While Ginny ate her lunch (grilled cheese sandwich with fries on the side and, of course, a Coca-Cola), Rebecca cornered Melinda in the kitchen and begged her for information about the customer in booth four, the bright girl with the dark hair and eyes who called herself Ginny, short for Virginia.
“You’re acting like you’re in love, little girl,” Mel observed.
Rebecca laughed. “I think I might be. Please, Mel, what can you tell me?”
As it turned out, Melinda could tell her quite a lot. With the possible exception of Ginny’s own mother, the proprietor of The Rolling Bear Café knew Ginny better than anyone in town; maybe even better than Ginny knew herself. She gave Rebecca the details the love struck girl needed.
Virginia Jason was a local girl, in her mid to late twenties (Mel wouldn’t get any more specific than that), the daughter of Emma Jason. Emma owned and operated The Stall, where the guy Ginny had been living with for some months was employed.
“But don’t worry,” Mel reassured Rebecca, much as it pained her on behalf of Gordon, “Ginny hasn’t considered that relationship serious for a while.”
“So, she’s kind of single?”Rebecca laughed.
Mel nodded, “Exactly.”
Rebecca’s head and stomach were abuzz. It was a feeling she associated with guys, usually. She’d felt like this the few times she thought she was in love – darling Ricky, incorrigible Tony and, of course, poor, poor James. But it was much stronger now, a constant silver –blue thrill right through the middle of her at the thought of Ginny, dark and bright, currently eating a grilled cheese sandwich in booth 4.
“Is everything ok?” Rebecca approached the table with a question, using her duty as a good waitress to get another look at Virginia Jason, the girl who had, apparently, stolen her heart without even trying.
Ginny swallowed a mouthful of sandwich. “Best grilled cheese sandwich ever,” she said. And she meant it! In fact, she couldn’t remember anything ever tasting as good as this perfectly grilled sandwich, these fries crisped just the way she liked, this cola so cool and refreshing. “Really,” she continued. “This may be the best meal I’ve ever had.”
“Wow,” said Rebecca, and, “Great!” She was feeling so good at the moment that she had no reason to think Ginny might be exaggerating, which, of course, she wasn’t. “Let me know if you need anything else!”
They both smiled.
Ginny couldn’t resist the opening this beautiful blonde creature had provided. “Just to see you again,” she said.
Rebecca laughed, her cheeks flushing, that silver-blue thrill pulsing through her anew. “That’s easy,” she said, “but how about a refill on your Coke?”
Ginny placed a hand over her glass. “No thanks,” she said. “I’ve gotta’ pee as it is.”
Returning to the kitchen, Rebecca paused behind the door to catch her breath and collect her thoughts. She was smitten, without a doubt. Seriously. And with a woman! What would her uncle say!? Well, she reflected with a grin, he’d probably give his blessing! She decided to go with it, as if she wasn’t already racing along on the rushing waters of this strange new feeling. Alone there in the kitchen, she smiled. She wanted to know what came next.
Eleven minutes later she slipped the bill, face down, onto Ginny’s table. “I’ll see you at eight,” she said.
“I can only hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am.” Ginny smiled.
Rebecca tingled. She felt electric, certain that Ginny must see the sparks of light popping from her hands and face. “Maybe more,” she replied. Smiling shyly now, she slipped away from the table with Ginny’s empty plate.
Turning the bill over, Ginny found a small yellow Post-it stuck to the bottom. She laughed even before she read the words, printed in a neat and tiny hand on the small yellow rectangle, for she had a pack just this size in her pocket. The note, short and sweet, read:
I think I love you.
Her heart fluttering, Ginny removed the note, read it again. She felt the Earth spinning beneath her, just as it always had but different. Now she sensed a purpose in that mad rotation, a meaning previously unguessed. Reaching into her pack, a green army surplus bag with a couple of large pockets, she withdrew her journal. She flipped the brown, vellum bound book open and placed the note, now a precious thing, on the inside front cover, pressing firmly down upon the adhesive strip. She had no doubt that she was in love.
At the register, Melinda rang her up. Glimpsing Rebecca at work in the kitchen, Ginny asked, “So, who’s the new girl?”
Melinda smiled, knowing that she was witnessing the beginning of something beautiful and true. By the time Ginny had figured the tip (a little extra to be sure!), signed her name, and returned her debit card to her wallet, she knew as much about Mel’s new waitress as Mel did.
Her name was Rebecca Raine, 21 years old. She’d been in town less than a week, visiting from San Pia down south. She was staying with her “occasional boyfriend”, as Mel put it, James Hollowbroook. James, something of a loner, was a poet and musician. He sometimes played around town, on street corners or on stage at The Blue Room, just a few doors down from The Rolling Bear.
Rebecca seemed to be in a kind of in between state at the moment, Mel observed; unsure if she wanted to remain in town here with James, maybe even get her own place, or go back to her uncle in San Pia. Mel had given the girl a job on a temporary basis because she needed help, sure, but she’d fallen in love herself with Rebecca’s bright smile and flashing golden curls.
“Anyway,” Mel finished, “she’s off at eight, officially, but why don’t you come by a little early?”
“Bless you, Mel, I’ll be here at six!”
Melinda laughed softly. “How about 7:30,” she suggested. “And please, Gin, let Gordon down easy.” She looked into Ginny’s dark eyes. “You know he’s crazy about you.”
Ginny frowned, but only a moment. This new elation which moved her would not allow any sadness to linger. “I know,” she said. “And that’s gonna make letting him down easy impossible…”