It’s been a little over five months since I’ve starting working at Mo’s Cafe. I quickly picked up the ways of a waitress, as well as a routine. I bought a watch after my first day working, that had an alarm on it, so it would wake me up on time to head to work. I wouldn’t get to work too early, since I didn’t want Mo confronting me about moving in with her, but early enough where I had time to wash up and get done just in time for Chelsea to get here. Mo was the only one who knew I was homeless and respected my wish to keep it that way. So if anyone else is here she wouldn’t bring it up, hence why I would hideout until Chelsea gets here.
I’d do my job as a waitress, and I did it well, before helping Mo and Chelsea close. When Chelsea left, so did I. I walked her home, since her apartment was on the way to where I usually slept, before making my way to an alley not too far from where Mo found me at five months ago. I made sure to never have more stuff than I could carry, I didn’t want to leave anything behind in the area I slept at. It would be all too easy for someone to come and steal it while I was at work so everything I had I carried with me.
Walking into the cafe I briefly greeted Mo before sprinting to the bathroom. I quickly changed out of my normal clothes and into my uniform after washing up. Mo was kind enough to give me clothes after a week of working here, and I’ve been holding onto some but others I decided to leave in the storage room since I couldn’t carry it with me. I took out a brush and ran it through my hair before making a side braid. I looked down at my watch to see it was 6:50; Chelsea should be here any sec-
“Good mornin’ Mo!” Ah, there she is. I walked out of the bathroom and towards the cafe area. Placing my bag in the bag area behind the cash register, I went to greet Chelsea. “Morning Ally!” She exclaimed as she hugged me. I still had an issue with men and unfamiliar women hugging me but Chelsea was able to rid of my fear of hugging women that I trusted in a way that only she could.
“Morning, Chelsea,” I said being the calmer one of us, before going around and putting everything out that was needed to set the tables. With Chelsea’s help, we were able to open the cafe right on time. I quickly went behind the register to grab some menus, sugar, and creamers to put into my pockets just as the bell rung. This caught my interest since Walter is our usual first customer but doesn’t get here until 7:15. I saw my other co-worker and friend, Meghan walk into the cafe. I was surprised not only because she was here at 7, but because she seemed to have put in a lot more effort than usual with her appearance.
Her brunette hair was curled to perfection in beautiful bouncy waves. Her skin was flawless and had bold eyeliner on her top lashes, and thin eyeliner on the bottom with mascara coating each individual lash. Her lips were painted in a beautiful deep red colour that complimented her white straight teeth. She looked even more beautiful than she normally did. I felt even more insignificant that I usually did.
“Morning y’all!” Meghan hollered. Chelsea was the first to speak up after a moment of stunned silence.
“What in God’s name are you doing here at this time, Meghan?” Chelsea wasn’t particularly fond of Meghan, although Meghan didn’t seem to mind Chelsea.
“Well, I just thought I’d come in and help y’all open! I know y'all are a bit short-handed in the mornings” I raised my eyebrows at her; not even I believed that.
“It’s always just the three of us, Meghan, you know that. Not to mention, we don’t start opening at 7, we are already open at 7. So you ain’t needed.” Chelsea replied with a sour undertone. But Chelsea was right, we weren’t understaffed since it doesn’t take many people to open up the cafe and if she wanted to help she should’ve arrived a bit earlier...
“Well, since I’m already here why don’t I help with the morning rush?” Meghan asked as she put down her purse and took off her thin coat.
“Cut the crap, Meghan. Why are you really here this early?” Chelsea questioned.
“No reason besides the one I just told y’all!” I noticed Meghan wasn’t able to look anyone of us in the eye as a faint blush took over her cheeks. Chelsea seemed to analyze her for a moment before something seemed to click inside her head.
“He’s coming, isn’t he?! That boy you’re obsessed with!” Chelsea yelled. What boy? Then it clicked in my mind too. Meghan was telling me about a guy that she’s had the biggest crush on for a few years now. Apparently, he is a usual customer but is a businessman who has been going on long trips periodically over the past two years. This has been the longest he’s been gone.
“Oh, why didn’t you say anything Meghan?” I asked her, a little hurt she didn’t mention her longtime crush was back in town. I thought we had grown close over the past 5 months, but then again she still has no idea about my past and my current situation... She blushed furiously.
“I just found out last night.” Chelsea was nodding,
“It all makes sense now,” she said, “that’s the only way to get you out of bed in the morning. Not to mention for you to put that face on.” Chelsea was once again right. According to Meghan and Chelsea, this is Meghan’s crush’s favourite place and comes often to eat, people watch and even helps out every once and a while. Meghan glared at Chelsea and was about to respond when the bell rung signaling a customer. “Mornin’ Walter!” I noticed Meghan taking her sweet time looking over Walter.
“Mornin’ gorgeous” As usual, Chelsea turned red. You’d think these two would get together already. It’s obvious they have feelings for one another.
