Enjoy the teaser!
I really enjoyed writing this scene between Hadie and Eddie. Please excuse any errors as this is only a first draft. Enjoy! =)
Bennett was sitting at a table, trying very hard not to look at me.
I dropped the menus on the floor, and wanted to kick myself for acting like a complete dork in front of Bennett. I would not continue to make a fool out of myself in front of him. I would be cold, distant, composed, confident, magnetic and…jeez, I sucked at pep talks.
Picking the menus up again, I took a deep breath and walked towards him. Seriously, what the heck was he doing here? He knew I’d worked here since I’d turned sixteen, so why would he come in here? There were plenty of other places he could go to. eat. Well, technically there was one other place, Mal’s Eatery, and it smelled like hog wash. Still, there were some nicer places out of town where he could go. He couldn’t bethat hungry that he had to come in here on the only other day he knew I would be working.
What made even less sense was the fact that he was alone. Usually, he was accompanied by his jock friends, throwing testosterone around left, right and center. I never saw him go anywhere without his posse. In fact, he cared so much about them that he’d lost Ashton’s friendship over it.
Trying my best to act like his presence didn’t affect me, I threw back my shoulders and approached him with an air of indifference. “Good afternoon, Sir,” I said, handing him a menu. “I’ll be back in a few minutes to take your order.”
I turned to go, but the sound of his voice stopped me. “I already know what I want.”
He looked up at me with those bright blue eyes of his and for a second I forgot just how much I hated him, how much I was supposed to hate him. All I saw was the guy I had loved and cared for. The guy I would stay up late at night talking on the phone with.
The illusion was shattered when he cleared his throat, and I gave him a hard look. “What can I get you?”
I pulled out a notebook and pen from my back pocket, even though I could easily memorize orders. Mostly, I just wanted to give myself something to do so I wouldn’t have to look at him while he spoke.
“Can I get a cheeseburger and fries?”
“And hold the pickles,” I said absently, and then wanted to kick myself for finishing his order. I was supposed to stay cold and detached, not show familiarity towards him. I was so freaking stupid!
Bennett smiled wryly and nodded. “Yeah, hold the pickles.”
I pretended to write all this down, but really I was just stabbing holes into the page because I was so angry with myself. “And anything to drink?” I knew he was going to ask for a chocolate milkshake because that’s what he always got.
“Chocolate milkshake.” Well, duh.
“Sure, your order will be out soon,” I said and headed back to the kitchen, ignoring Laura’s gaping mouth as I passed her.
As soon as I entered the kitchen, my resolve shattered and I leaned against the counter with my head buried in my hands, trying to gather my scattered thoughts.
Crap, crap, crap, I’d totally embarrassed myself when I’d dropped the menus, but then I just had to go and acknowledge the fact that I knew how he liked his burger. Why was I such a complete idiot? I was supposed to be acting like I didn’t know him. I wasn’t supposed to get distracted by his eyes or his smile, or anything else. I really wanted to kick myself, or stick my head in the freezer.
“Uh, Hadie, are you okay?”
I jumped at the sound of the voice and then realized that Eddie was standing a few feet away watching me with concern. I’d been so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I’d completely forgotten that he was in here. Ya know, because where else would the cook be but in the kitchen?
“Yeah, um…I’m fine.” I gave him a weak smile. “We have an order for one cheeseburger with no pickles. And a serving of fries and a chocolate milkshake too.”
Eddie nodded, still looking worried as he put some fries into the deep fryer and then fired up the grill so he could start cooking the beef patty for the burger.
As I watched him, I decided to make the milkshake while I waited. When I didn’t have to take orders, I helped out in the kitchen so the cook didn’t have to do as much.
I measured out the milk, chocolate powder and ice cream, and put it all into the blender. Eddie gave me a nod, as if to say “thanks”, as he grabbed a plate and a tray to put the food on for when he was done.
When I turned off the blender, Eddie used that opportunity to speak. “So, what’s really wrong, Hadie?”
Sighing, I poured the milkshake into a glass and watched as Eddie flipped the patty over. “My ex-boyfriend is the customer that just came in.”
Eddie’s head shot in my direction and he frowned. “Your ex-boyfriend? The one who was friends with Ashton, right? Bennett something-or-rather.”
“Yeah, that’s the one.” I slumped against the counter again and fiddled with the edge of my apron. “I mean, I’m over him, but I’m not.”
Eddie was quiet for a moment and all I could hear was the sizzling of the fries as they cooked. Finally, he spoke. “It’s normal for you to still think about your ex, even have feelings for him. That doesn’t make you weak, it just makes you human.”
I met his hazel eyes for a second; they were kind and gentle, and I felt all my feelings rushing out. “But after what he did to me, it makes me so angry that I feel something for him, you know? I don’t want to feel anything for him. I just want to see him the way I would see a stranger. I want to shut off all these emotions that he makes me feel. It’s so frustrating!”
I suddenly felt embarrassed that I had just vented all of my frustration to Eddie. He was just so easy to talk to though, and he listened. Like, really listened.
Don’t get me wrong. Mariah and Estella were there for me too and always gave me great advice, but there was something therapeutic about confiding in someone who had a different perspective on the situation.
Eddie gave me a sad smile as he began plating up the food. “There’s nothing wrong with what you’re feeling. It just shows that you care, and that’s a good thing. It’s better than being cold and unfeeling or treating others badly because you don’t give a damn. Stay just the way you are and I promise you, one day you’ll wake up and Bennett won’t mean a thing to you.”
I held my breath as Eddie’s words sunk in. He was right. It wasn’t wrong of me to still think about Bennett, because I really had cared about him and it was natural to miss that. As for Bennett, it was so easy for him to move on with someone else because he obviously hadn’t cared about me. But I wasn’t like him, and I was glad that I never would be.
“You seriously give the best advice ever. You’re like Dr. Phil, but better looking.” I walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you, Eddie. You’re the best.”
Eddie’s face flamed up and he mumbled something incoherent and busied himself with wiping down the already-clean counter.