“Drew! I didn’t know you were back in town!” Meghan practically tackled him, almost making him fall over. I had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling at her to let him go. Of course, the one guy, who may have shown interest in me was the long time crush of Meghan. How could I have missed the signs? He said he just back from a long trip and I doubt many people go off on long trips around here. Not to mention, he was breathtaking. Meghan only goes for guys who were at her level, and he certainly was...perhaps even higher. I sighed as I continued to put the pieces together and came to the realization that there was no chance of us being together. While I was disappointed, I was also relieved that now he would back off and leave me be. This man was very nice to look at but he didn’t take away my past.
“Oh, Meghan.” I saw him timidly pat the top of her head. Is that a sign of affection?
“I missed ya so much, Drew. I had to find out from your parents that you went out on a trip. Why didn’t you say bye to me first? You know what? It’s alright! You’re back now; that’s all that matters.” Meghan beamed up at him before giving him a kiss on his cheek; he flinched at the motion. Maybe he didn’t like her as much as she liked him? That would be ridiculous though, how could he not? Meghan was a kind, beautiful and unbroken soul that any guy would fall head over heels for. A small pang presented itself in my heart, but I brushed it off.
I waited for a moment for Meghan to acknowledge that I was standing there but she didn’t. Instead, she talked animatedly to Andy, I mean Drew, filling him in on what she has been up to since he was gone. I noticed she skipped the many parts of her various boy toys but I didn’t say anything as it wasn’t my business. I looked down at my shoes, before glancing up and making eye contact with Andy. It made me feel a little better when he pulled away from Meghan, although she seemed to want to cling to him. I raised an eyebrow at that. Meghan wasn’t the clingy type- she never had to be honest.
“That’s all good, Meghan but I’d like to enjoy my food now” He interrupted her as she was rambling on about some hiking trip she apparently took. She frowned at him.
“Meghan.” He only said her name but the tone his voice took on made me want to bow down in submission. She nodded her head before walking towards the bag area, taking off her coat and sitting down her purse.
“Well, did you have a nice lunch, Meg-” I began to ask her only to get cut off by her shoving me with her shoulder and stomping pass me.
“Girl you betta’ watch yourself. She was just asking how your lunch was there’s no need to be rude!” Chelsea said as she came to stand beside me. Meghan rolled her eyes at Chelsea before grabbing her apron and supplies and heading out to the cafe area. Chelsea turned to me and asked if I was okay. I slowly nodded my head, still in shock. Did I do something wrong? I replayed the last 10 minutes since she came through the door and couldn’t figure out what I could’ve done to hurt her feelings.
“Don’t mind her, she’s just jealous.” Meghan? Jealous? Why would Meghan be jealous of me? There was no reason why she should be. I shook my head and gave Chelsea my ‘I’m okay’ smile. I felt her gaze linger on me for a moment longer before she patted me on the shoulder and headed back out to the cafe to serve more customers. I decided to check on the few customers I had at the counter.
“How’s your food Mr Grayum?” I tried my best to make it seem like what just happened didn’t bother me.
“Suga’, let me tell you somethin’. The way you treat someone is the way you deserve to be treated, ya hear? Nothin’ less. Don’t let ’er treat you like that. In the 5-6 months you’ve been ‘ere you’ve been nothin’ but kind to that wretched wench” My eyes widened at his language.
“Uh, yes sir. I understand.” I understood what he saying but at the same time, I know she didn’t mean it. This is the first time she’s ever acted this way, although it does bother me that she acted this way because of a guy. I would never get upset with her for something to do with a guy that I wasn’t even with. I gave Mr Grayum a small smile before heading over to Andy and seeing how he was doing.
“How are you enjoying your meal, Andy?” I asked him as I quickly became submerged in his golden-brown eyes.
“His name is Andrew, not Andy.” I looked over to meet the glare of Meghan. I frowned at her; this marks the second time she’s been rude to me.
“Actually I like Andy,” His hypnotizing voice brought my attention back to him. Relief washed through me; since I created this nickname for him it kind of stuck. It’d be nice to not have to catch myself all the time.