“Hello, I’m Meghan” Meghan had introduced herself. Chelsea glared at her as Meghan began to flutter her eyelashes at Walter. I have to admit that Meghan was quite the flirt...It was curious to me how she could be so flirtatious yet she had practically claimed another guy...I couldn’t see myself doing that if I was interested in someone else. But it’s not in my job or right to judge her or anyone for that matter.
Meghan reached out to shake hands with Walter. He glanced at Chelsea quickly before timidly shaking Meghan’s hand.
“Nice to meet you, Miss. Are you new here?” He asked. Meghan laughed before responding,
“Oh no suga’, I just don’t usually work the morning shifts” Meghan giggled once again as she replied. I was confused because I didn’t see what was funny. Walter nodded before turning towards Chelsea who’s glare hasn’t left the side of Meghan’s head.
“Sweetie,” It became very apparent to me that Walter only called Chelsea sweetie during my time here “how are you this fine mornin’?” He seemed clueless to Chelsea’s change in attitude and Meghan’s obvious flirting or he simply ignored it.
“Just peachy.” Chelsea muttered before almost stomping her way to the register and grabbing her supplies.
“Oh Chelsea, I can take him,” Meghan said. It almost sounded like she was talking about something more than just taking his order.
“No, you will not. Now go clean that dang on bathrooms or somethin’ before I stomp a mudhole in your pretty lil’ face!” Chelsea loudly whispered to Meghan’s scared face.
“All you had to say was he was taken, sheesh,” Meghan said as she put her hands up and turned away. This is the first time Chelsea didn’t deny that they were together...I wonder if they have finally decided to seal the deal.
Chelsea made her way over to Walter, who had sat down, and began taking his order. And the day was just getting started, I thought to myself.
It was 1′ o clock when Meghan went on her lunch break. I was relieved really, she wouldn’t stop complaining about the rush of customers and her crush who hadn’t shown up this morning like she expected him to. Don’t get me wrong, I care for her and I really do consider her to be my friend. But sweet baby Jesus, that girl had a gift to be able to complain about any and everything she came into touch with. It kind of irked my nerves when she complained a lot when I wouldn’t complain at all if I had the life she was living. But I kept her as a friend because when other coworkers or customers were picking on me, she stood in my corner and defended me. She had my back when I needed it the most.
“Praise Jesus! The little twat is gone for an hour!” Chelsea exclaimed as she came through the glass doors. “I bet you are relieved to not have to hear her complaining anymore or talking about that boy” Chelsea could see right through my facade and could easily tell that I was very relieved. She laughed as she nodded her head, “Don’t be ashamed, suga’. We are all relieved”. A few customers nodded their head in agreement and laughed when Mo hollered “Amen!” from the kitchen.
The bell rung and Chelsea called it as she quickly grabbed her supplies from behind the counter again, and went to greet the customers.
“Hello, folks! What can I do ya for?” I shook my head with a slight smile on my face. Chelsea is the complete opposite of me, but honestly, I wouldn’t change her if I could. The bell rung once again just as I finished pouring someone’s coffee. I glanced up to see a tall male figure walking through the doors, walking directly towards me. I made a mental note that he sat at a bar stool before delivering the coffee and coming back his way.
“Hello, sir. What can I get for..” I trailed off as my eyes connected with his. His eyes were a deep rich gold with flickers of brown in them that were accentuated by his brown curly locks that stopped right below his ears. His skin wasn’t pale, but it wasn’t tan either; it had a gentle glow to it. I guessed that he was a good 5′8 from where he was sitting, but I wasn’t sure. He was breathtaking. He didn’t hide it very well that he was looking me over; I hope that I wasn’t as obvious. It made me shiver, in anticipation or fear, I don’t know.
“Hello there, pumpkin. I haven’t seen you ’round here before.” His voice was deep and powerful; it had a way of hypnotizing you.
“Well, I’ve been here a little over 5 months...” I practically whispered. All of my self-confidence I build up flew out of the window. I couldn’t even lie to myself and say that I was intimidated by this man. I was in conflict with myself. The logical part of me reminded me of what all men are capable of; what they have done to me in the recent past. The foolish part of me wanted to do anything and everything that I could to gain this man’s affection.
“Oh, I see. I just got back from a long road trip which would explain why we haven’t met. The name’s Andrew but you can call me Drew.” I didn’t know what to say to him. Maybe your name, stupid. Is it bad that I forgot my own name? I glanced down to see him holding out his hand. My heart skipped a beat. I know it’s something I’m going to have to eventually move on from, but it’s not something I can move past in 5 1/2 months after almost 10 years of abuse.
“Andrew! I see you’re back. It’s nice to see you again! I also see you’ve met our newest worker, Ally!” Chelsea easily slid by me, pulling me close to her body while she pushed Drew’s hand away. She couldn’t have had better timing. As Chelsea stepped away from me, I saw her give me a look silently asking if I was okay. If there had to be one thing I loved about Chelsea, it was this. She never questioned me about my past or why I acted the way I did. She simply accepted it...she accepted me and had my back in a way that no one else has ever had before. I nodded as I took a deep breath and turned to give Andrew a small smile.
