Parking my car in the small coffee shop car park I look around first, checking out for any suspicious characters before I get out, a little I’ve gotten into. I’m not sure if its good or bad but I do it anyway. The chime sounds above my head as I make my way inside and join the queue. Not surprisingly the coffee shop is occupied with more females than males. It seems Ryan is quite the new attraction, especially with a few of the girls that were in the year below me at school. I wave and say hello to them in reply but other than that I try to not listen to their mindless talk.
Was I really that shallow in high school? Probably.
After a few minutes when the queue doesn’t move, I look to front to see what the hold-up is and I realise I should’ve guessed. The queen bitch of my high school life Tara stands at the front, lips pouting, chest out and red hair twirled around her finger. Not much changed over the summer for her then. I had heard that she had stayed close to home; I hadn’t had the disadvantage of seeing her, up till now. Ryan looks completely red in the face, like he doesn’t know what to do or say. He looks like a deer caught in headlights and its actually quite amusing to watch but I am in a hurry, and I don’t want the cookies to sell out. I promised Jasmine some chocolaty goodness for our girl’s night tonight and I’m not about to let her down, especially if it’s all because of Tara.
Tara once more bends over to examine to cakes in the glass cabinet, hiding nothing from Ryan I’m sure and he looks up, not knowing where to look. It’s quite sweet really, most guys would be totally under her spell by now but he catches me watching and his eyes widen.
“Help me?” he silently mouths, and it brings a smile to more than my lips. I just shrug my shoulders in return and hide my laugh behind my hand. When the people in the queue start sighing and one person actually leaves the queue, I decide to take pity on him. Well it’s for my own benefit. I do want those cookies after all.
I slip behind the back of the counter and tap Ryan on the shoulder getting his attention.
“Hey, sorry I’m late. You can go do whatever you need to, I’ll take it from here.” I have never seen relief flow over someone’s face so quick before, and without a second look at Tara he heads to the back office.
“Oh Ryan…” Tara starts to call after him but I cut her off.
“What can I get for you Tara.” She looks at me as if I had just taken away her new favourite toy.
“I didn’t know you worked here Amber?” She says sternly without a smile, folding her arms.
“You didn’t need to know that. Now I have a long queue of customers so if you could decide quickly that would be great.”
“I’m not all that hungry any more.” She says with a flip of her hair and walks away with a swish of her hips. The people behind her giving her the evil eye as she walks past like she hadn’t just held everyone up for the past ten minutes.
At the sound of the chime, Ryan pops his head out the office door.
“Is she gone?” he asks quietly. I chuckle and nod my head.
“Thank you. I really owe you one. Go take a seat, I’ll just serve these customers and then I’ll bring you over a coffee.”
“No, really it’s…”
“I insist, hazelnut latte?” Well I suppose one coffee won’t hurt.
“Sounds great thank you.” I make my way to a free table and discreetly watch him work. He is good with customers, probably oblivious to that fact that they are all girls. He apologises to each of them for the wait and quickly delivers their orders. When there is no one left he returns to the coffee machine and makes two more drinks. He brings them over, placing one down for me keeping the other in his hand.
“Mind if I join you?” he asks with a small smile.
“Not at all.” I start laughing when I remember the look of desperation on his face.
“What?” He must catch on to what I’m laughing at.
“That was not funny.” He says as he takes a seat and runs his hand through his short dark hair. Ruffling it slightly.
“Oh it was so funny. I just need to know though, how can you not deal with girls like Tara?” Don’t get me wrong I know how Tara can be, but ryan is actually a really good looking guy. Surely he was used to girls flirting with him.
“Normal girls I can deal with, but she was not normal.” That makes me laugh out loud and then I immediately cover my mouth with my hand.
“She’s not. She’s been in everyday for the past week and spends longer deciding what to have each time. Then just buys the same thing. I’m starting to think she’s a stalker.” He leans forward on his elbows an takes a sip of his black coffee.
“She’s a little full on, but mostly harmless.”
“Mostly?” I shrug my shoulder and take a drink of my own drink. Suddenly remembering the cookies I came in for.
“There had better be some cookies left. I promised I would take some round a friend’s tonight.” He leans back again and just looks at my face for a few seconds, like he’s deciding on saying something or not.
“Hot date?” I frown and smile.
“You take cookies on a hot date?” he laughs at me and takes another drink.
“Depend on who the date was with.” He answers with a wink that makes me smile and blush. I thankfully don’t get chance to answer as the door chime goes again and he gets up quickly to serve them.
I spend a few more minutes drinking my coffee, just thinking that the last few minutes of conversation I just had with Ryan had been the most normal and natural conversation I’ve had with a guy in a long time.
