Meet Me In the Hallway

We had made love earlier that day with no strings attached, but I could tell that something had changed - how you looked at me then.

=

A story in which a college student and an ex-performer are brought together at a downtown bar by a twist of fate.




*characters are not affiliated with real people, just their physical appearances and anything stated*

[WARNING: Strong language, Drug abuse, Sexual content]

copyright © justins_only_babe 2017

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS ORIGINALLY UPLOADED ON MY WATTPAD ACCOUNT THE LINK IS IN MY BIO

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6. six

= Layne =

 

"Isn't labor high, or something?" I ask, leaning against the bar.

 

Nicole wipes down the space next to me and shakes her head, "it's just you, me, Caleb, and Jaz. They aren't paying many people."

 

I groan in annoyance and look out the window. Hundreds, probably thousands, of people pass by that door everyday and only a few come in on weekdays. It has to be the most irritating thing ever. Occasionally, a couple will come in and enjoy the shitty bar food and the dingy atmosphere. But that happens once every two or three hours, and I work six hour shifts.

 

"Why don't you go hang out with Jaz and Caleb in the back? They're probably making some crazy, new menu items." Nicole suggests and finishes wiping down the counter.

 

I shrug and look at the clock. It's only 6:27. I'm actually going to die here. "It's been two and a half hours since I got here." I pout.

 

"Yeah, but at least that's only three and half hours until you have to leave. I get off at midnight." She replies. She gives me a sarcastic smile and I cringe. I would quit if I had to work twelve hour shifts everyday. 

 

I push myself off the bar and begin walking to the bathroom. I don't have to pee, I just want to look at something other than an empty dining room. The restroom smells disgusting and the florescent lights make me feel sick. There are stickers and carvings all on the walls. The light yellow paint is barely visible anymore. My eyes scan the small room and read most of the carvings.

 

J+A Forever

 

8-18-15

 

YOU SUCK!

 

I smile at some and laugh at others. There are many drawings of male genitalia as well. That's not exactly what I expected in the women's restroom.

 

I catch my reflection in the mirror and shrug. My hair is a little flat, but other than that I look fine. My classes are still laid back and easy, so I shouldn't look too terrible. Next week, I have a short story due for creative writing, but that's the most work I have to do so far. Before I leave the bathroom, I fluff my hair and fix my eyebrows.

 

When I exit the bathroom, the front door of the bar opens. We both stop in our tracks when we see each other. My eyes wander down to the bag on his hip and I immediately smile. Our eyes meet again and he's smiling too. Harry begins walking further into the bar and I start walking closer to him. We meet in the middle, standing in front of the bar. He sits down on one of the stools and I remain standing in front of him.

 

"Jack and coke?" Nicole asks from behind the bar.

 

Harry and I break eye contact and he looks at her. "Uh, not today. I'll just have a water."

 

He looks so good. So good. His hair is a mess - as it always is. He's wearing a brown, velvet-like material button down with a long-sleeve white shirt underneath. Both the button down sleeves and shirt sleeves are rolled up, the white shirt rolled to his wrists, the brown shirt rolled to his forearms. His jeans are black and a little less tight than the other jeans he wore. He's wearing the same boots he wore to my apartment, and I swear he's one of the few people who can pull off this look.

 

Nicole rolls her eyes and gives him a look. "You've never come in here and asked for just water."

 

He chuckles at her comment and folds his hands together. The action causes his rings to clank against each other. "Well, there's a first time for everything."

 

Nicole laughs and walks away to get Harry his water.

 

He draws his attention back to me and flashes me a huge grin. I cross my arms over my chest and laugh. His smile becomes more natural and he motions to the seat next to him. I take it and rest my elbow on the bar, supporting my head on my knuckles. Nicole comes back with the water. Harry thanks her, and as he takes his first sip, Nicole looks at both of us, nods to herself, and walks to the kitchen. I watch as she disappears down the small hallway.

 

I look back at Harry and half of his water is gone. "Did you walk here?" I joke.

 

He chuckles and takes another sip, "yeah, actually."

 

I furrow my eyebrows. "Don't you live across the city? Or did you stay with your friend again?"

 

"Yes - to both." He says then dips a piece of ice into his mouth.

 

"I thought he lived like, a ten minute walk away? It takes me half an hour to walk to campus and I'm never that winded."

 

I hear him crunch on his ice. "Maybe I'm just out of shape." I shrug and then I yawn. This causes Harry to furrow his eyebrows at me. "Are you tired?"

 

"Yeah," I answer and rest my head against my knuckles again. My eyes close lightly and I swear I could fall asleep right here.

