The TV was on providing some noise for the apartment so I wasn't sitting in complete silence with my thoughts. If I closed my eyes and concentrated well enough, I could hear Philly's music. It's either the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, or some band in that genre. I'm pretty sure I heard him listening to a Coldplay song, but that was once and I wouldn't dare to ask him for clarity. Besides the noises, I was lost in thought and not paying attention to much; I was too deep in my thoughts, which is sad considering how lonely I am right now.
There's only two things occupying my mind. The first is that tomorrow, on Monday, I start my training and I'm anxious for how the day will turn out. Not only am I going back to Rocky's- the place where Philly and his friends humiliated me- but I'll be a future employee and I guess I just want to make a good first impression even though it's a lame job and nothing special. The second is that it's Sunday, and if I were back in Oregon, I would be hanging out with my friends instead of being all alone in my apartment. I'm sure in some way this is considered unhealthy.
Still staring at the TV, I hoped I would be getting my first paycheck soon because I would prefer to watch channels that weren't local. Seriously, even the Discovery and History channels are better than watching some horrible weather person in front of a green screen or the headlines flash across the screen with a misspelled word. A commercial for Twix came on, and as I watched the caramel being drizzled on the cookie for a right-side Twix, I realized I was hungry and had skipped breakfast all together. Tacos sound so good right now.
"Two tacos with coke?" Rosey asked. I've only been here twice, but I guess that was enough for her to memorize my order.
"Yes, thanks Rosey." She gave me one of her warm smiles while I returned one of my own and handed her the exact amount of money.
"So, mijo, how is Acrade? It's bien?" I gave her a blank look trying to understand the last word she spoke.
I took Spanish in high school, but even though I passed the class with flying colors, I never retained anything. Now I understand why Mr. Gracia said that one day, the language will be important in order for us to communicate and we should take the class more seriously. I assumed he was talking to the kids in the back who whispered and never paid attention. Rosey's Spanglish is one of the things that puzzles me here and I regret not knowing any Spanish.
"Ay, sorry. It means good. Are you doing good? Do you like it here?" Realization hit me and I made sure to keep the translation for future reference along with a couple of other words I learned from her.
"Yeah, I'm still adjusting, but I'm good." I smiled, knowing I'm still adjusting to being literally on my own. When I thought I had made friends, I was deceived. I blame myself for what happened, but now there's no reason for me to hold onto it forever.
"Good, and... that.... frightening girl?" She asked. She walked away for a moment to tell one of the guys, or chefs, my order and came right back waiting for my answer.
"She's not that bad." I said being honest with her. I'm sure she knows Emily better than I do, but her eyes still went wide.
"No, she very bad. She likes being alone, and stays that way all the time. She doesn't like people." She said in a low and serious tone, like a mother warning her child about something dangerous. Well, in my case it would be a father.
"I've heard so many things similar about her, but it's a bit hard to believe that. I'm sure she really is a good person." I didn't even realize I was defending Emily in the moment.
"Niall, you will learn. Give it time." She left me to think about those words as she disappeared somewhere in the stand to come back with my food and drink.
I walked back to the apartment thinking about what she said. It's as if she knows something I don't or ever will. Again, it was almost as if she was warning me or just preparing for something that was yet to come- but what? It was strange and maybe I'm just really hungry right now since it's well past the afternoon.
"Oh, look who it is! Hey blondie, staring again I see?"
Emily leaned against the wall of the apartment complex a good amount of feet away from the entrance. She brought her cigarette to her lips and sucked in a breath almost as if it was something natural, and pulled it away. She took her time blowing out the grayish-white smoke that floated around her face until it easily became part of the air like it was just another breath that escaped her. She made smoking seem easy and like she's been doing it for years so she's a perfectionist who's mastered the art. She made it look appealing, and I've always been one who was disgusted by it. I've always related it to something horrible that's looked down upon- like how everyone sees Emily as a person.
"I wasn't staring at you, I was staring at your cigarette." She raised an eyebrow at me and half grinned.
"You want one, huh? I hate sharing." She inhaled more of the toxic, poisonous, deadly smoke and exhaled again, but this time she did it like she was teasing me. It didn't bother me, but I played along anyway.
"If you keep smoking that, I'm going to have to take it from you." She squinted her eyes, looking at me skeptically like she disbelieved me. She had every right to since I was lying anyway. I took a few steps closer to make her believe me and to close the large distance between us.
"Blondie, even I can see right through a damn lie when there's one. You're too much of a wuss to smoke a cigarette." For some reason I wanted to prove her wrong. I didn't even think of it as a dare, I just walked up and pulled the cigarette from her hand and held it in front of me with a smirk. Emily just glared at me.
"Smoke it now, tough guy." She ordered, knowing I wouldn't. I felt my mouth go dry and lost all feeling in the hand that held my death wish.
"I-I, um," I fumbled with words not knowing what to do. She got me, but I don't want her to. I slowly, carefully, started to raise my hand to my mouth. I felt nervous and every bell was going off in my head telling me to stop this right now.
"Oh my god, you got to be kidding me." Emily said, but her voice sounded distant compared to my thunderous heartbeat pounding against my chest. This isn't just my dads' rule, an obvious health rule, but this was my own personal rule- which I was now breaking, and for what?
"Niall, put the cigarette down before you actually hurt yourself." Emily said softly, and as if I was in some trance, I quickly looked up at her and dropped her cigarette down not knowing how close or far I had managed to hold it from my mouth. What stopped me was not only her words, but her using my name.
"You're a fucking idiot." She said, and the tension in my muscles subsided as I let out a heavy breath.
:"I can't believe you were actually going to do that. Why? Were you trying to challenge me or prove something?" Both, but she doesn't need to know that.
"I'm hungry and my food is getting cold." I said remembering I was still holding my bag of tacos. I took the bag from inside my arm and held it so both my hands were filled again.
"Let me guess, you bought tacos from Rosalina?" I nodded.
"Those are addicting. You can go, blondie. And forget this encounter ever happened or you'll regret you remembered." I didn't believe her threat was true, but my stomach was telling me that it's okay for now and I should really eat something.
I didn't give her another look or say anything in reply, and left to go back to my apartment. The nagging thought of what she did never left mind for the rest of the day. If she hadn't stopped me, I would've taken a hit of her cigarette. But even before that, we were actually socializing in some way. Maybe talking to her is easier than what it seems. Maybe she isn't so isolated to herself. But then she was the one who made me leave her alone to be by herself again. I should've offered her a taco- no, she doesn't like sharing and I'm sure she wouldn't want something from someone else. She's still that mean person, but she doesn't seem as frightening as Rosey says she is. God, Emily's so confusing and complex. I wish I could untangle her web and get to know her.