Short Story : Harmless Flirtation
"Hey, may I help you"
"Yes, I think my battery port is damaged"
"What made you said that?"
"I charged it overnight with nothing charged. i tried other battery and my phone worked"
"Oh, excellent diagnosis"
A smile crept on her face on the choice of word. He smiled as if feeling victorious for how smooth he is. It is that smug smile with hint of cheekiness. She isn't sure if he is playing game or actually mean it.
Well, aren't this fun?
She does actually try to do some check up on her phone to help her understand the problem. It's comforting somehow though she know that she can't actually fix it. Not to mention she might be able to prevent from being lied to.
"Thank you, I've tried my best"
This time the smile changes. It's those genuine smile as if you have read a pleasant joke. Quite surprisingly, it comes with a pleasant feeling, almost warm. It is not those plastic smile on salesperson that makes you wonder if it is only their game face on attending customers.
"So, are you from around here?"
She was surprised by the question. Bit straight forward and a lot of out of the blue doesn't it. Never actually peoples at this kind of busy place took times to mingle. It is and she realize it. She simply assume it to be "those guys". Though he asked it quite casually like it is not that personal. That kinda bothers her how he it make it seems normal-ish. He then tried to charge the phone using the readily available charger port on the counter. doing some testing.
"I would tell you but I don't think it matter in our business now"
"Well, I might have this fixed for free for some chat"
"What an offer, but no thanks. you see, I'm this kind of girl who lives in this scary KL that get bit overreact that maybe if I tell simple details about myself, I will end up getting chopped for kidneys. I'm kinda attached to my kidneys"
The guy laugh to her surprise. He seemed to be satisfied with his check-up and yelled for his coworker to have the phone done something that she didn't bother to know. She was bit carefree that way.
But something about his laugh has made her smile back quite fondly. Happiness contagious won't everyone agree. Yet, she make a point on herself not to make any eye contact.
"Sarcasm. I can work with that", she tilt her head slightly and studies his face. What is with this fella?
"How is my phone going on"
"It can be fix. Nothing to much. It can be fixed in matter of half an hour since we actually have all the spare part. You're lucky you know. We don't usually keep it"
"How much will it cost?"
"and you getting luckier by the day cause I am treating you for that"
"and why is that I deserve such luck?"
"because you actually told me you live in KL, I kinda keep my word but don't worry, your kidney is safe"
She roll her eyes but can't help to smile. There is a high stool in front of the counter where the guy is standing behind it. She took a seat seeing no point to wander around while waiting for her phone to be fix. She decide that he is not a harm alarm. Her gut tell her so. Quite rarely her gut decides such way. The guy is kind of fun? That is a better word for it. A chat is not much of a trouble.
"I'm from perak"
"I'm not from KL, though I live here now. I'm from perak"
"Oh, what a coincidence, I love perak"
"I bet you do"
The guy was now sitting on the stool also. Even on sitting he is still taller than her. Quietly, it is a good fact. a tall guy was her go to. Well, not that she is that interested.
"I really do, my mom was born there"
"So, you're from Perak also?"
"Nope, I am from this scary KL that with some luck, if I manege to get bit more information on peoples I get the chance to sell kidneys"
"Sarcasm, i can work with that"
He giggles. For heavan sake! The guy giggles. She thought it is cute and carelessly beautiful and little that she know, she had decided that she likes it.
Suddenly, her other phone rang with some loud catchy but a bit pretentious for a ringtone. She mouthed an apology which he reply with a smile. Too much good smiles in one day to handle with to be frank. She don't really understand but she always mouthed an apology if she was talking to anyone when a phone call interrupt. Even to a total stranger like this guy now. She then pick it up with a warm and sweet "hello" that kind of make people feel bit relieved as if they were always welcomed for a call. Or maybe because it is a special someone? That is some problem now doesn't it.
"I'm at that shop you tell me. it's going to be for a short while so i'm just waiting...yes...spectacles?..white skinned?..nope, this is not your guy...haha..it's being fixed though so no problem there...you're telling me he is here?..how come?..he asked for me?..haha..don't go do stupid gossip now...you tell him i'm here?..seriously??..ahah, he is bound to walk here if he is going out of the mall so lets pray he wont look for me now..."
She chuckles slowly but looks very much taken by with it. The guy look at her and gestured the back door. He then was lost behind the door which lead to other room. Must be the storage room or anything. After a while he come back to the front with two can of soda. She has now hung up the phone and kept it in her sling bag.
"So, a scandalicious event is coming to my shop? I thought I have a chance."
She chuckles again and took the soda without even bothered to ask for permission. Her chuckles is a slow voice but with joyous energy in it. As if she is having so much fun. As if she is living in the moment of the laugh.
"Are you always this flirty with your customer?"
"First of all I would need to tend customers more often for that. It's your lucky day that I am here. But the truth is, I actually saw when you first walked in before. Your friend was pointing at my shop and you were looking straight into my view. I think she tell you something funny that you chuckles. It took my attention. Then you come with a smile and confidence look, plus a good chat. I just can't help myself"
She was surprised by the honest to god answer. It was not those cliche love at first sight which she is very against of. Nor some cheesy pickup lines but this is an intelligence. or sarcasm. Well, she can work with both. Again he said it out like no nonsense kind of guy with such casualness. Like the word was an easy truth to be said out loud. No nonsense. She can work with this. .
"Why is that you didn't meet customers often?"
"I used too but not much now. Not after I opened my new branch. It is hectic. I kind of doing the behind the scene job now, to manage both shops. I got my staff to look over my shops. Just that this shop manager was having an emergency leave so I thought I can fill in since it is weekend. they need the help."
"Wait, what?? You're the boss?"
"You don't know? I thought it is clear"
"How I am suppose to be clear..."
