About halfway through my shift, I saw the hostess seating a couple in my section. I couldn’t see them clearly, but I watched with envy as the man guided the woman through the restaurant with his hand on her lower back. At their table, he pulled the chair out for his date to sit down. It was a simple gesture, one I had never been on the receiving end of. Brad had never taken me out on a proper date. In the beginning, I was blinded by his charisma and good looks so I accepted whatever time he was willing to spend with me. Once I was pregnant, he knew he didn’t have to put forth any effort. But how nice would it be to feel cherished and like I was worth the effort?
After giving the couple another minute to get settled, I approached the table to take their drink order. The man’s back was to me as I walked over to them, but I could see how absolutely gorgeous his date was. Sure, we lived in Southern California, where it almost seemed like a prerequisite to be beautiful. This woman, though, was definitely a ‘ten’ on the hotness scale. Her blonde hair cascaded past her slender shoulders in large curls and her makeup was perfectly applied, highlighting her bright blue eyes. As I took the last step toward their table I saw her flash her date a seductive smile.
“Welcome to the Ocean View. My name’s…” I started but was interrupted by the man I had yet to fully see.
“Simone?” the man next to me questioned.
Recognizing the voice, I looked over, and was immediately met by a familiar pair of green eyes. Kyle O’Neill was here, sitting in my section with a model-perfect date.
I smiled at him briefly, almost forgetting I was there to take their order. “Hi, Kyle,” I said, trying to go for casual, but my voice caught in my throat and it came out breathy and shaky. His date gave me a quick up and down look, then seemed to dismiss my very existence.
I had seen Kyle a few times over the last couple years. He and my brother-in-law, Trent, spent a lot of time together so I would occasionally run into him, usually at my in-law’s house. He knew I worked here, but this was the first time I’d ever seen him come to this restaurant. I suddenly felt nervous and could feel my face get a little warm.
Every time I saw him, I was in awe of his good looks. Tonight wasn’t any different. He wore a pair of black slacks with a crisp, burgundy button-down shirt. The sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, giving him a somewhat casual look. His hair was gelled and styled perfectly.
“Courtney, this is my friend’s sister-in-law, Simone. Simone, this is Courtney,” Kyle said. “She’s a lawyer, too.”
“Oh, how nice,” I acknowledged, and mentally kicked myself for the lame response. The fact that Kyle took the time to introduce me to his date was a surprise. It also warmed something inside of me. The two of us had never talked about the night we unofficially met but he never seemed to hold a grudge. Everything I knew about him led me to believe he was a really nice guy. It also wasn’t lost on me that he hadn’t introduced Courtney as his girlfriend, but something more platonic, and Kyle’s date hadn’t missed it either. She had given me a haughty look and promptly picked up her menu without saying anything to me.
“How’ve you been?” he asked.
My attention veered back to Kyle. He was smiling warmly up at me and his gaze was direct. Like I wasn’t some no-nothing waitress or the woman who had ruined his sister’s life—but instead, someone who deserved as much attention as his date. He treated me like we were equals when we really weren’t. It was flattering, if not a little disarming. I’m sure he was like that with everyone, especially toward his dates. And I bet he had plenty of dates. He was probably like Trent, who dated a lot but didn’t have a steady woman in his life.
“Good,” I finally answered, realizing I needed to stop thinking about Kyle’s relationship status and focus on my job instead. I turned toward Courtney and smiled politely at her. “It’s nice to meet you,” I offered, but moved on quickly so I could leave. I focused on my duties as their waitress and it helped with my nerves. I gave them my spiel about the specials and took out my pen and notepad. “Can I take your drink order?”
I spent the next bit of my shift glancing at Kyle and Courtney in between serving my other customers. I didn’t know why I was so interested in what was happening at their table, but my focus was glued to the both of them, at their interaction and expressions. Kyle was attractive, but that wasn’t all that had captured my attention. I couldn’t help but notice the small things like the flirty way Courtney placed her hand on Kyle’s arm or the smile he would throw at her in the middle of their conversation. It made me long for something I didn’t have.
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Rachel Lyn Adams is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, five children, and a crazy number of fur babies. She writes contemporary, MC, and MM romance.
She loves to travel and spend time with her family. Whenever she has some free time, which is rare, you’ll find her with a book in her hands or watching reruns of Friends.
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