Power to the Players

By Tori M. Pack All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Drama

Commitment Issues

I strolled into the sliding double doors of Wal-Mart, looking up in time to see Glen marching toward me. I sent him a sly smirk as he crossed his arms.

“Oh, you think this is funny? Ashley, some new girl signed up yesterday and wrote you down as her recommendation. Did you have something to do with this?” he asked, pointing an accusing finger at me.

I scoffed. “Why are you mad? I gave somebody a job offer and they took it. You should be glad to have someone new in our ‘little family’ to bother,” I replied, brushing off the fact that he butchered my name again.

“But more people means more competition…”

“Glen! It’s a job. It’s not like somebody is going to lose a life if they don’t get promoted.”

“You don’t know that!”

“Glen, just get over it. She’s a friend of mine so go easy on her, Okay?”

He arched his eyebrows and huffed when my expression nor stance changed. I was going to fight for Natalie whether he liked it or not. “Fine. But she’s under your wing. I’m not showing her the ropes,” he said, walking away from me.

“I didn’t expect you too,” I shot back. Glen was the one who showed me the ropes and I still didn’t totally understand what I was doing around here and I’ve been working here for three years.

I headed toward the back and opened the door to my locker, throwing my change of clothes inside along with my hat. I looked over my shoulder and saw Lee walking next to Rachel. They were talking about something and every now and then Rachel would laugh at what he said but I couldn’t hear them.

I pressed myself further into my locker and made it seem like I was doing something; trying hard to ease drop on my friend without looking guilty.

“…Incase you fell. But I’m sure that wouldn’t happen because I’d be there to help you back up.”

“Well, aren’t you sweet?”

“Ha-ha. But really. Anytime you wanna go ice-skating, just ask and I’d be happy to take you. There’s a couple of places around here that aren’t total shit.”

“I’ll be sure to take you up on that offer, Lee. I have to go to the front. Some new cashier is having some trouble with the scanner. Bye”

Rachel walked out the door and I grinned before looking over at Lee. He had a small smile on his face and he still hadn’t noticed me standing there. Mine dropped a little when I realized that he seemed genuine.

“Lee!” I growled, making him jump in the air. “Beck? How long have you been there?” he asked, gripping his chest and walking over to me.

“Long enough. What the hell was that?” I asked, pointing at the door that Rachael had just walked out of.

“Nothing okay. She was talking about how she used to ice-skate in her old town and I offered to take her one day. It was nothing serious” he replied, trying to get by me.

“Lee, I’m serious. Stop this shit before somebody gets hurt,” I warned. He looked over at me and frowned. “No one is going to get hurt Beck. God. I can’t be friends with a girl now that I’m dating Jessie. I hang out with you!” he said, defending himself.

“Number one, you’re not attracted to me and two, I’m gay! So I don’t really count and of course you can be friends with a girl but you told me yourself you were starting to feel something for her.”

He shuffled his feet a little and sighed. “…I don’t know what’s going on Beck. I’m so confused! I love Jessie. I really do but…do I really wanna be tied down to just one girl right now? We graduate soon and I’m gonna be known as the guy who was in a stable relationship for four years. I never even got to play the field. Hell, there was no field! I guess I’m just going through some…”

“Commitment issues? Lee, I get what you’re saying. But you can’t cheat on Jessie if you’re feeling this way. Either break up with her or leave Rachel alone. She’s my friend too and I would hate to see her hurt, even by you,” I said, moving so that he could get by.

“I’m not cheating on her Beck,” he groaned, glaring over at me. I glared back and sighed when I realized talking to him right now would be like talking to a brick wall.

“Maybe not physically, but you certainly are emotionally.” With that, he pushed past me and walked out of the door in anger. I sighed and leaned my back against the wall. Lee was going to make his own choices…I just hoped that he would make the right one.

My cell phone vibrated in my pocket and I pulled it out before flipping it open.

Melody

Can you buy me some tomato soup? I think I came down with a cold when I was out with Duncan and his friends.

I laughed and quickly typed out a reply.

