"If we're going to be real friends, that's not what friends do." Sage set Gage on the straight an narrow about coming to her room. "First thing, you have to be a good listener. You have to ask good questions." She was pretty sure he'd never come back to her bed.
Of course, she wouldn't dare put him in the crazy category. He was innocent. Yet, he was like training a puppy. Very obedient, she had to admit. But she was there every step of the way. Work meant he had to do work. He couldn't stand there and be dumb. She didn't mean to tell him this on his first day. "Sorry, just try not to act it, so much."
It wasn't long though, that Sage did wonder if she were with the crazies. It felt like being in a B rated movie, half the time, when she came in at seven in the morning for her shift. Perhaps, folks were just sleep deprived. Of course, she couldn't see donuts helping much. But there they were paying for a dozen donuts and coffee.
Sage was never sure what might give her the heebee-geebees..
Was it Declan who might decide to price her with his price gun. He never said a word to her, but she knew it was him who priced her butt at a $1.99.
And there was Ezra, always around.
He bought gum about once a day. She thought that was all he ate.
"I think he likes you." Gage told her one day while they were eating lunch.
"No, he doesn't. He doesn't even know me." Sage wanted some peace and quiet with the fried chicken leg she could hardly eat. It seemed she'd lost her appetite since losing Cory. What she'd do just to get a glimpse of him, but she wouldn't let herself do anything about it.
"He knows your name." Gage was serious. "And you know his." He sounded as if it were a race about to begin.
"Well, I have a name tag." Sage shrugged wishing her name was Veronica or Michelle. Not Sage. But it was too late to be anyone else.
"And he put his hand out. He shook hands with you. He told you his name was Ezra." Gage remembered.
"Yes, I didn't forget." His hand was warm and moist, but not sweaty. It was an odd encounter. How could she not like him? He was off beat. His lips such a dark pink, And that hair, it kept getting in the way of his astonishing blue eyes. It was best to leave him as a figment of her imagination.
But there he was, hanging outside the grocery store on their walk home a few days later when it was getting cold and damp about.
"Why don't you come home with us?" Gage said ever so brightly.
"Gage, no." She did her best to command it under her breath, but Gage jumped around Ezra with such joy. Perhaps, Gage was out of control. If only she could grab Gage by the ear. Make him suffer, just a little. But there Ezra was, steady as he went. Staring at her, mostly. Following.