Episode 12 – At the Diner

We leave the path by the river and head up to the diner. Love being with Jewel! She’s totally relaxed…hanging with me is like the most natural thing in the world. What’s wrong with her? Just kidding. I love it!

“Have you ever considered the New York Marathon?” She asks.

“No. Not seriously. Do you run in it?”

We work our way into the noisy crowded diner. Looks like a long wait, but luckily a booth opens by the window. A rarity on a Saturday.

Jewel leans toward me. “So? Would you try the marathon? I’ve never tried it, but you’re a perfect partner…a marathon man.”

The idea doesn’t thrill me which is weird because I love attention. “Maybe…but running’s such a personal thing with me. I’m afraid it’d spoil it, especially if I totally fuck up.”

She’s not giving up. “But you wouldn’t fuck up, and you deserve recognition. Maybe we should both train and do it.”

Hmm, I’m thinking. Spending blissful hours with Jewel is enticing. Suddenly the concept grabs me (specifically my crotch). “So, you mean you and me training every day?”

She gives me a sly smile. “That’s exactly what I mean.”

I scratch my head, smile back. “Okay, yeah!” My imagination takes flight. Spending months together…so many intriguing possibilities…flirting, kissing, foreplay, sex…the list goes on and on.

She reaches across the table and squeezes my hand. “It’d be fun, right?”

Suddenly, there are squeals and our table’s surrounded by cute girls.

Jewel jumps up and I do too. “Hey, guys!” she says. “Meet my new running mate, Hunter.”

I recognize Margot, but there are three others just as hot. They slide in beside us…very tight, and cozy. The three newbies smile shyly…shoot curious glances in my direction.

“So, you guys did finally get together,” Margot says….still kind of stand-offish, like there’s some chemistry thing. Maybe I’m too quirky or something.

“Yeah,” Jewel says. “I tracked him down. He was working at his dad’s office.”

One of the newbies blurts out: “You don’t go to school?”

“I go to Griffin,” I explain, “but got suspended for mouthing off in class. My father was pissed so he made me go to work with him.”

The girls are craning their necks, curious to see the new guy. Not sure if they’re stunned or pleased, but they’re smiling, so I guess I’m acceptable.

Out of the blue, Margot says, “Jason’s on his way.”

Jewel looks startled, says, “Oh…okay.”

“So, how’d it go?” Margot asks slyly. “Any new developments?” I get the impression Margot’s got her own secret agenda. Figure I’ll find out soon enough.

Jewel’s frowning…looks at her questioningly. “Nothing…just running. Hunter’s a natural. He just runs and runs like a machine. We’re thinking of trying the marathon.”

“I don’t think you can,” Margot says. “You have to apply a year ahead…get in a lottery or something.”

Jewel shrugs. “Maybe we’ll train together anyway. There are lots of events around…half-marathons all the time.”

I chime in. “Yeah, it’ll be super fun. We’ll be ready for anything.”

The newbies giggle. I guess it’s obvious I’m interested in more than just running.

My back’s to the door. Suddenly, everyone looks up and waves. “Hey,” a deep voice says…obviously Jason. Turn to find myself face-to-face with my arch rival. He’s a decent-looking guy in a European sort of way…long, black hair in a ponytail, thick eyebrows, dimpled chin, sort of casual…black jeans and a white undershirt…like he doesn’t give a shit about anything, except maybe himself. “Hey, Babe,” he says to Jewel. Gives her a peck on the cheek.

She blushes and everybody stares at her, obviously curious why we’re both there.

I wonder if she’ll even introduce me, but she collects herself and says: “Jason, this is my new running buddy, Hunter.”

He grunts. Offers a limp handshake…doesn’t look at me. “Hey, man.” Pulls a chair next to Jewel. The newbies look back and forth between us. It’s awkward.

“We met Hunter a week ago,” Margot says cloyingly. “He’s a running fanatic.” Like she means: not much otherwise.

“Cool,” Jason says, uninterested. Seems a little out of it. Probably fucked up on pot.

Margot recounts the saga of our encounter. “We noticed this kid with frizzy hair running along the river…started goofing on him, but then, he like followed us. We couldn’t believe it, so we like confronted him, but it was just Hunter…not a perve or anything.” Everybody laughs. Big joke. “So…we asked him to tag along. It was totally Jewel’s idea.”

Jason shrugs. Could care less, but Margot’s motives are suspect, like she’s trying to snake him.

Thankfully, Jewel protests. “Margot, that sounds awful…and it’s only part of it. After the run we came here, and had fun, so we thought Hunter’d be a super addition to our entourage.”

Jason’s not even listening. Ogles the blond newbie, then returns to consciousness. “Hey, Jewel, wanna go to a concert tonight? The Crystal Stilts are playing in Brooklyn. They’re really cool…from like Holland or someplace.”

Margot’s face drops. She’s seriously bummed. Confirms my suspicion.

“I don’t think so, Jason,” Jewel says. “I’m tired from running all morning. Think I’ll chill at home tonight.”

He nods. “Whatever.” Stares at blondie. “Anybody else wanna come?”

“Yeah!” Margot says a little too fast. The newbies accept too.

Jason smiles…delighted to be surrounded by adoring fans. “Cool,” he says. “I’ll fire off an email with details. It’s gonna be a fucking trip!!!”

“Sorry,” Jewel says. “Normally, I’d come, but I want to turn in early.”

“No pressure, Babe,” Jason says.

To be continued…

To be continued…Read next episode!