Late Nights at the Laundromat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
I'm an insomniac, you're an insomniac. Wanna go get some pie?

Submitted: December 18, 2014

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Submitted: December 18, 2014

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They pretended not to notice each other again.

 

It was the fifth night, and they were once again on opposite sides of the room.

 

She dumped in an armful of whites, looking up swiftly and looking down again as he did the same.

 

Afterwards, they sat on each end of the same bench. He was hunched over a book, his slender fingers tapping the hard cover impatiently. She was punching buttons on a limited edition Legend of Zelda 3DS. And they were pretending that they weren't aware of each other again.

 

Which was kind of hard to do, at three AM.

 

She looked at him obliquely, as unobtrusively as possible. He had a nice profile, strong and angular, softened by longish wavy hair and full lips. His brow was furrowed in concentration, his thick eyelashes fluttering as he read.

 

The girl drew in a quick, sharp breath and turned back to the flickering screen of her handheld console. Its battery indicator was flashing red, a warning that the 3DS was about to sputter and die.

 

She sighed.

 

The boy looked up, his amber eyes intent. "Something wrong?"

 

The girl felt a little shiver. After five nights, it was the first time she was hearing his voice. It was nice and deep and gravelly, very solemn and serious.

 

"Y-yes. I mean, no. I'm okay. I guess."

 

His lips quirked into an amused half-smirk. "You guess? Okay, then." He turned back to his book.

 

Minutes passed.

 

The girl kicked at a small stool, miscalculating and sending it flying across the room. The boy looked up again and the girl cringed in embarrassment. He carefully noted the page number he was on, closed the book, and slid it inside his backpack.

 

He stood up.

 

"Listen," he said. "You want to go get something to eat?"

 

***

 

Slurpees at three-thirty in the morning. The girl couldn't help but feel like she was in some sort of surrealist movie. They sat at 7-11's stark white communal table, watching the car lights on the highway through the frosted glass. It was drizzling, and she felt cold.

 

"This is the first time I've had a Slurpee," she admitted.

 

The boy looked at her in surprise, then stood up suddenly. He walked away without a word. The girl, after a moment of deliberation, grabbed his half-finished Slurpee and sipped on it, then put it back where it belonged. Her heart was thundering inside her chest.

 

She licked her lips.

 

The boy returned after a couple of minutes, carrying four small-sized Slurpee cups. "Here," he said, setting them down. "We have all the flavours available tonight, aside from the ones we already have. This is cola, Mountain Dew, cherry and Fanta." He inclined his head to acknowledge his own Slurpee. "Mine's Monster Black."

 

"I know," she said.

 

He smiled. "Do you, now?"

 

She bit her tongue to keep from berating herself.

 

***

 

It was four in the morning, and they've all but forgotten their clothes back in the laundromat. They were walking along the boardwalk, sharing a paper bag of red velvet crinkles. Their fingers and lips were dusted with powdered sugar.

 

"This is so good," groaned the girl.

 

"I used to work for that bakery," the boy informed her. "It's an old family recipe."

 

The girl licked cream cheese frosting off her fingers and sighed. "This is great. I can now die happily."

 

"Wait," said the boy. "Not yet. You haven't even had hot chocolate and Dutch apple pie. Then you can die."

 

He led her to one of the food trucks by the beach, which was apparently open 24/7. She was surprised to see a few customers on the weather-beaten picnic tables, happily digging into slices of colourful pie.

 

"I want that one," she said, pointing to a startlingly pink pie. Even the crust was pink.

 

"Later," he promised. "But for your first time, you have to try the Dutch apple pie. It's tradition."

 

She rolled her eyes, suppressing a smile. "Okay, but just this time," she answered, happy to let him lead the way.

 

The first bite of pie was heaven. Followed with a sip of malted hot chocolate, it was like her taste buds were experiencing Nirvana.

 

"Oh my God," she exclaimed. "Oh my God. Oh my God."

 

He was laughing at her openly now. "I remember my first time. I'm pretty sure I had a more pornographic reaction, though."

 

She swatted at his arm, then pulled the plate over to her side. "This is mine," she said. "I'm not sharing."

 

He shrugged, then took a sip of hot chocolate. "Help yourself. After making these pies day in and day out, I don't have the urge to eat them as much. Although I certainly still surprise myself whenever I take a bite."

 

She stared. "No. You did NOT bake these!"

 

He pointed to the signboard. "William's Cakes and Pastries. I'm William."

 

She shook her head. "Figures. You look like a William."

 

He mock-glared at her. "Finish up, sleepyhead." He'd caught her yawning. "We have one more stop before you go home and head to bed."

 

***

 

They sat inside one of the carriages on the carousel. It wasn't moving, and the gilt paint was peeling around the edges, but to them it was the most magical place in the world.

 

He nudged her with his shoulder.

 

"Look," he said. "The sun is rising."

 

She turned to the horizon. The sea was calm and very blue, stained with the first faint sunbeams. There was nothing as beautiful in the entire world.

 

Beside her, the boy was looking at her and thinking the same thing.

 

He slipped his hand under her hoodie and entwined his fingers with hers.

 

She didn't look at him, but she squeezed his hand.

 

When the sun finally came up, they were both smiling.


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