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Sopistication and Sarcasm
I sweep my eyes again and again over the imposing entrance of the Duck Yacht Club. The arched entrance with brass doorknobs practically screams at me to get out of here because I don’t belong. The people here are perfect. I am not. I bet the numerous Daddy Warbucks and their botox-pumped wives can smell a little, ole common person like me from miles away. Then again, I, Kristy Gardner, am just a lowly waitress at the restaurant. I have to earn money for college somehow.
“Ah, I have to go in though,” I mutter to myself. “Even if it kills me.” I go inside and almost instantly, I feel like I should turn around and run back home, but I don’t. I always have to act dauntless, but it’ll kill me someday, I swear. I walk into the restaurant, and I remember the burgundy carpet and intricately carved, walnut woodwork from my interview. My waitress vest and skirt color matches the carpet, and underneath the vest, there’s a sapphire polo shirt. My brown hair is neatly pulled back into a ponytail.
“Gardner!” my boss calls me. I obediently go to him, the faithful, little wench I am, to receive my orders. He instructs me on what to do and I go do my job. I write down the specific kinds of chardonnay the customers want without a problem. They’re snobby and their little pug noses that always seem to be clear of bats are always turned up.
You mean nothing to us, they seem to tell me. We are perfect. You are not. I accept that fact and I keep on doing what I’m supposed to do. After four hours of taking orders from old, rich people with pug noses, there’s a peculiar sight, a young man about my age. I don’t go and serve him though. His table is another waitress’s responsibility.
“Hey, you with the brown hair!” the customer beckons. I know the other waitress is blonde so he must be talking to me. I walk over.
“Yes?” I ask, wanting so badly to sarcastically add, “your highness.”
“I think I dropped to my knees and practically begged you for the special today,” he says.
“That’s funny, because I don’t seem to recall you ever doing that,” I reply.
“You’re a little young to have Alzheimer’s,” he retorts. My mouth drops open in fury.
“I don’t have time to deal with spoiled, rich boys,” I snap. “So if you’ll excuse me, I will be on my way.” The boy chuckles, his blue eyes laughing as well.
“I like you, Kristy.”
“How-“ he points to my name tag and I feel like an idiot.
“I’m Hunter, by the way, Hunter Valentine.”
“Valentine? Isn’t that the name of the lady who owns this place?”
“Indeed it is,” Hunter tells me. “Now, come on outside with me.”
“I can’t just leave work,” I say.
“When does your shift end?”
“Six-thirty.” He points at the clock and it’s six-thirty-two. I sigh. I’m trapped. I can’t be mean to my boss’s son. “I’ll come outside with you.”
“Wonderful.” We step outside and Hunter speaks again, “So who are you?”
“Can you expand on that?” he asks me.
“Kristy Gardner?!” A girl shrieks from behind me. I inhale sharply and turn around, knowing that voice.
“Halley Hale,” I greet her. Why do the most popular girl at school and her clone friends have to torment me even at work?
“You belong here?” Halley asks me.
“Not exactly,” I tell her.
“I invited her here,” Hunter joins in the conversation. My eyes widen and I plaster on a fake smile. Why would he pretend to be my friend?
“You two are friends?” Halley exclaims, looking to me so I can say something.
“Oh yeah,” I say. “He’s the Butch to my Sundance, the Pooh to my Piglet, but most of all, the pain to my ass.” I look at Hunter and he narrows his eyes, but he’s still smiling.
“Feisty, isn’t she?” Hunter asks Halley and her bikini-clad friends.
“Oh yes, but I never thought she was respectable,” Halley giggles, staring at me.
“Aren’t I full of surprises, Halley? You, however, are predictable. You’re still a Barbie girl who thinks life in plastic is oh so fantastic,” I tell her. She frowns.
“You have absolutely no class, Kristy!” Halley shrieks. I roll my eyes and drag Hunter away from her. I want nothing to do with perfect Halley Hale and her photocopies for friends. He follows me to a secluded area near the docks.
“Okay, why would you defend me? You could have just let me admit that I am a lowly waitress and laugh at my misery,” I say.