“You do?” Meghan asked shocked. He nodded; his brown locks bounced slightly around his head. “So I should start calling you Andy?”
“Absolutely not, only Ally can.” He turned towards me sending me a smile that I couldn’t resist so I returned a small one of my own.
“What? I don’t understand why you are treating her like she’s actually something special. Let me tell you, she isn’t! You’ve known her all of what? An hour at most? I’ve known you since I was born and-”
“Meghan. Leave.” He wasn’t facing me anymore but even I could tell he was sending her a glare that would have sent anyone cowering in fear. She bowed her head before she glared at me. I stared back at her trying to convey to her my apology, even though I wasn’t sure what I was apologizing for. She walked over to the bag area, grabbing her coat and purse before stomping out of the cafe. It was silent in the cafe after that not so little scene and all eyes were on me. I felt the blood rush to my face, this time out of pure embarrassment and shame.
“Thank sweet baby, Jesus, she is finally gone! I don’t know about y’all but she was getting on my last nerve” I heard Chelsea practically yell. Everyone chuckled before going back to their food but not before sending a sympathetic look my way. Andy cleared his throat once again bringing my attention back to him. I couldn’t meet him in the eye as I was still embarrassed.
“I love it by the way,” I shot him a look of confusion before glancing down again. “You asked me if I was enjoying my meal...”
“Oh...glad you like it.” I gave him a tight smile before heading towards the back area grabbing more muffins. The display didn’t need more stocking just yet, but I wanted a reason to step away from the lingering eyes and collect myself. I took a deep breath as I focused on putting the muffins on a tray to take out to the display. Don’t think about it right now, Ally. Focus on getting through work then you can find Meghan and see what’s up. Nodding to myself, I grabbed the tray before making my way back to the front and refilling the display area. I went to the register and printed out two receipts before making my way over to Andy handing him his ticket.
“Don’t feel rushed to finish. I just wanted you to have this here so when you’re ready to go you don’t have to wait on me to print it out” I said to him before making my way over to Mr Grayum and repeating myself.
“Ally, I noticed you haven’t taken your lunch break yet,” Mo said as she placed a plate of food at the window.
“Oh, I honestly forgot...I can just stay and help-” Mo was shaking her head before I even got halfway through my sentence.
“Absolutely not! Don’t think I haven’t noticed you skipping lunch breaks. Now shoo! I’ll see you at 3:30.” I frowned but nodded. I didn’t grab money since I wasn’t planning on buying anything.
I was halfway down the street from the cafe when I heard my name being called.
“Ally!” Fear ran through me as I heard my name. No one ever says my name outside the cafe since I don’t talk to anyone outside the cafe, besides the short walks with Chelsea after work on the way to her apartment. “Ally, hey.” It was Andy. What could he possibly want? I thought. “I just wanted to apologize for how Meghan acted earlier...there’s no excuse but I really am sorry.” I smiled softly at him. I was still on edge with being alone with a male, but he sent waves of comfort over me.
“You don’t have to apologize for anything. It’s not your fault how she acted...although I’m unsure why she acted that way...” I muttered the last part to myself.
“She’s just jealous because I showed interest in you and not her.” What? A blush rapidly overtook my neck and cheeks as I processed what he said.
“Well I wish she wouldn’t feel that way...I’m really no threat. I wouldn’t do anything to intentionally hurt her.” He frowned at my words as I shifted the weight in my feet. “Well, I should get going.”
“Oh here, let me walk with you.” His golden-brown eyes looked hopeful down at me.
“It’s okay really,” he frowned at me, in turn making me frown “I’m just going for a walk...nothing interesting.”
“Well allow for me to join you. A pretty young woman like yourself shouldn’t be walking alone.” If those words would’ve come out of anyone else’s mouth it would’ve sounded creepy and made me run for the hills. However, since it came out his perfectly kissable mouth, it almost made me want to do anything he asked of me. “I won’t do anything I promise. Don’t you trust me?”
