. More Napoleon jokes.
"...Her name's Tina." A toothy smile followed.
Peyt's, stop being a moron and say yes. He could be just making conversation.
"Haha," I laugh sarcastically. "Good joke! To answer your question, I'm not doing anything and really? You call downstairs, Tina?"
"No!" he cringed. He ushered me into the truck. "Get inside, you dork."
I opened the door to a clean truck. That's impressive, mind you, not all mud-throwing lads are messy. I spied a coffee cup from Z, sitting in the cup holder, so thankfully he drinks coffee, other than that, approval done.
"Surveying my cleanliness?" he asked, jokingly. "Does it get the five-star approval?"
I nodded. "Yes, now I just have to see how good you kiss."
"Maybe later," he gulped.
That gulping he does when he's in foreign waters, is seriously hot!
"What do you like to eat?"
He looked at me through narrowed eyes. "Get your head out of the gutter!"
"Okay. Well, I'm not fussed. I'm not a high maintenance homo so you'll save money there. Even takeaways are good for me."
"Fish and chips on the beach then," he said. He started the engine, played around with the heater, organized some music, and reversed out of the car park. Some Drax Project came on the radio and I watched Mark tap to the beat. He loosened his tie around his throat, undid the top button and I saw a sprinkle of chest hair breathe a sigh of relief.
Chest hair. I drooled. I keep telling myself to behave but the thought of being with Mark, made more than my mouth drool. Alright brain, hold back on those thoughts, please.
"So, Peyton. With an E, tell me about yourself?"
We were leaving suburbia behind and heading out to the beach. The farmland was a parched brown and the streambeds were exposed. Water trickled here and there but nothing to be 100% amazed about.
"I'm a bit of a writer, love socializing. Ambivert in more ways than one. Sometimes I love company, sometimes I don't. Drink so much coffee, beer and wine here and there, you?"
"Ambivert aye? I think we are all like that," he said, continuing on down past the floodgates.
"And what would you like from a guy? Relationship? Regular fun? A bonk?" Mark sniggered, on the last remark.
"Play it by ear. Eventually, my own man, fight the world together," I said, lamely, looking out the window.
"Fight? Sounds intriguing."
"The world is not what it's cracked up to be," I said.
The car went silent after that comment and I felt a bit dorky. What if he doesn't share my worldviews? Can we still function? Is my little fairytale finishing before it's even begun?
Mark slapped the sun visor down as the sun glare got too unbearable. I followed pursuit.
"Just standard fish n' chips? A drink, as well?" he asked, as he pulled over at the nearest chip shop.
He hopped out of the car and hurried inside, the aromas of oily batter wafting out the door. I could hear the clatter of the fry baskets as they were dropped about. The door slammed shut quickly.
I waited patiently in the truck. It was an awkward-mixed-adrenaline-fueled wait. I was curious about what he was thinking, did I piss him off? Is he a narcissist? This is what my ex did when shit was about to go pear-shaped.
He came back with pack of food and a bottle of Coke. He handed it to me then he jumped into truck.
“You all good?” he asked, a bit of an arrogance in his voice.
“Yeah,” I lied. I think I stated my tone in my response that I wasn’t okay and he picked it up because his arrogance dissipated quickly.
He turned the car on and pushed off from the side of the road, toward out to the beach village. We didn’t talk till we found a spot that was close enough to the beach as possible. We parked up in a car park then got out of the car. I carried the food; he carried the drink. We walked down on the dry sand, found some driftwood and sat down next to it. Once we had settled in for some food, I took the liberty to question what was going on.
“I feel a little sketchy,” he responded.
I looked at him blankly.
“I mean, the people I have met haven’t been this deep,” he said, generalising. He stopped eating his chip. “By deep, I mean, have an overwhelming world view.”
“Am I overwhelming?” I asked, a little taken back.
“You’re real,” he gulped.
There it is, again - that gulping he does.
“The guys I have met have been about money and fast cars, their minds have been so narrow-minded. I mean, there’s some small-minded people I have to deal with on a daily basis so if I was to date the people I work for, that’s not healthy for me.”
“I been labelled a tinfoil hat, multiple times,” I said, eating another chip.
He laughed at that comment.
“So, I haven’t done anything wrong?” I asked. “I just feel like when I made those two comments in the car, before the shop, you got all sour on me and I was thinking, this is his opportunity to throw me in the river.”
He laughed again. “No, you idiot. I was just a bit taken back. I just kind of woke up and realised, is Peyton different?”
Am I different? Have I reached that stage now that I am leaving the factory and headed for the shelves again?
Mark ushered me to come closer where he put his arm around my shoulder and gave me half a hug. It felt nice to be in a warm embrace again where I felt wanted and not just there for a trophy, like I was with my ex .
“I’m sorry, Peyton,” he whispered in my ear. “I should have just pulled over on the side of the road and said what I just said. But I'm scared.”
“Me too,” I said, instantly.
“Then we be scared together,” he smiled.