Beck

You sure Duncan didn’t give you something?

I walked out of the door and headed over to the entertainment section. Lee was standing at the counter, scanning a woman’s plasma screen TV and sulking. I decided to give him some time to himself and walked up to the front.

I smiled brightly when I saw Natalie dressed in her uniform and Rachel trying to help her with the scanner. I walked toward them just as Natalie thanked her and she walked away.

“Well, if it isn’t my favorite cashier” I teased, leaning against her counter. She smirked and looked up at me. “I’m not talking to you until I get my coffee,” she said quickly, before looking back down at her magazine.

My jaw dropped. “What? Come on. Not even a ‘hi Beck. Nice to see you, Beck’. Nothing at all?” She just nodded and moved me out the way when someone walked toward her for check out.

I groaned and ran my hand threw my hair as I walked over to the built in McDonald’s. Something hit the back of my head and I looked down at the piece of rolled up paper on the floor.

I picked it up and unrolled it. “Sugar with two creams please.” I glanced over at Natalie, who just smiled at me and motioned for me to keep moving. I laughed and walked over to Candace.

“Hey Beck!” she said giddily, with her high pitched voice. I smiled at her and gave her a small wave, which she returned. “Hey, can I get a large coffee with sugar and two creams?” I asked, pulling out my wallet.

“Sure. That’ll be…2.75 please,” she replied. I gave her three dollars and waited for her to give me back the change. She went to go fix the order and I felt my phone vibrate again.

I quickly pulled it out and looked down at what Melody wrote.

Melody

Ha-ha. Just get me some tomato soup please…and spray cheese! You know how much I love spray cheese. Yum! If you bring it over tonight, you can help me eat it

Beck

Alright Mel. I’ll be there after work but you owe me and I’m not talking about money. You know what I want. Full day of Underworld watching. Just you and me.

“Here you go!” I jumped a little when Candace placed the drink in front of me. Whoa. I was in my own little world there for a minute. “Uh…thanks Candy,” I replied, arching my eyebrows at her.

She just smiled and went back to cleaning the counter off. I put my phone back in my pocket and walked over to Natalie, who was with her last customer. I placed the coffee down next to her and she gave me a small smile.

I smiled back at her as the last customer walked away, pushing their cart full of ‘inexpensive’ things. Natalie sighed contently and picked up her cup with two hands. She sipped it and I smiled at the pure bliss on her face.

“Good?” I asked, smirking at her. “So good I could kiss you” she replied, staring right at me. “What’s stopping you?” I shot back before I thought about what I was saying. She tossed her head back and forth in thought before she leaned over and pressed her lips against the side of my neck.

I groaned and felt cold when she pulled away. There was a slight blush on her face and I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around her waist and hold her. Maybe even do more than that. Of course she would let me do it. Or I’m hoping she would. Either way, I just wanna mount her over this-

“Beck!” I jumped and looked over my shoulder to, once again, see Glen marching toward me.

“Good afternoon Glen. You actually got my name right for once. Good for you” I teased. Natalie laughed and I smiled. I loved hearing her laugh.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at the entertainment section?” he asked, frowning at me. “Well Glen, like you said, I’m taking Natalie under my wing. I’m explaining the job to her,” I replied bluntly.

“Really? Because it looks to me like you just bought her a coffee” he said, crossing his arms over his chest and ‘trying’ to look intimidating. Trying being the key word.

“What? I can’t buy her a coffee? I’m just being generous,” I said, pouting a little. Glen’s frown deepened and I tried not to laugh. It was always fun messing with Glen. He just had this aura that made you wanna tease him.

“Whatever you say, Martha. I’ve got my eye on you” he pointed at his eyes and then me before walking away. “By the way, it’s Beck! You said it right before,” I called after him. “That’s what I said, Martha!” he yelled back.

Natalie laughed and I flipped him off when his back was turned. He still had that name thing over me. Maybe I could call him Greg for a while. I bet that would get him off my case.

My phone went off again and I pulled it out my pocket.

