Hot tears sting my eyes making the view of my gorgeous boyfriend slightly blurred. When he sees me begin to cry, he gives me an awkward pat on the shoulder.
“I’m sorry – about everything,” he says stuffing his hands in his pockets.
I shake my head, my golden hair tumbling out of its loose ponytail and falling around my shoulders. I want to hide my face, not just from him, but from the world as well. Kevin draws in a long breath and sneaks a glance at the front screen of his cell phone.
“Listen – I hafta get going,” Kevin says slowly. “And again. I’m really sorry.”
He waits a moment but when I don’t say anything in return, Kevin just shakes his head and begins to walk away. I want to yell at him. I want to beg him to come back. But instead I pull my phone out of my pocket and dial my best friend’s number. She picks up on the second ring.
She sounds out of breath as she drills me with questions. “Jessie? What happened? Are you OK?”
I can’t seem to find my voice so instead my wordless sobs answer her questions for me.
“Where are you?” Kelly asks me gently.
“O-on the c-corner by h-his h-house,” I manage to say through tears.
“Ugh – that prick didn’t even offer to give you a ride back to work? I swear to God Jess, the next time I see that low-life son of a –“
“-Kelly,” I sniffle. “Please just come pick me up.”
I stand at the corner of Kevin’s street, wrapping my arms around my body as best I can. I shiver as I watch the sun’s last few rays dip below the horizon. Kevin used to tell me this was his favorite time of day – sunset. He said the myriad of colors overlapping one another was like a painting that showed off God’s best work.
I hear Kelly’s squealing tires up ahead and do my best to dry my tear-stricken face. Her car screeches to a halt against the curb and when I open the door, her favorite song blasts against my fragile eardrums. She sees my reaction and turns the music down, shrugging her shoulders in an apologetic manner.
Kelly begins to drive away and I watch as she tucks a lock of her black hair behind her ear. I notice she has a new nose ring and I compliment her on it. It’s not nearly as weird or as gaudy as the last one. Her taste is improving.
Kelly just rolls her eyes at statement. “So what’d that loser say now?” she asks cutting to the chase.
That’s what I love about Kelly so much. Unlike me, she’s brash and bold. She says whatever is on her mind and doesn’t care if it hurts the other person’s feelings. I sometimes wish I could be more like her.
“He broke up with me,” I finally say.
Kelly slams on the brakes and my body flings forward. I groan as the safety belt locks against my chest. Her hazel eyes look at me in disbelief.
“He – what?”
I nod my head and beg her to please keep driving. Kelly curses under her breath. “Ok – I’m not trying to be a bitch but that fucker signed a lease with us. We’re supposed to be moving into the condo in what – just under two months? It has four bedrooms and we’re already struggling to fill that last room!”
I cringe at her question. “I – I didn’t ask him,” I admit weakly.
Kelly scoffs as we pull into my work. “Well – I tell you what sugar. I know you love the kid, but if he doesn’t man up and move into that condo with us, I’m cookin’ up his testicles for breakfast. Comprende?”
A new wave of tears paralyzes me to the seat and my shoulders shake with grief. Kelly sighs and scoops me into one of her strong bear hugs.
“Hey,” she whispers. “It’s going to be alright. Just finish your shift and I’ll be here at nine to pick you up. Alright?”
I nod my head numbly.
“I love you, Jess. And you deserve so much better than that worthless prick. Just keep your head up for a few more hours and when you’re done, we can drive into the city and have a kick-ass girl’s night. Sound like a plan?”
I wave a final good-bye to Kelly and watch as she peels out of my work’s parking lot. I scuttle back into work and my co-worker Rose gives me a curt nod when I grab my time card.
“You’re late,” she says under her breath.
“I know I’m sorry,” I apologize.
She ignores my feeble apology and grabs her own time card to punch out. She hands the food tray over to me and snaps her gum as she lists off the things I have to do before I close.
“Alright,” I say timidly. “Anything else, Rose?”
She glances at herself in the break room mirror and gives herself a confident wink.
“Oh yea,” she adds. “I just seated table number thirteen so he’s waiting on his drink. He ordered a coke – I think.”
I force down the temptation to roll my eyes and plaster a fake smile on my face.
“Ok. Have a good night, Rose.”
My eyes scan the fairly-crowded restaurant and I politely maneuver my way to table thirteen. Without looking at the customer I offer up the best smile I can muster.
“Hello. My name is Jessie and I’ll be your server for the remainder of this evening. Could I please start you off with something to drink?”
“Diet Coke,” a seductive voice responds, although slightly irritated.
“Ok – Diet Coke it is. And are you ready to order?”
Mmmm that voice.
My fingers fumble around my short apron for a pen and when I find one, I huff out a sigh of relief. I lift my eyes to glance at my customer’s face and when I do my heart gets caught somewhere in my throat. My palms begin to instantly sweat and my jaw drops an inch.
This man before me is – without a doubt – the sexiest man I have ever seen in my life. His blue eyes scan my face and then drop down to scour over the rest of my body. My cheeks smolder under his scrutiny and I have the urge to run and hide.
When he’s finished his sapphire eyes once again meet mine. His chiseled face remains impassive and I gulp down my nerves and bring my trembling pen to my pad of paper.
“So w-what did you say you wanted?” I ask.
The man tilts his head to the side as he hands me his menu. I tuck it under my arm and bite my lip so hard it almost bleeds. I notice he watches the action, a ghost of a smile playing across his lips.
“I’ll just have a BLT,” he says. “But I’m actually expecting someone else. I don’t know if they’ve eaten yet, so if you could, wait to put the order in until they get here.”
I don’t know why, but hearing he’s waiting for someone sinks my spirits even lower.
Pffft. Of course he’s expecting someone else. He’s probably dating a movie star or something.
“Sure,” I say with a half-hearted smile.
But just as I start making my way back to the pop fountain, a familiar face enters the restaurant. My eyes well up with tears as my boyfriend – correction, ex- boyfriend – waltzes through the doors. I can’t help but watch as his faded blue jeans walk down the carpeted floor. I don’t see any of his friends here. I wonder who he’s meeting.
And then my jaw feels like it’s going to drop to the floor when Kevin takes a seat at the booth – right across from the gorgeous man at table number thirteen.
© Copyright 2016 Take the World by Fire. All rights reserved.
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