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Chapter Twelve


The following days I tried to avoid Noah at all costs. I didn’t want to let him in more than necessary, but even without his presence, he managed to consume my thoughts.

I was confused. That was the right word.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t stand the guy, and now... I was asking myself if I might have been too hard on him. No. Don’t go there.

Tears appeared in my eyes as I thought back to the time I felt small and worthless. How he had mocked me, scolded me, snapped at me.

It had been about two years since, so maybe it was time to move on? I hadn’t seen any change in him, but then again, I hadn’t let him show it.

“Ugh.” I groaned loudly, startling Isaac who was eating breakfast across from me.

“You alright?” he asked, and I nodded.

“I think I’m going to apply for a job,” I blurted out, placing my hands in my sides.

Isaac raised his brows and smiled, dropping his spoon in his bowl and sitting back in his chair. “Where?”

Good question.

“I...don’t know.”

Isaac laughed and I rubbed a hand over my face. Where the fuck would they even hire me at this point? I’m a train wreck.

“You know,” Isaac said, rising from his seat and bringing his bowl to the kitchen. “I believe the new coffee shop is still hiring.”

My head shot up. “Really?”

Making coffee. I could do that.

“Hmm.” He gave me an encouraging smile, and I quickly grabbed my things.

Storming out of the house, I bumped into Noah on my way out, but even he couldn’t put a damper on my mood. I hadn’t even set foot in the shop, but I felt lighter already.

I stared up at the simple yet elegant sign above the door, a little hesitant to go in.


It wasn’t a place I had visited often—though I love some good coffee—but who knew, maybe I could really enjoy my time here. If they gave me a chance, that is.

Taking a deep breath, I was about to walk up to the entrance and pull one of the heavy glass doors open, when someone came out.

The discoloration on his face startled me, but I couldn’t help but feel satisfied with my work on Robert’s face as he kept his head down.

After a few steps, he saw me, and with my chin up in the air, I held his gaze.

“Well, well, well.” My tone was a little arrogant, but to be completely honest, it felt really good to see him so miserable.

“You.” He took a step closer, yet keeping his distance. I wouldn’t mistake his actions for fear of me, but it boosted my ego anyway.

“Yes, me,” I replied, crossing my arms and looking him up and down.

“You ruined everything, little bitch,” he sneered, pointing a finger at me.

I smirked, walking up to him. “You did all of that yourself, asshole.”

Without looking back I shot past him into the coffee shop, maybe a little scared he would go all berserk on me in the middle of the street.

I heard the door close behind me and walked up to the counter, trying to shake Robert from my mind and focus on the reason I came here.

“How can I help you?” the gum-chewing lady behind the counter asked, her eyes not even half-open.

I felt that.

“I was wondering if you were still hiring?” I chirped, though not trying to sound too enthusiastic.

Kelly—I assume this was her name since it said so on her tag—nodded before she disappeared in a back room.

I was relatively calm when she appeared again with an elderly man behind her, more than I expected.

Of course, Isaac told me he could take care of me while I explored my options, but it didn’t feel right.

I wanted to contribute, be able to treat him for a change.

“Hi, I’m David,” the man said, holding out his hand as he rounded the counter. “I heard you were interested in a position in my shop?”

I shook his hand, nodding. “Yes, sir. My name is Bellamy Powell.”

He beckoned me to follow him, and I did, ending up in what looked to be a break room.

“Please.” He smiled, gesturing for me to take a seat.

“Thank you.”

“You came at the right time.” He walked around the table to a little coffee machine that looked almost just as fancy as out front. Nice.

“Do you want something to drink?”

I shook my head no, imagining all the ways I could knock over a cup of water or coffee and ruin this for me.

God knows I’ve done it before.

“Right.” David sat down across from me, folding his hands together on the table. “I’ll just need your resumé.”

I blinked rapidly before I processed that he wanted me to grab it for him. “Ah, yes. Sorry.”

It took me uncomfortably long to take the piece of paper out of the folder I brought it in, but when David finally took it from me and looked it over, he nodded.

I knew it wasn’t much, but for a job like this I had quite some experience, right?

After he had handed me back my resumé, we talked about work hours, pay, and other important points in a possible contract.

When I followed him back to the cafe, I felt pretty good. David was a nice guy, the hours would be good, and I would have some extra money to spend. Or save.

“Thank you so much for coming in,” David said with a smile as he walked with me to the exit.

“No, thank you for this opportunity.” I smiled back.

Maybe things were looking up.

As I got back home, I noticed that Isaac’s car was missing from the driveway, telling me he had gone to work.

I knew he had to leave early, but I still kind of hoped he would be in the house so I could tell him how it went.

Oh, well. He’ll hear it tonight.

I let myself in and closed the door behind me, making my way further into the house with yet another smile on my face.

I couldn’t stop.

The minute I set foot in the coffee shop, I knew it was going to be different from the bar. I felt at ease, and though I still needed to figure Kelly out, I felt welcome.

Ok, I didn’t have the job yet, and I may not even get it at all, but I wouldn’t let that little detail put a damper on my mood.

I thought the house was empty, but then I heard voices from the kitchen. Or, a voice.

“Will he be there?” Noah sounded stressed, as if he was clenching his teeth as he talked.

Though I knew I shouldn’t be eavesdropping—something I caught myself doing a lot lately—I couldn’t move.

“Then I’m not coming.”

So I wasn’t the only one he couldn’t stand.

“Mom, I’m serious.”

I frowned at the way I felt moved that he was talking to his mother, though that was a pretty normal thing to do.

Something about the thought that he cared, maybe even protected someone...I don’t know...did something.

Though, it didn’t sound like they were very close...

“You still don’t fucking believe—whatever.”

I heard the sound of something hard landing on the kitchen counter, and I knew it was my cue to make myself known before he’d find me standing in the hall.

Because I clearly couldn’t think of a better way, I slowly opened the front door, before slamming it shut a little louder, letting Noah knew he wasn’t the only one in the house anymore.

Why do I care anyway?

As I walked into the living room I almost bumped into the man, but he expertly avoided my touch.

Without looking at me he stormed out of the house, and I let out a breath when he closed the front door behind him.

What the fuck was going on?

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