Unexpected Packages, page 1
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Passionate Writer Publishing
Copyright © 2010 by Sindee Lynn
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For all those summer nights spent chasing that elusive green motorcycle.
Kenny Jamison stood beside his car at his neighborhood gas station, Roger’s Gas-n-More. He tapped his hand impatiently on the top of his car while he waited for the pump to begin dispensing. He glanced at the pump. Nothing was happening. Hunching his shoulders, he pushed his selection again and watched the pump this time. Still nothing.
“Aw, come on, you stupid machine, start,” he said, punching the button again.
He didn’t have time for this tonight. He was already late picking up Lori, his girlfriend of four months. The last thing he wanted to do was listen to her bitch about how he needed to learn the meaning of being on time.
Kenny jabbed at the start button again but got the same result. Nothing.
“Dammit,” he cursed, running his hand down his face in frustration.
He glanced around to see if anyone else was having the same problem as him. Maybe it was his pump. The few people at the gas station were all looking too. Okay so switching to another pump wasn’t going to help anything.
Great, he thought, hitting the button to call for help. Roger had better be able to fix this and fast.
“Yes, may I help you?”
The soft husky sound of the female voice on the other end caught him off guard.
“Uh, hi. Yeah, I swiped my card and the pump won’t start.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but we’re having a problem processing credit card payments, and it’s affecting the pay at the pump,” she said hesitantly.
His eyes rolled back in his head at the obvious answer. He took a deep breath and tried to calm down. It was not her fault he had been late getting home from work and found himself pinched for time.
“Yes, I figured as much. Can you turn it on from inside?”
“Please,” he added through clinched teeth.
There was a pause on the other end.
“I’m sorry. I’m not sure what you’re asking me to do.”
The urge to growl in frustration was almost too much to restrain but he managed. Deep breaths, he told himself. It was just the combination of leaving work late and the pressure he had been getting from Lori about his being on time that had him on edge. It was not the fault of the obviously poorly trained young person on the other end.
“I need you to reset the credit card system from inside so I can get my gas,” he said slowly and succinctly as if he were speaking to a child.
Kenny realized he was probably being an ass, but at this point, he didn’t really care. As long as he got his damn gas and could get to Lori’s.
A longer pause came across the line.
“Hello?” He questioned impatiently.
“Yes, sir, I’m still here. I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to reset anything. I can accept a cash payment on the inside.”
What did she mean she didn’t know how? It wasn’t as if this was the first time something like this had happened. He could recall at least three other times he’d experienced this same problem with the pay at the pump. Always Roger had been able to reset something from inside the store and that was it.
“Is Roger there?”
“No, sir. But I’ve called him, and I’m sure he’s on his way,” the soft voice replied.
“Fuck,” Kenny said, frustration finally getting the better of him.
“Excuse me. There is no need for that type of language.”
“Huh,” he said confused before noticing his fingers still on the call button.
“No, I didn’t mean that to be directed at you. It’s just that I’m running late, and I don’t have time for this.”
When no reply came, he realized she’d cut the line.
Kenny stood there with his hand on the top of his car and counted to ten. He glanced at his watch and cursed again. Maybe he should take this as an omen of some kind. Yeah, he thought, a bad omen.
He reached inside his open window for his cell phone. Dread caused a knot of anxiety to build in the pit of his stomach. There were few things in his life that truly caused him trepidation. Making this call was one of them. It was not going to be pretty. The knot in his stomach tightened as he waited for someone to answer on the other end.
“You had better not be calling me to state the obvious, Kenneth. Considering I’ve been waiting for an hour and a half and you still haven’t shown up, I believe I get the picture that you're running late,” Lori said in way of greeting.
Somehow Kenny managed to hold back the deep sigh of frustration he felt. He hated it when she called him Kenneth. It always came out sounding like an adult reprimanding a disobedient child.
“Hey, honey. I’m sorry, but I’m at the gas station, and they’re having some kind of problem with the pumps.”
“And you’ve been there for an hour and a half?” Lori asked in disbelief.
He managed to stop himself just short of putting his thoughts into words. Under the circumstances, he didn’t think it would be the best approach for him to respond with the sarcastic comment on the tip of his tongue.
