by LARA JADE
One Month Later
Rosemary looked up at the clock when I walked in.
“A little late?” she smirked.
“Yeah, sorry,” I sighed as I rushed around the counter to put on my apron.
“That’s alright. I have something for you,” she said. I tied my apron around my waist and looked up to see a white envelope with silver lettering. “I’m getting married,” she smiled.
“That’s great!” I replied. I hugged her and pulled away at the sound of the bell above the door. When I turned around it was a younger couple. I had not seen Tom since the night he walked me home from the bar. I didn’t think no longer seeing him would bother me. However, I realized everywhere I went I would look for him. Sam was beginning to notice, I’m sure. He hasn’t said anything, but he gives me an uncertain look when I scan every room I walk into. I wiped off the counter in front of me when the bell rang again. I looked up and saw Sam smile and tuck some of his chocolate brown hair behind his ear.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hi, I didn’t want to wake you when I left this morning,” I said pouring him a mug of coffee.
“I wish you did,” he responded. His eyes scanned over the diner, then out the window before his attention returned to me.
“You okay?” I asked.
“Me? Yeah. Um…” he began and took a sip of his coffee. “That guy isn’t here?” he asked.
“He hasn’t shown up since the day I told him Jaz wasn’t single,” Rosemary interjected as she dropped off an order at the kitchen window behind me.
“He’s smart he left,” Sam stated. I felt a rush of guilt go through me. I didn’t have any bad feelings towards Tom like I had before that night.
“What were you gonna do?” I asked Sam. He eyed me for a moment, sipped his coffee, then answered.
“I’d kick his ass.”
Sam stayed for about an hour before he had to go to work. The night went on, gusts of wind slapping against the building and capturing my attention. I began counting the register as Daya stood on the other end of the bar looking bored out of her mind. A headlight glowed against her face and I looked out the front window with squinted eyes. I couldn’t see the car until their lights went out.
“What asshole shows up a half-hour before closing?” Daya huffed.
“It doesn’t happen too often,” I responded to her as I finished counting the stack of bills in my hand. Daya scoffed at what I assumed to be my response. That was until I felt a spine-chilling breeze and the bell above the door rang. I looked up to see Tom staring directly at me. His hair was a little longer and he was still unshaven. When I looked into those green eyes my hands shook and I dropped the money I held. I quickly squatted down to pick it all up. As I took a deep breath, I noticed a shadow cast over me. I looked up, once again making eye contact with Tom. He leaned over the counter, a smug yet adorable smirk across his lips.
“Could I get a burger before you close?” he asked. I stood back up and set the money down.
“Yeah. Double bacon, right?”
“That’s right, sweetheart,” he replied. I couldn’t help but smirk as I spoke up.
“Jason! Double bacon burger and a side of fries!” I called back.
“Fine,” he sighed. Tom took me by surprise and sat at the bar in front of me. Daya retreated to the kitchen not long after.
“You never texted me…” Tom said after I finished counting the register.
“Was I supposed to?” I asked and he smirked once again.
“That’s kinda why I left it.”
“I kinda have a boyfriend.”
“Right,” he sighed. “She seems like she wants to be here.” Tom commented sarcastically as Daya came back out. She had her coat in her arms and I sighed.
“Hey Daya,” I began and she looked up at me. “If you want to leave you can. He’s my customer there’s no reason for you to stay. If you go, could you turn the open sign off on your way?” I asked. She nodded and did just that, leaving as if there were a fire. She flicked off the sign and sprinted out the door. When the door fell shut the lights in the diner flickered.
“Wow,” Tom laughed as I walked over to the soda machine.
“What do you want to drink?” I asked.
“Water is fine,” he shrugged. I put the glass up to the last dispenser and filled it before sliding it across the counter to him. “Thank you.”
Jason came out from the kitchen with Tom’s plate in his hand. He put his hand on my back as he sat Tom’s plate down. I watched Tom as his eyes settled on Jason’s arm.