“No,” I replied immediately. It hurt to see his eyes reflect a bruised ego but it was the truth. How can I trust him when I can barely trust Chelsea the way I do and I’ve known her for a solid 5 months? He gazed into my eyes and seemed to be looking right into my soul, making me extremely uncomfortable.
“Well, if you’d like that’s something we can work on.” My stomach decided to growl loudly at that moment. “Come on, pumpkin. Let’s get you something to eat.” Andy didn’t seem like he was taking no for an answer and in all honesty, I didn’t want to see what he was capable of if I said no. If he could shut Meghan down in two words, imagine what he could do physically. I slowly began to walk down the sidewalk just watching people go by. At least there’s plenty of witnesses around.
There was a food stand that was selling delicious smelling french fries. I gazed at the fresh french fries the man had just sat out. I almost regretted not bringing my money. Remember what you’re saving for. You’re going to be off the streets soon. Just hold on a bit longer. I reminded myself. I felt a loss of heat and turned to see Andy heading to the food stand that we just passed. This could be my chance to leave him, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not. By the time I came to the conclusion I should just leave, Andy was already back by my side handing me a box of large seasoned fries. I looked up at him surprised. I assumed he got them for himself, despite the fact he just ate. He beamed at me as I slowly took it from his hand.
“I wasn’t sure if you wanted anything else so I just got you a large...” he trailed off looking at me warily in search of approval. I wanted to decline the offer but not only has he already ate, he already paid for it; food is too precious to waste.
“Thank you very much, Andy” I said truly grateful. He beamed down at me once again making me breathless for what seemed like the 10th time today.
“No problem, pumpkin” We began walking again as I munched on the fries. When we came to the park, I decided I’d sit there and people watch when I saw a homeless man sitting underneath a tree. I’m not sure why he caught my eye, as he was very easy to miss but he did. I looked down at my fries; there was still half a box left. Walking over to the man, I gave him a soft smile before handing him the leftover fries.
“Here. It’s not much but-”
“Thank you, Miss! May God bless you!” He said as he quickly grabbed the fries out of my hand and began eating.
“You as well.” I responded before making my way back over to the bench and sitting down.
“That was very kind of you, pumpkin” Andy basically praised me. I blushed under his gaze before turning back to the people in the park with their families, not knowing what to say. We sat there for another 30 minutes before I decided I needed to start heading back. Andy once again insisted on walking me again, but thankfully didn’t say anything on the way back. I kind of enjoyed his presence...it wasn’t overbearing and added to the peace I got from my walks if anything. As we approached the shop, I saw Meghan walking towards us in the distance but she didn’t see to notice we were there.
“Meghan!” I called to get her attention. I hoped to talk with her quickly to smooth things over from earlier. She looked up and for a quick second she looked happy to see me before her face became red and her fists balled up at her side. It was at that moment that her seeing me with Andy may have caused her to jump to even more conclusions. “Meghan-”
She began to march back the way she came.
“Meghan, wait!” I began to run after her, only to be held back by my wrist. My eyes snapped back to meet Andy’s golden ones. He shook his head at me, making me frown. “She’s my friend.”
“That may be true,” I frowned further at him, “but right now she needs to calm down before you two can have a civil conversation.” I hated to admit it, but he was right. I didn’t want to fight with her, just talk and we couldn’t do that if she was riled up. I nodded before the fear struck me as I realized he still had a hold on me. I tugged on my wrist hoping to get it away from his grip. He released me as I quickly bought my wrist in towards my chest and take a step from him.
“Well, I enjoyed walking with you. Perhaps we can do it again sometime?” He asked.
“Uh, I don’t-” Seeing his face beginning to sulk, reminding me of a puppy, I couldn’t help but change my answer, “sure, that’ll be fine, I guess.” Once again he took my breath away as he smiled down at me before practically yelling “Great!” I awkwardly nodded at him before muttering a quick “Bye” and walking into the cafe.
“See you later, pumpkin!” I heard from behind me. I may have made a mistake agreeing to go on another walk with him...but if we are being honest he probably won’t even show up again. I didn’t know how wrong I was.