“I won’t watch you, I have work to do.” I turned back to the long forgotten computer and pretended an interest in the words on the screen. In reality I was too aware of her presence to concentrate on anything else.
She watched me for a few seconds more before picking up the knife and fork, still with a wary look my way. She was hungry, but pretending not to be as she picked at her food. That shit hurt me like a stab wound to the chest.
I know the signs well and for some reason watching her reminded me of days when mom and I were barely scraping by and the pickings were slim.
Seeing her like that bothered me more than it should’ve. I’m the type who gives to charity and would drop a few dollars in a hat when passing someone in need, but I’m no bleeding heart.
She’s not the first person I’ve come across who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. In fact I’ve hired plenty with that predicament, both men and women. But somehow I hated that she knew that pain.
I felt guilt and didn’t understand the feeling. Guilt and some other emotion that I had no name for. As I watched her out the side of my eye, I wondered not for the first time in the last hour and a half, just what the fuck was up with me.
It was as if I was in tune with this girl in some weird way. Just her presence alone was enough to bring forth memories I’d long buried. I hate revisiting the days of my mother’s hardship. Of the life we’d lived before football gave me a way out for her and I.
But here I was steeped in old thoughts all because of her. Somehow the memories didn’t cut as deep as they usually do, because of her. For some odd reason they made me want to take care of her all the more.
I was distracted from my thoughts by a knock at the door and wasn’t too surprised to see Arlene, the manager from earlier, poke her head around the opening once I gave the command to enter.
Her gaze went directly to Annabelle and I saw the look of disbelief on her face before she could hide it. “Oh, isn’t she trying out? We’re almost done with auditions.”
“No, close the door.” She threw me a look but knew better than to question me if she wanted to keep her cushy job. Her eyes went to Annabelle again before closing the door. That’s not going to be good.
Thankfully she wasn’t the manager for the restaurant side of the business so she wouldn’t have much dealings with Anna if any in the future. Still there might be some interaction here and there over time. I’ll have to stay on that shit!
I’m not blind to the attitudes of women, especially one who thinks she has a shot. And it wouldn’t be the first time jealousy had got the best of her.