Our first meeting

"I've got to go, Snow," Emma said, grabbing her bag as her shift came to an end and it was now my turn. "Be careful not to irritate your customers." 

I made a peace sign with my hand in reply, "I can’t promise you that."  She simply laughed at my answer and waved at me as she walked away. ‌

I'm not going to lie, I have a tendency to irritate people here and there, but only because they irritate me. Don't get me wrong: I'm a nice person. I simply follow my guiding principle of 'Treat me right and you'll be fine, but treat me wrong and you'll cry.' 

Today's sales seemed to be quite frequent, as the shop was buzzing with activity. A group of teenagers younger than me was occupying a corner of the establishment.  They'd been there for almost an hour, but no one seemed to be leaving because they were having a good time talking and laughing about something.

My eyes flickered shut as I watched for a customer to show up. I jerked up, opening my eyes wide as I struggled to stay alert. Fighting the urge to sleep had been a splendid battle with myself - an achievement. 

Just the mere thought of getting fired from my job caused my skin to crawl, the feeling of dread was overwhelming that I fought the urge to puke. 

Although it might have been a bit dramatic...everything in my life is dramatic. And slowly, without a warning, I got used to it. A memory soon flashes back in my head. After my father's sudden death, our once colored life had faded into emptiness. The house that was filled with laughter and giggles was taken over by an eerie quietness.

 Everything happened so fast that I couldn't fathom everything- I was lost between reality and fantasy. I couldn't see anything the way I used to before, I loathed everything in the universe. Everyone.

Life may be cruel but we have to stay strong. And so I did. If only I could just get popcorn and sit on a comfortable sofa while watching everything in the movie- which is my life. And if I hate a part, I could just fast forward or pause it or delete everything. If only there's a chance...

Eventually, my mother decided that we'd move into her hometown, which led us here, in Springfield, to start something new. It's hard, but we managed to adjust to life without a father. Slowly, we tried getting back to how we'd been, but there were still missing pieces that pulled us back into remembering our loss. 

I'd never let anyone see me break. Never. 

Springfield is a wonderfully refreshing and peaceful town. Me, my mother, and Nathan moved here two months ago after my father died… and I've been working at this ice cream shop for a few weeks now. It hasn’t been that long yet, and I just took this as a summer job since school would be coming for the next two months. I just wanted to earn and save money so that it wouldn’t be a burden to my mom. She’s raising us on her own after all. I have to be responsible. 

The lingering scent of vanilla lingered in the air. I took a look out the window to my right. The late afternoon sun shone through the glass doors as I turned on the air conditioning to keep the shop cool.  My shift starts from 1 in the afternoon until 6 in the evening.

The door chime jingled, making me stand up straight as a reflex, my posture perfect for work. A redhead girl with bright blue eyes walked in, and my face broke up into a bright fake smile.

"Good afternoon, miss. What would you like to have?" I asked in a cheery tone.

"One mint chocolate chip ice cream please," she answered, glancing at the flavors plastered above the counter.

"Coming up," I replied, grabbing a cone. I filled it with the ice cream she'd asked for. The monotonous routine continued -I gave her the ice cream, she paid, and I returned her change before she walked away towards a booth.

And my afternoon has always been like that. 

Bored, I rested my left hand on the counter, leaning my head against it. When a thought occurred to me, my fingers began drumming on the table, itching to do something. It can't hurt to give it a shot, right? I'll play for a few minutes before stopping when a customer walks in. I'm sure I'll hear the doorbell…

 I mean, I'm a hard worker, but we all have bad days...right? 

I took out my phone and began playing a racing game while remaining silent. The hours and minutes flew by. A few minutes quickly turned into an hour. 

I was so engrossed in my work that I didn't notice the bell ringing. Someone from across the room clears their throat. I brushed it off, knowing that the next turn would be critical... 

Yet another coughing fit. This time it was loud enough to get my attention, and I snapped back to reality. I looked up to see if there was anyone there. 

And when I saw that there was really someone in front of me, waiting to order, I immediately stood up, my face flushed with embarrassment at having been caught playing in the middle of my shift. 

"If I were the owner, I could have fired you for playing in the middle of your work," he snarled. Despite his harsh tone, his face was emotionless and calm. My brows drew together. I was taken aback by this. 

"Excuse me?" I asked, uncertain whether I had heard him correctly. I drew my brows furrowed. Is he being serious? But that's beside the point; I need to concentrate and not let him get to me again.

 "Psh, workers and their services..." he muttered under his breath, which I overheard. 

So I wasn't just hearing things. This person was having a problem with me. Sure, I've met a lot of people who were far worse than him, but that was just plain rude. I gave him a quick once-over: jet black hair, green eyes, and a red hoodie covering his head. 

‌ He looked like he was around my age, 18 or 19 years old I guess. And although I hate to admit it, he’s handsome. But what can that handsome face do if his attitude is rotten? 

 I resisted the desire to punch him in the face. Instead, I forced a smile on myself. Besides, I was only a worker, and this kind of situation was normal, even expected. 

"Are you going to ask for my order or what?" he demanded, this time, his voice getting louder. His expression remained neutral, the same as it had been before, almost as if he didn't have one. 

I could tell he was irritated. His slightly clenched jaw suggested as much. 


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