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Just One Corner Store

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It's just a little crush; just a little smile. He's seen a million clerks, whatever. This one though, this one feels different. He's short, pale, (incredibly hot), shy and sweet. The light to Pete's dark, he thinks. If Pete feels this way, why is this guy so hard to talk to? 


"Shut the fuck up, I'm not going to harass a random employee, you know, that is so unlike me to do something like that." Pete argues to his band-mate Joe.


"The reason we even get gigs, is because you go and harass random people! Didn't you see that little smile he gave you, I mean, come on, you only went on about it for an hour yesterday," Joe peeks out of the aisle in Walgreens that the two are currently hiding in. "No one's over there right now, grow a pair and talk to him, I want my Raisinets."


"Fine, we'll check out, I'm not gonna talk to him today though, next time." Pete gets a chill down his spine, throughout the whole thought of talking to that clerk. They check out and Pete says nothing, and can't even bring himself to look at the kid. He doesn't even know his name. I don't know what he's doing to me, but I like it.


"You are such a pussy." Joe states as they walk out the door, headed to the van.


"You've been shy around girls you like before, Trohman." Pete mutters.


"Not really, the older ladies love me, they walk up to me. And you're the most outgoing loud dick I know, how can you not talk to him." 


"I'll talk to him, just give me a couple days."


"Yeah, sure."


~~~~~~


It's 3 a.m. and Pete's crashing on Joe's bedroom floor for the night. Insomnia is getting the best of him tonight. He mulls over the day; that fucking guy popping into his head at the end of every thought. Pete barely has a image to remember. It was one glance could change it all, and he got just that, couldn't bring himself for another one, though. But it's not like that, it's like when you see something so alluring you can't look at it: almost as if it's embarrassing, but it's not. You want more, you just need the privacy to take in that image or person you saw, like a look is too intimate to share.


"Joe," Pete whispers, reaching up to poke his friend in the arm. "Joe, wake up,"


"Go the fuck to sleep." Joe grunts out, Pete narrows his eyes at him.


"I want to go to Walgreens, right now." Pete reaches up from the floor to turn the lamp from the nightstand on.


"Are you kidding me?" Joe's voice muffled from the pillow he threw over his face.


"I can't stop thinking about him."


"You can drive, Jesus Christ. He's probably not there at this hour if it's even open."


"I looked it up and it's open 24/7. I just wanted to know if you wanted to come?"


"Why the fuck would I want to go for a twenty minutes drive at 3 a.m. so you can stalk a clerk that you're in love with?" Joe turns off the light. Pete giggles and grabs a jacket before sneaking through Joe's house as if someone else is in there.
 

Pete fires up the engine and pulls out of the driveway. As he drives he thinks of what he'll say to him. Hi? I'm Pete, I think you're cute and I was absolutely wonder-struck by the mystery of you? He tries to push all the insecurities of what might go wrong; this is one of the rare times where his first impression really matters to him.


Pete pulls into the parking lot. Palms already sweaty like he's a teenager again, and out of that fear of turning into a teenager again, he clears his throat and acts like this isn't the most terrifying experience he's had since breaking his ankle jumping off a set of amps. Pete stops just before heading inside, praying that his Mystery Boy is there.


Pete's heart sinks when he sees that it isn't the one he is looking for. He tries to not look too suspicious stalking through all the aisles at 3 a.m. with a jacket and the hood up, seeking out that guy. No one else is in the store at the moment; he heads back to the front, digging through the blurry trunk of his memory for the days he has seen him working.


"Can I help you?" Pete snaps out of that search, suddenly aware that there are more people in the world than that guy and himself. The red-haired clerk at the front peering up from his comic book, eyeing him skeptically. "You're being really weird, and I don't want to hit the button under the counter if you get weirder." 


"Oh, sorry, I was just looking for someone that works here, guess I came at the wrong time." Pete walks almost out the door before the tattooed man calls for him.


"Wait, do you have a name?"


"I'm Pete,"


"No not you, who you're looking for?"


"I don't know his name. He's about my height; really pale; blondish hair." Pete reads the name tag on the clerk--Andy--as he seems to be deciding if he knows who Pete's talking about.


"Hmmmm," Andy turns to the computer to his left, clicking away on the mouse. Pete leans, attempting a look at the screen, but it's too far in the corner to see anything. "I think you're talking about Patrick, he just started working here about a couple months ago. I can't turn the screen, but here's his picture." Pete goes through the waist height door to behind the counter for a look.


"Yeah, that's him." Pete's face lights up at the image. Patrick. Pete and Patrick. Patrick Wentz. Perfect.


"What did you want with him?"


"Just to talk or something. When does he work again?" Andy scrolls down the screen.


"Let me email you his schedule." Pete gives out his email address to Andy, watching with almost evident impatiences as the email gets sent.


"Thank you so much, and sorry for being so weird, there was just something about him." Andy shrugs.


"I've seen weirder at this hour." Pete chuckles, slightly relieved, but if he got down to the point, he be telling himself that this is probably the biggest creep thing he's ever done. And that's almost true. Pete thanks him again before walking out to the car, checking his email. Two days from now, he can go back and the guy--Patrick, will be there in the evening.


