Riley leans on the counter and hums along to the jukebox. It’s mid-afternoon and business is slow.* * * * * *
“Hello? Earth to Riley?” Fingers snap in her face.
“Huh?” Riley focuses her gaze on the new customer. “Oh. Evan,” she growls.
Evan turns his lip up at her. “Did you just growl at me? I’d like a seat, please.”
He sits at the bar on a stool.
“How did you know I work here?”
Riley slides him a plastic menu.
“I’d just like a Coke.”
She puts a full glass of Coke on a napkin in front of him.
Evan takes a sip and says, “I came here to talk about the album you’ll most likely record. I’d like to produce it.”
“Thanks, but no. I make it a point not to work with people like you.”
“And what exactly are people like me?”
“Arrogant. Conceited. Difficult. Judgmental.”
Evan looks amused. “I’m all of those things? And you call me judgmental? I could say the same about you. You don’t even know me.”
“You don’t know me either!” Riley retorts.
“I know enough to see you’re a spoiled brat.”
“I’m a what?”
“Spoiled brat or bitch, can’t quite decide.”
Riley tips his glass of Coke. It spills all over Evan’s pants.
He jumps from his seat, the stool clattering to the floor. “What the fuck?”
Big Mike sees the scenario from his office. “Riley Thomas!” he roars. “That’s it! You’re fired! For real!”
“Well worth it!” Riley flashes Evan a brilliant smile and stomps out of the restaurant.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Riley says the next day. She and Mark are standing in front of the men’s jeans display at the Gap. “Remind me why I’m doing this.”
“Because if you and Evan have bad relations we could get kicked off the tour,” Mark answers boredly.
“But it’s not like he can’t afford a new pair of jeans. Besides, he won’t wear them anyway. He’ll probably think I put a bomb in them or something.”
“I’ll be sure to check them first. Can you please pick something out?”
“Don’t be a grouch.” Riley spies a dark-colored pair of jeans in the corner. “Those are nice.” She starts for them and smacks into a plastic mannequin. “Fuck!”
Mark shakes his head and grabs the jeans. “If only you were as graceful offstage as you are onstage.”