The next day I came into work as per usual. I wasn’t going to let a little fight between my friend and I keep me from doing my job. The more I had thought about it last night, the more I came to realize that I should have taken notice of the way he felt before, but maybe I just didn’t want to see it because he was my best friend. Plus we had always had quite the outrageous friendship.
I entered into the back where Luke was covered in flour and rolling out some dough. I smiled and walked over to him smacking him on the arm. He glanced up at me like he had just noticed I had walked in.
For a long time we just stared at each other as an awkward silence began to grow between us. If we were able to date, break up, and go back to the way things were, then surely we could do it this time, too. Even if it took some time, surely we could fix this.
So I smiled at him to let him know everything was ok and things were still going to be the same between us. With that smile, Luke’s eyes welled up with tears. He pulled me into a tight hug and thanked me over and over again in my ear. I gently pushed away from him and went about my normal routine of tying on my apron, sticking my notepad and pencil in my pocket, and raking my long hair back into a high ponytail.
I heard the bell ring throughout the restaurant announcing another customer. So I slapped a smile on my face and approached the customer’s table. As I approached I noticed he seemed to be slightly anxious about something. Almost like he was waiting on somebody and they were running extremely late.
“Hi, my name is Aerolynn. What can I get you to drink?” I asked politely. His dark green eyes met mine for a brief second before quickly darting away.
“Coffee is fine,” he mumbled.
“Would you like me to bring you some cre—”
“NO! Just make it black!” He shouted turning those crazed green eyes on me. Realizing that a few of the customers had turned their eyes on us, he quickly glanced away. His leg was bouncing up and down the entire time.
Trying not to take offense and snap back at him like I really wanted to fucking do, I merely pursed my lips and pivoted on my heel to go get him his BLACK coffee.
“He should be lucky I’m not the type of waitress to spit all up in his coffee,” I growled to myself.
“That doesn’t sound very nice,” a deep voice replied with a light chuckle. My heart stopped. I hadn’t heard that voice for a while now. Even after all this time apart, it sounded exactly the same. Not a single thing had changed about that all too familiar voice.
I slowly turned around so I could see the face that I knew matched the voice. My eyes widened and a large grin split my face.
“Mason?!” I squealed in excitement. I ran towards Mason and flung myself into his arms. It had been over five years since I had seen him. And he looked exactly the same as when I last saw him.
“I missed you, too,” he chuckled wrapping his arms even tighter around my waist. “Have you lost weight? I told you to stop dieting. It’s unhealthy,” he sighed irritated. I laughed and pulled away, but I made sure I was still wrapped in his arms.
“I haven’t dieted since the tenth grade,” I told him. There was no wiping this smile off my face. Nothing could make it disappear.
Mason narrowed those caramel brown eyes at me giving me the once over. “If you say so.”
“I DO say so,” I retorted.
He gently pushed me out of his arms and towards the counter.
“You better go get that man his coffee before he has a heart attack,” he whispered with a smile. I nodded and eagerly went about making the man his coffee. After dropping it off (and doing my best not to toss it in his face after he snapped at me that he didn’t want any food when I asked him), I made my way over to Mason. Fortunately, we weren’t very busy and the last of our customers had left. Well, besides that guy.
“So, tell me, how’s life in the military?” I asked him propping my elbows up on the table and watching him. I still couldn’t believe he was here in front of me right now. He wasn’t supposed to be back until Christmas!
“Ridiculous,” he sighed leaning back in his chair. It was at that moment I noticed he wasn’t in uniform like he normally is when he comes home.
“Did you change out of your uniform?” I asked.
Mason glanced down at his casual attire of dark blue jeans and a white t-shirt.
“Yeah, I stopped by the house and changed. That uniform was ridiculously hot,” he complained.
“It’s freezing outside though!” I replied with slight worry when I saw how thin his top appeared.
“Trust me. I’d rather be freezing than sweating my balls off. So how’s my little sister?”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh, you know. I’m doing.”
“Heard you got to meet Zak Bagans. I bet that made your day didn’t it?” My brother’s eyes turned all wide like an anime character’s as he bat his lashes at me. “Was he everything you hoped and dreamed for?” he giggled shrilly speaking like (what he thought was a good impression of) a girl.
My eyes narrowed. “Never do that again. Ever. That was weird and creepy. Even for you.”
He laughed. “But seriously did you have fun?” The mention of Zak brought up a lot of painful memories, but enough good memories for me to dredge a smile up onto my face.
“Yeah, I had fun. We didn’t get a lot of evidence at the house though.”