“Because I like you, Kristy, and I can tell that you have more class in your pinky toe than those girls have in their entire bodies,” Hunter tells me. “In fact, I am giving you a chance to prove that what I think of you is correct. He pulls out a paper and says simply, “Be there,” and he walks away. I’m left alone by the docks and the setting sun. I don’t look at the paper until I get home. When I’m walking home, I think about Hunter. I don’t know him at all, but it seems as though he knows me. How did he know that Halley is as friendly as Harvey Two Face to me? How can he tell that I might have class? Why did he pick me to aggravate instead of the blonde waitress?
“Whatever,” I sigh and walk through the door of my grandmother’s small beach house. I live with my grandmother now because my parents died in a car accident when I was young. “If I have a stalker, at least, he’s cute,” I continue.
“What was that?” my grandmother asks. The woman is seventy, but she still has a bat’s ears.
“Nothing, Grandma, just muttering about my new job,” I tell her.
“Was it that bad?”
“It’s not terrible, just odd,” I reply. “The only terrible part is that Halley Hale and her clones will be there to torment me everyday.” My grandmother shows her face, wrinkled skin that’s thin as paper, red lips, and gray hair streaked with white.
“Remember what I always say, dear,” she says.
“Words are a weapon, but walking away wins the war,” I repeat her maxim that she tells me all the time. I agree with it, but do I follow it? Not really. Sarcasm is a great defense mechanism, and when I’m through with my victims, I leave them in the dust licking their wounds. Why walk away when I have sarcasm? My grandmother smiles approvingly. I grab a soda and a burrito that my grandmother made for me, and I head to my room to read the paper Hunter gave me.
Potential Yale students! Come to a formal dinner to talk with recruiters about your future!
I inhale sharply. Yale is on my list of colleges I want to go to. I have to talk to Hunter. I go downstairs to grab the phone book from the counter, and I look up Hunter’s phone number. I punch in the number and hear his voice. Strangely, his voice makes my heart flutter.
“This is Hunter, may I ask who’s calling?” he inquires.
“This is Sundance here,” I tell him and he laughs.
“Kristy? Why are you calling? Is this about the paper?”
“In fact, it is. Why would you give me this?”
“I thought you might want to come. You’re smart and all that stuff,” he answers.
“This is getting creepy, Hunter. How do you know me?” I demand of him.
“From school. We never talk, but I’ve always admired you from a distance. I’m sorry if I seem creepy, but I saw you at the club and just leaped at the chance to get to know you.” I smile at this, but I’m still confused. “Kristy?” he says, breaking the silence.
“I’ll come,” I tell him. “I still think you’re creepy, but you might be worth something.”
“Awesome!” he exclaims cheerfully. “Just be at the club this Friday at six and dressed formally.” I laugh and smile again. What is it about this guy that makes me smile?
“I’ll be there,” I say. “Goodbye.” I hang up and sigh. What did I just get myself into?
I spend the rest of the week working away at my schoolwork and hanging out with Hunter. I get to know him a little better, and it turns out he’s not one of those weirdoes that stalk girls in the night. At least, he doesn’t seem to be.
“Will you quit bugging me about my dress?!” I shout at Hunter and punch him playfully. Hunter is trying desperately to figure out what dress I’m wearing to the dinner tomorrow, but I refuse to tell him. However, Hunter is like a pit bull that refuses to release my arm. He just won’t let it go. I look at his face, and he’s adorable with his twinkling, blue eyes, wavy, brown hair, and cricket smile.
“No, I will not quit bugging you about your dress!” he retorts.
“You’re very persistent,” I let him know. “But my inner donkey will win every time.”
“I haven’t a doubt,” he sighs. I look to the docks, satisfied with my victory.
“Grandma, I have nothing to wear,” I say to my grandmother on the night before the dinner. I am looking through my closet for the fifth time, but know I won’t find anything.
“I have something for you,” she tells me, urging me to follow her to her room. Once we enter her Victorian style bedroom, she leads me to a white box in the back of her closet. She pulls it out and puts it on top of her bed. “This was your mother’s.”
