Short Stories

“That Moment” (Short Story)

That Moment

Jamie was looking for a lighter as Ryan began rambling about her once again. Judging from the glossy look in his eye and the slow drag he had in his voice, he was clearly high already.  As soon as he started to get a little buzzed, he would tend to get in his feelings about Leslie Peters. She had only been working with us for about 3 months and in that short amount of time Ryan had determined that he was damn near in love.

Ryan, being the shy type, would admire her from a distance, only expressing his feelings for her in daydreams or during breaks with Jamie. They would usually synchronize lunch breaks in order to meet at the car for a quick smoke session. They had been best friends since freshman year of college and became “420 friendly” around the same time.

Jamie turned the music down and took a long, deep hit before speaking. He turned to look at Ryan and said, “Do you know what the definition of insanity is bro?”

Ryan stared, half-way confused and replied, “It’s when you’ve gone crazy, and if you’re trying to say that I’m crazy for how I feel about her…“

Jamie sighed and took another couple of puffs while Ryan trailed off into some more emotional bullshit.

“…and all I really need is the perfect opportunity to say something. You feel me bro?”

“Yeah nigga whatever”, he said while passing the blunt back, “But listen, they say you’re considered insane when you repeat the same action and expect a different result.”

Ryan was silent, and then took a hit as if to allow what he was saying to sink in.

“Almost every time we smoke, one way or another, you end up talking about this girl and honestly bro, it’s starting to get on my nerves. If you like her, you can’t keep running your mouth about her to ME, you have to tell HER how you feel. And nigga don’t take this personal but you really being a lil’ bitch about the situation.

Jamie was the only person that could come at him like that. They had been patnas for so long that the trust was there and, on top of that, he was right. After an awkward 3 minutes of silence, Ryan calmly replied, “You right bro, I’m a get at her today.”

Now, of course, Jamie didn’t believe him but nodded in agreement anyway, not wanting to break his best friends’ spirits. “C’mon bro, we gotta get back.”

*

The brief ride on the elevator gave Ryan just enough time to over-think the situation at hand. Once again, he had committed to finally approaching her but this time he promised Jamie and, more importantly, himself that he would make his intentions known. The nerves were starting to creep in with each beep on the way up to the 8th floor, sweat began building around the top of his forehead, and even the voice inside of his head was stuttering while trying to rehearse what he had been practicing for the last 3 weeks.

Leslie normally got off early on Fridays so he knew he had about 30 minutes to make his move before she’d leave. Confident in the introduction he’d been practicing, all he needed was something to drink to battle the cottonmouth from smoking. Between the nerves and the Kush, Ryan was barely able to talk to himself his mouth was so dry. Should I go for the Sunkist orange or the Welch’s grape, he thought staring at the vending machine. It’s funny how hard it is to make decisions when you’re stoned.

Just as he was about to push the button for a Sprite, he heard a voice that made his heart flutter and then momentarily stop beating.

“Hey, Ryan how’s it going,” she spoke in a perky tone.

He didn’t have to turn around to know who it was. Her voice was as sweet as Skittles but stern enough to be Sour Patches. You would’ve thought it was raining inside the office’s break room the way the sweat instantly started running down his face. The rehearsed lines, the pep talk from Jamie and his confident demeanor had now all went to shit. But it was now or never.

Ryan licked his dry ass lips, took a deep breath and responded, “Hey Le-Leslie, what up-I mean, how are you?”

Leslie giggled to herself. “I’m ok, just ready to get the hell off. Today’s been crazy.” she said as she fixed a cup of coffee.

They were the only ones in the break room, an ideal situation for Ryan to make his move but he couldn’t think of the right thing to say. It’s like the introduction he came up with in the elevator proved to be disloyal and disappeared from his mind at the worst possible time. Nigga just say something, anything!

“Hey Leslie, I…umm…wanted to ask you something,” he managed to mumble.

“Yes, Ryan,” she answered, giggling.

     Damn she looks so good, he thought to himself. Ryan rarely ever made direct eye contact for this very reason. The mini-me behind his zipper was beginning to make an appearance revealing his attraction to her. He pleaded with himself to focus on anything besides THAT: Jesus, Granny, dead kitties, starving children in Africa, anything to decrease the tension below.

Noticing more co-workers coming down the hall ramped up his nervousness again, providing a small window of opportunity to look her dead in her eyes and finally explain his true feelings.

“Ryan?” She reiterated, getting a bit impatient at the awkward silence.

Ryan took a deep breath and started, “Leslie, I just wanted to tell you-”

     Riiiinnnnnnggggg. Leslie reached in her pocket and, without even looking at the screen, silenced it.

“You were saying?” she said, with a smile that released every butterfly that could have ever been hiding in his stomach.

Now or never he thought again. “Leslie, when you first started working here I thought you were-“

“Leslie! I’ve been calling you girl”, her boss blurted, coming up from behind him. “You were supposed to drop off that report before you left.”

Leslie shook her head quickly, realizing it slipped her mind. I’m so sorry, I totally forgot about that! Here, come with me and I’ll get it for you,” she said, heading back to her desk. “Catch up with you later Ryan?”

“Sure”

*

Jamie was doing his best to keep from laughing but between the left over high and Ryan’s sweat drenched dress shirt it was impossible. “Until you talk to her, yo’ new name is gon’ be Houdini mouth cause all them fucking words you rehearsed just disappeared” he said while laughing. “Houdini mouth”, he mumbled to himself, still laughing”

“Can you shut the fuck up?!” Ryan demanded as they both made their way to the elevator.

“Nigga, you shut the fuck up! Jamie snapped back, still giggling. “Shit, obviously that’s something you good at.”

Jamie was doing his best to contain his laughter in the elevator with other coworkers on board and all Ryan wanted to do at that point was to get to the other half of the blunt they had earlier. He was getting impatient with the elevator stopping on nearly every floor when the sound of Skittles and Sour Patches echoed beyond the elevator.

     No fucking way, he thought.

Sure enough, Leslie had somehow made it back into his presence. Ryan knew this had to be some sort of sign from God as he stood amazed at the Angel directly in front of him. Leslie gave him a quick smile, seeming surprised also, and then stepped inside of the packed elevator. Ryan immediately began losing the battle of laughter, nearly in tears in the corner of the elevator. “C’mon Houdini,” Jamie managed to whisper between snorts and tears, “It’s show time.”

Ryan didn’t acknowledge him but knew he was right. His body instantly felt light, full of adrenaline, and once again sweaty. He had to make a decision now or forever be considered a pussy. Without allowing his mind to convince his hands otherwise,  he jammed the emergency stop button and the elevator violently stopped between the 1st and 2nd floor. Leslie jerked back, landing right into Ryan’s arms and before she could respond to what was going on……

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