“What are you doing here? I thought you were off until Monday,” Joe asked me when I walked into the back door of the restaurant.
“I’m not working. I’m supposed to be meeting someone here.”
“Oh yeah? You got a date? Damn. Never thought I’d see the day Shay agrees to go out with a real live human being.”
“Shut up, Joe. Just because I turned you down doesn’t mean I won’t date.”
“I ain’t giving you crap because you turned me down. I’m giving you crap because we’ve been cooking together for the last two years here and I have yet to see you out with someone.”
“Well, now you know I do go out. And don’t spy on me!”
Joe just grinned at me. I knew he’d keep an eye out in between the rushes. To be honest, that was part of why I chose to meet Caiden at my restaurant. I knew Joe was working and I knew he’d intervene if anything bad started to go down.
Now I just had to wait until Caiden got here. Tonight’s house manager knew to watch for him and seat him before coming to let me know he was here. Maybe it was stalkerish of me but I wanted a chance to watch Caiden for a minute before sitting down to dinner with him. Something still bugged me about him.
Turns out I didn’t have to wait for the house manager to tell me Caiden had arrived. Something in me knew before I even saw him following her to a table that he was here. I didn’t think I liked that I was that aware of this man. I still had no real idea of who he was, aside from the fact that he and his kind were essentially the boogie man to most weather riders. The ripple of stares and hushed whispers that trailed behind Caiden was also a dead giveaway. After all, even dressed as roughly as he was earlier today, he was one hot man. From the service area outside the kitchen I could see that, cleaned up and dressed for a fancy dinner, he was Hollywood gorgeous.
I really felt out of place now. Joe leaned in from behind me and whispered, “Damn, woman. Now I know why you accepted this date.”
I elbowed him in the gut just hard enough to get him to back off but not hard enough to really hurt him. I heard the rush of breath come out anyway.
“You’re not helping.”
“You losing your nerve?” Joe wheezed still catching his breath.
“No. Just feeling a little like the ugly duckling at the grand ball.”
“Way to mix your metaphors. Now go mix with him. You don’t want to leave a man like that waiting. Any available woman in the entire house will be on him faster than you can dice a carrot.”
Joe was right. Even as I took a deep breath to steel my nerves, I watched as Caiden turned one woman away. Another was already making her way to his table. I brushed past Joe out of the service area. Possibly to my eternal humiliation and doom. Certainly to dinner.
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