It was the perfect June evening for a ballgame. Rachel needed to relax, to let her mind rest, to let the improbability of the day’s events wash over her. She could not help but think how unlikely it would be for her to get hired once Jason found out her true connection to Peter and Mel.
Rachel refocused. Sarah was staring at her. “Yeah?”
“Where are you? You haven’t said anything the entire inning.” Rachel looked at the scoreboard. It was the top of the third. She had been sitting here the entire time, but she did not see the Indian’s bat.
“I’m sorry. Seeing Peter through me for a loop.”
“Don’t let it. That was a couple of years ago.”
“I know, but I cannot believe I met his girlfriend.”
“Fiancé,” Sarah interrupted.
“Okay, fiancé. But I didn’t know it and I think she did. I spent the day worrying that I had made the wrong impression. The entire situation is weirding me out, and I feel like I am losing my chances at a job with Davenport.” Rachel picked up her cup. It was empty.
“Rach, Davenport is one company. You don’t know what will transpire, but you have no control over the situation. You need to relax.” Sarah’s advice for everything was to relax. When Rachel was seventeen and her father had to have emergency bypass surgery, Sarah sat with her in the waiting room. “Relax. Your father is at the Cleveland Clinic. Shahs and Kings and important diplomats fly in from all over the world to have heart surgery here. Your father is in good hands.” Sarah had a way of putting things into perspective and making Rachel calm. Besides, Rachel knew she was correct—if Davenport did not work out for her, something would.
“Why don’t we go grab a beer?” Sarah suggested. Rachel was feeling the effects of the alcohol, but she decided one more beer would be all right.
The girls stood and walked up the stairs to go to a concession stand and grab a beer.
“I’m going to use the restroom,” Sarah said.
“All right, I’ll grab us two beers.” Rachel headed toward a concession and got in line. She took out her phone to check if she had missed any calls or texts. Rachel had recently decided to place her phone permanently on silent. The constant ringing and text notifications were consuming her. Once she silenced her phone she realized she forgot about it for a few hours at a time. She began to get more accomplished in her day.
No one had called or texted.
Standing in line, she stared at the television trying to refocus on the game. She was distracted from her distraction, and she wanted nothing more than to lose herself in the game. It was already the bottom of the third and the Indians were winning 1-0. She was unsure who had scored. If she had been at the game with anyone but Sarah, she would be keeping score, but Sarah did not really come to the games to watch; she came to people watch, drink beer, and have fun. Had she realized she would be this distracted, she would have insisted on keeping score so she could at least enjoy the game.
As she inched closer to the counter, she thought about Tony. He really seemed to want her to apply for a bartending job at City Tap. Admittedly, working downtown would offer her new and different experiences. She would meet more corporate types and maybe get a line on a job that way. Anyway, the money would be better, and she would really like to start putting some money away. Graduate school was not out of the question.
Just as she was about to order, she heard Sarah. “Rach! Look!” She turned. Sarah was standing with Jason and they were each holding two big beers.
“Can I help you?” The cashier said. Rachel looked from Sarah to the cashier.
“Get out of line,” Sarah said grinning.
“No, I’m sorry. I don’t need anything, but thank you.” The woman smiled as Rachel walked over to Sarah.
“What is going on?” she asked taking the beer that Sarah was offering.
“Well. I walked out of the restroom and Jason was buying two beers from a beer vendor and then he called my name, and presto! Two beers became four beers.” She held up her two cups. Jason then help up his two cups.
“Did you pay for this, too?” Rachel asked him.
“Let me give you a twenty. You’ve already paid for too much.” Rachel had the money in her hand already. She moved closer to Jason, but his hands were full. She reached for one of the cups, to hold it so he could take her money, but he recoiled from her, spilling each beer slightly.
“Seriously? No. It’s fine.” He shook his head waiving off the twenty she was holding out to him.
Rachel frowned. Unlike Sarah who was giddy about free beer, Rachel did not like handouts. She did not mind rounds; she could do rounds because eventually it evened out. She did not like it, though, when anyone tried to pay for everything. She was not a freeloader, and she did not want anyone to think she was taking advantage of a situation.