He cut her by tapping on the glass counter which then she looks down to. a business permit. She kept on glancing it every now and then but don't really pay much attention. Kind to think of it, she always notice her surrounding and failing to notice this was bit not like her. It was his picture. crystal clear. She looks back at him, instead of showing smug face he was having this confused look.
"Are you always this ignorant to your surrounding"
"In matter of fact, I was always the one who says those lines to my friends. It's just thatIi was being bit attracted to this guy you know. Maybe that moment is an exception for being teensy bit of ignorance."
"Valid argument", she snorts.
"Thanks for the soda"
She pop open her soda can and drink it slowly. Savouring the carbonate sensation. She likes it. he didn't think he notice that her favourite drinks is soda but it's good that he thought to offer this. It is a common like able drink to anyone but she chooses it as her favourite.
"Why are you living here? Do you worked here?
"Do I look that old? I'm a student! in UKM"
She put out her student card hanging on her neck for him to look. He was reading something that made him look surprised. Now that is quite a face expression. She likes it that she can surprise him.
"You're a pharmacy student?"
"Yes I am, final year"
"That makes you what? 23?"
"Sharp mind. I'm impressed. True"
"I have a cousin on final year also, he is also 23 years old."
"How about you?"
"What about me?"
"Your age silly!"
"and you own two freaking shop????"
"I'm a school dropout, I've been struggling for this moment for quite sometime and my parent has been supportive"
a short and concise answer.
a man with no nonsense.
She is now impressed. not only by his success but also by his courage. The courage to venture on nothingness. Something she is missing. That she can't find herself to work on too. But she will, she knew it. Maybe late but later is better than never.
Courage is beautiful for her, it is the utmost statement on believing yourself. Like believing you're bound to fall off many many times on learning to play roller skate. Maybe tore a good jeans in the process but you keep on doing it because one day you will learn the courage to trust the wheels to took you away. That you will eventually believe yourself not to scare of the fall but eager for the fluid motion and you will look damn cool rocking it.
"I respect that"
He was now looking very confused for a while and then laugh it away when she saw her earnest smile. Amazed by her choice of word. Respect is earned and he get that from her. Though most people might thought he was bragging, he really is not. He always don't see the blurred line of bragging and simply telling a story.
It is impressive. He knows it. Though he really don't think he deserve such credit. It was a long hardwork and he is not born genius. He simply have good support and stupid confidence that he can get it through. He has this stupid effort of asking and learning from others which don't even know him that well but apparently pleased with his protruding approach. He is that stupid to always coaxed his parent that he can do it but he needed time and he need to learn first. Because one thing he knows for sure he have this stupid courage that allow him to trust himself so much. he did it.
"and i like you"
She chuckles again for the most no nonsense face he is making saying such words. This must be the stupidest form of confessional session between two hardly not supposed to be that stupid to actually pull out such stunt.
She stop laughing and turn her head. another guy looking sharp with button down and jeans. Her face brighten with another different smile. He can't really put it but he thought this new guy must be something to deserve his own kind of smile.
"Faiz! they tell me you was here"
"I'm glad they did. So nice to meet you, what are you doing here?"
"Getting my phone fixed, what about you?"
"I am looking for a new console, I thought to give it to my brother for his birthday"
"Khairi birthday is coming?"
"Yeah, you know what, we should celebrate it together. I could pick you up"
"of course I will, just text me the details"
He was looking rather not happy. It's look like his newly found attraction was attracted to this guy. He shouldn't feel so disappointed though. How long they have met? like 15 minutes? Come on, be realistic. This is planet earth. this faiz guy was looking mostly pleased with Fatin. Fatin was also reciprocating. Fatin huh?
"Why you choose this shop, any recommendation?"
"Oh my, I almost forgot. I'm sorry. let me introduce you. This is faiz, the sappiest guy that I've known since primary school. We have only met again this year since his brother started studying in UKM. his brother is my junior"
He was startled on how she casually introduce Faiz to him. Like they have something more. He took Faiz hand and shakes it firmly. Not that he wanting to give a bold impression to Faiz but more like because happiness flooded him that he still have his chance.
"I'm Faiz and you are?"
"Zulfahmi, Just call me Zul"
"Is this your shop"
"Yes, it is"
The back door opened and the guy Zul passes Fatin phone come out carrying Fatin phone. He give it to Zul and simply said "done" and went back in. Zul then realize in that small time Faiz was having a small talk with Fatin that he can't understand. Not that he is eavesdropping. He just stand there letting them having their moment before Faiz bid her goodbye and making her promise him not to bailed the party.
"So, Mr. Scandalicious?"
"We have our moments"
"Your phone is done"
Zul was testing with the charger yet again to prove it to her. She was satisfied and took back her phone. She begin to dis amble her other phone and took out the simcard to put it into the newly repaired phone.
"So Zul," it was a joy to hear his name on her lips.
"Yes Fatin" even more joyful to speak out her name on his lips.
"How much does this really cost?"
"I told you, it's free"
"I can't accept that!"
"You have to learn to"
"Oh really now?"
She didn't like to reject kindness but she don't really know him to accept such random kindness. Well, she didn't think it will affect him that much. He does own two shop.
"You're making me uncomfortable"
"well too bad, i kinda like you and you have given me such a pleasant evening. It doesn't cost much at all"
"It's good to know my service on giving a pleasant evening experience has now been acknowledge but I don't planned to actually charge it"
"I think you should start now. it's a good business, I have two shops, you can trust my expert advice"
She is getting annoyed and troubled . She really does want to pay.
"What if I continue to give this pleasant evening experience over a morning coffee"
"A girl asking me out?"
"na-ah, i'm promoting my service to a business expert. Please don't misunderstand"
She is smirking. He is giddy.
"I would love to go out for a coffee with you Fatin"