“It’s nice to meet you, Andrew” I finally said to him.
“Call me Drew,” Chelsea raised an eyebrow at him, “and it’s nice to meet a pretty young lady such as yourself” I stood no chance against the blush the rose from my neck to my cheeks. If he was trying to get a free meal, he should try flirting with Chelsea instead of me- then again maybe he thinks of me as an easy target.
“Miss!” A customer yelled from across the cafe.
“Coming!” Chelsea responded, before giving me one last look, to which I nodded. I even gave her a smile to convince her that I was fine. I turned back to Drew, who was already looking at me and tried to fight the blush that was once again rising to my cheeks to no avail.
“Well, Drew. What can I get for you, today? Do you have a regular that you order?” I asked him. By the way Chelsea greeted him, I’m sure he was a regular before his trip but of course, I didn’t know what his normal order was.
“I do, but how ’bout you surprise me?” His deep, almost seductive voice reached out to me. I was once again flustered.
“Oh, um, I’m not too sure if you’d like what I’d pick out...” I mumbled. I didn’t want to pick out something that he’d hate and had to pay for.
“I’m sure I’d love whatever you’d pick out” His voice sounded sincere and genuine but I was still nervous.
“Okay,” I mumbled, “do you have a specific drink that you’d like to go along with it?”
“I’d take a coffee.” I nodded as I went to get his coffee and put in his order.
“Here you go. Would you like any sugars or creams?” I asked as I carefully sat down his hot coffee.
“I think you have enough sweetness for the both of us” He winked at me. Is he flirting with me? I briefly looked behind me to see if there was anyone else there, like Meghan maybe? “Yes, I’m talking to you, pumpkin”
“Oh, um...so did you want sugars and creams or not?” I asked him confused by if he actually wanted any or not. He let out a belly-full laugh before saying he’d take a few sugars and a couple of creamers. I quickly handed them to him, before going to attend another customer that had sat down at a barstool that was the next counter over.
“Hello, Mr Grayum. How are you today?” Mr Grayum was an older man in his 60s who is a regular customer here. His grey hair showed a bit underneath his hat and his age showed in his face. You could tell he was a handsome young man in his younger days. Honestly, he was a cute grandpa- I’d love to be able to have him as my grandpa. I frowned thinking back to my past and how I never knew my grandparents.
“I’m doing just fine, lil’ lady. ’N yourself?”
“I’m doing alright Mr Grayum. Would you like your usual?” I asked him, not bothering to take out my notepad.
“Yessum!” I laughed at his excitement over his usual meal.
“Comin’ right up!” I quickly poured him a glass of orange juice bringing it over to him, before placing his order of grilled cheese with two pieces of bacon on the side.
“Order!” Mo yelled as she placed a hot plate of food in the window seat that was between the cashier area and the kitchen. I grabbed the plate before making my way over to Andrew. What was it he wanted me to call him again? I sighed as I struggled to remember what is was he wanted me to call him. I was really bad with names honestly, and while nicknames were suppose to be easier, they didn’t make a difference to me unless I made them up. I wanted to call him by what he requested since I might get a bigger tip if I was able to remember. I’ll just wing it, I thought to myself.
“Here you go, Andy. Be careful, it’s hot. I hope you enjoy it” I said as I placed it down in front of him.
“Andy?” He questioned as he arched his eyebrows at me, “is that what you plan on calling me from now on?” It took a record of 1.25 seconds for the fire to spread from my neck to cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Andrew-”
“Don’t apologize, pumpkin. I don’t mind it at all; I actually kind of like it” He winked at me again as I once again had to stop myself from melting. I took a step back and waited for him to take the first bite. I ordered him a secret special on the menu- not many people know of it since it was technically off of the menu but a few people did. It was a house special consisting of lunch/breakfast combination. The main part of the dish consisted of three mini bacon cheeseburgers with sides of hash browns, half a grilled cheese, two sausage links, and a crêpe. I started second guessing my choice as I looked him over. He looked fit, actually, he looks extremely fit. He didn’t appear to be a body builder, but he wasn’t someone I would want to cross with. He had enough apparent muscle to ward anyone off. A guy this fit probably didn’t eat meals like this; he probably ate something more nutritious than this. He took a bite of the crêpe.
“If you don’t like it, then just let me know and I’ll get you something else ok-” I started.
“This is delicious! I didn’t even know you guys had this here.” He said as he continued to eat. I gave him a wide smile. I don’t know why it made me so happy to know that he enjoyed what I picked out but I couldn’t stop the smile from taking over my face.
“I’m glad you enjoy it!” He paused for a moment.
“You have a beautiful smile, pumpkin” My smile didn’t falter as the blush took over my face once again.
“Drew!” I looked up to see a lovestruck Meghan practically running through the cafe to where Andy was sitting. You can bet that took the smile off my face.