 

"Did you get up early?" His voice causes my eyes to open. He looks slightly concerned, like he's worried I'm not getting enough sleep at night.

 

"My first class starts at seven-thirty. I get up at five-forty five, everyday. And then being here is boring as hell because no one ever comes in unless it's eight o'clock on a weekend." I take my head from my hand and rest both of my hands in my lap. My legs are crossed in front of me, and Harry's hand is close to touching my knee.

 

Now he's resting his head against his knuckles, watching me carefully. "How late do you work?"

 

"Ten."

 

His eyes avert to the clock on the wall, then back to me. "Is that everyday?"

 

"Yeah, but on weekends I work until the other bartender gets here. So it ranges from nine to midnight." I explain.

 

He licks his lips and nods. "So you work until ten, tonight?"

 

I purse my lips together and nod slowly. "Yep, and maybe two more people will come in for the rest of the night."

 

"You'd think Ed would close the place on weekdays." Harry pulls his head back up and finishes off his water.

 

"Wait, you know Ed?" I question.

 

He nods, "yep. We've been friends since I moved here."

 

I remember the singer of the band that played last weekend saying something about Harry writing a song. "Did you use to perform here?"

 

Harry's eyes lock with mine and something changes. His eyes aren't as soft and kind as they were before. They look darker, like something is hiding them from the world. He clenches his jaw and looks away from me. "Yeah," his voice is tight.

 

Okay . . . I guess he doesn't like talking about it.

 

I push my curiosity aside, even though I have a million questions running around in my mind. "Anyway, why did you come here? Are you stalking me?" I say, sarcasm lacing my voice.

 

His jaw relaxes and a small smile spreads across his lips. He looks back at me and his eyes are back to their soft shade of green. "Actually, I wanted to see when you were working next. I was going to ask Nicole or Ed but . . . here you are."

 

Something about his words causes my heart to swell. I can feel my cheeks heat up and I look away from him. My hand closes around his glass as I get up and walk back behind the bar. I pour him another water. He's watching my every move. It feels like I'm going to burst because of his stare. Why is he staring at me?

 

"Stop staring at me." I say as I place his water back in front of him.

 

"I wasn't staring at you." He says defensively.

 

I roll my eyes at him and raise an eyebrow. "Don't lie to me."

 

His cheeks turn a light pink and I smile in victory. Now he rolls his eyes. "You're the only thing going on in this damn place! What do you expect me to look at?"

 

"The beautiful decor, of course." I motion around the small room.

 

"You're the only beautiful piece in here." It slips out of his mouth. He directs his attention to his glass and licks his lips before pressing them into a tight line. He's stirring the ice around with his straw.

 

I'm just staring at him. Watching him as he looks at everything but me.

 

"Stop staring at me." He says after a moment of silence.

 

A smile spreads across my face and he finally looks at me again. He's smiling too and, for the first time, I notice a dimple pressed into his cheek. Without thinking, I reach out and poke it. He doesn't seem phased by it, but I retract my hand unbelievably quickly. Harry's smile doesn't fade - if anything, it softens and his eyes roam over my face. Now I can't tell who's staring at who.

 

"Layne!" I hear Nicole call.

 

I snap my eyes away from Harry and look in her direction. "Yeah?"

 

"I called Vanessa, she's going to come in and cover the rest of your shift." She explains.

 

I furrow my eyebrows and start walking up to her. "Wait, why?"

 

Her eyes look behind me for a quick moment and then fall back to me, "because I don't want to have that stud in here." She nods in Harry's direction and they both laugh. "And you guys are also making me sick. I don't want my nice clean bar to get in the way of you two."

 

At first I think she's mad at me, but then a smile spreads across her face and she gives me a wink. "Get out of here, Layne. Go enjoy the rest of your night."

 

"Are you sure?" I furrow my brows.

 

Nicole places her hands on my shoulders and pushes me out from behind the bar. Once I'm halfway to the hall, one of her hands comes down and smacks my ass. "Yes, Layne! Go!"

 

I look back at her and place my hand over where she slapped. A smile slowly spreads across my face. I laugh as I get my bag from its hook. When I walk back to the dining room, Harry is talking to Nicole about something and his water is gone. From the looks of her expression, it wasn't a very light conversation.

 

Nicole looks at me and Harry turns around to do the same. I eye the both of them, then focus on Harry. "You ready?" I ask and nod my head to the door.

 

"Yeah," he says quickly and grabs his bag from the seat next to him.

