“Izzy?” The young woman smiled down at the little, blue-eyed boy standing in front of her with his hands behind his back.
His flushed cheeks and chubby face making him appear even cuter than he usually did.
“Yes, Matt?” She held out her arms for him, allowing him to step closer before picking him up and placing him on her lap.
“You’re very pretty.” He said, his three year old self having problems pronouncing certain letters.
She threw her head back and laughed before kissing his cheek and ruffling his short blond hair.
“Thank you. You’re quite handsome yourself.” His face turned even more red and he looked down, avoiding her gaze as he murmured a squeaky thank you.
“You’re welcome, buddy. Would you like another cupcake?” His eyes lit up at the mention of the sweet treat and Izabella giggled at his reaction.
He always did have a sweet tooth, actually all the children there did.
“Yes, please.” He watched with sparkling eyes as she opened the container and took out a cupcake with blue icing which matched his ocean-like eyes.
“Thank you.” He gave her a small grin, before she let him down and watched him run off to his friends near the swings.
Izabella remained seated under the tree at the edge of the orphanage’s playground and watched the children play with a faint smile on her face.
She always tried to give the children as much love as she could, not wanting them to ever feel deprived of it. They didn’t have parents and Izabella found it heart-breaking when they would see other children with theirs and question her.
The longing in their eyes made her heart hurt, so she tried her hardest to fill that hole though she knew she truly never could.
It never hurt to try though.
“Izabella!” She started at the sudden yell and turned to the right to see Tyson walking up to her, a wide smile on his face.
She instantly became uneasy, the air around her becoming tense and uncomfortable.
There was something about the man that didn’t settle well with her. It wasn’t just her though, neither of the boys liked him and she knew Mr. Knight disliked him but always tried to downplay it, unlike Jacob and Sean who openly displayed their dislike for the lad.
“Hey, Tyson.” She greeted him with a forced smile as he sat down beside her, a bit too close to be normal so she subtly moved away.
“How have you been? You didn’t come on your birthday so I couldn’t give you your present.” He chuckled, getting something from his pants pocket.
“Izabella! Let’s go!” Jacob’s voice came from in front of them and her head snapped in his direction.
He was glaring at Tyson as he approached them.
“I have a meeting now and Amelia said the café is getting very busy so she needs help.” Izabella, not having an idea of what Jacob was up to, nodded and stood up before grabbing the empty containers and handing them to him.
“I’ll see you next time, Tyson.” He smiled and stood up also, getting closer to hug her, but she immediately turned away, not wanting to hug him and make it too obvious.
“Why don’t you like Tyson? I mean I don’t fancy him either, but why?” She questioned Jacob when he had stopped at a red light.
He turned to look at her with raised eyebrows and a disbelieving look.
“Seriously? How oblivious can one be?” His outburst only made his sister more confused as her brows furrowed.
“What?” She asked, bewildered.
“You really don’t see it?”
“See what?” He sighed deeply and started driving as the light turned green.
“He likes you, Izabella.” Izabella’s eyebrows had never shot up so high.
“Wh-what? What?!” She asked, finding the whole thing hard to believe.
“Yes, Izzy. Tyson likes you and has since the first time he saw you. As for me not liking him, his fondness for you isn’t genuine.” His face hardened as he spoke and he gripped the steering wheel harder.
“What do you mean?” She spoke after collecting her scrambled thoughts.
“He lusts after you. I see it in his eyes every time he’s around you and I hate how he looks at you. It makes me want to knock him out.” Jacob’s face got redder in anger with every word spoken and Izabella decided to stay quiet, choosing to let him cool down instead.
To be honest, she never would have thought Tyson saw her in that way. She always just blamed it on the bad vibes he emitted.
Now that she knew the truth, it made her wonder how she was going to act around him from then on. Izabella didn’t want him to know she knew about his crush, but she knew it was going to be hard since she didn’t have any experience when it came to boys crushing on her which made her think about how many boys she didn't notice had crushes on her.
“I’ll see you later.” She collected the containers from the backseat and waved to Jacob before walking into the nearly empty café.
“You’re back? I thought you would’ve spent some more time with the kids.” Amelia said from her place at the cash register.
Izabella gave her a baffled look.
“Jacob told me you called to tell me you needed help back here. He said it was getting busy.” Amelia made a show of looking around the café before looking back to the young woman with an amused grin.
“Looks pretty empty to me, don’t you think?” She giggled and Izabella rolled her eyes at the woman’s cheekiness.
“Tyson was talking to you, huh?” Izabella gave her a perplexed look and nodded.
“Can you believe he likes me?” Amelia stopped counting her money and looked to her employee with a look of pure disgust.
“What are you? How did you manage to keep up that 4.0 gpa in high school and not know when a boy has a crush on you? You oblivious child!” She sighed exasperatedly and looked back down to the stack of money in her hand.
“You knew? How does everyone know beside me?” The younger female groaned in frustration and walked into the backroom to rest down the empty containers before walking back out.
“Maybe because we’re observant and can tell when someone has a crush.”
“Don’t you sass me now.”
“Whatever.” Izabella watched with raised brows as Amelia put back the money in the register and closed it.
“Good. It’s near lunch and I’m sure those business men and women will be as hungry as starved dogs, so, get going and start making those delicious lunches of yours.” She laughed and walked into the kitchen.
She would worry about Tyson some other time.
“No, sir. We do not sell alcohol. Water and any other non-alcoholic beverage is available.” An exasperated Izabella said through slightly gritted teeth, not wanting to give rudeness to any customer and finding it very difficult to do so.
It had been a whole ten minutes since the man had come into the café, yelling and demanding that she serve him their finest whiskey, despite her telling him they didn’t sell those kinds of beverages.
He and his group of friends all seemed to be a bit drunk and though she thought it odd for someone to be drunk at midday, that man and his companions were contradicting that thought.
“We are your customers and we demand to be sold whiskey!” The man shouted, his voice startling some customers as his friends cheered him on.
Izabella was beginning to get worried but refused to let Amelia interfere.
She was much older than her and she would rather get hurt than her.