by Angela Rasch
"Hey, get outta here!"
My head snapped up in response to the sharpness in Mr. Portrous's command. I had worked for him for ten days and had never heard him raise his voice to anyone. . .until just then. . .when she came in.
She? I didn't know her name. I had only been going to Bern High for three days, but I'd seen that body --her body-- which made every boy in school think of sex. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be her -- insanely pretty and enormously popular. I would give anything to be just like her.
She studied Mr. Portrous for a second. "I'm not hurting anything. You're not open for business yet, and I need to talk
My face froze. I had lived in Bern for less than two weeks, but I was pretty sure it wasn't some kind of Geek Fantasyland where a senior woman like her hooked up with a sophomore boy like me.
Mr. Portrous didn't seem as taken with her as I was. "The Illinois Department of Public Health could have my butt for you being in my kitchen without a hairnet." He put down his ladle, and appeared ready to physically toss her out. "Why don't you take a break, Shannon?" He never called me 'Scoops,' like everyone else; he preferred to use my given name. "Take your girlfriend out of my kitchen and into the dining area." He winked, as if he thought she really was my girlfriend.
"Hi. "Damn, that was lame.
"Hi, Scoops." The huskiness from her throat probably meant she smoked and maybe even drank whiskey.
I trailed her out of the kitchen.
She spoke again in a voice that reeked of her sophistication. "I hope I'm not getting you into any trouble."
Uh huh. She looks like the kind of girl who gets people into trouble just for the hell of it. "No big deal." Damn! Mr. Portrous had given me a choice between cutting my shoulder-length hair and wearing a hairnet. Because I hated barbers, I chose the hairnet, which I snatched off my head, and then fumbled like an idiot with the folds of my apron before finding one of my cutoff's pockets.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the stainless steel kitchen door. My hair had curled from the steam coming off the soup. I need a brush to straighten it, but what the heck? She isn't here to hook up with me, that much I know for certain.
My hair wasn't even the worst of how I looked. Like everything else in the world, my apron was too big for me. Mom even had to buy juniors' extra-small T-shirts for me. Although I loved the softer fabrics and appreciated the brighter colors I was terrified someone would find out I had to wear girls' clothing.
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