For JJ, because the Brittanalyzing Wonder Twins ship Brandy and love Sugar from the Future.
JJ has never failed to astound me and provoke my deepest respect for her kindness, wit, and badass analyses. Because I cannot give her all the awards she deserves (and by all, I literally do mean ALL), I hope this drabble will suffice.
Happy Birthday, from Jefferson to Adams!
“Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous…” Sandy mutters angrily, alerting the cook to make another plate of spaghetti. She hopes the glare that she’s directing at the pair of noisy preteen girls in the corner booth isn’t too obvious. Although, honestly, they’re so annoying that she’s starting to not care who sees her roll her eyes.
Those girls come here by themselves at least once a week and act like this, which tells her two things: one, at least one girl’s parents can afford to let them come here so often, and two, whichever parents shower them with money have yet to teach these girls good manners.
Well, that’s not entirely true, she thinks to herself. The taller, blonde girl seems kind, innocent, and harmless.
But her shorter, brunette friend? Most horrendous attitude she’s ever seen in a girl that age. And that’s saying something.
“Listen, lady, my dad’s a doctor,” the shorter girl said a few minutes earlier, attempting to get more spaghetti for free. “You’ll probably be coming to him for end-of-life care soon. How old are you, eighty? No wait, those wrinkles totally scream ninety. So you should probably listen to us or I’ll tell him to do his worst on you when the time comes. My friend here needs another plate of spaghetti because the other one sucked.”
Subtly touching her face in search of wrinkles, Sandy chases a “Jesus, I’m only in my forties…do I really look that old?” from her mind as she makes her rounds.
A teenage boy excuses himself for almost bumping into her, and rushes to the restroom. She looks at the booth the boy just left and sees an older man eyeing her with curiosity. His neatly trimmed beard is starting to show hints of graying, and his blue eyes twinkle behind his glasses. There’s something fresh about that twinkle, as if he hasn’t had the chance to look at anybody the way he’s looking at her for a very long time.
He sips his coffee and lets a smile break through what seems to usually be a curmudgeonly exterior. She smiles back, despite herself, and walks over.
“Do you want more coffee?” she asks. She realizes she should’ve thought that through a little better; his cup is three quarters full of coffee, and they both know it.
“My name is Brad,” he says, ignoring her poorly calculated question. He thrusts his hand out for a handshake.
She shakes his hand. “Sandy.”
“You looked a bit on edge a minute ago, so I wanted to say hello. Possibly distract you. I suppose it’s worked; you look considerably more relaxed.” He winks.
Whoever this man is, she’s completely taken with his charm. It’s quiet and it’s subtle. If you blink, you’ll miss it, and you’ll mistake him for a grumpy, jaded man. But Sandy sees that something more is there.
“My son and I just moved to Lima, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to make a few friends” he says. The boy you ran into a few minutes ago did look a lot like him, now that you think about it.
“Oh,” she says, with more disappointment than she intended. “You’re married.”
“Actually, a widower for ten years,” he says sadly.
“I’m so sorry.” She lets the sentence hang in the air, and silently chides the part of her that is making the mental note that he might not be seeing anybody right now.
Suddenly, Sandy hears a “We’re not trying that here, Britt! Plus, the noodles are too short and you already got sauce on your shirt from trying it last time, remember?”
They’re not even speaking that loudly, but dammit, why can’t these girls just let her have this moment?
“What the hell are they doing?” Sandy wonders aloud.
Brad smiles as he turns to the girls’ booth. “Don’t you see it?” The taller girl nudges a meatball across the plate with her nose and giggles. For once, the brunette seems kind and bears an expression of adoration for her friend. She reaches across the table to wipe sauce from her friend’s nose.
“Look at them,” he nods at the two girls, half-gruffly, half-dreamily. Another meatball falls on the floor and the taller girl roars with laughter.
“They’ll be in love forever.”
But when Sandy looks back at him, she realizes that he never passed a glance at the girls as he spoke those words.
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