Kiss and Make-Up

Nick Gaskins Kiss and Make-up

“Seriously you’re never going to let that shit go are you? Every time we have even the slightest argument you have to bring that anniversary up don’t you? It was one time; it’s not as if it doesn’t come around every year for Christ’s sake.” Greg threw his crumpled napkin to the table and leaned back on his side of the little booth he shared with his girlfriend Rita. He looked up towards the low hanging light fixture above their heads and blew his bangs out of his face. Rita gave an exasperated sigh and sipped her water, she knew his mannerisms like the back of her hand and when he blew his hair out of the way instead of tossing it she knew he was in wrap-up mode. The argument was reaching its end game. Normally this would be good news for both of them because their fights had been getting so long and frequent lately. It felt as though they had spent more time fighting then talking for the last couple of months and the whole process left her feeling emotionally drained. The problem was they were both so concerned with being right and getting the last word that they had forgotten what was really important in their relationship. Rita knew she had dealt one of her trademark low-blows by bringing up the time Greg missed their anniversary last year. It had really upset her, not so much that he had forgot but his attitude about the fact he forgot. Apparently it wasn’t as big a deal to him as it was to her. “Well since it comes around every year and it’s so unimportant, why don’t we just stop celebrating it then.” Rita said, a tad more shrilly than she had planned. “If that’s what you want, then whatever.” Greg replied, knowing full well that his apathy was hurting her more than anything. When his response was greeted with a dark look he added

“What, did you expect me to freak out like you do over bullshit like that? Sorry but I’m a little too rational for that sort of thing.” Rita drew her head back as if dodging a slap. “Are you calling me irrational? Am I not a leveled-headed person because I think that our anniversary is meaningful enough to remember the date?!” Her voice began to rise, drawing attention from the people sitting in the booths around them. A nearby waitress looked up from her table and accidentally spilled iced tea into a child’s lap, causing both him and his mother to yelp simultaneously. Greg glanced around at the audience his angered girlfriend was gathering and made slight flagging motions with his hands as if to say “There is nothing to see here.” He blew his hair out of his face again and noted with distaste that Rita had left a dark red lipstick smudge on the edge of her glass. Stuff like that drove Greg nuts, he had addressed the issue before, over one of their first dinners as a couple living together. She had looked at him like he had just told her he wanted to adopt a baby giraffe, although she agreed to wear a smear-proof brand from then on. Now here she was, arguing with him over something as ridiculous as forgetting a date when she had gone against her promise to stop smudging up glasses with her Goddamned lipstick. “Well at least when I say I’m going to do something I do it.” Greg interjected, cutting Rita off midsentence. “What the hell are you talking about? When have I ever gone back on my word?” demanded Rita, who was shocked that he would even try to accuse her of such a thing. “Oh isn’t that just typical, you can’t even recall what you are in the wrong about and yet somehow you feel justified in taking a shot at me with the whole anniversary thing.” Greg replied coolly, knowing he had the upper hand. “I’m talking about that awful smear you leave on all of your drinking glasses; you know that shit drives me up the wall.”

Nick Gaskins Check and mate he thought to himself as he raised his hand to signal the waitress. Rita shook her head so violently her curly brown hair veiled her face for a second before she yelled “That’s what you are talking about?! Your little pet peeve? My God could you be more neurotic you drama queen?!” She actually chuckled as she reached for her purse and added “And you called me irrational... what a hypocrite.” Now it was Greg’s turn to recoil as he felt himself beginning to lose his temper. “Little ‘pet peeve’?!” He shouted, his face flushing as he realized how loud he was. “You’ve got to be kidding, you know how much it bothers me when you do that, we’ve discussed this before.” He tried to regain his composure as the waitress approached. “Don’t try to equate my annoyance with your stupid habit to you getting all pissy over some missed day.” He remarked in a steadier voice, feeling confident that he had countered her argument once again. The waitress had arrived at their booth and looked at the two of them coolly over her horn-rimmed glasses. She tossed her blonde locks and cocked her head impatiently as the couple ignored her and kept on arguing. “Some missed day?” She said as she finished reapplying her lipstick. “Well I suppose you just can’t understand how that made me feel. I guess the only thing I can do is show you.” She calmly put her compact and lipstick back in her purse as Greg began to laugh. “And just how do you plan to show me exactly?” He snorted. “It’s not as if you- hey what are you doing?” he asked as Rita quick reached across the table and grabbed his glass. In one swift motion she brought his drinking glass up to her freshly made up lips and took a long sip, rotating the glass so it left a dark smudge all the way around the edge. The observing waitress put a hand to her own pink mouth to stifle a giggle at the spectacle. Greg stared at Rita in disbelief for a few seconds, his shaggy black bangs framing the smoldering look in his eyes before he smacked the glass out of her hand and screamed

“I WASN’T EVEN DONE WITH THAT YOU BITCH!” Completely livid, he stood up and paused to straighten his sport jacket. He took a quick glance around the room at all the patrons whose eyes were now glued to him. He looked back at Rita who was still stunned at his outburst, and then he looked at the young waitress who was almost equally shocked. Might as well go out with a bang; give the crowd something to talk about other than me flipping out he thought. With a quick flourish he dipped the young waitress, causing her to drop her note pad and pen, and kissed her passionately on the lips. Ignoring the gasps from the crowd and the cry of protest from Rita, he let the waitress go and spun back around to the booth, towering over his girlfriend. “I guess since smeared lipstick isn’t a big deal you won’t mind if a bit of hers is smudged across my lips, eh smartass? It isn’t so damned funny now is it?!” With a sense of satisfaction he turned away from Rita, produced a large bill from his wallet and a business card with his home phone number on it and pressed both into the shaken waitress’ hand. “Keep the change... Karen” He said, leaning forward to inspect her name tag. Still completely taken aback by the strange customer she could hardly react. “Th-Thanks...” she stammered as she watched him stride toward the exit. “What um... is the card for?” she asked the back of his jacket. Greg stopped and looked back, first at her, than directly at Rita who was sobbing silently into her hands in the booth. Then he smiled at Karen and tossed his bangs out of his face. “Consider that part of the tip, give me a call sometime.” He said, and without a second glance at Rita he sauntered out of the restaurant with a very smug look on his face. I won he thought triumphantly. I finally won this time. He rolled the events of the last five minutes around in his mind, savoring the moment. He couldn’t wait to tell the guys at the office what he

Nick Gaskins had done. He reached into his pocket for his car keys, but all he came up with was a receipt and some loose change. Puzzled, he checked the rest of his pockets, and suddenly a feeling of dismay washed over him. He realized the keys were in Rita’s purse.

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