"Here he comes, Lyla!" Wendy whispered as she brushed by on her way to the custard machine.
Lyla looked out the louvered windows to see his black BMW turn into the Kustard Korner parking lot. Her heart raced. She took a deep breath and side-stepped over to the small sink in the back of the ice cream stand. She washed her hands and straightened her bangs with wet fingers. She tugged on her apron so that the top portion pulled down a little bit and you could read "The Cult," which was splashed across the front of her t-shirt in white letters. She had cropped the sleeves and cut a v-neck into the shirt to better display her tan and her dainty cleavage. She bought this shirt on impulse. He had mentioned the band the last time he came to the custard stand and she hoped that wearing it and punking it out would get his attention.
When Lyla turned around to head back to the corner, she could see that a line had begun grown at the two sliding screen windows. As she stepped up to begin taking orders, the end of the line seemed to stretch out and redouble itself before her eyes. She felt like pouting and stomping her foot at the unfairness of it all. It will take forever to get through all these people and he might get in the wrong line!
"Can I help you?" she asked a mother who stood impatiently at the window, her two daughters telling her what they wanted at the same time. Lyla waited while they sorted out their order and stole a glance out of the corner of her eye. She could just see his car from where she stood and was delighted to watch the door open and one tanned leg land on the asphalt.
"We'll take two small vanilla cones...can you put faces and sprinkles on them?" the woman asked.
"Sure," she said tugging her eyes back to the woman. "Three dollars please."
The woman paid with a five and Lyla gave her the change. She hustled over to the custard machine to began filling the small cones with a tower of vanilla. She hit the lever and watched as the cold, creaminess slowly moved forth from the machine. She made small practiced circles to sculpture the coils one on top of the other and finished off with a flick to get a precious curly-q on top. She started the second one and flushed as she remembered the last time he was here. She couldn't stop watching him; the way he licked his cone was criminally sexy. She snapped her attention back to the machine to finish the second cone and headed over to the sprinkle station.
"Did you see him?" she asked Wendy.
"Not yet..." she said craning her neck towards the parking lot.
"Stop!" Lyla hissed. "We don't want to look like a couple of nerds! Be cool."
"Ok, ok," Wendy replied. "Sheesh, this used to be fun and I don't remember you ever worrying about being cool before."
Lyla gave her a look that would melt fudge. Wendy shrugged as Lyla finished making the faces on the cones and spun on her toe and headed back to the window.
"Two small face cones!" she shouted out and looked around as the mother made her way back to the windows. She couldn't see him yet. She handed the lady her cones and some napkins and began to chip away at the rest of the line. It was an endless list of custards, shakes, hot dogs, sloppy joes, and sodas. She and Wendy zipped around within the small confines of the ice cream stand. When it got busy like this, Wendy and Lyla always found a groove. This was their second summer at the Kustard Korner and they were veterans and moved like a unit. Their actions were cohesive and they had some kind of psychic link when it came to ice cream.
Wendy and Lyla high-fived each other when the last big order was finished. Lyla had forgotten about him in the fever of her work. They both turned back and started to head to their respective windows.
"Hey," he said.
Lyla looked up suddenly, her eyes bugged slightly as her heart fell on the floor. There he was before her, rugged and unshaven. His melon Izod pulled tight across his broad shoulders and his white bermudas wrapped his lower half like a present.
"Hey," she exhaled back. "What can I get you?"
"I'd like a medium twist and a face cone for Madison." he tilted his head toward his eight-year-old daughter standing next to him like a fine, cultured rose.
"Sure thing," she said. Wendy sensed the electricity and sent her last customer off. She hurried over to help Lyla.
"Well?!?" she demanded, "What did he say?!?"
"Yeah, and his order."
"Well, here," Wendy said as she took the small cone. "You give him the twist and I'll fix the face cone."
They worked quickly and Wendy handed her the small cone. Lyla took them to the window and didn't have to shout. He was watching her the whole time. She shivered and then leaned through the window to hand the girl her cone. Then she gave him his twist.
"Thanks," he said and smiled. His eyes dropped down to take a sneak a peak. "Hey!" he said, pointing, "The Cult! I saw them when I was in high school!"
"Yeah?" she said.
"Yeah," he replied, "I think I've got one of their CD'S in my car."
"Cool!" she said.
"Funny, I haven't thought about them in years and recently, they keep coming up. How do you know about them? I thought kids these days only cared about Lady Gaga."
"I've never heard of them before. I just liked this shirt." she said, trying to be casual. But she couldn't take her eyes away from his mouth as began to lick his twist. He started on the sides and worked his way around. Then he went in from the top and pressed his mouth into the curly-q, crushing it. She almost fainted right there on the spot.
"That's a shame. They're a really good band, especially when you're a teenager and full of angst."
Lyla giggled, then blushed. She had no idea what angst was, but it sounded dirty.
"Do you babysit?" he asked.
"Um, yeah," she stammered, thrown by his quick change of subject.
"My wife and I are going out tomorrow night and we need someone to hang out with Madison here," he turned toward his daughter and smiled. "I know it's short notice, but, if you're available..."
"Sure!" she said. "I'm here 'til six tomorrow."
"Ok," he said. "I'll pick you up then. We'll listen to the Cult on the way back to my house..." He paused and looked down at her nametag, then smiled, "...Lyla. I'm Jack, by the way."
"Nice to meet you," she said automatically and smiled.
"See you tomorow," he said.
"Bye..." she waved.