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But You're No Stranger Anymore

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It was a slow, rainy day at Family Video, where Robin and Steve had recently been hired. Since Starcourt Mall burned down, everyone in Hawkins was apprehensive to even go outside. Most residents were suspicious that it was just a tragic accident, especially with all the government interest. Why would the federal government be involved in such a small town issue?

Steve groaned in boredom for the third time in five minutes. Taking inventory was his least favorite job at the video store.

“Steve, just get it over with. It’s really not that hard,” Robin called from the checkout counter. She honestly didn’t mind taking inventory because it gave her a chance to scope out new films. Steve, on the other hand, had no real interest in movies.

“I just want some cute girls to walk in. Actually, I just want anyone to walk in. Anything to take me out of my misery,” Steve sighed. He stood up and walked to the counter to grab a new sheet of paper.

“That I wouldn’t mind either,” Robin chuckled. As if on cue, the bell at the entrance rang, and someone shuffled in, wiping their feet and removing their sopping hood. Robin glanced up and nudged Steve sharply in the ribs.

“Ow, what was that for?”

“A cute girl just walked in, dumbass,” Robin whispered harshly. Steve looked up and saw the girl walking towards the new releases section. She was wearing a denim jacket with a flannel hoodie underneath and had her dirty blonde hair pulled back in a tight ponytail.

“Do you think she’s, ya know…” Robin asked hesitantly. Gay people were a rarity in Hawkins, so Robin was always on the lookout. Her last crush, Tammy Thompson, was hopelessly straight, and Robin did not want to make that mistake again.

“I’ll go figure it out for you. No straight girl can resist my charm,” Steve winked and strode towards the girl. Robin rolled her eyes. Steve used to be a ladies’ man, but since leaving high school, he’d had little luck in love.

“Hey, welcome to Family Video. You finding everything okay?” Steve asked as he leaned on a nearby shelf.

“Yep, thanks,” the girl replied without looking up.

“Are you new to town? I don’t think I’ve seen you before. My name’s Steve, by the way,” Steve said, combing his hand through his luscious locks. This time, the girl turned to him.

“Yeah, I just moved from Seattle. I’m starting at Hawkins High on Monday. And my name’s Jamie, Jamie Irvine,” she answered before going back to looking through the VHSes.

Steve knew his tactics weren’t working. He tried one more time to get some sort of reaction from Jamie. Glancing at the movies she was looking at, he got an idea.

“You know, if you’re looking for a new romance movie, Weird Science is pretty good. I’m kind of a hopeless romantic myself.”

Jamie glared at him. “Weird Science is about a couple of horny teenagers making their ‘ideal’ woman, and it predictably going terribly. That’s not very romantic.”

Steve sighed and walked back over to the counter, where Robin was trying to stifle her laughter.

“Wow Steve, are you sure you’re such a chick magnet? I could feel the awkwardness from over here.”

“Shut up. I couldn’t do anything to get her attention. There’s no way that chick is straight. Her name is Jamie. She said she’s going to Hawkins High, maybe you should go give it a shot,” Steve suggested. Robin took a deep breath in. It had been awhile since she’d tried to flirt, but this girl was really cute. She mustered up enough courage and started walking towards the new releases section, but when she got there, the girl was already gone, the door swinging behind her.

“Goddammit Steve, you scared her off!” she yelled in frustration. Now, she figured, she’d have to meet her at school with people all around. Just great, she thought.