steal your heart

you have to have bad drafts to get to good drafts. here’s one of the bad ones (so bad it’s funny).

“Alright. I’ll get this one, and that one, and… maybe not that one…” Wren’s muttering to himself, picking items off the shelves like it’s Black Friday, when a woman’s frustrated voice breaks his train of thought.

“No! I didn’t just ‘forget to flip the switch back up!’” She’s standing by the discount candy section with two bags of Rolos in her shopping basket. “Well, could you send someone to come look at it?!” A pause, just long enough for an underpaid employee to offer to find their supervisor. “Yeah, that’d be great.” She sounds as if she’s telling someone that murdering her with a piece of corn would be great. “Yes, I’ll hold.”

The woman leans forward into the shelves, laying her forehead in a pillow of Trident gum. She’s humming along to the tune playing in her ear. Wren walks up to her like one might approach a resting gorilla.

He looks through the candy, slides a Tootsie Roll or two into his pocket, and casually looks over to where she’s still napping in gum. “Rough day?” he asks, casually perfecting his natural pose next to the gummy worms.

She looks up at him, and something tells him that the line he’d seen so many times in RomComs had, somehow, failed him. She has bags under her eyes, and they’re not even Gucci. They’re like the kind your Grandma drags around, huge, bulking, and purple. But Wren doesn’t say that, as he is a gentleman. Instead, he smiles at her and holds out a piece of candy. “Tootsie Roll?”

Rebecca knows she shouldn’t go around accepting candy from strange men in dollar stores, but she also shouldn’t invite them over to her house, so apparently today is not her day for good decision-making.

They’re sitting in her living room, in the dark. To some that may be romantic, but her entire house smells like rotten milk and yogurt, and at this point she’d rather kiss a frog in a lake than do anything with someone in her place. The man, whose name she’s learned is Wren, is rocking back and forth in her old rocking chair. Every time he leans back, it yells Creaaaakkk… and every time he leans forward, it downright screams it. Aside from her rocking chair, they’ve been sitting in silence for twenty minutes.

“So, you’re… waiting for someone to call you about the whole…?” Wren gestures around the room at the dark lamps and TV.

“Yup. Not a single damn thing in my house has worked for three days. Three days, man.” Rebecca has her head in her hands, and she wonders if maybe ripping out every follicle of hair she has would fix her electricity.

“I could take a look, if you want. At your fuse box and all.” Wren says, and it’s like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost themselves have all come down to deliver this man to her house.

“You can fix it?”

“Hell yeah, dude, I’ll check it out.”

“You said you would fix it!

“I said I would try to fix it!” They’re standing in her basement, just coughing away the last remnants of smoke from their recent miniature fire.

Rebecca huffs. “Do you even know what you did?

“Yeah, I tripped the concentrator switch which made the reactor go haywire, and the recon fuse went up.” She looks at him in amazement. “No, I don’t know what I did!”

She throws her hands up in the air, but not to indicate that she just don’t care. She actually cares very much, as her house has just suffered its first fire, and she was the one to invite the arsonist in. “Alright. You’re out, head on out, I don’t want to see you here anymore.”

Wren shrugs and turns towards the staircase. “Sure, dude, sorry bout the fire.”

Wren’s back at the store. It’s his favorite place, since he knows that the only working security camera is pointed towards the pastry section. Sucks when he wants pastries, though. Normally, round this hour, he’d be browsing the food aisles for a good-lookin’ pasta kit or some frozen burritos, but he can’t get his mind off Rebecca and the small fire he’d set. Sure, he’d only had good intentions, but fire’s bad, man.

Suddenly, he’s struck by an idea. He runs through the store, grabbing everything he needs, and walks through the front doors like he doesn’t have fifty bucks of merchandise in his bookbag.

Rebecca’s laying on her couch, just staring at the ceiling, when she hears three solid knocks on her front door. Then another three. And then a barrage of never-ending knocks on wood, and she’s about to kill whoever’s on her porch.

She throws herself off the couch and barrels over to her door, throwing it open without even checking to see who it is. She makes eye contact with Wren, fire-monster in the flesh, and stares at him. Maybe if I stare long enough he’ll ask himself the same question, she thinks. Why the hell is he back at my house?

Wren opens his mouth to speak, and Rebecca sighs, knowing her hopes had been too high. “Heeeey, Rebeck! Wassup, so, I got you some dinner to make up for the whole, ya know, almost burning your house down thing.”

On the one hand, Rebecca notes, her dignity and pride are at stake. On the other hand, free food. So, she lets him in.

“What’d you bring, then?” Rebecca almost leads him back to her kitchen, where the most concentrated of the disgusting smells are, but quickly reroutes to her dining room.

Wren unloads two lunchables and, like, five Yankee candles onto the table. Rebecca picks up one of the candles and looks it over, rolling her eyes at the name Deforestation. She asks, “Aren’t these like fifteen bucks each?”

“Nah, didn’t cost me a penny,” Wren says.

Rebecca’s not sure she heard him right, does almost a verbal double take before crossing her arms and staring back at him. “What, like you stole them?”

“I mean, that’s a strong way to put it.”

“Alright. Out. For the second time today, out of my house.”


to be continued……?

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