 

We begin walking out of the bar and I wave bye to Nicole. She waves back and gives me a tight smile. The door closes behind me. I bump into Harry's shoulder and give him a quick apology. He just looks at me.

 

I widen my eyes and slowly shake my head, "what?"

 

His jaw clenches and he narrows his eyes. "I cannot believe you bumped into me. What the hell is wrong with you?"

 

I narrow my eyes and then I see his dimple. I sigh in relief, "asshole." He laughs and follows me down the street. "I thought you were actually pissed at me and I was about to sprint to my apartment."

 

"I could never be mad at you." He says as someone passes between us.

 

I shake my head, "you don't know that."

 

He looks at me out of the corner of his eye. "I do know that."

 

"How do you know that you could never be mad at me if you don't even know me?" I raise an eyebrow at him.

 

He licks his lips and then looks ahead. "You've got me there."

 

We walk in silence for a couple minutes. Every so often, Harry will fall slightly behind me to let someone pass. Then he'll move back to his place and graze my arm with his.

 

I wonder if anything will come of this. I know it hasn't been long since I met him, but there is obviously something between us. There has to be. If this was meant to just be a one night stand he wouldn't keep coming around. I wouldn't have seen him at the bar. He wouldn't have come back into my life unless there was a reason. There has to be a reason. Something has to come of this.

 

"Tell me about yourself." His words pull me out of my thoughts. "If I don't know you, then tell me about yourself. I want to know you enough to show you that I'm right."

 

There is a gleam in his eye and it makes me smile.

 

"Okay. Well, as you know I'm from-"

 

"No, not that kind of stuff." He interrupts. "Actual stuff. Things that tell me who you really are."

 

I furrow my eyebrows and turn the corner. "What do you mean actual stuff?"

 

"Like," he thinks for a minute. "What's your favorite movie?"

 

I chuckle, "that is your actual stuff? Okay. My favorite movie is LOL."

 

His face scrunches up. "LOL? What even is that?"

 

"My favorite movie. Give me another question."

 

We walk across the street as he thinks. "What's your favorite flower?"

 

Now it's my turn to give him a weird look. "What kind of a question- whatever. It's a lily."

 

"Favorite record?"

 

"Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix." I say immediately. I open the door to the gas station and he follows me inside. We walk to the very back and I pull a styrofoam cup from the rest. I place the lid on top, then I move to the red slushy machine.

 

"That was fast. The answer as to why has to be a good one." My hand is on the lever when he replies. I look at the blue instead of pushing down. My eyes move to the cup I'm holding and I take a deep breath. I feel Harry's hand touch my back. His eyes move between the cup in my hands and the blue machine. He's looking at me now. "You okay?"

 

I move my cup to the blue machine and push down. "Yeah. I just . . . I just don't really want to talk about it."

 

My cup is full. I go to get myself a straw but Harry holds one out for me. I give him a small smile and a quiet "thank you". Once my straw is in the cup, I take a long drink.

 

"Loves slushies, got it." Harry says.

 

I look up at him and smile wide. "Yeah, I really like them. I guess you could call me obsessed."

 

His hand is still on my back as we walk to the register. The closer we get the lower it goes, and by the time I'm paying, it's on the small of my back and his chest is touching my side. His hand doesn't move when we walk out the door or back down the street. It actually moves around my side and rests on my hip. My heart feels like it's going to jump out of my chest and fly all the way to the sun.

 

Harry clears his throat and sniffles. "Do you always get slushies after work?"

 

I swallow my sip and shamelessly lean into him when his hand gently squeezes my side. "No, I would if I didn't get off at ten and live in downtown Chicago."

 

"Is blue your favorite?"

 

I lick my lips, "no. Red is."

 

"Then why did you get blue?" He asks curiously.

 

My eyes cast down again and I lower the cup. I mix the contents with my straw, much like he did earlier. I'm going to have to tell him eventually, so it might as well be now. The sooner the better, I guess. "Blue was my brother's favorite."

 

He must feel me tense because he lets go of my hip and runs his fingers through his hair. "Oh," that's all he says.

 

Oh.

 

I'm sick and tired of hearing "oh" whenever my brother is mentioned. Almost as much as I hate hearing "I'm sorry".

 

"What happened to him?" Harry asks shyly.

 

I throw the remainder of my slushy in the trash and look straight ahead. "He died," I state.

 

His eyes avert to his shoes. That's how most people react when I tell them. One time, instead of someone looking away or apologizing, they called me a bitch for being so cold about it. That someone was my sister - but she was younger and didn't understand why it made me angry sometimes. It still makes me angry sometimes, and she still hates it.