Melody

Fine. Even though I hate that movie but I’ll do it for you :D. See you tonight!

I laughed and flipped my phone closed. Natalie smiled at me and arched her eyebrows in a sly manner. “Who was that?” she asked, trying not to laugh when I just shrugged.

“Melody,” I replied. Her smile fell fast and she looked down at the ground. “Oh” she remarked. I frowned and turned her around to face me. “Hey, what’s wrong?” I asked, trying to get her to look at me.

“Nothing, Beck. I’m fine. Can you show me which button to push for the fruit? I’m still kind of lost,” she replied; cold like she was the first day we met. I looked down at her sullen expression and sighed.

Great. Lee was mad at me for talking about his relationship and now Natalie was starting to act like her old cold self. Something tells me that today isn’t going to be a good one.


I knocked on Melody’s door and stood there, holding my Wal-Mart bag filled with tomato soup and spray cheese. I flinched a little when Melody’s father, Buck, opened the door. I always found it strange that her father’s name sounded similar to mine in many aspects. His name was Buck Schmidt, as opposed to my Beck Smith, and he had bright brown eyes like mine.

Besides that, Buck and I didn’t have any other comparisons. “Hello Beck. Coming to see Melody? She’s kind of sick right now so you might wanna be careful,” he warned.

I waved him off and chuckled, lifting up my bag. “She forced me to buy her ‘medicine food’. This stuff always makes her feel better. Guess I’m nurse Beck tonight,” I said. He nodded and moved out the way so that I could get by.

I walked down the hall toward the back of Melody’s house and turned right toward her steps. Melody lived in the attic of their home. There was no second floor so the hall way in the back led to the steps toward the attic.

I knocked on her door and gently pushed it open. Melody was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed under her. She was staring at the TV and I noticed she was watching none other than-

“Move!” I yelled, tackling her and watching Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. “Beck! Why’d you- Oh! My food!” Melody forgot whatever she was going to say and pulled out the spray cheese and put the can of tomato soup on her nightstand.

“Beck, can you make this soup for me and go get me the Ritz crackers?” she asked, pouting at me. “But…but…I just got here and Underworld is on!” I replied, trying to make her understand how dire my situation was.

She crossed her arms over her chest and started coughing. My eyes widened and I looked over at her in concern. “Melody, you alright?” I asked, forgetting about the movie and staring at my best friend.

She nodded and covered her mouth with her hand. “I’d be a lot better if I had some soup right now,” she replied, batting her eyelashes at me. I knew where she was going with this so I just groaned, grabbed her soup can, and headed towards the door.

“Thank you Beck!” she said sweetly. “Bite me” I mumbled. “I would but I’m afraid you’d like it too much,” she shot back. I laughed and nodded my head. Guess I forgot who came up with that comeback.

I walked back downstairs and saw Madison, Melody’s mother, walk towards me carrying some pillows. “Oh! Hello Beck. Are you here to help Melody?” she asked, smiling at me with her green eyes shining.

I nodded and held up the can of soup. “Apparently I’m her nurse tonight.” She laughed and walked toward Melody’s room.

“You should be used to it by now. Every time the girl is sick, you either volunteer to help her or she begs you until you do,” she remarked.

I stood there for a minute, realizing what she just said. She was right. I was always there to help Melody when she needed me and mostly, even if she didn’t ask, I took it upon myself to help her anyway. I guess I just genuinely wanted to take care of her. Why? Well…that’s the question but…I don’t really know the answer.

I pulled out a pot once I got to the kitchen and poured the soup into it, laying it on the stove and turned the stove on medium. I stirred the liquid a little before putting a top over it and heading back to Melody with her crackers in my left hand.

I opened the door and saw her laying on the pillows that Mrs. Schmidt had given her. There was a bottle of Tylenol next to her and her face was kind of flushed. I almost melted when I heard her sniffle and she looked over at me with drowsy eyes.

“Maybe it’s best if I leave early. That way you can sleep. I turned the stove on for you and your soup is being made. Here are your crackers.” I handed them over to her and stroked my hand through her bangs.

