“What does she like, sir?” the store clerk asked. “We have many unique items available. We have rings, earrings, tennis bracelets…”
Mr. Muscles laughed.
“Nothing to do with tennis,” he said. “She doesn’t work out. Can you believe it? A guy like me trying to win back a girl who doesn’t work out? I know. You probably think it’s crazy. So do I. But, my other girlfriend broke up with me and I realized that my ex may have some flaws, but she’ll be easy to get back. It will be even easier once I find the right piece of jewelry.”
“Hmm, if you could tell me a bit about her, I may be able to recommend something,” the store clerk said. I admired him for being so polite when this guy was obviously a jerk.
“She’s pretty thick,” Mr. Muscles said. “She likes food and TV. She likes wine. I guess that’s about it. She doesn’t really have any hobbies. I thought a nice piece of jewelry might make her look better. Take the focus off her body, you know what I mean? Sometimes I wonder why I’m trying to win her back. Maybe I need to find a skinnier girl. Decisions, decisions.”
Mr. Muscles laughed at himself. He walked toward me, making me feel uneasy. He sounded cocky. I didn’t like the way that he talked about women, as if they were pawns in his game of life. I didn’t want to make eye contact, so I continued to look at the necklaces. I hoped that he would stay away from that section.
“We have some fantastic necklaces,” the store clerk offered. Fuck. I didn’t want Mr. Muscles near me. Being in the same store as him was bad enough. Mr. Muscles sauntered over to the case where I was looking at the necklaces. He stopped walking and stood right next to me. I could smell his musky after-gym scent.
“Sir, can I please look at that necklace?” I asked the store clerk. I’d found a gorgeous necklace for Tiffany, unlike any of the others. It was a long silver necklace with three differently sized circles. Each circle had a different color gem inside. I could see her wearing it every day. She would love it.
The store clerk unlocked the case and presented the necklace in front of me. It dazzled under the lights. I’d to have it.
“I want that,” Mr. Muscles spoke. I turned my head to look at him. Sure enough, he was pointing at the necklace that I wanted.
“I’m sorry, sir, but this is the only necklace like this that we have,” the store clerk said. Mr. Muscles ignored him and grabbed his wallet from his back pocket.
“I’ll take it,” he said.
“Excuse me?” I asked him. “I’m looking at this necklace.”
Mr. Muscles scoffed at me. He didn’t look like he gave a shit what me or the store clerk had to say. I’d a feeling that he was used to getting what he wanted in life.
“Ring me up now,” Mr. Muscles instructed the store clerk. Both the store clerk and I looked at him. We could not believe how this man was acting. He was a child in a man’s body.
“Sir,” the store clerk said, “this gentleman is looking at the necklace. If he passes on it, I will gladly ring this up for you.”
Mr. Muscles raised his hands in the air and groaned.
“Listen, I am opening a gym right down the street. I’ll have a lot of clients there and they’ll probably ask me for recommendations. If you let me have the necklace, I’ll recommend your shop. If you give it to this scrawny dude, I’ll make sure no one sets foot in here again.”
I was shocked. Did this stranger just call me a scrawny dude and threaten to talk shit about the store? Who was this guy?
Mr. Muscles grabbed the necklace from in front of me and thrust it in front of the store clerk.
“Ring me up,” he said.
The store clerk looked at me and I rolled my eyes. Although it was a beautiful necklace, the perfect necklace, it wasn’t worth the fight. I would find something else before Christmas. Karma was real. The bastard would get his own somewhere… I just hoped I was there to see it.
“Hey, fucktard. Maybe you should have some manners,” I told Mr. Muscles.
“Like guys like you do? Does the get you the girl?” He grinned at me, like he knew he had won.
“Actually, yes.” I moved closer to him.
The clerk cleared his throat. “Hey guys. Let’s not do this here, please? I have another set of necklaces that I think you would both love. It’s the holidays, hm?”
My body tensed, ready for a fight, but the clerk was right. Was the necklace really worth it? Tiffany would look incredible in anything I bought her. Bastard.
“Fine. I’ll check back in later.” I glanced at the clerk and nodded. “Good luck with keeping your woman, asshole. Guys like you get real old after a little while.” I flipped the guy off and walked out. Fucker. That bastard wasn’t capable of loving anyone but himself.
My mood finally chilled a little as I started to think about Christmas more. I’d a stocking up for myself and Austin, but I needed one with Tiffany. There was room for one more on the mantle, and hopefully it would help to show her in every way possible that she was the girl for me.
Then again, maybe it was kind of early for something like that. Although Tiffany had apologized, she was right when she brought up the fact that we had only been on a few dates. For someone who had a broken past, I sure wasn’t pumping the brakes on this relationship. Maybe I would hold off on the stocking.
Who was being the asshole now?
“How’s the piece going?” Cayden appeared in my doorway. He was holding two coffees. He walked in and set one on my desk. I instantly grabbed it, sipping the liquid heaven. I’d come to work early this morning to work on my first article. I could barely sleep. I was that nervous. Coffee was a necessity to get me through the day.
“So far, so good,” I said. “I actually have to leave here in a few minutes to meet this woman for the interview. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a wreck. I’ve never interviewed anyone before. What if I ask stupid questions?”
“You will not ask stupid questions,” he said. “She’ll appreciate any question that you ask. You are telling the community about her charity and sharing her story with all of Miami. She’ll be thrilled, trust me.”
I wrinkled my nose. Cayden was right, but he made it sound so easy. Of course, he had been interviewing people for years. He was a pro.
“Do you want me to tag along?” he asked. I shook my head.
“No,” I said. “I need to put on my big girl panties and do this myself. But thank you for the offer.”
“You’ll do great,” he assured me. “Will you call me after your interview? I’ll be interested to see how it goes.”
“Good luck,” he said, tipping his coffee cup to me and leaving the room.
Two hours later, I walked into a Mexican restaurant near the office. I was meeting Mandy and Nikki to celebrate my first article, although it wasn’t done yet. Mandy had the day off and wanted to meet for margaritas and girl talk. Nikki and I were becoming close friends, so I invited her as well. I knew the three of us would get along well.
“Hey, ladies,” I greeted the girls, sliding into the booth next to Nikki.
“How did the interview go?” Mandy asked. I told them both how it had gone. Cayden had been right, it went very well. All of my questions were great, and my subject was very outgoing and forthcoming with information. I’d more than enough information to write a thorough and interesting article. I was excited to go back to the office to write, but first, I needed tacos. Before I could order, the waitress brought over three margaritas.
“Cheers!” Nikki exclaimed, raising her margarita glass. Nikki and I followed suite, clinking our glasses together. I took a sip and nearly spit it out. It was delicious, but so strong.
“Damn,” I said, trying to get rid of the sour look on my face. “That is strong.”
Mandy and Nikki agreed, but it didn’t stop us from finishing the first round before our meal came. We were all pretty giggly.
“So, I met this guy off Tinder last night,” Mandy said. “I am pretty sure I’m marrying him. He’s gorgeous and has a huge cock.”