“I’m gonna go. Are you okay locking up by yourself?” Jason asked me.
“Oh. Um, yeah. I guess.”
“Okay. The grill will need wiped down and if you could wash up the few utensils and such that would be awesome,” Jason said as he patted my back and walked out after Daya.
“That was kinda bullshit. You’re paid to hand me my food and look pretty, not clean the damn kitchen,” Tom scoffed.
“Yeah. I’m used to it.”
“You usually do this?”
“On nights when men like you stop in right before closing,” I smirked.
“Right,” he said and ate his food. I decided it would be best if I started to go clean up the kitchen. I ran around and collected the few dishes Jason didn’t tell me about and tossed them in the sink. I scraped off the grill and wiped it down. I heard someone clear their throat from the doorway. I turned around to see Tom with his dishes. “Why the hell is the sink full?”
“There were a few other dishes I found-,”
“Move,” he said and rolled his eyes. He threw away the straw and napkin he had and put his dishes in the sink. I was surprised when he started to wash the dishes.
“Do you guys have a dishwasher?” he asked.
“It’s broke,” I responded and laid out a towel on the counter next to him.
“Isn’t that a health code violation?”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. He sat the dishes on the towel, and I dried them. He would peek over at me from time to time and I tried to pretend I didn’t notice, but after I dried them it went from peeking to staring as he let the water drain from the sink.
I watched as he dried his hands and leaned close to me. I kept my eyes focused on his lips when he suddenly pulled back. He held a glass in his hand and began drying it. He put it on the shelf across the room and I turned around to watch him. His eyes turned from a casual gaze to predatory. I felt the plate in my hand almost slip and I squeezed it tighter as Tom walked back over and stood directly in front of me. His eyes roamed my face before locking on my lips. Tom leaned down and kissed me. He kissed me! I felt a shock of electricity burst through me and I dropped the plate I held to the floor. In one swift movement, he lifted me on to the counter top. I wrapped my legs around his waist, and he held one of my thighs and cupped my face with his other hand. It took me a moment to realize I was kissing him back. Hell, my mouth was open, and I didn’t even realize it. I felt his hand snaking up my thigh and I put my hands to his chest to collect myself. I put my head against his chest taking back control of my breathing. He pulled my hair to the side of my face and swept in for another kiss. I pushed against his chest and he furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.
“What?” he asked lowly. I removed my legs from around his waist and leaned back slightly.
“We did,” he cut me off.
“This is wrong. You left! Where have you been? Hitting on the receptionist at a hotel a city over?” I spat.
“I am in town for work and I wanted to see you.”
“You’re sick,” I glared and hopped off the counter. He grabbed my arm, rolled his eyes, pinned me to the counter, and kissed me again. This time, I couldn’t bring myself to push him away. I ran my fingers through his hair in frustration and pulled at the roots.
“Jazmine?” I heard Sam’s voice calling my name. I pulled back quickly and ran out of the kitchen.
“Sammy!” I smiled and ran into his arms.
“Hey gorgeous, why are you still here?” He asked.
“Everyone left early, and the kitchen was a mess-.”
“I called you like eight times and texted you.”
“Sorry. Let me go lock up the back and I’ll be on my way. Okay?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he nodded and walked out. I rushed into the back and Tom was gone.
The next morning, I served Mr. Martin his breakfast. Right on time, Tom walked in and sat at his booth. We finally fixed the bulb above him and I walked over noticing his large smile.
“Usual?” I asked ignoring the nickname he decided to use.
“Yes please, coffee too,” he said. I went to put his order in when he grabbed my wrist. “Can we talk when you get a moment?” he asked. I nodded and put his order in, then brought over the coffee pot.
“You want to talk?” I asked and stood next to him.
“I’m sorry about last night but I couldn’t help myself.”
“It’s fine. I didn’t stop you.”
“You tried and I pushed it.”
