Much to our shock, there was a line of people on the sidewalk waiting for us to open.
Was this really my life right now? How did I get to this point? A few months ago I was a single mother with no social life or romantic prospects anywhere in my future, and I was stuck at a dead-end job at a bar. Now, I was opening a business, doing what I loved every single day, and found the love of my life who was the best father in the world to our son.
Oh, and my vagina was getting regular work-outs on an almost-daily basis. Couldn't forget that tidbit since it was probably the most important. I thought if my vagina had to wait any longer for some action, she would have just got up and walked out of my underwear to find another pair of legs to sit between. I would have turned into a fake woman. If you spread my legs, I'd look like Barbie with her plastic who-ha that had no hole. At least Ken wasn't missing out on sticking it to her. Poor guy just had a pair of tighty-whities with no bulge. That's probably why when I was younger I always made them dry hump. There wasn't much else they could do, really.
The store had been open for two hours and it had yet to be empty. Liz and I kept the adjoining door to our places open so people could file back and forth. I was a little leery about how the good people of Butler would take to having a sex toy shop downtown, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how many dirty people lived here. Liz was going to resurrect the sex lives of everyone in this town one dildo at a time.
She kept the front of her store to the bare minimum, mostly lingerie, lubes, massage lotions, candles and other things that were PG rated and wouldn't freak anyone out that walked by. She kept catalogs on the counter with pictures of all the other items that were located in the back of the store. You could simply point to what you wanted and she'd go in the back and get it for you, wrapping it in a small black bag so no one would know what you got.
My dad took in Liz's side of the store with as much enthusiasm as I expected him to. He walked through the adjoining doors and stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of a rack of garters and corsets. He took a look around and proclaimed joyously, "Humph," then walked back over to my side.
Gavin was the life of the store, naturally. He walked around handing out samples with the motto, "One for you, six for me." He was so hopped up on sugar by twelve o'clock, I was going to have to scrape him off of the ceiling by the end of the day.
I stood at the cash register ringing up a customer's cookie order when I noticed Carter talking to a guy by the front window. He was holding a small boy in his arms and Carter was laughing at something the guy said. He had his back to me so I had no idea who it was but something about him was familiar. I thanked the customer, gave her a flyer and headed over to Carter.
Carter noticed me walking towards him and smiled.
"There's my girl," he said as he lifted his arm so I could ease into his side.
The guy turned at Carter's words and when we saw each other, I wasn't sure who had the more shocked expression on their face.
"Oh my God, Max?"
"Claire?" he answered, equally surprised.
Carter looked between the two of us, obviously puzzled.
"Wait, you two know each other?" he asked.
"Um, yes. But more importantly, how do you know him?" I asked.
This was so awkward right now I kind of wished a meteor would crash out in the street. I needed total chaos right now to distract everyone from this insane situation.
"I met Max at the library when I took Gavin that one afternoon so you could work, remember? He gave me some tips on the joys of fatherhood," Carter laughed.
Max hadn't taken his eyes off me during the exchange and I laughed nervously. I didn't see this ending well. At all.
"So, anyway, how do you two know each other?" Carter asked again.
I looked at him and tried to convey with my eyes that this was about to get really weird really fast. Carter didn't get the hint and just stared at me expectantly.
"Hello, earth to Claire," Carter said with a laugh. "What's wrong with your face?"
I sighed, figuring I might as well get this over with.
"Carter, this is Max," I said, with a raise of my eyebrows, hoping he would get it.
He just laughed and shook his head.
"Yeah. We've already established that. Are you okay?" he asked as he leaned towards me.
"Carter. This. Is. MAX," I said again, punctuating Max's name with a big, fake smile.
Carter looked at me like I was insane for all of three point two more seconds when the light bulb finally went off in his brain. Really, how many f**king Max's did he know? It wasn't like the guy's name was John or Mike and he might have just assumed it was someone else. His name was Max for f**k's sake. As soon as he met him, shouldn't a red flag have gone off in his head?
It was certainly going off now. Carter's head jerked back and forth between Max and me so quickly it almost looked like he was shaking his head no. Maybe he was. His brain might just be on overload right now and it was screaming, "Nooooooooooo! Does not compute!"
"You're Max?" he asked.
Max just nodded, finally looking away from me and at his son squirming in his arms.
"You're Max," he stated.
I laughed uncomfortably. "I think we've covered that already, hon," I said through a smile and clenched teeth.
Let the insanity commence.
Carter started chuckling.
I closed my eyes, not wanting to witness what surely was going to follow. Why had I ever though it was necessary to share every detail of this story? Why?