 

"Shit," Harry says.

 

Say it, I know you want to. Come on, I'm waiting.

 

"I'm not going to say that I'm sorry because there's no point. It's not my fault, and I'm sure you're tired of hearing it."

 

I stop in front of my apartment building and look at him. Harry takes another step, then stops and looks at me too. His eyes aren't shy and he doesn't seem uncomfortable. If anything, he feels angry with me. He doesn't even know what happened. His jaw clenches as his eyes lock with mine. His expression is angry, but his eyes are sympathetic.

 

I could kiss him.

 

He doesn't apologize. He doesn't tell me it sucks. He doesn't ask what happened. He just trusts that whatever happened makes me angry and sad at the same time.

 

I take a deep breath and look at my building, "I-"

 

"I want to kiss you." He blurts.

 

My words get caught in my throat and my heart is pounding. He licks his lips then bites the lower one. I don't know how to reply. I want him to kiss me but I don't want to admit it.

 

"I really want to kiss you." He says, more firmly than quickly this time.

 

I'm not angry anymore. Every ounce of anger I had disappeared when he said those five words. Then he said them again, but with the word "really" in the middle. He still looks pissed off and I don't think my anger disappeared. I think it transferred into him.

 

"Layne." He takes a step closer to me, then another one. His hands slowly come up to my face and they're shaking. Why is he shaking? His hands are gentle against my face. His forehead comes in contact with mine and my hands wrap around his wrists. Our eyes are closed but mine sting. I lick my lips and taste something salty. I do it again.

 

"Why are you crying, love?" He sighs and runs his thumbs over my cheeks.

 

I blink a few times and pull away from him, causing his hands to drop at his sides. I wipe away my tears and turn my back to him. I attempt to take a deep breath but choke and cough instead. This is always what happens. Every time I think of my brother, I get angry and cold. But after a bit, I get so sad and cry for hours on end.

 

Harry's hands turn me around to face him and his arms wrap around me. I break into sobs and grip his shirt in my fists. His arms are tight around me but I can still feel him shaking. He isn't crying but he's shaking and I can feel the anger dripping from him. How can we go from desiring each other to shaking in the other's arms?

 

I finally take my deep breath and pull myself away from him. His arms reluctantly let go of me but his hands come back to my face and wipe my tears. I look at him through my lashes and all of the anger he held is gone. He looks worried and sad and I don't like seeing him this way. It makes me feel hopeless.

 

"I don't want to put you on the hopeless side, so you better stop looking at me like that." I say quietly.

 

The sadness in his eyes goes away for a second, and his dimple comes out, and my heart beats again.

 

He doesn't kiss me. He doesn't even try. His hands run over my cheeks one more time and then fall back to his sides. He nods his head toward my building, "go get some rest. You need it."

 

I nod then sniffle. My lips pull into a small smile and my eyes cast down. I open the door then look back at him, he's watching me carefully and gives me a quick smile. Just because he didn't try to kiss me, doesn't mean I can't try to kiss him. So I do.

 

My hands let go of the door and I move until I'm pressed against him. My hands run through his hair and my lips meet his. He stays still for half a second but then his lips are moving against mine and his arms are around my waist. This kiss is so much different than the one we shared a couple weeks ago. He isn't trying to get me to bed as fast as he can. His hands aren't all over me. His lips aren't desperately sliding against mine. He isn't confident in his actions. This kiss is careful. He's holding me gently. His lips are moving slowly and softly against mine. He's confident in himself, but he's cautious.

 

He isn't trying to speed things up. He's just holding me like all of my pieces would come apart if he let go. My hands are playing with the hair at the bottom of his neck because they're too scared to go anywhere else.

 

Harry pulls away first and kisses my forehead. His arms let go of me slowly, making sure I don't crumble. My hands move away from him and I bite my lower lip. His eyes scan over my face for a moment. Then one of his hands comes up and moves a piece of hair behind my ear. He keeps his hand on my cheek and gives me a soft kiss. He pulls back and licks his lips, "get some rest. Do you work tomorrow?"

 

I nod, "yeah."

 

"What about the day after?"

 

I shake my head, "no."

 

"Okay. I'll see you." He turns around and walks away, getting lost in the crowd of strangers.

 

=

long time no see

i was just on a week and a half long vacation in oregon but I'm back and here is an almost 4000 word chapter

idk if they're all going to be this long but i guess we'll find out

thank you so much for reading, i hope you like it so far

don't forget to comment & vote & share with your friends

thanks y'all

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