“We miss you,” Anna, Cora, and Jess, my close friends back home say in synchronization, all three of their faces staring back at me. I shift my laptop on my lap and flash them a smile. I haven’t spoken to my close friends in what feels so long. Hearing them now reminds me of how much I miss them.
“Aww, you guys. I’m going to blush.” I reply.
Cora rolls her eyes and I smirk. Our friendship is strange. We tend to argue more than anything else but it’s more friendly banter than anything else. We love each other as friends but our friendship isn’t normal.
“Anyways, hows America? I’ve got to say, I’m missing the sun a lot. It’s still rain, wind, and rain here.”
Anna laughs, “America isn’t that bad. I mean, the weather is fine but school is tough.”
I sigh. School hasn’t been that bad - I’m mostly rehearsing.
“Have you met any boys Ren?” Jess asks, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively. I roll my eyes - there’s no way I’m going to tell them about Kai. They will instantly think we are dating when in fact we’re not. Well, I’m not entirely sure. After our argument yesterday, I’m still confused.
He said he liked me and that he had never met a girl like me before and then he stepped away and walked over to the car, leaving me flustered and perplexed. This boy knows how to drive me up the wall and mess with my mind.
“Eh,” I shrug my shoulders, deciding to keep them in the dark. What is occurring between Kai and me feels private.
“I know that look,” Anna remarks, inching closer to the computer screen. She squints her green eyes, examining me. “You have met someone, you just don’t want to tell us.”
“How rude,” Cora huffs. “And I thought we were your best friends.”
“You guys are, I just...I have nothing to report.” I sigh, tiredly. They all give me a skeptical look. “What? It’s the truth, this boy, he’s just a small infatuation. It’s not serious.” I swallow, hoping they buy into my lie. My feelings towards Kai feels more than just an infatuation.
“Okay, fine.” They relent and back off. “But if anything does happen, you have to tell us. It’s our right as your best friends to tease you about him.”
I smirk and shift my position. “That’s fair I guess. After all, I couldn’t stop teasing you guys about your boyfriends.”
They teased me about Michael but I never overreacted about it. With Kai, I believe I would blow everything they say out of proportion. I’m a very dramatic person, that’s all I can say in defense.
“Anyways, I should go. I have work in an hour and so I need to spend half an hour procrastinating.” I announce in a dreadful voice. My manager told me over the phone yesterday that they were understaffed and needed more workers. Apparently someone new is starting today and will need someone to show them the ropes. That’s where I come in.
I should technically be practicing my lines but honestly, I can’t find the motivation to do it. That sounds so bad; it’s definitely not the right work ethic but I can’t find it in me to revise.
“Bye!” They all yell over the phone, as loud as they can. I roll my eyes and end the call.
I lie back on my bed and stare at the ceiling with little interest. Why does my life have to be so complicated?
Suddenly, my cell phone alarm blares through my room, announcing it’s time for my shower.
“Hey Ren,” Carrie smiles from behind the counter, looking bored. Carrie works here full time because she’s job hunting. She has been for a while to her utter dismay. She fears she will be stuck as a barista forever.
“Carrie,” I beam and quickly tie my messy and damp hair up. “Where’s the newbie? I have my Yoda voice prepared and everything.”
Carrie chuckles and places her elbows on the counter. “He’s with the manager. A total hottie. I’m going to give him my phone number when my shift ends.”
I raise my eyebrows in surprise.
“I think he came in here the other day,” Carrie continues. “He was annoying you.”
I freeze. My face falls when I start to register her words. Please tell me it’s not who I think it is...
“Yeah, you were like so pissed,” Carrie mutters. “Oh look, there he is!”
I follow her gaze, spinning on my heels. And there, standing in front of me is Kai. The boy who kissed me. The boy who thinks he likes me but doesn’t know what to do.
Kai smirks at my face and winks. My manager - Jace - doesn’t notice anything. In fact, he gives Kai a fond look. It appears Kai has charmed his way to this cafe.
“Ah, Ren. You’re nice and early today, brilliant.” He claps his hands excitedly, practically bouncing up and down. I’ve never seen my manager so happy before, except for the time he announced he was engaged. However, his engagement only lasted a week. He found his fiancee in bed with his best friend. Poor guy. “This is Kai, I believe you already know each other.”
I sure do. I’m stuck with him like all of the time. Apparently, he doesn’t know that though based on his comment.
