Russell had had a crush on Alex since the first moment he’d walked into the coffee shop. There she was, behind the counter, smiling. Perfection personified.
He’d started going there, after school, more often. He had found out their rota, so he knew when she would be working. They chatted, of course, but never more than small talk.
He really liked her; she was pleasant enough back to him but… what if she was just doing her job? Being nice to the customers? Besides, what could she possibly see in him? Even *he* realised that he didn’t really fit in with his school-friends, and there had been a void since best-friend Joey had moved away, two years ago.
And so, he left it. Afraid of the rejection, he’d said nothing. For six months.
The issue was forced when he heard, through a co-worker, that Alex was leaving. She was the same age, and over the months Russell had learned that she was from a single-parent family, that there was not much spare cash floating about, and that she spent her every spare moment studying for some scholarship. She had simply found a better-paying job across town.
Russell flitted for two weeks. By the time of Alex’s last week, he had just about convinced himself that it was now or never. That if he did not say something now, that he would never get another chance. So what if she said no? Besides, if she said no, she’d soon be gone, he’d never need to agonise over her again.
At the end of her last day, Russell took his empty cup over to the counter, where Alex was wiping up. More small talk. An awkward pause. “Uhhh…. Alex?”, he began, “yeah?” came the smile back. Another pause. “I know you get really busy,”, he gave her a get out, “but, I was wondering…would you maybe like to hang out with me sometime? When you’re free?”
Alex stopped, froze. The hesitation was agony.
Then she broke into a wide smile once again. “I’d love that.”
On the way home, Russell was ten feet tall. Oh, yeah, I’ve hit the jackpot. *I’m* the King of the Jungle!