Shane climbed the stairs up to the sortation floor, taking advantage of being out of sight for a while to relax since he was at a slow, tedious point of the day. He couldn't resist a quick glance toward Grace's computer station when he hit the top. He'd hardly ever seen her until she bid into the operator job, and wondered how in the hell he'd missed her in the couple of years she'd worked in the warehouse.
Good timing, he thought as he caught sight of her.
She was bent over, looking at the label printer, showing off her incredible ass in a pair of tight jeans. When she stood up, he caught a glimpse of cleavage through the neckline of her sweater. The material stretched over the large, golden brown globes, which seemed ready to bust free at any moment.
She pushed a few strands of midnight hair out of her eyes and muttered, "Damn."
"Can't get it to print," she called back, making an exaggerated gesture of irritation at the printer.
He headed toward her station. "Maybe somebody else changed the printer while you were on break, or it booted back up under somebody else's login. You have to back all the way out to get it to reset, but there's a trick to print the one you need now, if that's what it is. Which one do you need?"
She pointed at the screen and he right-clicked it, bringing up a menu.
"The right-click menu overrides the default. When you print from there, you'll have to choose the printer every time. You can set it to this one, and then back all the way out to set a new default when you've got some time." He printed the tag and bent over to pull it off the printer.
"No problem." He turned to leave, but she grabbed his arm.
In a rush and under her breath, she said, "Hang on. Don't leave."
Shane turned to see someone coming up the stairs. Neil was a crewleader down on the floor, and thought he was god's gift to women. Even out of the corner of his eye, Shane could tell Neil wasn't amused that someone was at Grace's station.
"Whew," Grace sighed as the other man wandered off across the sortation floor toward a mezzanine. "That asshole creeps me out. Always staring at my tits and trying to touch me and shit."
"Doesn't take a hint, either. Jill had to report him before he left her alone."
"He keeps that shit up and I'm gonna report his ass too."
"Grab the phone and act like you're talking to one of the other pre-sorts whenever he comes up," Shane suggested.
She smiled. "Good idea."
"Well, I'm going to go check with Jill and see whether there's any hope of the East module getting its act together."
"I hope not, or you're gonna catch my ass."
He laughed and headed across the floor, thinking, I'd love to catch your ass - and everything else, too. Then he sighed and shook his head. Wishful thinking, white boy.
Another day at the salt mines over, Shane headed for the door. Having snuck out a little early, he was walking out at the same time as Grace. She nodded as they both left their lockers. "That phone thing worked. He came back after you left, and that got rid of him."
"Good. Now, if he'd only fall down the stairs..."
Grace let out a laugh. "Oh, damn, I'd love that."
"See you tomorrow."
"Yeah," she answered, and headed toward her boyfriend's car.
Shane flagged down another coworker to exchange cell numbers, as the company had a bad habit of delaying start-up, and the only reliable way of finding out short of showing up was for everyone to call everyone else they knew. It had happened again this morning, leaving a lot of people sitting around off the clock.
Once he started across the main drive toward his car, a horn sounded. When he turned to look that way, Grace's boyfriend leaned his head out the window and yelled, "Get the fuck out the way, cracker!"
"You hadn't even moved yet, asshole," he muttered. The car's engine revved and it flew past him when he was barely out of the way. He wondered, What the hell does she see in that fuckhead?
Shaking his head and wondering why all the hot girls were with arrogant douchebags, he headed to his car, and to home.
The next day was the same old grind, but fortunately, it was the last one before the weekend. Shane headed home with no plans, figuring that he'd just watch the tube and goof around on the internet. The weather was too cold to make leaving the house a welcome prospect. He wasn't ready to deal with the whole bar scene anyway, having just dumped his girlfriend when he caught her cheating on him a month before. Knowing his luck, she would be at whatever bar he went to, making it even worse.
Along about midnight, he got an urge to have a beer or two while watching a comedy show he'd recorded. The problem was that his mental tally of how many he'd consumed in the previous week was off, and only a lone brown bottle greeted him when he opened the fridge.
So, it was off to the convenience store.
With two cold six-packs sitting in the passenger seat, along with a few snacks, he headed for home. Much to his bewilderment, his headlights shined on someone walking alongside of the road. As cold as it was, she - he could tell it was a woman as he drew closer - had to be nuts.
Once close enough, he thought he recognized her, and slowed down. Sure enough, as he pulled up next to her, there was no doubt that it was Grace walking along the road in the freezing cold after midnight. He pulled to a stop a little ahead of her, but she stopped walking.
Realizing she had no idea who he was, he rolled down the passenger window and yelled, "Hey, you need a ride, Grace?"
She hurried up to the door and said, "Damn. Scared the fuck straight out of me. Didn't know it was you."
"Get in. It's too cold to be walking anywhere."
She opened the door and he quickly moved everything out of the passenger seat so she could slide in. Once she settled into the seat, she shivered violently from the sudden change in temperature.
He turned up the heat and put the car back in gear. "Where you headed?"
"Home. You know where the Crestview Apartments at?"
"Sure. No problem."
She sounded a little distant, and the look on her face bespoke more than just a walk through the cold. "You okay?"
"Hell no." She sighed.
"Nah, it's okay. Not mad 'cause you asked."
"If you don't want to talk about it, that's cool."
"Oh, I want to scream about it." She let out a disgusted sounding hmph. "That mother-fucker Jaymal started doing blow again and I bet he's fucking around on me. Knew he hadn't changed."
Recognizing the name of her boyfriend, Shane winced on her behalf. "Damn..."
"Tossed my drink straight up in his face when he walked out of the bathroom with powder under his nose. Big man acted like he was gonna slap me, but I smacked his ass first."
"At least you found out before it got any worse."
"And I ain't making that damn mistake again." She shook her head and looked over at him. "You don't wanna hear all this shit."
"Nah, it's all right. Kinda like hearing about him getting slapped."
She chuckled and a hint of a smile crossed her face.
Shane turned down the road that led to her apartment building, and slowed down as he approached the drive into the parking lot. All of the sudden, Grace ducked down in the seat.
"Go on by. Go on by."
In the process of reaching for his turn signal, he let go of it and asked, "What?"
"That mother-fucker's car is there."
"Maybe you should call the police?"
She shook her head as she straightened in the seat again. "He ain't done nothing yet. Probably all crying and shit. Gonna beg me to take him back."
"So, what do you want to do? Somewhere else you can go?"
"I don't know. What you doing tonight?"
"Just sitting around watching TV."
"Want some company?"
Holy shit! Somehow, he kept the excitement out of his voice. "Sure, but the place is a mess."
"I don't care. Share some of that beer and I really won't give a damn."
He laughed. "Sounds like you need it worse than I do."
"So, where you stay at?"
"Just outside of town."
"Well, let's go. That beer's calling my name."
Shane tried to keep his imagination under control, but it was difficult. With her sitting in the passenger seat next to him, going to his place, it was hard not to fantasize about things unlikely to actually unfold. Even bundled up in a winter coat, she looked hot as hell.
He pulled up at the house he rented and grabbed the beer from the back seat. When he unlocked the door and let her in, she looked around for a second and said, "Hell, this ain't so bad. You had me thinking there would be pizza boxes and beer cans everywhere."
"Nah, just clutter."
Shane took off his coat and tossed it over the back of a chair. She did the same, revealing a fitted sweater that hugged her ample curves to incredible effect. Somehow, he kept his eyes in his head and passed her a beer before putting one down on the table for himself and taking the rest to the fridge.
"Hey, did you hear what that dumbass Ray did today?" Grace asked when he walked back in the room.
.... There is more of this story ...