Our grim tale starts like many grim tales, with a young woman home alone on the phone with her best friend.
"Jamie, you wouldn't believe it, I think Shawn has something big planned tonight."
"I know! He's been posting all these cute, sweet, little bulletins on myspace and texting me a buncha super sweet things like "I love you!!!!" and he used more than three exclamation points which means it's for real. I think he's going to ask me to marry him."
"I am not a little slut like you, ok Jamie? And it's not called the hanky panky it's called making love and after he proposes it's like doing it with my husband, right, so I'm totally in the clear."
"It's cool. I'm gonna go change my clothes and check myspace before Shawn gets here, bye!"
"Oh my god! I'm totally getting sexed up tonight!"
Our naïve heroine may not have quite the level of female intuition as she thinks she does. This is indeed partially due to the fact that she's not quite as much of a woman as she thinks she is. We join Lauren Mehira Fernandez at 6:37 PM eastern standard time, roughly sixteen years, ten months, two weeks, one day, and two hours since she was born. I say "roughly" because her exact time of birth is not known. Her mother gave birth to baby Lauren in the back of a taxi on the way to the hospital somewhere between $4.25 and $6:50 on the meter. The fare didn't end up mattering anyway as the taxi driver, Saul, gave Lauren's parents the ride for free; a more fortuitous thing for the parents than Saul could have imagined as they had both forgotten any kind of money in their rush out of the house.
Saul was just happy that neither of the two had realized he had gone the wrong way to get to the hospital. He escaped the situation short only a few dollars fare and the ten bucks he'd have to pay to get the back of his cab cleaned instead of getting sued for endangering the child and mother by driving them to no where near the hospital. The parents were so thankful that they allowed Saul to name their daughter while they rode to the hospital. Saul, not having any children of his own was so grateful to be able to honor his dead mother and pass her name, Mehira, onto a new baby. Lauren's parents didn't like the name but felt obligated to still give it to their daughter so they made it her middle name. Mehira means "quick" which makes sense for Lauren seeing as she was born not only two weeks early, but only an hour after her mother's water broke. But I digress. We must return to the quick one in her bedroom far from anyone named Saul.
"Perfume on my neck? Check. On my perky breasts? Of course. And one more spray down a little bit low-wah-her, hehehe-"
"Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa! Laurie, what do you think you're going to be doing later tonight?"
"Don't just barge in here you slut! I don't just jump into your room whenever I want."
"A. I didn't barge in, YOU were spraying your nether regions with the door wiiiide open. B. Don't call me a slut you little skank. C. You just perfumed a thong you stole from my room showing that you DO sneak into my room, and that either you have a raging yeast infection or think you're getting lucky tonight - both of which make me say: ewww, ewww, and that should NOT be happening in my underwear!"
"Awww come on, mom threw away my cute underwear and I think Shawn is proposing tonight so I want to be ready."
"They don't even fit you! I can see the knots you tied in the sides from here. If those aren't down the laundry chute in two minutes I'm telling dad about your little plan tonight to jump your boyfriend."
"I'll change! I'll change! Close the door!"
"JUST WONDERING WHAT'S FOR DINNER TONIGHT."
"Oh, I think your mother's preparing a lentil loaf if I can trust my old schnozzle that that's her sweet onion sauce I detect wafting through the air."
"Any time sweetness."
Lauren changed underwear, applied perfume to her new pair, and posted a curt bulletin about how much of a supreme skank her sister is before exiting her room and throwing the stolen underwear down the laundry chute across the hallway with five seconds to spare according to her sister. Lauren's sister hadn't really been keeping track but liked to pretend she knew more than she really did just to keep Lauren on her toes.
Let's skip past the sibling rivalry, the accuracy of their father's schnozzle in regards to the dinner Lauren would not be sharing with her family, and get to the part where young Shawn is picking up Miss Lauren.
"Hey sweetie, wow Laurie you look great!"
"Thanks. You don't. I thought you said we were going out somewhere nice for dinner."
"We are, I mean Frank's Place is pretty nice, and they have a special on their steaks tonight and I know how much you like steak so I thought we could go there."
"Oh Frank's Place, yeah, nice, well let me slip into something a bit less prom then."
"Shawn, is that you?"
"Yeah Mr. Fernandez."
"Come on in here, I'd like to have a word with you."
"I'm sorry Mr. Fernandez, I didn't mean to get Laurie's hopes up so high, I thought Franks place was a nice restaurant, I didn't think she expected Olive Garden or something, now I ruined our-"
"Calm down Shawn, Frank's is a wonderful place, I've taken the missus there many a night. You know some nights they have a special on the steaks and-"
"Oh, I know! Tonight's one of those nights!"
"Good boy! No use in wasting money if you don't have to, but that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. You see, my little Lauren is ... a bit touchy sometimes and I know that. I just want you to know that I like you and I think you're a good influence on her. You're down to earth and I like that about you."
"Oh, uh, thanks Mr. Fernandez. I like you too."
"And that I trust you as a fellow man not to make any choices that could endanger the health, safety, or purity of my daughter."
The old man was a sly one.
"Oh, right. Of course I wouldn't. We have a wholesome night of, of mini golf planned for the two of us to enjoy. With our friends. They'll be there too so we won't be alone. So that's a good thing. And she'll be home by 11 like usual."
Shawn smiled, wondering if he had said too much or maybe too little. He had no intention of taking Lauren mini golfing, but he had just told Lauren's father such things so maybe he'd have to change their plans. Lauren would never go for that and he knew it. What was a boy to do?
