An Unexpected Hunger

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Authors: C. Rosa
closed door to Ricky’s office, wondering if he was watching me leave.

Chapter 9
The Beach
     
    THE NEW WAITRESS Ricky hired, Heidi, looked like she walked out of a music video. I pretended not to notice her annoyingly high pitched laugh every time Ricky made a joke, or every time she went out of her way to touch his arm. What did I care?
    The m oment she went on my shit list was when she called out last Sunday morning barely a week since she was hired. Ricky called me early, saying he would come by to pick me up, forcing me to cancel my beach day with Mia.
    Today, I hoped my plans didn’t fall through. I flinched every time my phone rang, hoping it wasn’t Ricky calling me into work on my day off. I waited for Mia on the porch steps, relieved to finally be able to spend a Sunday relaxing with my toes in the sand.
    “It’s nice to get away from the bar,” Mia said. She leaned back in her beach chair, digging her toes deeper into the wet sand.
    “I know…it smells so much better here.”
    We both laughed , and joked about the infamous aroma of food that we all came home smelling like.
    “So…how are you liking the job?” Mia asked.
    “I like it. You’re brother’s mood swings make me a little dizzy , but other than that…it’s good.”
    “I know it gets frustrating, but he means well. I tried to get him to go to therapy after mom died, but he refused. God knows he could of used it…especially after what my dad put him through.”
    “He told me what happened,” I said.
    “Really?” she asked, surprised. “I barely ever hear him talk about it…or mom for that matter.” Mia’s eyes drifted out towards the ocean, her face no longer maintaining the perma-smile she always had.
    “I couldn’t believe it when they took him away in hand cuffs. It didn’t seem real. And the worst part is my father just left him there…refused to help him in any way. Said something like, he got himself into this mess , blah, blah, bah.”
    “Well, ” I said. I wanted to say something encouraging. “He seems…better now.”
    Mia sighed. “I guess you could say that. He has his moments though…but nothing close to what happened that night. I hope I never have to see that again. My dad still treats him like shit…it makes me sick to my stomach.”
    I smirked , suddenly remembering a memory of Ricky. “I remembered one time, sophomore year, when he slammed Jimmy Sarrano in his locker for touching my ass in the hallway. I’ve never seen someone so scared in my life.”
    “Yeah,” Mia laughed. “He always did have a thing for you.”
    I darted my head in her direction, complete ly blind-sided by her comment. “Jimmy? He had a thing for everybody.”
    “No,” she said , smiling. “ Ricky .”
    “What?” I cried.
    “Come on,” she continued. “You had to have known.
    The breath was knocked out of me. I opened my mouth to speak, but all that came out were incomprehensible noises.
    “He had a crush on you all throughout middle school and high school. You were that one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day. He would never say so, but I could tell that he was devastated when you left for California.”
    “Are you -” I didn’t get to finish, as Nick and Ricky came shuffling through the sand.
    “Damn MiMi …you look hot in that bikini.” Nick leaned in, planting a peck on her lips.
    Nick and Ricky plopped on the sand. The sight of Ricky shirtless never got old, especially when he was in a good mood. Suddenly, I felt self-conscious wearing the bathing suit Mia lent me that was a size too small. I adjusted my top, trying to subtly stretch the material to cover more skin.
    I could feel Ricky’s eyes on me. When I looked up he gave me a shy grin.
    After his temper tantrum last week about Ethan, I prepared myself for a week of hell. Instead, he acted like I barely existed, and I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or disappointed.
    “Not babysitting the boob brigade at the bar?” I asked

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