~~~~~~


"Now is the moment I've been waiting for." Pete says giddily, sitting in the van, again, with Joe as the driver. Pete scrawls out his cell number on a piece of paper ahead of time.


"You going in, or just gonna doodle?" Joe pokes Pete in the arm.


"I'm putting down my phone number, not doodling." Pete folds the paper, unfolds it, puts it in his pocket, takes it back out.


"Go in there, or I'm going to kick you out and drive away." Pete skips the tracks from the CD that's in, going to What's My Age Again? 


"One song and I'm going in." 


"Are you being funny, with the 'nobody likes you when you're 23'? Because you better not get all mopey on me before you even go in."


"Ssshh." After the song ends, Joe gets out and opens Pete's door, to pull him out of the car, Pete giggling the whole time."I'm going, Jesus Christ." Pete gives Joe the finger just before entering. 


"Patrick here?" He asks Andy at the front desk.


"Somewhere on the floor, you should find him easily." Pete goes out to check through the store as he did a couple of days ago. He finds him stocking the selves with notepads, humming a song he can't quite make out. 


Pete walks through an aisle and a half without getting spotted. "Uh, hey, I'm Pete, I'm not sure if Andy told you, but I was the one looking for you." Patrick looks over at him, Pete loses his train of thought when he stares straight into those jade eyes. Pete suddenly gets this strong feeling like he's being pulled in by a magnet, and all he wants is to hug Patrick. Shit, get a grip on yourself.


"Hi." Patrick smiles at him, his shyness being very plain to see in this moment.


"I know this is really weird--and people definitely don't do this anymore--but well, here's my number," Pete gives out the paper, Patrick accepts it with little hesitation.


"Alright. I'm Patrick, by the way." Patrick tells him, quietly, blushing at Pete, Patrick trying his best to hide the flattery that he's isn't used to.  "I have to get back to work." He gestures at the cart filled with notepads and other items to be stocked. 


"Yeah. So, uh, call me or text, or something." Pete stammers out. Patrick nods his head before Pete walks out, doing his best to walk out normal, mouthing thank you to Andy. Pete's grin finally gets the chance to take over his face, he thumbs up at Joe as he approaches the car.


"His fucking eyes!" Pete announces, slamming the door to the passengers side of the van. "They were so fucking green,"


"I assume it went well?"


"Fuck yeah, I think so, I don't know. Maybe he'll call or something, hopefully." Pete's eyes get glassy from smiling so hard.


"Oh God, don't cry, again." Joe sighs after looking over at him.


"I'm not crying," Pete clarifies. "I'm apparently allergic to perfection that close to me."


Joe scoffs. "You're so in love."


"I don't think I can deny that." Joe pulls out of the parking lot. Pete's phone makes a loud noise for the text message.


Hi, Pete. - Patrick


hey - Pete