Faery Godlover(7)

By: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Today, with this dingus staring blankly at her, unable to comprehend the fact that the Java Joy Cafe didn’t sell Frappuccino’s, Jasmine had to bite her tongue. She merely wrote his name on a paper cup and set it aside, took his money and called the next customer in line.

Soon, it was time for her union  -sanctioned fifteen minute break, so she untied her apron and folded it under the counter before grabbing a borderline-stale croissant and a thermos of iced green tea. She waggled her fingers at Enzo, who gave her a roguish wink as she flounced back into the tiny break room. He was yet another guy who hit on her pretty regularly, but at least with him it was fairly innocuous. Enzo was cute, she had to admit, but it didn’t take long to catch onto the fact that he was a ladies’ man, and proud of it. On numerous occasions Jasmine had caught him making out with a customer behind the coffee shop, only minutes after they first met. He just had this easy charm about him that made girls drop whatever they were doing and just… do him instead. But it didn’t work on Jasmine. After all, he was a little too much of a player for her liking, and besides, after they had spent so many long hours working together she considered him as more of a big brother or a good friend than a potential romantic interest.

In fact, Jasmine hadn’t really come across any legitimate love interests in a long time. Not since college, and even then, it hadn’t worked out so well. Sure, she’d dated around a little bit since then, but nobody really great had come along. Her college boyfriend joined the Peace Corps and shipped out to Columbia, leaving her here in New Jersey, citing a need to “expand his horizons” and “help those in need.” As it turned out, his methods for doing so actually involved having casual sex with every hot local girl who gave him so much as a passing glance while Jasmine waited dutifully for his return. Needless to say, he didn’t come back to Jersey.

Most recently, Jasmine had found a decent-looking guy on some dating app that Enzo set up a profile on for her. The guy was nice enough at first, bringing flowers to their first date, lending an ear to her vented frustrations about work. But it was weird-- he never let her go over to his house. He only ever came over to Jasmine’s apartment.

She found out not much later that it was because he was living in his grandmother’s basement, refusing to get a job while he waited for his band to make it big despite the fact that they hadn’t even gotten together for a jam session in months.

As soon as she found out the truth, Jasmine had dumped him.. But that was months ago, and Jasmine was starting to wonder if maybe it was for the best. She had a tendency to attract the very worst sorts of guys, from garden-variety losers to the straight-up villainous types.

“It’s like I have a homing device implanted in my ass or something,” she once lamented to her friend Lily over drinks at the bar down the street. “Losers and jerks from all over the world somehow manage to track me down every time. You know what? I should start offering my services as a good-guy-tester. Got a new boy-toy but you wanna see what he’s really made of? Bring him around me and see how he responds. If he shows any interest in me, he’s definitely a douchebag.”

“You just haven’t met the right one yet,” Lily had reassured her, with her typical Zen-level calmness. “He’s out there, Jaz, you just gotta be patient. And don’t give up hope.”

Sitting quietly in the break room, Jasmine heaved a sigh and took an unenthusiastic bite of her croissant. She was getting awfully tired of eating leftover cafe items and fending off attentions of the wrong sort from the wrong guys. She had wanted so much more out of life than this, but college hadn’t done much beyond saddling her with a hefty pile of student loans to deal with. Not to mention the feelings of failure and disappointment for dropping out before graduation. She’d only been a semester shy of getting her English degree when her money problems took over. Her parents were fairly well-off, but they refused to help her—in fact, they were too busy sailing around the world living the retired life to even bother to keep in touch. They’d been in their late forties when Jasmine was born very much by accident, and they were already too tired to throw themselves full-force into raising a child. She knew that they loved her, but it was obvious that she’d never really been a priority in their lives.

Besides, Jasmine was a fiercely independent young woman. She didn’t want to ask for help, even when it was desperately needed. She was dead-set on proving herself to the world, even if it meant digging herself into a very deep hole in the process.