“I want you to show him the ropes.” He orders. “I think you two should start on drinks.”
Kai nods his head and catches my gaze. I quickly drift my eyes away from him and focus on Jace. Hopefully, Jace doesn’t notice the tension between us.
“Off you go!” Jace says, pushing Kai closer to me. Kai looks startled by it and nearly crashes into a table. I can’t help but giggle, finding the scene very funny. Obviously, Kai doesn’t. He narrows his eyes and stomps over to the machines, bypassing the customers.
I glance at Carrie and shake my head when she winks. I think Carrie noticed our exchange.
“Hurry up Blondie, I don’t have all day.” Kai hollers, attracting the attention of some customers. Fortunately for him, Jace has already disappeared.
Sighing, I begrudgingly walk over there. I really regret accepting Jace’s offer yesterday. I could be binge-watching something on Netflix right now. Or I could be thinking about Kai and how complicated my life is.
“For heaven’s sake Kai, what are you doing?” I exclaim, staring at the drink in horror. “It looks like my dead dog puked in it.”
“That doesn’t even make sense!” Kai deadpans and empties the drink. That’s the fifth drink he’s ruined. I honestly can’t believe Jace hired Kai, he clearly has no idea what he’s doing. I’ve been teaching him how to make a cup of coffee for two hours and he hasn’t progressed. I feel so sorry for those people who had to drink those drinks. They probably chucked it in the bin once they left.
“Kai, focus.” I snap, eyeing the boiling hot milk in worry.
“Will you stop demanding things. I’m trying to do things my own way, just give me time.”
“You’re being too slow,” I inform him, irritated. “You have to do things quickly and efficiently.”
Kai rolls his eyes, “I’m learning, that takes time."
I think I’m going to tear my hair out. This is unbelievable.
I nervously glance at the long queue of people waiting for their drinks and give Kai a glare. Great, I’m going to be here forever.
“Move out of the way Kai, “I order and begin making the drinks. Kai watches me with his arms crossed and a raised eyebrow. He doesn’t utter a word, leaving me to assume he’s marveling at my greatness.
I manage to get rid of the queue fairly quickly. Carrie gives me a clap, impressed.
I exhale tiredly and lean against the table. That was exhausting.
“Wow Blondie, you could have won employee of the year. It’s a shame Jace isn’t here,” Kai comments, copying my movement. I narrow my eyes and huff. I don’t need any award to show how good I am at my job. I’m freaking awesome. Jace knows that.
“It’s your turn now. I’ve helped you out, now you can help me out.”
“Okay,” Kai replies, nonchalantly. “But before I do that, I have to ask you a question.”
I tilt my head to the side, confused. What could Kai ask me? It’s not going to be about...
“What?” I ask him, trying to play it off cool. I don’t want him to see how eager I am. Perhaps we’ll be able to talk about the other night. Perhaps he wants to ask me out...on a date.
“Did you mean what you said the other night? Do you like me?” He questions and my heart deflates. That’s not what I wanted to hear but he doesn’t need to know that. He doesn’t need to know how disappointed I am.
“I - I,” I stutter, pathetically. Get a grip, Ren! “Yeah, I do.”
Kai stares directly into my eyes, searching for any indication that I’m lying.
“Do you?” I query and elaborate when he gives me a puzzled look. “Do you like me? You didn’t seem sure at all. You just mumbled some stuff and kissed me. I’m lost Kai like really lost.”
Kai pinches his delectable pink lips together. “Same. I have one thought going through my head and it won’t leave. I just - I had to make sure.”
“What? What did you have to check? ” I echo, clueless.
“That you weren't lying.” He says and kisses me, right in front of everyone. I don’t kiss him back at first, feeling too shocked to do anything. And then, when I feel him pulling away, I react. My body relaxes against him and I kiss him with all of my heart, wanting him to know I meant every word about my feelings.
It’s funny how the heart works. I hate Kai yet I like him. He annoys me and drives me to insanity but he also makes me feel things I never thought I would feel again. He’s like a breath of fresh air.
This kiss confirms everything. Kai likes me, he wants me. And I want him.
“Well, this is...surprising.” A female’s voice comments, knocking me back into reality. I break away from Kai and stare at Sophia with wide eyes. She smirks, her brown eyes darting between Kai and me. “So Ren, are you going to introduce me to your lovely man?”