Emily spent the rest of the night making pointed comments about him and Becca.
“She was cute, huh?”
“Don’t gimme that,” she prodded. “I saw the way you were making eyes at that goth girl. You two would be cute together.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about a girlfriend. When was the last time you had one?”
“I’m gonna start packing up the hot case. It’s slow enough.”
“Adam, I asked you-”
“I better get started. We might actually get out of here at a decent hour.”
Driving home, Adam fumed over Emily’s interest in the situation. He must have been so obvious, the fact that Emily had said something. Becca must have been totally creeped out by him. And the way Emily couldn’t wait to see him paired up with someone else. She’d probably noticed it the times Adam had crushed on her too! She thought he was hideous and annoying, and she wanted to encourage him to go after someone else. She was basically saying, ‘Please go bother that girl. I sure as hell don’t want you.’ And what girl in her right mind would? Stupid ginger with a shit job and no future in sight. Why the fuck should anyone want him?
He reached over and turned up the volume of the car’s stereo. He nodded his head in time to the beat. The Glorious Sons’ Sawed-Off Shotguns blasted through the still of the night. He put his window down and let the warm night air flow past him.
“They shut the lights off, they took car and, I bought a sawed-off shotgun.”
He sang along and drove through the empty roads of Merrimack, abandoned at this hour. A small New Hampshire town, rarely a car was seen after ten-thirty. A fleeting sense of peace settled over him. He reveled in it. His blood cooled. His muscles relaxed.
He was sick of being okay. Faking it every day. Pretending to feel okay. Dragging himself through each day. But in this moment, the night was serene, the air was warm and languid, and he fucking loved this song. Happiness, like a shiver up his back. Happiness, like a spray of froth off the ocean. Refreshing and surprising. And gone. Gone as quickly as ever.
He never could hold it.
It wasn’t his to keep.
He veered off Route 101, turning down the dark winding road that led to his suburb. No streetlights. Only the glow of his headlights shone through the shadows.
“I don’t know who to trust…Maybe people like us…”
The words of the song hit extra heavy that night. If he wanted to trust and open up to somebody, did he even have a ‘people like us’? Who would relate to a pathetic existence like his? He was a loser. He was a pussy. He was an idiot. Loser. Pussy. Idiot.
He thought a lot about how lonely he was, but he hadn’t tried to ask a girl out in ages. What a fucking pussy. What a pathetic sack of shit.