“So, Jason is sitting a few sections over from us. They are a bit closer to third base,” Sarah said. “And he asked us to sit with him.”
Sarah was smiling and Rachel did not know what her motives were here. Sarah knew she would never sit with Peter. Did she want Rachel to flirt with Jason in front of Peter because that was never going to happen?
“Yeah, Peter and Tyler went up to the Batter’s Eye bar. They said to meet them after the game. Ace and I have two seats available. That’s if you want. Our seats are not as good as yours.” The crowd exploded with cheers. Rachel looked up at the television. Jason Kipnis just hit a double scoring two runners. The Indians were suddenly winning 3-0.
“That’s fine. I would like to see some of the game,” she said indicating the hit on the screen.
“Let’s get moving then.” Jason lead the way. He weaved his way through the crowd and made a clear path open to his section, 163. His seats were about eight rows up. Definitely the seats were not as good, but they were still very good seats.
As they approached, Ace moved over a seat. Sarah moved in, then Rachel, and lastly Jason.
“Dude, you missed one hell of a play,” Ace said. “The Tribe is playing really well.”
For a few minutes, they all just sat and watched the game. Rachel could feel Jason watching her, and she felt self-conscious of her every move. Although the night was cool, she felt her face growing hot. She turned to Jason. “This is a little embarrassing because we just sat down, but I need to use the restroom. Could you excuse me?”
“Actually I do, too. Ace, Rachel and I will be right back.”
Sarah smiled and waved them on. She and Ace were in a conversation about Chief Wahoo. Sarah was an activist, and she would argue with anyone about the impropriety of the logo and why she believed it should be removed indefinitely.
Walking toward the restroom, Jason said, “I’ll wait for you.”
“All right.” She walked into the restroom and walked to the mirror. Her face was definitely red. She took off her cap and splashed water on her face. She patted her face dry with a paper towel. She looked at her phone. It was not even 8:00. The day was moving extremely slow, and running into Jason yet again was awkward.
Walking out of the restroom she saw Jason leaning against the wall balancing on one foot. His left knee was bent and he had his foot placed on the wall. His fingers were moving quickly over the keys of his phone, and she assumed he was texting someone, possibly even Peter.
Rachel walked up to him in a reserved manner. She stood silently slightly away from his at his side, not wanting to disturb him.
Jason finished texting and glanced around. Realizing Rachel was right there, he startled. “How long have you been there?” he asked laughing at himself.
“Just a few seconds. I did not want to interrupt; your fingers were like lightning.”
“Yeah,” he sighed deeply. “This Yakama account is taking the wind out of my sails. I cannot seem to do anything that pleases them.” They started to walk. He gently squeezed her forearm and he stopped, forcing her to stop as well. “Let me ask you a question. How do you feel about giving me some input?”
She wanted desperately to give him input. This morning, she did not have an opportunity to share her savvy and knowledge. She did not show him that she was so much more than the Purdue Owl’s webpage.
“All right,” she said.
Even though they were standing in the middle of the concourse and people were moving around them, Rachel listened fervently to Jason’s conundrum. “I have to pitch to a client tomorrow. They are a small Japanese tech firm who have come up with a new tablet that is voice activated. It is pretty impressive.”
“Sounds impressive,” Rachel admitted.
“It is. Anyway, I just received an email from the client. They want a slogan. Originally, they sad they did not, but now they do. I need to come up with something that will knock their socks off. Any ideas?”
Rachel’s mind was racing. If she could give him something, anything, she might get her foot in the door. “What is the name of their product?”
“The Phenix,” he said.
“A mythological reference! Intriguing choice by a Japanese company.” she said. Rachel minored in literature and much of her concentration had been in Greek mythology.
“Yes, but no one will know it’s mythology because they are choosing to spell it without the ‘o’.”
“That shouldn’t matter. It needs to be simple. ‘Phenix: Technology Reborn.” She fanned her hand in the air as if she were picturing it on a billboard.
“That is really good,” Jason said looking up at her imaginary billboard. “It is easy to remember and we could come up with a lot of really good print ads. You’re genious.” He rested his hand on her shoulder and gazed into her eyes. For the second time that day, she felt like he was looking into her, not at her. She felt a flutter.