The Reason I Stay by Patty Maximini
Age Group: New Adult
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Jack Daniels is the cure to all evils.
Sex should be casual and, preferably, anonymous.
Giving a damn is for nurses, philanthropists and suicide hotlines.
My name is Mathew Rogers and those are the values I built my adult life around. They are also the reason I had to forsake everything I loved in Seattle and embark on a solitary road trip across the country, with no direction other than searching for the next small town, the next girl, and the closest liquor store.
Boredom, frustration and a series of unfortunate decisions led me to the rickety-ass town of Jolene, Alabama—a town I wanted to leave behind from the moment I passed the welcome sign. But it was there where I met her. The girl who made me question everything I’ve always believed in, and the only one who has ever had the power to break my heart.
Her name is Lexie.
She’s beautiful, and I’m pretty sure she hates me.
And for once in my life, I give enough of a damn that I keep finding a reason to stay.
“Hey there,” a chipper voice with a very noticeable drawl sounds to my right.
Lifting my head to acknowledge the source of the voice, through my peripheral vision I see a narrow waist covered in navy fabric and a hand with purple nail polish and a girly skull ring, but I don’t bother to look at her further. I just can’t. I know she’ll be some nice southern-hospitality enthusiast trying to start a conversation, and welcome me to this town. Being one hundred percent sure that I’ll lose it if I’m subjected to that I bend my elbows, anchor them on the table and burry my head in my palms.
“Welcome to The Jukebox. I’m Lexie.”
I roll my eyes at her stupid name. Of course you’re a Lexie.
“Excuse me, do you have a problem with Lexies?” she asks, the previous friendliness in her voice completely gone.
Unlike most people, I don’t flinch, frown or apologize when I’m called out on my rudeness. I’m me and I don’t give a fuck. Without removing my head from my hands, I reply the only thing I can think of. “No, I don’t.”
“Good, ‘cause you’re stuck with me . . . Lexie . . . your waitress . . . up here.” Her cheery tone is back, obviously trying to be cute with me. Usually I’d take her cue and have some flirty fun, and if she ranks seven or up, I’d put some mild effort, leave her a big fat tip and take her home for the night.
But as previously stated, I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE. Besides, considering how hard she’s trying to be nice, I bet she’s no more than a five in the looks department. With that in mind, I give her a sarcastic thumbs-up and return my hand to its place, holding my aching head up.
She chuckles. “Come on. You’re really not gonna even look at me?”
And now she’s pushed me too far.
I puff a lung full of air. “No, I’m not.” With my eyes fixed on the tabletop, I continue. “Listen, sweetheart, I’m betting you were prom queen of this shithole, and for that reason you’re sure that if I just look at you, we’ll fall in love, get married, and you’ll get to quit your shitty-ass waiting job and actually be someone in life. But I’m not interested. I’ve had about five of you this week alone, and I’m just sick of it. So why don’t you quit with the chit-chat and do your fucking job, which is not that hard, by the way.”
She takes in a sharp intake of breath and lets it out in a loaded sigh. “Wow. Okaaay then. I’m so happy we got that settled. Are you ready to hear the specials, order or leave?”
Hopeless dreamer, tattoo enthusiast, Disney addict and hoarder of nail polishes and vegan recipes.
Patty lives with her husband, her crazy cat, two dogs and elderly bunny in a house frequently visited by wild birds and chipmunks.