I finish my drink and once again stand at the counter, this time on the customer side. Ryan turns from wiping down one of the fancy machines and smiles when he sees its me. He grabs a cookie box and lines it with some paper.
“What cookies can I get you for your date?” he says with a chuckle, which in turn makes me do the same.
“It’s not a date. Just a girl’s night, so I’ll have a mixture, but make sure there’s some double chocolate please.” I view all the cookies, thankful to see my favourite one’s going in the box.
“So you’ve got no hot dates planned? Say… with anyone that you would normally go on dates with?” he doesn’t look up from filling up the box.
“Are you asking me if I have a boyfriend?” A weird excitement that I haven’t felt in a while bubbles in my chest, and my lips curve into a smile.
“That would depend on your answer.” His response makes me laugh and I shake my head as he looks at me.
“Is that a no to any planned dates or no to a boyfriend?”
“Both… I should get going. My friends are waiting on those cookies.” I dig my money purse from my bag, feeling my cheeks flush.
“Wow, shutting me down before I even get chance to ask you out?” He winks playfully at me and closes the lid, sealing it with a sticker of the cafes name.
“No, I just… I never intended to stay for a coffee. That’s all…” And maybe I’m panicking on what I would say if he were to ask me out. I could tell that was where the conversation was leading to.
“So, if I did ask you out?” He holds out the box for me to take but doesn’t let go when I’m holding it.
“I would say thank you, but I cant.” He dips his head and sighs dramatically, still in his playful mood.
“You wound me. I could promise cookies?” I smile at him when he looks to me again and I realise he does have really beautiful blue eyes.
“That would get you bonus points, but I would still have to say no. I have stuff going on, had stuff going on. I don’t think you’ve been back long to hear things. But its best that I just say no.” Disappointment settles in my stomach. With myself.
“Okay. Well I gotta say, I don’t usually give in that easy. So, heads up… I will probably ask again.” He lets go of the box and waves at my money.
“I owe you one. The cookies are on me.” His big smile returns and his eyes shine.
“No there’s way too many in here.” I try to protest but he just dismisses it.
“It’s the end of the day. I’m about to close up anyway.” He walks around the counter and we walk together to the front door where he flips over the open sign to closed.
“Are you sure you won’t get into trouble with the owner?” He just smiles at me and shakes his head.
“I’ll be fine. Have a good night Amber. I’ll see you around soon hopefully and just so you know, I’ve never been one to listen to gossip.” He holds the doors open for me and I duck through with my head down.
“Well thank you very much. I’m sure I’ll be in next week for my coffee fix. Have a good evening too.” I walk to my car, noting that Ryan still stands in the café door way, not going back inside until I’m in my car. I wave at him, which he returns and then goes inside. Locking the door behind him.
I’m annoyed with myself, a year ago if Ryan had been here and asked me out I know I would have jumped at the chance. He’s good looking, seems to be the perfect gentleman, refuses Tara. What more could I wish for? Now, I’m in a panic of just the thought that he actually asks me out, which he did and I turned him down. I need to get a grip on my life.
I make my way over to Logans house. It’s more like a mansion or hotel. They call it the pack house. It’s where Logans family live and some of the other pack members. Not all of them, some choose to have their own home on pack grounds of course. When you’re a pack member you are there for life. I’m not sure I could do what Alex has chosen to do. Live surrounded by wolves. Constantly being the weakest person there. But I know that’s not how she sees it and there’s more to the situation with her boyfriend being the next Alpha of the pack. But still, I couldn’t do it.
I see Alex and Jasmine waiting for me outside and I park my car next to a few others. As I open the door I can hear Jasmine screaming my name in excitement as she runs across the gravel drive to meet me. She engulfs me in a huge tight hug that makes me realise I have missed them the past few months.
“Careful, your squashing the goodies.” I manage to say through her bear hug.
“Do I smell cookies, is that chocolate orange?” I laugh and notice Alex walking up to us and smug smile on her face as Jas takes the box from me
“Hey did you stop by and see Mr Cutie again?” she says looking over Jasmines shoulder and taking a cookie for herself.
“Who’s Mr Cutie? Is he Cute?” Jasmine asks with her mouth full already.
“His name is Ryan, and he happens to work at the coffee shop I usually go to. That all.” I say, slightly fidgeting with my handbag, trying to put my car keys away, keeping my head down.
“Huh uh… And that’s all. Why are you acting strange then? Did he do something? I swear to Goddess I will…”
“Jas, calm down he didn’t do anything.” This is why I don’t tell her things. She’s way to over protective.
“Really? Somethings up. I can tell. Spill.”