“It’s a free service I offer to pretty girls.” Peter said. Inwardly he winced, careful not to let any of the embarrassment he felt show on his face. ’Don’t be a creeper’ was his mantra and he was painfully aware each time he violated it. It shouldn’t be hard to live by but it was for him. He didn’t know why. Maybe he was broken.
The two girls who had asked him to watch their stuff while they grabbed a cigarette break nodded and laughed but Peter could see it in their eyes, the change that moved him from nice old man to creeper. Again.
As soon as they were gone he started talking to himself. “I should know better than to try and offer compliments. They always come off wrong.” He shook his head in admonishment, not hearing the self-pity that filled his voice.
“Still it’s better than telling them not to smoke.” Peter mused. No one really liked being criticized, especially by a stranger. Beyond the window, the two girls huddled together in the cold, neither one of their jackets thick enough to keep them warm.