“No, honey, I was late getting in from work. It’s been a hectic week,” he said, hoping just once Lori would surprise him and be understanding.
He had tried on numerous other occasions to explain if he wanted to stay at the top of his game he had to put in the extra time.
“Apparently last week was just as challenging since you couldn't seem to be on time then either.” Her remark was filled with sarcasm and barely contained anger.
Kenny ran his hand down his face. He was tired, and the only thing he really wanted to do was get his damn gas and go home. He didn’t want to go through this bullshit with her tonight. As a matter of fact, he was pretty much tired of going through it with her any night. It wasn’t as if he woke up this morning and decided oh what the hell he’d just be late again. Quite the opposite was true. After weeks of Lori’s constant complaining about his never being on time or canceling plans last minute, he’d made a con
A deep sigh came across the line.
“When you weren’t here on time and given your past history, I took the liberty of calling LaSalle’s and changing our reservations for later. How soon before you get here?”
Kenny paused. A sense of foreboding washed over him.
“Well, that’s hard to say. Apparently the credit card machine is down at the pumps and on the inside.”
“So why can’t you simply go to another gas station?” she asked in the know-it-all tone of voice that never failed to piss him off.
His jaw ached from the clenching of his teeth before he forced himself to relax. Taking a deep breath, he dove right in.
“Because I don’t have enough gas to make it to another gas station,” he said, preparing himself for what he knew was coming next.
And Lori didn’t disappoint. He listened with half an ear as she explained all she had been through for the sake of their “relationship”. And a “relationship” never worked if only one person seemed to be vested in the outcome. He could practically see her air quotation marks each time she said the word “relationship”. Then she moved on to his poor time management skills, her pet peeve. Her voice increased in octave as she expounded on all the ways this could have been avoided and the many reasons why time management was so important. He leaned his head down on the top of his car in defeat and fought the urge to bang it against the shiny metal. Kenny wondered for the hundredth time why he was still with this woman. Why would he or any other reasonably sane man continue to go through this type of torture? Because she’s gorgeous and looks good on your arm, his ego reminded him. Kenny shook his head. No way. He refused to believe that was the only reason he was dating Lori. There had to be something they had in common that drew him to her.
“Kenneth Jamison, are you listening to me?” Lori yelled, irritation and impatience lacing her words.
His head snapped up. Had her tone always been this annoying? It worked on his nerves like nails on a chalkboard. A frown formed between his brows to go along with the headache now pounding at his temples. He took a deep breath and made a forcible effort to smooth the wrinkles from his forehead.
“Of course, I’m listening, babe,” he said, trying to keep his own frustration from being heard in his words. “You were saying how I could benefit a lot from your classes.”
Whenever he was late, Lori normally rambled about that type of thing. The way Kenny figured he had a fifty-fifty chance of being right. He’d take those odds about now.
“Well, yes, I was and you absolutely can. Think of how much more you can truly get accomplished during the day if you start off with a game plan,” she said.
While Lori rambled on about his poor time management and lack of concern for other people’s time, Kenny wracked his brain trying to think of one thing they shared in common. He found himself coming up empty. He had always been a spur of the moment kind of person and Lori liked to plan out every part of her day. He guessed that’s why she was reportedly one of the best time management experts in the city. Hell, he hadn’t even known such a profession existed until he had met her.
They’d met several months back at a dinner party. One of his friends had introduced them. Kenny had found her gorgeous at first sight with her long, red hair, sparkling, green eyes and her body--well, let’s just say Lori had been the total package. She was intelligent on top of it all. At the time, he had felt as if he’d hit the lottery. But that had quickly changed.
Kenny was the first to admit if it wasn’t for his assistant he would probably never get anywhere on time. But there were still times when things didn’t go as expected. Lori had seemed to understand this in the beginning. It was only when they had been dating for about a month did she begin to give him "little tips". The tips had quickly turned into not so subtle suggestions by the end of the second month. They were now up to lectures lasting anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour in length. It was no wonder he’d started canceling their dates when running late instead of actually showing up. Who the hell wanted to sit and listen to their girlfriend bitch at them for an hour about being late?
Under the glaringly bright lights of the gas station, the truth of the situation smacked him square between the eyes. He shook his head in disbelief but more so in distaste. To think he would rather endure endless lectures and countless arguments on his seeming inability to be on time for anything just to have a beautiful woman on his arm. Just how shallow did that make him?
