Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
A short story
By Ken Barber
By Ken Barber
I rechecked myself in the mirror. Hair perfect? Check. Shirt clean and Ironed? Check. Clean shaven? Check. Yes I was nervous; nervous and excited, even though I tried to play it off to my roommate as not being at all interested. My roommate, Kelly's, boyfriend's cousin was in town and they wanted us to do a double date. Kelly's boyfriend, Miguel was a really nice guy and pretty hot too. So if the cousin was anything like Miguel than I would be super happy.
I met Kelly at work and we became friends very quickly. I manage the Gap at the local mall and she is the Manager at Foot locker. We decided to get a place together to help save money, as we are all college students as well. Kelly and I go to school part-time and Miguel is a full time student and works at Starbucks in the Mall. Yes we are Mall rats, and proud of it too. We were all putting ourselves through school by working retail jobs. All three of us come from families that struggle so, yes, we are proud of what we are doing.
The Mall we work at is pretty big; it's one of those high end malls with some really snooty stores as well as the basics. The coolest part about working there is the other people that work in the mall; it's kind of its own society, with its own classes and cliques. The lowest class is the people that work those kiosks in the middle of the mall. They try to hawk their junk to everyone that walks by and most of them don't really associate with the rest of us. They drive us crazy by trying to stop us to sell their crap to us even though they see us 50 times a day. The next group is the Food Court workers, they are pretty quiet and you only see them at their stores. They don't really shop in our stores so it's not like we get to know them very well. The department store group is an odd group. The working staff is so big in those stores they don't spend a lot of time out of their stores talking to the rest of us. The Next group is your regular mall employee's, that's us. We all know each other and shop in each others stores and a lot of us are very friendly and even hang out together sometimes. The next step up is the Designer store employee's. They think their shit don't stink, because they work for Michael Khor's or some shit like that. The Last group at the top of the list is the Jewelry store employee's. They are a little unapproachable at first, the guys in their suits and girls in their skirts. Once you break the ice with them most of them are pretty cool. A lot of them are career sales people and try to put off a super professional image all the time.
Anyway, back to the blind date, Miguel's cousin, Jose is trying to get transferred here. I don't know a lot about him other than he is 27, 5 years older than me. He is a college graduate and works for the government. They told me he grew up in New York City so we had that in common but that's all I know.
I hadn't really been interested in dating and had turned a lot of dates down. School and work are the most important things in my life at this time. At the current rate, I have one year left before I can get into a Veterinary Medicine program. Yes I want to be a vet, and no I wasn't one of those crazy animal hoarders. I have one dog, a Golden Retriever, and he is my best friend in the whole world.
Something about Jose has me nervous, intrigued even. Maybe it is the mystery, maybe it's the fact he is Puerto Rican and I have never dated a Hispanic person before. I'm not sure why but I have not been this excited and nervous to go on a date in, I can't remember how long.
I stepped out of the bathroom and tapped on Kelly's door. She is my fashion consultant and would be honest. I stepped in her room after she acknowledged my knock and showed her how I looked. She looked at me critically and suggested my other shoes and belt and my brown leather jacket. I ran back to my room to make the changes and when I was done I met her in the kitchen. We were walking to the restaurant as it was only 3 blocks and it was an amazing spring evening.
We got there before Miguel and Jose and the host sat us immediately. We chatted about work and school but I couldn't really focus. I kept looking at my watch and then the door. This wasn't right, this was not me; I am confident and strong, logical and calm. For some reason I felt the world closing in on me, my heart was racing, I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. Kelly gave me an odd look and started to say something as Miguel walked through the door, someone right behind them. Kelly waved at Miguel and he waved back and then turned and said something to the guy behind him. The guy stepped around Miguel and our eyes locked. I almost fainted, I couldn't speak, my knees started to shake.
It was Jose, my best friend Carlo's, from High School, older brother. The first and only person I have ever fallen in love with.
He smiled, waved and walked over. "Sammy, sorry to set this up like this but I just had to make sure it was you."
I stammered. "What do you mean?"
He sat down beside me. "When Miguel told me about his girlfriend's roommate, I somehow knew it was you but was scared I was wrong. I have been searching for you for two years now, just to tell you I am in love with you, and have been my whole life."