Shaina was running away from the house again-why had she gone back? She could have just lived with the image of Brie and Brent, and not have to have seen them once again, and hear Brent's horrible words. Shaina secretly wondered if it was really the fact that Brie and Brent were in bed together that got to her, or the fact that Brent had so bluntly said, "Brie's better in bed." Shaina was used to being compared to Brie by other people, however, usually the general consensus that everyone came to was that Brie was a better student, and much sweeter and more polite, and that Shaina was gorgeous and more wild, and fun to party with. Never in her life had Shaina been told that Brie was better than her in a situation involving guys. Even Brie's two boyfriends had admitted to Shaina that they thought she was much hotter than Brie. Brie had never found out, but the point was that Brie did not overpower Shaina in that kind of way. It was something that Shaina had always had over Brie; Brie could be super smart, but Shaina was beautiful.
It was odd, too because Shaina remembered Brent saying he thought Brie wasn't that pretty, and that he didn't really like her. And it was so out of character for Brie to do something like that. She was such a "together" person. She hated Brent. Brie was a virgin, goddammit! Well, not anymore, Shaina thought, growing more angry by the second. Where the hell did Brie get off screwing her boyfriend? Shaina would never have done that to her! There had to be some kind of explanation behind this. However, Shaina was seriously not in the mood to hear it.
Shaina wasn't terribly upset over the loss of Brent, now that she really thought about it, even though he had been her longest lasting boyfriend. He was a dumb, ripped jock like the rest of them, and she would probably have dumped him soon anyway. It was the fact that Brie had prevailed over Shaina. The very thought of it made her want to puke. She needed to get the fuck out of this neighborhood. Shaina grabbed a cab on the corner of Gardener and sixth street.
The cab driver was a scruffy, skeevy looking old man who's cab smelled like rotten fish. Shaina held her nose as she climbed in.
"Where to, Miss?" The driver grunted at her. She was very glad to not be sitting in the front seat; Shaina suspected that his breath probably smelled like his car.
Where did she want to go, anyway? "Um," Shaina began intelligently, "Wherever." Shaina knew immediately that she should not have said this while wearing a short skirt and a shirt that showed her cleavage. Too late. The cab driver raised his eyebrows, leering through the mirror.
"Want me to take ya to the stars?" He sneered, turning to grab her. Shaina screamed, pushing his hand away.
"I didn't mean THAT! Ew." Shaina muttered, sounding like a little girl. What kind of twenty year old woman still said "ew," and meant it? Then again, no one else would be wearing a short skirt in the middle of December when it felt like it was about to snow. God, she was an idiot, Shaina thought.
The cab driver nodded, "Sorry little lady." But he still had that smirk on his face. "So where to?"
Shaina shivered, trying to think of some random café or something- anything to get out of this cab. "Melvin's Veggie Palace," Shaina blurted out. She had no idea why she had said that. Shaina hated most vegetables, and would most definitely not want to go to a vegetarian restaurant. She loved meat. Her ex-boyfriend, Ian, had always taken her to Melvin's. Shaina had hated it, but it was payback for making him go to all of the burger joints. She had only really known two vegetarians in her life; Brie and Ian. With Brie, it had made eating difficult because Brie couldn't stand to eat meat, and Shaina loved it so much. Ian just ordered meat to please Shaina, then scowled at it, and ran for the bathroom. Shaina smiled, remembering one time before a party. She, Brie, Ian, and Brie's current boyfriend, Lance, had all gone out to eat. Somehow, the waitress had gotten their orders mixed up, and given Ian the pasta with meat, and Shaina the pasta without it. Ian had been the only one who hadn't noticed it, and just started eating. Shaina, Brie, and Lance all laughed hysterically until he finally figured it out.
"You think that's funny?!" Ian had jokingly yelled at Shaina, tickling her, "You think that's funny, huh? Well, I'll teach you a lesson!" And he tackled Shaina to the floor, and had the whole restaurant shrieking with laughter. Shaina grinned at the memory. Ian had been good to her, mostly. She shrugged her shoulders as though someone who cared could see her, and leaned back in the taxicab seat, taking the fifteen minute ride to Melvin's Veggie Palace.
Melvin was seventy years old, and the café had started out as an upscale restaurant, run by his grandfather. Once Melvin had taken over the business, it had become a place for vegetarians only. He often came by during business hours to check up, and to tease Shaina, whenever Ian made her come there.
"You got yourself a good, vegetarian boy, honey," Melvin would say, drumming his fingers on the table, making them both laugh. "And you there," he would say, pointing a long, bony finger at Ian, "You got yourself a beautiful girl. Hold on to her." And Ian always promised that he would. Once Melvin had left their table, Ian would always take her hands and whisper, "I'll never let you go." It sent shivers up Shaina's spine, thinking about it now, just as much as it had five years ago. She wrapped her light pink sweater more tightly around her shoulders.
Once they arrived, Shaina paid the cab driver, (no tip) and walked into Melvin's Veggie Palace. The place looked almost the same as it had a few years ago. It was as though nothing had been untouched, everything had stayed the same.