“Really? Weird, I figured you would have gotten a shit ton of activity,” he shrugged uncaring. He rubbed his hand over his dark brown hair that had been buzzed off by the military.
“Well, I should probably get back to the apartment. I haven’t slept well these past few days and I am beat!” he yawned.
“Ok,” I said nodding my understanding. We got up and wrapped each other in another tight sibling embrace.
Just then the bell signaled another customer. I glanced behind my brother, my eyes widening in shock. Remember how I mentioned nothing could wipe the smile off my face? Yeah? Ok, well, I take that back because I lied. Because THIS wiped any hopes of a smile off my face.
“Zak?” I breathed not entirely convinced my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Aaron and Nick came rushing in behind him out of breath like they had run all the way here from wherever they had been.
Zak’s bluish-hazel eyes locked on with mine. He clenched his jaw and took long strides as he came over to where my brother, Mason, and I were standing. Mason, seeing the look of determination in his eyes, stepped aside out of Zak’s way.
Zak steadily approached me his gaze never leaving mine.
I bunched my brows in confusion. “What are you—?”
I was never able to finish my sentence as Zak took my face in his hands and crushed his lips against mine in a searing hot kiss. Our mouths molded together like the finest chocolate as he wrapped one around the back of my neck. He tilted my head back and deepened the kiss; his tongue sweeping along my bottom lip before demanding entrance inside my mouth. Our tongues dueled in a passionate fight for dominance. It was an intricate dance filled with bottled emotions, yearning, desire, and madness. His other hand dropped from my face to snake around my waist and press me tighter against him. My hands trailed up his arms feeling every groove of the tight muscles flexing as I wound my arms around his neck. I brought myself up onto my tiptoes and deepened the kiss still. I could feel the heat from his body leaking into mine making me grow hot and not just from the kiss. I could feel every inch of his body move against mine. I had completely forgotten about my brother, Luke, the customer, and Nick and Aaron. Nothing mattered except this moment with Zak. Right here. Right now.
We pulled away with a soft gasp as we finally broke away for air. I could tell that my cheeks were flushed from the heat and passion. When I looked up at him through hooded, glazed eyes, I could see a smile of satisfaction on Zak’s face. His cheeks, too, were flushed and his lips swollen and plump from the complete make out session we had just had in front of the entire store.
He rested his forehead against mine.
“I’ve wanted to do that ever since that time in your room,” he chuckled.
Those words cleared the fog out of my head and I stepped back out of his arms. They fell lamely back to his side.
“Who do you think you are?” I quietly asked as the rage built up inside me. “To come in here and just walk over to me and kiss me like you have every right to?”
“Um…what?” he asked in shock and disbelief.
“What? You think that just because we had a few heated moments back during the lockdown that you can just come back four months later without a single call, a text, or anything…you think you can just walk in here and act like nothing has happened in the four months you were gone?” I snapped.
“Well, I mean…” he lamely started.
“Let me tell you what. If you think we can just start where we left off four months ago…?” I growled. I took a step toward him and tilted my head back to stare up at him.
I twisted my hand into the fabric of his shirt up near his neck and pulled his face down to mine crushing our lips together in another passionate hot kiss. I pulled his face away as a mischievous smile crossed my face.
“Then you are absolutely right,” I whispered. Zak let out a sigh of relief along with a nervous chuckle.
“You had me scared for a minute,” he smiled straightening up.
I punched him in the arm. “You still could have called or something,” I pouted. Zak brushed his thumb along my jawline.
“Sorry. I guess I just wanted to make a grand entrance,” he admitted.
“Well, you certainly accomplished that,” I huffed folding my arms.
Zak glanced over at Luke standing behind me at the counter.
“Thanks for the call last night,” he said with a tilt of his head.
My eyes widened in shock as I whipped around to face Luke.
“You called him and told him to come here? But how did you get his number?”
Luke shrugged nonchalantly. “I have my ways. I saw how much you missed Zak and after that little episode last night…I figured that if I couldn’t make you happy myself, then I would bring in somebody who could make you happy. I missed seeing your smile these past four months. Your real smile. Not the fake ones that you put on for the customers. I just wanted to bring the Aerolynn I knew and loved back is all.”
Tears welled up in my eyes as I ran around the counter and hugged Luke tightly around the waist.
“Thank you,” I whispered as tears fell down my face. For once, they were from pure happiness. Nothing could ruin today.
“Nobody move! Put your hands behind your head and get down on the ground. GET DOWN!” I heard a man shout.
I glanced over and saw it was the anxious man that I had waited on. He was waving around a gun pointing it at us as he waited for us to do as he instructed. Zak and I locked eyes.
Forget what I said about nothing being able to ruin today.