Hey You: Part 6
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“Hey, there you are!” Ivy greeted him from her perch on the counter. A dinner plate overflowing with party leftovers balanced precariously on her lap.
“You know Vito will fire your ass if he sees you sitting on the counter.”
“Milo, you’re so grouchy after your shift.” She used a chicken tender to scoop mashed potatoes into her mouth and grinned at him, her cheeks stuffed full like a chipmunk. It was nearly impossible to maintain his grumpiness when she smiled at him like that.
“Gimme one of those.” He swiped a chicken tender from her plate and leaned up against the metal counter next to her. He bit into it and let out a long sigh, relieved to finally be done for the day.
“That was a rowdy bar mitzvah, huh?”
He looked over at where her tiny skirt graced the tops of her thighs. “I blame your skirt.”
“How dare you! What’s wrong with my skirt?” She ran her hands over her skirt and attempted to tug it down. It barely budged past mid-thigh. Milo counted four freckles above her left knee before remembering to respond.
“You can’t wear something that small in a room full of thirteen-year-old boys. You scrambled their young brains.”
She threw back her head and laughed. “I refuse to be held responsible for what goes on in young boys’ minds.” Milo reached for another piece of chicken, and she slapped the back of his hand. “And get your own damn chicken.”
He huffed and wandered over to the big silver refrigerator in the corner of the kitchen. Everyone else had left for the night. It was Milo’s turn to close.
“I hid some for you in the back.” Ivy’s voice reached him from behind the fridge doors. He found the plate of chicken tenders hidden behind two jumbo-sized jugs of salad dressing. The chicken was always the first thing to run out at these events. Anything with kids in attendance and you were lucky to get more than a soggy salad by the end of the night.
She saved me some. Milo smiled to himself but managed to wipe the absurd grin off his face before emerging from the refrigerator.
He hopped up on the counter next to her with the plate between them. “You sounded awesome tonight.”
She grinned. “Thank you, Milo. I thought so too.” Her converse-clad feet swung back and forth, banging against the shelves below them. She glanced over at him, her teeth digging into her bottom lip. After a few weeks of hanging out with her, he knew she was about to ask him something.
“I’m always honest.”
“I know that’s why most people don’t like you.”
“You really know how to make a guy feel good, Ivy.”
She crinkled her nose at him and stuck out her tongue. “Does the band sound better with the new guy than with me?”
The new guy had a name; it was Harry, but Ivy rarely used it. “Honestly?”
“Yes. You can tell me the truth.” She scrunched up her face and closed her eyes as though he was about to hit her. It was adorable.
“The band is nothing more than a shadow of its former self without you. You are the essence and without you, it’s all just noise.”
She peeked out of one eye, and he gave her his toothiest smile. She cackled; her laughter echoed through the empty kitchen. “That was a load of bullshit.” She shoved him and let her hand linger on his arm just long enough for him to get used to it being there and then pulled it away. “But thanks. I needed that. You know how artists can be; we always need our egos stroked.”
“Anytime you need anything stroked, Ivy, I’m your man.”
She wagged a finger at him and made a tsking noise. “Nice try, Milo.” Hopping down from the counter, she turned to face him, her hands rested on his knees. He didn’t know what she used to dye her lips that color, but somehow after a night of singing and eating, they were still sinfully red.
She stood, studying him, her hands burning through his pants. They had become friends over the past few weeks, maybe they could become more…
Ivy’s phone buzzed in her purse and the whole counter vibrated, tearing Milo from his daydream. She winced and pulled her hands from his knees.
“That must be Dylan.” She rifled through her bag until she found the phone. “He’s outside waiting for me.”
Dylan didn’t get the gig, but somehow he still got the girl.
“Okay, have fun.” Milo’s voice sounded forced even to himself, but pretending he was thrilled Ivy was dating Dylan wasn’t exactly easy.
“See ya next weekend!” With a wave and a smile over her shoulder, she was out the door.
He could still feel her warm handprints on his legs.
Featured image by Laura Peruchi via Unsplash.