My head feels fuzzy as I grab for a plastic cup and place it under the faucet that reads "Diet Coke." What the hell is Kevin doing here? He knows I'm working. Oh God. How embarrassing. I look at the schedule taped to the wall to see if there's anyone else that would switch tables with me. My heart sinks when I see that two other waitresses called in sick.
Hands shaking, I pick up the mystery man's diet coke and bring it back to table number thirteen. As I approach, their conversation tapers off and I set down his drink. I can feel both of their eyes probing me. I know if I look at Kevin I'll start to cry. But if I keep my eyes on the floor, I'll look like an idiot. So I force my gaze to the mystery man.
Once again I'm struck by his beauty and my lips part in wonderment. His dark hair falls in waves around his head and it looks so soft. I have the sudden urge to run my fingers through it and the thought has me biting my lip again. His knee-buckling blue eyes lower to my lips and I see a flash of desire flash across his expression.
Or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my end.
"So -uhm - did you want me to put in that BLT now?" I ask him.
His expression turns from me and I hear his seductive voice ask Kevin if he wants anything to eat. Kevin clears his throat, clearly wanting my attention but I refuse to give it to him. The mystery man looks between the two of us and raises an eyebrow.
"I'll have a tuna melt, Jess," Kevin says softly.
Just hearing his voice lodges a new batch of tears in my throat. I nod my head and jot his order down on my notepad and leave before either of them can say anything more to me. I put in their order but instead of going to wait on my other tables, I grab my cell phone and head to the bathroom. I lock myself in the last stall and decide to call Kelly.
She picks up on the first ring.
"What's wrong?" she asks and I can hear the faint sound of her punk/rock music playing in the background.
"He's here," I answer.
"Who - Kevin?"
Kelly curses and I have to pull the phone away from my ear.
"You want me to come down there? I'll pull him out of your restaurant by the scruff of his neck and kick his scrawny ass."
I smile at her protective edge and chuckle softly.
"He's here with someone - a guy I've never seen before."
Kelly's quiet for moment and I know the wheels in her mind are turning.
"You think it's his gay lover?" Kelly questions and I burst out laughing.
I haven't laughed in days and the feeling is so wonderful I never want it to stop. I wipe the tears away from my eyes and take a deep breath as I stand to my feet.
"No, I don't think so, Kel. Despite what you think, Kevin is all man. But thanks - you cheered me up. I hafta go though…." I say.
"Ok, Jess. Well I'll be there at nine o'clock, on the dot. I love you chica."
"Love you too."
I hang up the phone and rush back out to the floor. Because we're short in staff, I have to take on an additional four tables tonight. Luckily, the dinner rush has passed so most of my customers just want dessert.
Every time I pass table number thirteen, I feel the mystery man's eyes on me. He must know by now that I'm Kevin's ex-girlfriend and the thought is humiliating. Yep, I'm the girl he dumped after cheating on me twice and then finally saying he just 'needed some space.' Kelly told me how pathetic I was for not dumping him a long time ago. Now I'm starting to see her point.
An hour has passed and I force myself to bring their check to the table. My shoulders sag with relief when I see that Kevin is gone and it's just the mystery man now waiting in silence. I try to steady myself when his seductive gaze lingers on my face. His lips quirk up into a semblance of a smile and I see the tips of his straight, pearly white teeth. It's the first time I've seen him half-smile and the sight nearly brings me to my knees.
I set the check on the table. "Whenever you're ready you can pay up front," I mumble.
But just as I start walking away, I feel a warm hand clasp around my wrist. The touch causes a tingling sensation all the way up my arm and I gasp. The mystery man nods his head to the empty side of his booth.
"Would you please sit and talk with me for a moment?" he asks.
His voice is like honey to my ears. Even though it's not allowed to sit with the customers, I find myself moving to the other side of the table and sliding into the booth. My hands become clammy with cold sweat and my mouth turns desert-dry.
I can't seem to look at him, so instead my eyes lock on Kevin's half-eaten tuna melt. Oh crap. I forgot to bring over that take-home box he'd wanted.
"I didn't realize you were Kevin's girlfriend," he says and his voice is so gentle I want to melt.
"Ex-girlfriend," I correct.
"Er, right. Ex-girlfriend."
He sighs and I glance up from my lashes to see he is staring at me. My stomach squirms with excitement.
"I'm Logan," he says and gives me a small smile. "But I go by Hunter."
A wicked gleam flashes across his eyes and his smile turns devious. His body shifts and he slowly leans closer to me.
"No," he corrects me with a whisper. "By reputation."
A sudden shiver dances down my spine. Thoughts of just how 'Hunter' got his name tumble through my overly dramatic mind and I wipe my sweaty palms down the front of my apron. I lick my drying lips and try to clear my throat.
"So uhm, listen I have to get back to work. Is there something else you needed?" I ask.
Hunter's blue eyes stare back at me and his gaze travels down to my lips. My heart starts hammering against my temples and then I see his eyes slowly move down to my chest. Usually when a man looks at me like this I'm disgusted. But with Hunter's luring gaze on me, I feel like I'm being held captive under his spell.
"I hear you're in need of a roommate," Hunter says.
Just thinking of this guy becoming a possible roommate sends my heart into overdrive. I swear if I don't calm down I'm liable to simultaneously combust.
"Y-yes, I am," I admit. "I mean, we are. So…I take it Kevin wants out of the lease?"
Hunter frowns at my question and tilts his head to the side.
"No. He's still planning on moving in," he says softly.
Oh…well that's news to me….
"So do you have a room available or not?" Hunter asks again.
"Yea, we do," I say under my breath.
Hunter nods his head with approval and then pulls a card out from his back pocket. He sets it on the table along with a fifty dollar bill.
"The fifty is for the meal," Hunter says. "Keep the change."
My eyes search his face and he points his finger in the direction of his card.
"All my information is on there. If you want to interview me before I move in, that's fine. I have references. If not, call me with details. I need a place as soon as possible."
Hunter gets up from the other side of the table and stretches. My eyes become fixated on the inch of creamy skin just above his boxers and my mouth waters as I register just how lean and muscular his stomach is. He notices me staring and gives me a seductive grin. My cheeks burn with embarrassment but I can't seem to look away.
"Talk soon then?" Hunter asks with a gravely whisper.
"Y-yea," I manage to say and cower away from this man that is so beautiful and yet so intimidating. "Talk soon."