New Territory.

In August, A&F was cutting my hours, so I looked elsewhere for work. Naturally, I decided to go to the dark side and put in an application at American Eagle. When I went to drop off my completed application, there was a hot guy working the counter.

His name was Eddie. He was just my type, average height, nice build, dark hair, amazing eyes. And he looked great in a baseball hat, my true weakness.

I dropped off my stuff and went back to A&F. A few days later, I got a call about a group interview. So, during a break at A&F, I went on the interview. Eddie was conducting it and he asked us a bunch of stupid questions—including, if you could have any superpower what would it be? For journalism reasons, I wished to be invisible. That skill would’ve come in handy for my dating life, too.

I got the job and had to attend a few team building sessions, where we stood in a circle and tossed around a loofah. Eddie was there, too, and I still thought he was so cute.

After the team building session, Eddie told me I was assigned to work with him at the new store that was opening across town. Within the next week, I started working at the new store. It wasn’t open for business yet, but we put up displays and unpacked boxes of clothes.

One evening, they assigned me to work on a jean wall, where Eddie was, along with another manager. When I approached them, they were talking about a recent camping trip Eddie went on.

“She didn’t want to go with you?” the manager asked him.

“Nah, she’s not really into that kind of stuff,” he said.

I really didn’t know who, or what, they were talking about, but I sat down and started folding.

Over the next week or so, I’d heard enough bits and pieces to figure out that Eddie had a girlfriend. I was crushed.

*     *     *

So, Eddie had a girlfriend. He never talked about her, but I had put the clues together at left it at that.

One Sunday night, I joined a few of my sorority sisters and their boyfriends at this bar that overlooked a swamp. It was at the end of a short pier, and basically stood as a metal shack. They served cheap beer by the pitcher, and handed out  metal buckets of peanuts.

The place was packed with people, some wearing washboards, ready to make their own music. Others were just there to dance.

We stayed, drank too much, and danced the night away. It was probably the truest Louisianan experience I’ve ever had, and one of the best times in my life.

The next afternoon, I had to work with Eddie.

He was telling me about this bar that overlooked a swamp and was in the middle of nowhere.

“No way! I was there last night,” I said.

“Really? How was it?”

“So much fun,” I said.

“Cool. Maybe we could go sometime,” he said. “Let me get your number.”

I gave him my number as I walked out the door, figuring he probably already had it since he was my manager.

Back at A&F, I was still working with Austin. He was talking to other girls, but I didn’t pay much attention—I was hooked on Eddie.

The next time Eddie and I worked together, he asked me if I wanted to pick us up some lunch, since he couldn’t leave the store. I said I would, took his money, and was on my way.

On the short trip back to the store, it started to rain, as in, a monsoon. When I walked into the store, I was soaking wet, and miserable.

“I sure hope you’re happy,” I said, handing over the bag of fried chicken.

“I’m sorry,” he said. We were standing in the stock room, so he grabbed a red and cream striped robe from the metal shelves and put it around my shoulders.

We sat in the back and ate the chicken, talking some too. When the shift was over, he asked me if I wanted to grab a beer. And so, we did.

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