“I didn’t want you to stop,” I blurted. I was shocked by my own confession as his eyes slid over my body.
“Really?” he smirked cheekily. I nodded but forced myself to look anywhere but him. The door opened and Sam entered the diner. He looked over at me and his jaw visibly clenched when he noticed Tom.
“I’ll be back with your food,” I said to Tom and took the coffee pot back to the machine as I spun around to see Sam leaning over the counter toward me.
“Morning Sam,” I smiled.
“You’re serving him?” Sam whispered to me.
“Yeah. He’s a customer, just like you,” I stated. Sam sighed and shook his head.
“I’m ending this,” Sam glared and marched his way over to join Tom. I watched from the counter and they seemed to be having a simple conversation, though Sam’s shoulders were tense. Tom’s order was up, and I took it over to hear a muffled “Fine,” come from Sam. I sat Tom’s food down in front of him and he looked up at me.
“Thanks, sweetheart,” he said, and Sam stood up. He didn’t notice Tom grab my waist, but he heard what Tom had to say to me.
“Can we have a repeat of last night in my car after this?”
My eyes widened in horror as Tom winked at me, then locked his gaze on Sam when he spun around.
“What happened last night?” Sam asked walking back over to us.
“Check the security camera in the kitchen,” Tom shrugged and dug into his food. I forgot about the cameras. Sam stormed up to Rosemary and they walked into the back office. I sat with the three of them and watched last night’s events unfold all the way through to Sam calling for me. When Rosemary paused the tape, Tom was winking at the camera. That asshole knew. Sam sat there for a moment, then stood up.
“Sam!” I called after him. He stormed out of the diner and I felt tears in my eyes as I looked toward the booth where Tom no longer sat. I walked over to see his receipt with cash to cover his meal. As I took care of his table, I noticed he wrote on the back again,
“Cottage Motel Room 6B.”
I slid the receipt in my pocket and continued my shift.
I walked myself out to my car and drove the three minutes over to the motel. Tom’s black Pontiac was parked out front and I knocked on his door. No answer. I hit the door harder this time and instead of his door opening, the neighbor’s did.
“Keep it down!” the older woman scolded me. I went to speak when Tom opened the door wearing a dark gray t-shirt and black boxer briefs. His hair was messy and looked like he had just woken up.
“Sorry my friend was eager to see me,” Tom winked at her. She rolled her eyes and made a disgusted face before re-entering her room. “Welco-,” Tom began but I pushed his chest making him stumble back farther into the room.
“You’re a god damn asshole!” I yelled at him hearing the motel door swing shut behind me.
“What?” he asked innocently.
“You know what!”
“I did you a favor, sweetheart. You don’t love him,” Tom stated as he opened the fridge and pulled out a beer.
“What’s it to you?”
“A girl like you shouldn’t be tied down to someone just to pass time,” he replied and leaned back against the counter taking a swig of his beer.
“A girl like me?” I snapped.
“Mhm,” he winked.
“Sick? Yeah, you’ve said that before. I’m not though,” he smirked. The smirk was borderline creepy with a hint of charm. I shifted where I stood, and he motioned to the bed behind me. “Take a seat.”
“Suit yourself,” he began as he finished off the bottle. “You know, the fact that you showed up tonight… and that you’re even still here, tells me something,” he said. I stood there suddenly feeling like prey under his predatory gaze. “You enjoyed last night.”
“Your point?” I breathed not realizing the effect he had on me until now.
“Do you want a replay?” he asked in a low seductive tone that seemed almost natural flowing from his lips. I shivered as his hand reached out and his fingers ghosted against my arm. I couldn’t answer. I stared deep into his green eyes and noticed a light gold color toward his pupils. I felt his soft lips on mine and my hands fell to his neck. I pulled him closer and he picked me up by my thighs and perched me on the motel counter. Our lips pressed together, and I ran my fingers through his hair. “Don’t be afraid to stop me.”
To be continued…