“It’s okay, I am really glad you agreed to come I know you must be tired having worked like a slave the whole week. I mean, don’t you get tired of being around tables and food and restaurants in general?”
“Sometimes I do, but it’s my job and it pays the bills so I tend to let it be what it is.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry. Okay, so what do you want to talk about?”
“Okay, what do you want to know about me?”
“What do you do and what do you like?”
“I am in HR. I have a couple of side gigs and all mainly doing exhibitions. I like dancing and shopping, that’s what I can think of right now, but I also like to meet people get to know them and things like that.”
“Great because I cannot say that I like dancing, or shopping-but since I love to bake I always find time to shop for ingredients and cooking utensils.”
“You bake? Like cake cake?”
“Yes, cake cake.”
“Sheesh! That is great, like I don’t know any guy who bakes, like seriously, do you also cook and stuff?”
“I do stuff, and yes, I cook sometimes. I have never slept hungry with food in the house.”
“You are serious Walter, aren’t you?”
“You find me funny?”
“No, yes. Wait, no, it’s just that…ghai! You love baking, I am impressed!”
“Do I get the job then?”
“It’s just sounded like an interview right there.”
“Now you are being funny! But listen, you know I do exhibitions and events like that, so how about we have some of your stuff for our clients to snack on and things like that, I’m sure it could be great.”
“Thanks, we can work on that.”
“Sure and hey is it cool if I ask you something, I mean, we barely know each other and I don’t want to offend or get in your business or something, but do you smoke?”
Walter looked at Ruth, her brown eyes that had once held him in his place were on her milkshake. She used her straw to swirl the drink around, but in that time she did not meet his eyes.
He thought of Bella, that chick he’d dated in campo, who kissed her anywhere they were. They had been voted best couple the night before they broke up because she felt like he was going to die of cancer and leave her behind. Bella had clearly never watched A Thousand Ways to Die! He looked at Ruth thinking of all the ways he could get past this, but he was done with secrets. If she was into him then he would not pretend.
He pulled out the pack of Embasssy Lights he had in his pocket and pushed it towards her glass. She looked at it and slowly lifted her eyes to meet his.
“Is it a turnoff?” He asked.
“No, I am not sure. I haven’t been around a guy who smokes, it’s just that I saw you some day in town and you were smoking, and it was like…”
“No, like an hallucination.”
“You are an Embassy Lights kinda guy…okay, but you do know that cigarette smoking is bad for your health and cancer is real and stuff like that.”
“It’s written on the pack. I read it every time I pull out a stick and light it. I hear it in my head when I take my first drag, and when I puff, It’s there in that white cloud of smoke, and it goes on until I step on that stub and continue with my work. I also believe it’s “cigarette smoking is harmful to your health.”
“I’m sorry. I did not mean to piss you off.”
Walter shrugged and took his pack of cigarettes and tucked it neatly into his pocket careful not to mess it up. He wanted to say it was okay, but the words could not make their way past his throat. He could see it happening, being high on love and then down when it went wrong. It was Bella and campo all over again and he was not doing that again.