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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Business · #2319261
Cort is jealous of the attention his wife receives
It was his idea, and that damn thought continued to plague him. He needed to do something big, and buying the store was his pride and joy. He put his wife in charge of running the counter, ordering, and dealing with the customers. He knew she would be good at it, but he never once thought those customers would be coming in daily just to flirt with her.

She had a lovely smile, the bright kind you could get lost in, but he always thought she reserved that smile for him and no one else. It was stupid to be jealous over it, but here he was. He spent most of his days doing the books, unloading stock, and dealing with emergencies when they presented themselves.

He knew the customers that came and flirted. Everyone in town knew this was a family business, and Sam’s husband was right there too, but that didn’t stop them. They constantly told him he was a lucky man to have a woman like her. He knew it, but still some days he saw red.

He could remember the first time he came from the back room carrying the box containing the gloves she had ordered just in time for fall to bring in the cold weather. Sam was leaning over the counter, smiling and chatting up Max. He said something funny and she laughed, the sound sweet as music.

Max was a roofer, she bought specific gloves just for him and his crew, it turned into a profitable arrangement, but the man seemed only to come in to see her. He always lingered, even if other customers were there in line behind him, he’d be rude and stand there chatting her up. Sam was too kind to ask him to move, especially when he was a regular customer.

Then there was Todd, their lawn guy. He was another one who appeared to have a crush on his wife and would come in often, buy a soda, and chat for a good ten minutes before heading off to work. He was always mindful that he was there, and would wave, and say hello, but his last goodbye was always for Sam.

He supposed he could deal with all the jealousy, but he thought he didn’t have to like it.

“Cort, get over here,” Sam called. “You won’t believe this.”

Max was at the counter with her when he approached.

“How ya doing, Max?” he asked.

“Good, Cort,” he said, “I was just telling Sam about what happened to Mike yesterday.”

“Oh?” Cort took that opportunity to move behind the counter and beside his wife.

“Yea, the damn idiot slipped on the roof, lost his footing, starting sliding down toward the gutter, and then the pitchfork he’d been using to fling shingles off the roof and onto the ground, got lodged in his shin.”

Cort’s eyes bulged, picturing that sight. “Did he fall off the roof?”

Max shook his head. “Nope, Tony managed to catch him by the boot, but his leg was pouring blood by then. Do you believe he refused to go to the hospital? Idiot took four Motrin, climbed down, wrapped up his leg, and went back to work. All to avoid going home to his crazy ex-girlfriend.”

Cort shook his head. That was a lot of information to digest, and it also explained why he hadn’t seen Mike in two days.

“Anyway, I’m off. Now I’ll be down a roofer for the next few days. Damn fool wouldn’t listen, and this morning his leg swelled up so much he couldn’t put his pants on.

Max headed toward the door. “Have a good day, Sam.”

Cort watched as he exited the store and then turned to his wife. “Max has a mad crush on you.”

Sam laughed. “No, he doesn’t. We just grew up in the same part of town. He likes to talk. I’m a good listener.”

Cort laughed. “You are so clueless.”

Sam gasped and smacked him on the arm. “If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were actually jealous.”

“What if I am?” he asked.

Sam turned and looked up at him. She rose on the balls of her feet and kissed him hard on the mouth. “You,” she said, kissing him a second time, “have nothing to worry about.”

Maybe he didn’t, but he sure would be keeping an eye out.

WC: 734

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