FRUIT CUPS & FLOWERS
Bella set her orange juice down by the vehicle’s tire so she could use both hands to unwrap her breakfast burrito and eat in the sun for a few minutes.
When she noticed the guy on the other side of their gas pump watching her, she gave the man a once over.
Nice shoes. Well-tailored jeans. A tight shirt he was almost pulling off.
The man’s hungry days were clearly behind him. Now he was one of those golf guys in his mid-thirties who walked around with sunglasses perched up on his brow.
When their eyes caught, he smiled like a guy who didn’t care how old she was and Bella replied by taking an un-sexy bite of her burrito as her hand reached into a pocket and pulled out an iPhone.
With a burrito in one hand and phone in the other, she missed the password on her first try. She got it on the second, though, and quickly opened Instagram and searched for Whitney’s account -- spotting it instantly this time and pulling up her feed.
The blonde’s last post before coming on this trip was a video with two outfits in the background. The outfit on the left had been Whitney’s outfit the day before.
Wow. The girl had done an outfit check with her fans on what to wear to meet Adam.
That was serious.
Bella quickly scrolled down Whitney’s feed to get a feel for the girl. Her aesthetic seemed to be all about soft tones and clean lines. Very bold and graphic in a pastel kind of way. Now that Bella had seen it, she could probably pick out of a lineup.
Did she like Whitney’s style?
Soft, sterile-chic wasn’t really Bella’s thing. She preferred things more bold and lived-in —things with a history and a story, not things that look like they were taken fresh out of the packaging.
But to each their own.
It wasn’t a crime to like watercolors and pastels. And, honestly, it matched up with the fact that Whitney had ordered a fruit cup for breakfast when she could have had anything.
Seriously, who looked at a diner menu and ordered the fruit cup?
It was a red flag for Bella.
She didn’t trust people who counted calories on vacation. It was unnatural. Eating was pretty much the #1 reason to travel. If you didn’t eat local, you missed 50% of everything.
It was one of the few things Bella’s parents agreed on and Bella found it to be true, too.
That meant Fruit-Cup Barbie needed a little more vetting before Bella cleared her to be left unsupervised with Adam. Because anyone who ran on fruit was bound to have moody blood-sugar, and Bella really didn’t want to rescue Adam from any unhinged blondes on this trip.
Yet, based on Whitney’s Instagram profile, the blonde knew what she was about and was good at it. She clearly loved the camera, the camera clearly loved her back, and her fans were active.
All in all, Whitney was doing pretty good for a blonde from the suburbs … and none of her posted pictures showed crazy eyes, so that was good.
Bella scrolled back up to Whitney’s most recent post to watch the outfit-check vid just as the guy with the sunglasses looked her way again. Then he looked at the phone in her hand and his stoic brow furrowed a bit.
Bella made a point of ignoring the guy’s attention as she took another bite of her breakfast burrito while closing Instagram on the phone.
“Mmm,” she said as a delicious balance of eggs, bacon, potato, sour cream, salsa, guac, and cheese filled her mouth.
Focusing on the flavor, Bella dropped the phone back in its pocket just as sunglasses guy reached into his pocket and pulled out his iPhone. He checked the time and put the phone back his pocket as Bella sent silent praise to the heavens for the local diner that had made her glorious breakfast burrito.
It was so good. It needed some heat, but Bella was actually enjoying the flavor without hot sauce, too.
Bella’s dad told her once that America’s national cuisine was diner food. He said that all diner’s were ultimately judged by their breakfast menu, and the Top 5 foods American diners had to get right to survive were: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, and breakfast potatoes.
Her father would totally love this diner. If they came through this town again on the way back, Bella was definitely getting the pancakes and sausage, too. Then she’d down it all like it was Thanksgiving dinner and regret nothing.
Because that’s what normal people did when they traveled. They experienced and indulged.
They didn’t order fruit cups and buy hand wipes with their allowance. That was just weird. And weird was fine, so long as it was balanced and not subject to sudden mood swings.
For now, however, there was no more to be done. Bella couldn’t grab the phone again because Chad was walking her way like he expected her to answer for something.
She glared for him to leave her alone, but Chad ignored her pointed look as he sneered for sunglasses guy to get lost instead.
And, wouldn’t you know it, the man put the cap back on his gas tank and walked into the store.
Two steps later, Chad was in her face. “He almost caught you, you know.”
Bella rolled her eyes and kept chewing as she reclaimed her orange juice. “Almost is just another way to say it didn’t happen.”
“Not this time,” Chad hissed. “But you’re getting reckless.”
“Reckless?” Bella snapped back before she could help it. “Look who’s talking.”
Okay, where had that come from? She was getting too mad, too quick and needed to bounce. Immediately.
So she did.
Without a look back, Bella clutched her burrito and her orange juice as she got back on the bus.