by: Ree Vera
**Click here to read Redbox Love (pt 1)**
Movie nights were always something I used to look forward to. Every Friday night my girl and I would hang out on the couch, basking in the glow of some film flickering from my crappy television set. Of course after she went and slept with my best friend, that all changed. She was now probably snuggling with him on his fancy leather sofa, watching some piece of trash action movie with bad acting and stupid lines—which I know she hates—and I was stuck renting a movie for a night in alone. With my mother.
I scowled at the concrete. The fact that it was her birthday didn’t matter. The thought was still depressing. I felt my phone vibrate and flipped it open. “Hello.”
“Honey, can you see if they have any romantic comedies? I love those.”
“Sure mom.” I rolled my eyes as two teenage girls giggled their way in front of me. Apparently the two thought they were cute enough that I wouldn’t say anything about cutting. They were not. But I wasn’t in the mood to cause a scene for a stupid spot in line for the redbox.
As my mother rambled on about what type of movie she had her heart set on, the doors to the Walgreens slid open. I’ve seen my fair share of movies. Seen the cheesy, overdone scenes where the guy first spots the woman of his dreams. Until then, I’d always snorted at them.
There she was. Shoulder length hair the color of taffy set off a round, moon-like face with two dark eyes and full expressive eyebrows—one which arched when she spotted the lengthy line. Her lips pursed at this and she took another bite of the candy bar she held in her hand. I grinned.
The mystery woman click clacked her way towards the end of the line, which was right behind me. My mother’s voice kept rambling in my ear. “Mm hmm. Yeah.” I kept it up enough so she would think I was paying attention.
A snicker sounded in front of me and I noticed the two teenagers whispering. It was very obvious that whatever they were saying was about the woman that had just exited the store. I noticed her step falter, having obviously heard, and that’s when I realized why.
I’m not much for fashion. I’m pretty much a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy; even though my mother insists I should start ‘dressing’ up more now that I’m nearing the age of thirty. Not sure why that’s such a big deal but apparently it is. Even so, I was pretty sure high heels—sparkly ones no less—weren’t supposed to be worn with sweatpants. Very green sweatpants.
“Check if they have any of Meryl’s movies. I love her.”
I lowered the volume on my phone. “Ok.”
As the woman neared the end, her eyes caught mine. I smiled in greeting. She blinked twice, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and then went to stand behind me without a word.
I wasn’t sure why it felt so much like rejection when she didn’t smile.
I fought the urge to turn around the entire time, sighing into the phone while the line took forever to move forward. Just before the two nuisances in front of me were up, I risked another look at her. Once again, her eyes meet mine. She had been looking at me.
I turned away, but not before noticing the bright red her face changed to. Or the way she kept tugging at her shirt. A shirt with a picture of that lame excuse for an actor who played some kind of dog that girls went nuts for. I wondered if she was embarrassed.
At last it was my turn. I touched finger to screen and scrolled through the, let’s face it, slim and sorry selection of movies. It was dark out, but I still caught the woman’s reflection in the glow of the screen. She seemed to be trying to peer over my shoulder. I swallowed a laugh and went for It’s Complicated. I thought I remembered my mother mentioning she was a fan of Meryl Streep. Before I touched the button labeled ‘Rent’ I saw the face in the screen frown. Apparently mystery woman didn’t approve of my selection.
I don’t know why I did it. It wasn’t like I was going to watch the movie with her. But I slid over to the rest of my choices until she smiled. I stifled a groan. 3:10 to Yuma. My mother was not going to be happy.
I grabbed the dvd and snapped my cell shut. In my distraction, I hadn’t realized there was no longer anyone on the other end. Then I spotted the dvd in her hand and sighed. "I'm sorry for taking so long. I didn't realize you only had a return to make."
Her eyes went wide and once again, her face blushed a fetching shade of red. “Uh, no, I mean that’s fine. No problem.”
I gazed at her a moment longer. I wanted to ask her name in the worst way. I should have, but I didn’t. Instead, I smiled at her one more time, and then walked away.