"Come on Shawn, let's go!"
"Oh, ok! Bye Mr. Fernandez, thanks for the talk, and you can trust me, bye! Enjoy the lentil loaf, the onion sauce smells delicious!" He barely finished as Lauren dragged him through the front door.
"MINI GOLF?! You're taking me mini golfing on our anniversary?! I can't believe you Shawn!"
"No, we're not going mini golfing, just I had to tell your father something and making out in the back of the grocery store parking lot was not about to come out of my mouth."
"Good, gawd I hate that mini golf place, you know Amy, your little skank of an ex, works there, I can't believe you'd even think of ..."
Shawn listened to Lauren ranting all the way to Frank's Place which was indeed a fairly reputable family owned restaurant with a slightly rustic appeal. Shawn knew everything Lauren was going to say and didn't really have to listen, he instead focused on his plans for the night ahead. He had arranged for the wait staff to wish them a happy anniversary and bring them ice cream sundaes at the end of the meal which they would do gladly, the owner knew his father and was more than happy to help out young Shawn on this romantic endeavor.
"So, did you have a good day?" Shawn tried to pick up the conversation that had almost completely fallen off since Lauren's rant in the car.
"Yeah, until you came to pick me up." Lauren oozed out through a mouthful of steak special.
"Oh, right, yeah, sorry I guess."
"I thought you were going to do something nice for me like all those guys in those bulletins you posted that talked about doing nice things for their girlfriend, you said you'd do that but instead you take me to some dive restaurant and what is this? Not even flowers."
"I thought you would like it, I'm sorry."
"I still can't believe you brought me here, I thought you were planning something romantic."
"What? I've been sending you all those text messages recently, isn't that romantic?"
"Well yeah, but I thought you were building up to something special."
"Isn't this special? I've been sending you sweet messages all week, I'm taking you out to dinner and paying for you AGAIN, and you can't even be grateful, what do you expect from me? Your name in fireworks? Do you know how much money that would cost? We've been going out for seven months, I have a part time, minimum wage job, and what have you done for me? Nothing. Your allowance is more than I make and you've gotten me NOTHING, you don't appreciate me. You know what? Forget it. I'll pay them up front and call you a cab home. We're through."
"Good, I'm too good for you anyway, I'm breaking up with you."
"Enjoy your dessert."
And with that Shawn paid up front and left the restaurant crying as he called a cab for Lauren who sat alone, barely phased by what just happened. The waiter came over to make sure everything was ok.
"Yeah, my dick of a boyfr-I mean EX boyfriend just made an ass of himself so I dumped him. Loser didn't do anything for me for our anniversary, can you believe the guy?"
"Oh, alright... do you still want the two sundaes he paid for?"
"Ice cream in February? What a loser, but sure, well, one of them at least, I mean, they're paid for, right?"
"Yeah, um, and I'm not sure if I can stop it in time but-"
And then as if it were cued by some omnipotent being their song started over the crackling intercom, the song that had been playing as Shawn and Lauren sat down during their first date to eat their ice cream sundaes. They both sang along with it and knew only about half the words each, but had a great time laughing at each other for not knowing what they were singing and being able to just let themselves go in front of each other, it was a time Shawn treasured.
Lauren looked at the waiter, "Stop what?"
"This song, the song from your first date, Shawn requested we play it, I'm sorry, I'll see if I can stop it."
Obviously it was not a time Lauren treasured as she had no idea what the waiter was talking about. "Oh, right, whatever."
Lauren finished her sundae and went outside with the cab idling there, texting Jamie furiously about the crap of a night she just had and if Jaime knew anyone she could go out with. She was indeed less than broken up about the breakup. Jamie was not responding to her texts though which angered Lauren. Jamie always responded to Lauren's texts quite quickly.
Lauren muttered, "Gawd, what a bitch."
"What did you say?" said the cab driver, turning down the Moody Blues knowing full well what she said, but wanting her to change her language and hoping she wasn't talking about him.
"You're a bit young to need a ride home after getting too drunk, you know that, right?"
"I'm not drunk, old man, I'm dumped."
"Oh, sorry to hear that young lady."
"What's your name, anyway? The guy who called in the ride just said to look for the girl in the green jacket."
"My jacket's not green, it's teal."
"Oh, well, he's a guy, I'm a guy, it's green, we speak the same language."
"What language is that, asshole-ese?"
"If you don't watch your language I can drop you off right here, I won't have you disrespecting me in my own cab. I have been driving this cab for nearly twenty years now and I will not stand for such a thing. I know I'm already paid, but with how long you had me waiting outside the restaurant the fare was used up about five blocks ago, but I'm being nice and driving you the rest of the way. So you had better return the favor and answer my question, now what's your name?"
"Oh, sorry... Um, I'm Lauren."
"Lauren, I once knew a Lauren, you see-"
"I don't mean to be disrespectful, but really I just want quiet right now."
"I'll be quiet then, I can respect your wishes for silence in such a time. I didn't mean to push your buttons.
He didn't really push her buttons, Lauren was just being Lauren. They spent the rest of the ride without talking and the melodies of the Moody Blues perforating the silence until they got to her house.
"Is this the right one?"
"Alright, well, it's been a wonderful ride, Lauren." said the cab driver, always the gentleman.
"Yeah, right. So, where's your turban?"
"You drive a cab, dark hair, well with grey in it, mustache, you have a weird accent, aren't you Arab or something?"
"No, I'm Jewish. What's wrong with you, my name's even on the back of the seat, Saul Horowitz. Now get out you little brat."
And get out she did.