Yed "Bo Diddley" plays over the bowling alley speakers as Yed lingers outside the front door, staring into his reflection mouthing words nervously and holding a bouquet of flowers.
Yed "Come on, Yed! Guys do this all the time. Come on!" Yed undoes the top button on his shirt.
Yed closes his eyes and breathes deeply. "Hey, Jenny. Hey, Jenny. Hey! Jenny! Hi, Jen."
Yed opens his eyes, re-buttons the top button, and steps inside as "Bo Diddley" comes to a finish.
Jenny Jenny is at the snack counter, doing a last clear-up before her break. Her manager is also there.
Yed "Moondance" begins to play as Yed approaches the snack bar.
Yed "Hi, Jenny!" Yed says from a distance.
Jenny Jenny looks up, blinks, and then smiles at Yed. "Oh my... hi Yed. Are those.. for me?"
Yed "No! They're...."
Yed "I can't think of anything clever."
Yed "Yes. Are they too much?" Yed looks embarassed.
Jenny "Well, now aren't you the gentleman. They're lovely, Yed." She takes the bouquet. "I'm about done here, so how about we go across the road to Beans and Things?"
Yed "Yeah, sure, whenever. Um, wherever."
Yed "... I think that's a song."
Yed "Ignore me."
Jenny Jenny's manager, a balding man in his early forties, looks Yed over with amusement. "Well, you two have fun on your date! And don't you hurry back, you hear?" He winks at Jenny.
Yed clears his throat. "I'll, um, wait over there."
Jenny Jenny scowls at him, but only for a moment.
Yed "Haha!" Yed looks confused.
Jenny "No, Yed, I can come now." says Jenny. She pulls on a jacket from under the counter, wlaks out from behind it, and offers Yed an arm, the flowers tucked under the other. "Shall we?"
Yed "Nothing Compares 2 U" begins as Yed takes her arm nervously.
Yed "Let's?" says Yed. "Um, let's."
Jenny Beans and Things is warm and at this time in the evening, relatively quiet. Yed and Jenny install themselves in a booth, near the window facing out onto the street.
Yed "I've never really been to a coffee place before. Sorry."
Yed "If you don't like hot chocolate, I can go get you something else."
Jenny "Oh, no, Yed, this is fine." She smiles. "Now look at you all dressed up. That's a lovely shirt on you."
Yed "Thanks! It's new."
Yed "I also like your shirt. Blouse. Top."
Yed clears his throat, then looks up likes he's trying to remember something.
Jenny "Oh? This? I always wear this for work."
Yed "It's nice."
Yed "So. How have you been?"
Jenny "Very well, thank you." She takes a sip of hot chocolate. "I've had a long day's work, but it's just me and Curtis on shift tonight so I'm glad of the company."
Jenny "How are you, Yed?"
Yed "Good. Long day. Guitar, mall, broke up a fight. Got invited to a party."
Yed "Which is like, four things more than have ever happened to me in a single week for the past couple years."
Yed The coffee place's sound system begins to play Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary".
Jenny "i'm sure that's not true, Yed. I'm sure you lead a very interesting life."
Jenny "Was the fight how you got that.. cut?" She sounds concerned.
Yed "Um, actually," Yed says, lightly touching his face, "this was the guitar. A string popped while I was tuning it."
Jenny "Oh! Well, you poor thing. I'm sure it'll heal."
Yed "But, um, after that I broke up the fight using the guitar and a handful of paperclips."
Yed clears his throat.
Yed "That was a lie. A joke."
Yed "Yeah, it didn't bleed much."
Jenny Jenny blinks. "Oh! A joke." She smiles. "I'm sorry, Yed, I'm a little tired."
Jenny She takes a meditative sip of her hot chocolate, puts it down, and then take a deep breath. "Yed..." she begins.
Yed Yed's eyes get wide and he takes a very prolonged sip of hot chocolate to hide his face.
Jenny "Yed, you know I like you a lot, right? We chat when you come in to bowl, we're good friends. Yes?"
Yed "Um, yes."
Yed "Should I not come to the bowling alley anymore? I can go to the one downtown."
Yed "I mean, there's no reason... I don't know."
Jenny "Oh, no, Yed, no! Please don't do that..." She reaches out a hand to one of his.
Yed freezes up at the female contact.
Jenny "Yed, I really enjoy spending time with you. You brighten my day at work. And You're a wonderful person, you really are. You're going to make a girl very happy one day."
Jenny "But that girl can't be me, Yed. I'm twenty-five. My life is... well, it's in such a different place to yours right now."
Yed "I can be in a different place."
Yed "I can, um, be twenty-five."
Jenny She smiles.
Jenny "Do you understand, Yed? I do treasure our friendship. I don't want this to ruin that."
Jenny She squeezes his hand, gently.
Yed "It's not going to be that easy, Jenny." Yed gets a grim look on his face.
Yed Yed laughs. "You're gonna owe me some chili fries."
Jenny Jenny looks crestfallen for a moment, but then smiles. "Alright then, Pins, some chilli fries on me."
Yed "No offense, okay?"
Jenny "No offense about what?"
Yed "I guess I haven't really been worried about this. About you."
Yed "I've just been panicking all day about THE date."
Yed "Seriously, can I get you something other than hot chocolate?"
Jenny "No, I'm coming to rather like it." She smiles at him, broadly this time.
Yed Yed freezes again. "Don't turn around."
Yed "Can we go? Like, now?"
Jenny "Well, sure, hon..." Jenny turns her head slightly. "What is it, a spider or something?"
Yed "It's Sergeant Parks. The military school guy."
Yed picks up his drink and helps Jenny out of the booth. "Last time he was here, he took my cousin away for a couple years, almost got me too."
Yed Hiding behind Jenny as they walk out, he whispers, "I don't know what he's doing here, but I don't want to stick around. I'll walk you back."
Jenny "Oh...." Jenny looks rather unsettled by this turn of events. "Well, let's go, then..."
Yed holds the door open for her. "Sorry about this. I'll explain later if you want."
Jenny They cross the street rather hurriedly.
Jenny Back inside the alley, Jenny turns to Yed, a look of concern on her face. "So, Yed... are we ok?"
Yed "Yeah, it's just... Egh."
Jenny "Egh?" She frowns. "I didn't want to upset you..."
Yed "That guy is one part intense, one part bad news, and two parts crazy."
Yed "You're fine, really. We're okay. I'm just a little freaked out."
Jenny "Oh. Ok. Well, I'm sure he wouldn't do anything in public, Yed..."
Yed "And if that guy's in town, someone's parents have been making some phone calls."
Jenny She looks at him, face full of concern.
Yed "He's not gonna like, punch me or anything. But if he even remembers me, you can bet he'll go have another chat with my dad."
Yed "Who knows who he's actually here for." Yed sits down on a stool and rests his head on the snack bar counter.
Jenny Jenny gets back behind the counter. "How about those chilli fries, hmm?"
Yed Yed groans. "Not tonight. Thanks."