Well, that was it, Kenny thought. He knew what he had to do. He had to end things, but not tonight. He always had to build up to those types of things. He hated all the crying or yelling and screaming that seemed to accompany his ending relationships. But soon he promised himself. Having made the decision brought a smile to his face. It felt good just knowing soon this would all be a distant memory.
He pulled his cell phone away from his ear and looked at the screen. Dammit, he’d forgotten to charge his phone at work today. Placing it back to his ear, he opened his car door and reached inside his console for his wallet. Dammit, he swore silently, when he opened his wallet to see only the black leather interior staring back at him. He had meant to stop by the bank today during a lunch he had skipped in hopes of leaving on time. The irony of the situation didn’t miss his notice. Throwing his wallet back in the console, Kenny checked his pockets. Sure, he knew the odds of having any cash on him was nil to none, but he checked anyway.
“Listen, honey, can we continue this conversation when I get there?” he asked, interrupting her when his phone’s low battery alert beeped again.
“Kenneth, I swear there are times when I just don’t know how we have managed to remain together for this long. But I know for sure it’s not due to anything you have done. I have dedicated my life to helping people manage their lives for the better by making necessary changes, and I can’t even impress upon my boyfriend the importance of being on time for a date.”
Kenny shook his head and rolled his eyes. Had she always been this melodramatic? He heaved a deep sigh of relief when he heard her pause. Whew! Good it was over.
“Kenny, I don’t think this is going to work out between you and me.”
What the hell? Wait what was she saying? Had he missed something?
“Lori, if this is about my being late tonight.”
“It’s not just about your being late tonight, Kenneth. You’re never on time. And when you do get here, you’re not really here. Your mind is always off somewhere else instead of with me.”
“I’ve had a lot going on this month with work. I would think you of all people would understand what that means. You’re as driven as I am to succeed and should know sometimes it means you have to sacrifice certain things.”
Wait. What the hell was he doing? This was his way out. Lori was dumping him. He didn’t have to worry about tears or buying a parting gift. It was the perfect ending to a bad situation. But as crazy as it sounded, Kenny realized his ego refused to allow him to let a woman he’d had every intention of dumping dump him first.
“I understand sacrifices. I’ve made plenty of them for this relationship. Do you know how badly it grates on my nerves when you’re late? Or don’t show up at all? Hell, you’re even late for the nights we plan to have sex. I can only stay in the mood for so long Kenneth before it’s gone.” she said, her voice elevating a little.
An unchecked grunt left his parted lips. Who had ever heard of putting sex on the calendar? Spontaneous was how he liked to have his sex. In the heat of the moment when things just happened. How the hell was he supposed to perform to his optimal abilities under such pressure? Ten minutes for foreplay and twenty minutes fo
“So I think it’s best if we end things now. It was fun Kenneth while it lasted. Goodbye,” she said and hung up.
Kenny looked down at his cell phone to make sure his battery hadn't finally died. But no such luck. He saw it flashing in the corner of his phone’s screen and mocking him. Slowly he closed his phone and tossed it in the console with his useless wallet before heading across the parking lot to the convenience store. He needed a drink. But first he needed to get gas.
Opening the door to the convenience store, Kenny walked to the counter. The woman behind it had her back turned to him and was on the phone. His first thought was she had beautiful, long hair but was a little plumper than he liked his women.
“Roger, I thought you said you were on your way in. There are people who are not happy they have to pay in cash after they’ve already swiped their cards,” she said into the receiver.
Good, she was talking to Roger. He needed to get his ass over here. His date was canceled, but he still needed gas to get home to that drink.
“I understand they won’t be charged on their cards, but people have used profanity. I didn’t sign up for that.”
Knowing she was talking about him, Kenny felt his face heat. He hadn't meant it towards her. She hadn't given him a chance to apologize. As if feeling someone behind her, the woman glanced cautiously over her shoulder. Her eyes grew round as saucers. A rather smug smile formed on his full lips. He was used to that reaction from women. Why should this one be any different?
“Uh, Roger, I gotta go. There’s someone waiting to be helped. I need you to get over here now,” she said and hung up the phone.