“Wow,” I whisper and take off the lid to the box. Inside is a sparkly, tea-length, black dress with spaghetti straps that is just perfect for the dinner. “This is amazing, Grandma. This is perfect.”
“Would you relax?” Hunter hisses at me. He looks dazzling in his simple black and white tuxedo. “I’m the luckiest guy in this room.” I relax a little.
“Why are you the luckiest?” I ask.
“Because…I’m the only guy who gets to walk in here with Audrey Hepburn by his side.” I look into his cool, blue eyes and our eyes stay locked for the longest time. I’m shocked that we didn’t trip down the stairs.
“Thank you,” I finally say to him.
“You’re welcome and there’s our seat.” We walk over to a table where two important-looking men sit. Hunter pulls out my chair and I sit down. I think about earlier in the evening when I showed up in my dress. I just about melted when Hunter said I looked beautiful. I don’t melt a lot, and by that, I mean I never melt except for just this one time.
“Are you Kristy?” one of the important looking men asks me.
“Indeed, I am,” I answer.
“Marvelous,” he says. “Hunter has told me a great deal about you.”
“He has?” I turn to Hunter, whose face is red.
“Oh yes, Kristy. Your boyfriend thinks very highly of you,” the man informs me.
“We’re not exactly boyfriend and girlfriend,” Hunter tells the man.
“I’m sorry, I just assumed.”
“It’s alright,” Hunter assures him.
“Kristy,” the other man joins the conversation. “My name is Howard, and this is my colleague, Dennis. We’re both recruiters for Yale University, and I assume you have an interest in Yale?”
“Um, yes, of course!” I stammer, excited. Howard and Dennis laugh.
“Good, because Yale needs students like you. Hunter has told me that you work endlessly on your schoolwork and have a 4.0 GPA. Oh, and that you’re also president of the debate club,” Dennis says. I look at Hunter in disbelief, and he smiles nervously.
“Hunter is correct,” I confirm.
“And what do you want to do in college?” Howard asks.
“I want to study law,” I tell him and Howard smiles.
“I figured. Hunter said you were very stubborn, and I imagine that you like to argue,” Howard replies.
“Oh yes, Hunter knows that I like to argue,” I agree and wink at Hunter.
“You know what else Hunter said?” Dennis starts.
“I have no idea. Hunter says a lot of things that I don’t know about,” I answer. Hunter shifts in his seat and I grin.
“It was actually quite touching. He said that no amount of stubbornness and arguing could ever make him hate you, because you will always be perfect in his eyes.” I stop breathing and once again turn to glimpse at Hunter, who is beet red. I choke. He pulled the “perfect” card on me. I have problems with perfect. It just refuses to let me into its comfortable arms. I am not perfect. I have spent my whole life trying to be.
“Excuse me,” I say, my voice about to crack. “I need to go to the restroom.”
“Of course,” Howard tells me, and I run off outside by the docks. I hear footsteps behind me and know who it is.
“Why are you like this?” I ask, tears in my voice.
“Like what?” Hunter inquires.
“Perfect!” I turn around and he sees my tear-streaked face. “You’re so perfect when I’m not.” I slump into a bench and he sits beside me.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m perfect. A lot of people would disagree with you when you say that. I think I’m an okay guy. There are lots of things to be improved upon,” he tells me. “But, I at least, think I’m a good person, and no one has the right to tell me that I’m not. You seem to have a problem with that.”
“Really?” I inquire after I stop crying. “How so?”
“You’re always trying to prove to people that you can go to these amazing heights despite your social background, but you only need to prove it to yourself.”
“Yes,” Hunter smiles and puts his arm around me to pull me closer to him. “To me you are already beyond perfect. You’re smart, funny, beautiful, and most of all, you have class. That’s perfection to me. All I’m waiting for is for you to be perfect in your own eyes.” I nod at this and wait awhile before saying anything.
“Thank you,” I say and stand up tall. “Now let’s go back, Butch.”
“Gladly,” he says and we link arms, leaving the boats and the water behind us.