My Dad's Boss(3)By: Mia Madison
I still had a few minutes. He was fourth in line, so I opened my purse and took out my compact. Quickly, I touched up my eye makeup, put on some lipstick, and smoothed powder over my cheeks. I didn’t wear too much make-up in the summer, but I always wore some because my eyelashes were blonde and therefore nearly invisible without mascara. Thank god for mascara.
When I was done, he was third in line. Nervously, I waited, unsure what to do with myself. I glanced at Facebook. Checked my e-mail. Closed the tabs I’d opened for jobs that hadn’t shown much promise.
Now he was second in line, and the person in front of him looked almost done. Since he had his back to me, I could watch him without risk of getting caught, so I did, waiting to see how he interacted with the barista. But then a shadow passed over the table and someone was blocking my view. Two someones.
I looked up and my stomach dropped to my feet. This—I’d never expected this. I wasn’t ready for this. The two people standing in front of me were the last two people on earth I wanted to encounter. But there they were. Standing in front of me.
Brad and Stephanie.
My ex-boyfriend and my ex-best friend.
OH. MY. GOD. They were here. Both of them. Together. I hadn't seen Brad since last Christmas when our families had attended the same holiday party. And I hadn’t seen Stephanie since—since I found out she’d been sleeping with my boyfriend a year ago. And apparently, she still was.
Looking up at them, I wished I were anywhere but here. Anywhere but in this coffee shop, in this city, in this state, and on this planet. Where was a shuttle to Mars when you needed one?
“Hi Cassie,” Brad said, his arm around Stephanie. I hated tilting my neck up to see him, but that, at least, was one thing I could fix. I popped out of the booth and to my feet, causing them to move back a step or two.
“Cassie,” Stephanie said, moving toward me. Did she really think I’d stood up to hug her? After what she’d done to me.
“Hi,” I said, instilling as much coldness and don’t-try-to-hug-me vibes as I could into the one syllable.
“We didn’t know you’d be here,” Brad said, and I almost rolled my eyes. What, like they thought I’d thought they came to see me? Not likely.
“Yeah, well, it’s too hot outside for me.”
Brad smiled, no doubt remembering how I used to perform frequent odes to air conditioning. I almost smiled back before I remembered that he’d cheated on me. Broken my heart. And now they were here in front of me. How was I going to get through this?
And now Brad was telling me about his summer, about the internships he and Stephanie had gotten. Together. So not only did they have each other, but they also had a far better summer lined up than I did. This was a nightmare.
“And it’s only three days a week, so that gives us lots of time for other things,” Brad concluded.
“Like hanging out in coffee shops,” Stephanie said with a giggle. “I mean, not like all day,” she said, eyeing the signs in the booth that I’d been here for quite some time. I wondered if I could use the plate my scone had been on a few hours ago as a ninja throwing star. The vision of it knocking her off her feet was a pleasant one.
“Congratulations on your internship,” I said lamely. I wanted to think of a way to end this conversation, but yet I didn’t want to gather all my stuff and pack up while they were standing there.
And then someone nearby cleared his throat and appeared in front of me. “Here’s your Thin Mint Frappuccino,” a deep voice said.
I looked up and a half dozen emotions flickered through my brain, chief among them: God, he’s even more handsome up close, How on earth am I going to explain who he is to Brad and Stephanie? Wait, I don’t even know who he is, and who the hell cares what they think? And Dammit Stephanie, stop looking at him that way. He’s my perfect stranger, not yours.
Both my exes, ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, seemed a little awed by Mr. Hottie’s presence. I could understand that, I certainly was, but I also didn’t like the skeptical look that was growing on Brad’s face. “You two know each other?” He looked from me to the older man by my side and back again.
His presumption in asking made me mad. “No, he just goes around bringing everyone a Thin Mint Frappuccino.”
“I figured if I asked enough people, someone was bound to like it,” Mr. Hottie said, and I looked up at him and smiled, finally taking the cup from him. Up close his hazel eyes were even more mesmerizing. They were distracting—the kind of eyes I could get lost in.
“So… are you two, like, seeing each other?” Stephanie said, still staring at him, disbelief in her eyes. “Your mom told my mom you weren’t seeing anyone.” Thanks, Mom.