Authors: Gwen Hayes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Photo Credit to Expressive Stock
Lucas O’Leary didn’t often question why his life always seemed to fall into place just right. He was satisfied with the outcome, after all, and it wasn’t like he didn’t work hard and give it everything he had. Just because everyone called him Lucky, didn’t mean luck really handed him everything.
But sometimes, like tonight, part of him felt a little guilty.
guess. Pancakes, a side of bacon, and
His waitress didn’t even pull out her pad. He’d also never seen anyone so bored.
She seemed like a robot tonight.
Or maybe a zombie.
“Long night, Liz?”
“Working a double.”
“That’s the third one this week.” God, she was only a year younger than him, but she looked closer to twenty-eight than eighteen tonight.
She pulled the towel off her shoulder and dried the ancient Formica table next to him. “Don’t you think it’s kind of sad that you know so much about your waitress? I mean, you’re some kind of soccer god at the U. Shouldn’t you
at a toga party or something?”
“I have to keep up my grades or lose my scholarship.” And if he stayed home, he’d know a lot about beer bongs and
and nothing about Chemistry 101. It probably wouldn’t have been any better if he lived in the dorms, but sharing a house with six teammates was proving to be more of a challenge than he anticipated. Luckily,
Diner was open all night and they served breakfast 24/7.
He watched her behind the counter, filling sugar bottles while she waited for his order. It wasn’t fair. She was just a kid. High school classes hadn’t started yet, even though his college ones had. She should be out with her friends, living up the last few weeks of summer vacation. Lord knows that’s what he always did.
“When school starts, who’s going to serve my breakfast every night?” Lucky asked when she set down his dinner.
“Oh, it’ll still be me. I just won’t be here during the day.”
“You work too hard.”
She rolled her eyes and set his bill on the table. “You’re too retarded to be a soccer god.”
She always made him laugh. She reminded him of his sister in a lot of ways.
Smart, sometimes too smart, and lots of sharp edges.
Not his type, though. He liked girls with rounder edges.
Soft, round edges, preferably in the C range.
Which made him think of Becky, the girl that sat across from him in
Now she was definitely his type. Becky was sunshine and bubble gum. Liz…well, Liz was like a thunderstorm and gummy worms. Maybe if she did something with her hair or make-up or whatever it was that girls did, she’d hook a guy.
But he liked her.
An hour later, a table of four scruffy guys came in. Lucky sent her a look of commiseration. For one thing, they’d been drinking. He’d seen enough
assholes in the restaurant to know that they usually made her life miserable. And it made it hard for him to study.
One of them was particularly obnoxious. He kept asking what time she got off work…did she need a ride… When he asked if she swallowed, Lucky couldn’t take anymore. He got up and started clearing their table, handing plates to Liz.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“We’re not done eating, preppy,” said the asshole.
“Oh, you’re done all right. Pay and leave.”
The jerk stood up.
He had the asshole on the ground with his arms behind his back in five seconds.
Did I ever tell you I wrestle too?”
“What about that I taught self-defense classes twice a week at the Y back home?” he asked.
You’re an all around sporty guy, soccer god.”
“My mom and my sister could take this guy down. I’ll teach you sometime too.” He backed off the weasel.
Lucky hoped it would end there. He probably couldn’t take all four. Okay, he definitely couldn’t take on all four. Unless they stood in line and took turns.
Thankfully, the morons left quietly. They weren’t afraid of him as much as they were bored. They forgot to tip of course, but at least there wasn’t a big scene. Still, he didn’t feel it was safe to leave Liz alone. The cook never even came out of the kitchen. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn’t been there.
“That was pretty dumb,” she said.
“Yeah, he was.”
“I was talking about you, dreamboat.”
“Excuse me?” Lucky hadn’t expected her to
“my hero” at him, but insulting him was rude. “I saved your ass.”
“You provoked them. Plus you jilted me out of my tip.”
“You know, you shouldn’t work by yourself this late. And it’s not my fault they were jerks. You could thank me.”
“For making things worse and making sure I lost a tip. I really appreciate it, soccer god.”
“Liz, you are a real—”
“That wasn’t the B word I was going for.”
“That’s my name, genius.
My real name.
Liz is my waitress name.”
Lucky wasn’t always clear on
, but he thought she was trying to tell him something important. So he shut up. Because that is what smart guys do when a girl is winding up
about something important. If you interrupt with what you think might be a reasonable question like,
all waitresses have pen names?
She will shut down and say,
word is the kiss of death to any make-out session you’d been hoping to have later that night.
At all costs, when it comes to girls, avoid being told
Even if you weren’t planning on kissing them.
It’s just good sense.
“When I’m not here, I go by Beth. It’s kind of dumb, really.” She gestured to the baggy polyester dress she wore. “I just don’t want this to be who I am. So, when I’m slinging hash, I’m Liz. But my family and my friends…they call me Beth.”
Lucky wasn’t dense. She’d never thank him for playing the hero because she wanted to believe she didn’t need one. But sharing her real name meant she didn’t just think of him as some clown who ate pancakes every night.
And so they became friends.
* * *
Beth Anderson wished she were a lesbian.
So many things would make more sense.
If she were into girls, she’d have a niche, a label, something that wrapped up all the things that made her different and put a rainbow-colored bow on her life. She already had the right wardrobe, for God’s sake.
It was just a shame, really.
Most of the time, she was completely asexual anyway.
Most of the time.
human and she
have hormones, and when those hormones got busy they were usually fueled by Channing Tatum and sometimes, to her dismay, the smell of the cologne they sprayed on the clothes at Hollister in the mall.
Moving to a college town didn’t help Beth’s confusion much. She’d just finish talking herself into thinking the entire male species needed to go back to the primordial swamp when a really cute one would walk by and she’d get hot flashes. And in a college town, there were really cute ones everywhere.
All the time.
And she could look all she wanted, but they would never look back.
You see, that was the other thing.
Beth wasn’t pretty. Not even a little bit. Part of it was her messy hair. A real lesbian would have chopped it off into to an easy to manage butch crew cut. Alas, life wasn’t that simple.
The messy hair, while being annoying and hard to manage, was a curtain. It hid things. Things like scars. Scars from surgeries that almost, but not quite made her normal.
She was lucky, they used to say. A lot of babies born with hemifacial microsamia had more distinct deformities. It was a stupid thing to say to a child. Lucky people won lotteries. Lucky people catch all green lights on their way through town. Lucky people don’t have facial deformities—less distinct or otherwise.
Yes. She escaped the kidney and heart problems that plague some patients with the birth defect. And yes, the surgeons did fix her jaw.
But looking at her face straight-on was usually an uncomfortable experience for most people. For instance, her father, who took off when she was two and was never heard from
Beth did her best to proffer the right side of her profile whenever possible. She had to keep her hair in a braid at work, but she pulled it to the side instead of behind. She often held her neck at an angle, tilting her cheek towards her shoulder.
Anything to soften the effect of asymmetry.
She hated starting senior year in a new place with a whole new cast of characters to affront with her abnormality.
“Earth to Beth.”
She blinked several times until she realized Lucky was standing at the counter. “Sorry for the
. Is something wrong with your table?”