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Wasted Words(2)
Author: Staci Hart

I smiled and jerked my chin toward the two, guiding my thoughts back to things I could change. “Look at them. They’d be so sweet together.”

“You don’t know that. Maybe he’s abusive.”

I snorted. “Yeah, right. I’m pretty sure she could take him.”

He smirked and picked up his beer. “I’m just saying. You don’t know anything about them.”

“Not true, I know at least a little bit. Look, she has ink on her fingers, so I’m betting she’s an artist of some sort.”

“Maybe she sells newspapers.”

I gave him a flat look. “No one buys newspapers anymore.”

Tyler eyed me, amused. “There’s no way you’re right.”

I hung my hand on my hip. “Really? Should I remind you of Jane and Charlie?”

“No, really, Cam. You shouldn’t.”

But I did anyway. “If it weren’t for me, they would never have gone on their first date, which means they never would have gotten married, which means they wouldn’t have their adorable babies who I’m the honorary aunt of. They hated each other, Tyler. Hated. And now they’re the happiest people I know, all thanks to me.”

He shook his head again and tipped his beer toward me. “And thus began your crusade to make matches for everyone you meet.”

“Yes, it did. Because if I can make two people as happy as Jane and Charlie are? That’s what it’s all about.”

“But I still believe in the old fashioned idea of letting people decide who they want to date.”

“But what if they do want to date, but they just don’t know it yet?” I asked emphatically.

“It’s a sick hobby, Cam,” he joked.

“It’s so satisfying. Like peeling a sunburn.”

He made a face, but he still laughed.

“Oh, or watching power washing porn.”

“What?” His lip curled.

“You’ve never seen it?” I pulled out my phone, chuckling. “Oh, man, are you in for a treat.”

He glanced around. “Are you sure I should be looking at porn?”

I rolled my eyes and handed my phone over. “It’s not actual porn, it’s just gifs of people power washing stuff. Like before and after.”

He watched it for a second before humphing. “How about that. It is really satisfying.”

“Told you. Just like I told you that girl’s an artist.”

He didn’t look convinced.

“Betcha five bucks.”

Tyler sighed, and internally, I crowed at his defeat. “I’m probably going to regret this, but you’re on. You’re due to be wrong, any minute now.”

I laughed, turning to the two of them again, smiling even wider when I realized what they were reading. “Bet you twenty I can get them together.”

He pursed his lips, considering it. “If you can get him to ask her out right now, I’ll throw in dinner on me.”

“You can’t rush art,” I said with a wink and a smile as I headed over to The Reader to work my magic.

She looked up from her book and pushed her glasses up her nose, widening the graphite smudge.

“Doing okay over here?”

“Yes, thanks. Could I get a glass of water?”

“Sure thing.” I grabbed a glass and filled it with ice. “Whatcha reading?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Oh,” she said as she slipped her finger between the pages to hold her place before glancing at the cover. “Outlander.”

I nodded my approval. “A classic. Jamie Fraser is the perfect guy, am I right?”

She blushed a little and sighed, smiling softly. “This is my fourth read-through of the series. He’s just everything, you know? Soft and hard, sensitive without being weak. He’s the ultimate man.” She sighed again. “Too bad he’s not real.”

“Well, if he was, he’d only be made for one woman. At least this way, we all get to have him.”

She smiled again, her glasses slipping down just a little. “I guess that’s true.”

I set the water in front of her, and she took a sip. “So, are you an artist?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“Your fingertips are smudged. In fact, you’ve got a little something right here.” I motioned to the bridge of my nose.

“Ugh,” she groaned and looked at her hands before digging through her bag for a little pack of wipes. “You’d think I’d remember to wash my hands after drawing, but I only do if I’m in the studio. Hence carrying these around like I’m traveling with a toddler. I mean, unless I’m the toddler, in which case, that makes a lot of sense.”

I laughed. “What’s your medium?”

“I love charcoal, but it’s such a mess. Clearly.” She held up her hands in display.

“That’s what I’ve heard. My boss’ boyfriend is an artist and the same thing happens to him. He painted the piece just above you.” I pointed up, and she leaned back to look.

“Oh, I love that so much, and love that it’s the first thing I see every time I walk in.”

“He’s super talented, for sure.” I leaned on the bar. “Random question, but have you ever read any comics?”

She shook her head. “Never.”

“So, there’s this Japanese comic I love — it’s called InuYasha. It’s about a girl who falls in a well and is sent back in time, into feudal Japan.”

Her smile bloomed. “Wow, just like Claire in Outlander.”

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