Nothing Like the First Time(7)

By: Keren Hughes

Maggie turned away from her menu. “Yes, we’ll have a glass of Rosé and a bottle of lager,” she replied in a not so polite manner.

I saw her eyes move across me slowly as she assessed me, and instantly knew she didn’t like me when her perfectly shaped brows turned down, and her lip turned up in a slight scowl—though what I had done to her, I didn’t have a clue.

Ignoring her disapproving glare, I smiled brightly.

“Sure thing, I won’t be a moment.” I walked to the bar with my head held high, determined not to let her get under my skin, and told Jason the bartender their order. I leaned against the bar and exhaled slowly. Keep it together, Carly. Don’t let them get to you—you’re better than them. I tried to keep up this internal chant as I waited for Jason to pour the wine.

Jason pushed the drinks towards me on a tray, interrupting my mental chant. I smiled my thanks as I took it and returned to their table. As I approached, I could see they were having a hushed, but seemingly heated discussion, so I cleared my throat so they knew I was coming. I didn’t want to give Maggie another reason to throw a dirty look my way. Luckily, they ceased their conversation as I reached them. I placed their drinks on the table, tucking the tray under my arm. “Are you ready to order, or would you like a little longer?” I spoke to Maggie. She seemed to be the one wearing the pants in the relationship.

“Could you give us a minute or two longer, Carls?” Grey asked, making my heart thump hard. It was the first time he’d looked my way or spoken to me since they arrived.

“Sure, Grey,” I replied and headed to Jason, relieved that I didn’t have to talk to them for a while.

Jason raised a brow in question at my sudden happiness, but before I could explain, the same silky voice spoke behind me.

“Excuse me, Miss, could you direct me to the ladies’ room?”

I nearly rolled my eyes. The whole ‘Miss’ thing was getting annoying. I turned and pointed her in the right direction without a word, and watched her head towards the toilets. Even from behind I could see why Grey liked her so much. I turned my eyes to their table and clenched my teeth together when Grey smiled. It was a smile that made my knees weak and my stomach flutter. Didn’t he realize that checking out another woman while his fiancée was in the bathroom was wrong? Especially when he was mentally undressing me with his eyes—I should know, he often gave me that look when we had been together.

And why couldn’t I just shut off my feelings for him? Why did my heart want me to drop everything and jump into his strong arms when my brain, logically, told me to stay where I was?

It was the knowledge that he would break my heart all over again if I let my guard down that kept me in place.

“We’re ready to order now,” Maggie threw haughtily over her shoulder on her way back to the table.

I took one last look at Grey and sighed wistfully as I followed Maggie to take their order.

Once their order was placed, I couldn’t wait to get their food to their table. I hoped they would hurry up and eat so I could give them the bill and finish my shift for the night. I wanted to go home and be free of Grey’s penetrating stare. Every opportunity he got, he looked my way.

When their order was up, I took it to their table.

“Thanks, Carls,” Grey said, meanwhile Maggie didn’t say a word, just looked at me like something she had stepped in.

Again, it was Grey that spoke to me when I took their bill. He thanked me and left me a tip.

I walked away and went to hang up my apron. I went into the office to retrieve my purse from my locker. I touched up my lip gloss in the mirror, fluffed my hair, and walked back out into the restaurant.

I was standing by my car, searching for my keys in my purse, when a hand on my shoulder made me jump, dropping my purse to the ground in surprise.

“Sorry, Carls, I didn’t mean to make you jump,” he said as he bent to pick my purse up for me.

“What do you want, Grey? I’m tired and I want to go home.”

“I wanted this,” he said as he took hold of me round the waist and brought his lips to mine in a passionate kiss.

I kissed him back fervently before realizing where we were and what I was doing. I pushed him away and got into my car. I started the engine and sped out of the parking lot.

I got home to a voicemail.

“Carls, you can’t keep doing this to me. This is the second time you’ve run off after I’ve kissed you. Why? I thought you felt something for me? I told you I never stopped loving you and I meant it. I love you, Carls.”

I erased the message and went for a hot shower. Once out of the shower, I rang Jodie to see what time she was picking me up. We were going to try out a new club that had just opened in town.

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