“Thanks, Beck. I don’t want you to go though. I promised to watch Underworld with you” she said stuffily. I laughed and laid next to her.

“You’re too sick. Maybe next time. Plus, I don’t want to get infected,” I teased, running my hand over her back. She shivered a little and slapped my arm. “Meanie” she said, poking me in the stomach.

I laughed and looked over at her as she sat up and started putting cheese on her crackers. She handed one to me but I just shook my head. “Eat it,” she commanded. I clamped my mouth shut and she giggled.

“Beck! Open your mouth. Please” she pleaded. I shook my head again and she growled, pushing me back against her bed. I tried not to laugh but once my mouth was open she stuffed the cracker in before I could talk.

I ate it and looked up at her. She was smiling down at me and her hands were on both sides of my head. She moved her ass on top of my stomach and I pulled my knees up slightly so that she could lean back against them.

“I’m sorry if I get you sick,” she whispered. I shook my head and ran my hand over her thigh. “No need to worry about that. You’ve been sick a lot and I’ve never caught anything when I was around you. I guess I’m immune to Melody colds,” I chuckled.

I looked into her eyes and smiled. “I wish I was immune to you…” she whispered. I stared at her lips and ran my thumb over her bottom one. She inhaled sharply and stared down at me.

“Mel…”

“Beck…”

I don’t know why but…I slowly leaned up and our lips met in a gentle kiss. She ran her tongue over my bottom lip and I groaned when her tongue entered my mouth. I bit down on her bottom lip as she leaned down against me.

She deepened the kiss and out of nowhere, Natalie’s face came to mind. I pulled away from her quickly and jumped off the bed, breathing hard. Melody’s lips were swollen red and I touched mine, making sure that all of this was real and not some dream.

“Beck, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“Why are you apologizing? I’m the one who led you on. Look, Melody I’m sorry. That was a mistake and…and I shouldn’t have kissed you. I’m so sorry. I just…I have to go.”

I ran out her room and I could hear her yelling for me to stop as I opened her house door and walked toward my car.

“Damn it, Beck stop!”

I turned around as she marched over toward me, still wearing her pajamas. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe I wanted that? That maybe I wanted to kiss you?” she exclaimed.

“That’s just the thing, you shouldn’t. You’re with that Duncan guy and you’re not gay. Plus, you’re my friend and…and I don’t feel for you that way. We just…we shouldn’t have done that,” I said, not even really believing my own words. That kiss was just…wow.

“You can say all the bull shit you want Beck but…I felt something and I know you felt something too or you would have jumped off that bed long before I kissed you back. We can’t just pretend like there’s nothing here,” she said, walking over to me and grabbing my hand.

I stared at her hard, wishing that she would just forget this happened, wishing that my damn heart would stop beating so fast. I don’t like her. I don’t feel anything for her. Why can’t I just believe that?

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel anything for you, Beck. I’ve been feeling this way for a while. So, just please, say you feel the same,” she whispered, her eyes glazing over as she tried not to cry.

All these years of being alone and wanting to be with someone…and here was Melody, offering herself to be with me…but she just wasn’t what I was looking for right now.

“I…I have to think about it. I don’t know why but…I feel something here that I can’t explain. For years I have considered you as a friend and nothing more but now…now I’m not so sure. I just need to think,” I said softly.

She nodded and I let go of her hand and walked over to the driver’s side of my car. I stopped and looked over at her. “What about Duncan, Melody? Would you really drop everything…for me?” I asked, wondering how deep her feelings really were.

She gave me a small smile and put her hand on her chest. “I already have” she replied. I nodded and climbed inside my car, turning it on and pulling off the curb.

I looked at Melody through my rear view mirror the whole time I was driving away. I didn’t know what to think. One hour ago she was just my best friend and now she was…now she was someone who I actually think I have feelings for.

I’ve never been so confused. What do I want? What do I want? I was so busy thinking about her that I barely had time to see the headlights coming right toward me.

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