It was Grace standing there.
It was Jamie sitting there.
She kept fidgeting with her memo pad and pen in her hands. She kept looking back to the woman who clearly looked like the owner of this cafe. I couldn’t stop staring at Grace; is this even Grace? Have I lost my mind to the point where I’m now seeing her and hearing her voice in places that I shouldn’t be?
She quickly turns her head back towards me. Her red hair was shorter, a lot shorter; her curls bounced whenever she turned her head.
I looked back at Jamie, not really believing it was Jamie. What were the odds he was at the same place I was in? Ari wouldn’t tell him where I was, or anyone for that matter. I felt tonight’s dinner turn in my stomach, like this couldn’t be Jamie. His hair wasn’t blonde anymore; it was the darkest shade of blue-black I could imagine. It was wavy, pulled back, and he didn’t have his glasses on. Who was this man? Why does he look and speak just like Jamie?
I realized I didn’t say anything for a while and I haven’t moved from the spot I was standing. I cleared my throat, telling myself that I only had an hour left to my shift.
“Wh-What would you like, sir?” I said, trying to remain as professional as possible. He’s just another customer… that you fell absolutely in love with at one point in your life. He doesn’t stop looking at me, so I quickly look back to Sharon, my bitch of a boss who takes her job way too seriously for a cafe on boardwalk.
Jamie takes a while to respond. He places the menu back on the table.
“I’ll take an Iced Americano,” I said to Grace. She looks down at her memo pad and quickly turns away from me.
“You want it with a little bit of creamer, right?” She said it so quickly, I didn’t even realize that she remembered. She stopped in her tracks, probably regretting that she remembered. I look back at her as she turned around. She looks so different with some color on her skin.
“Yes,” I answered back. She didn’t say anything to me; she just walked towards the back of the cafe. I felt like I could finally breathe, knowing that she wasn’t near me anymore.
I felt like I could finally breathe, knowing that he wasn’t near me anymore. I placed my memo pad on the counter in the back, shutting my eyes tight in hopes that I was possibly dreaming. He can’t be here. That’s not him. That can’t be Jamie; the Jamie I know wouldn’t ever wear blue jeans, first of all. Also, he nearly looks unrecognizable without his glasses on.
The barista in the back of the cafe hands me the Iced Americano. I take a deep breath and exit the back. The sooner I give him his drink, the better.
She comes out from the back, and I felt my face get hot once more. She walks towards my table and places the coffee on it.
“Here you go,” Grace politely said. I nod my head, thanking her for it. “Do you need anything else?” she asks.
I shake my hand in protest. “No no, I’m alright. Thank you,” I answered back. She looks down at my every move.
“Fuck,” Grace quickly said, then immediately regretted it once she saw my reaction. I was genuinely confused at what came over her. She sighs, pointing at my wrist.
I couldn’t help but notice. I should have kept my mouth shut. What was the use anyway? It’s already out there.
“Your bracelet,” Grace finally says. I look down at it, surprised she remembers it.
“Yeah,” I began to say. I looked back up at her, nothing but seriousness in my eyes. “The love of my life gifted me this.” I don’t know what came over me and why I even said it. I guess because she knew. She knew exactly what it was and noticed it. I had to let her know what it meant to me, but I was afraid I was going to scare her away.
She froze in place, and then looked back at the woman in the back.
“Is that your boss?” I immediately changed the subject. I didn’t want her to run. She turned back around, now looking a little calmer than she did before.
“Yeah, she’s an uptight bitch,” Grace said, and I couldn’t help but laugh. It was like I got a glimpse of the Grace I know, or knew. The thought fades my smile away slowly until Grace speaks again.
“I could feel my boss’ eyes on me, wondering why I’ve been standing in the same place for too long,” I said while fidgeting in place. He smiles once more, and I can’t lie; it was a sight that I missed. The way his eyes smiled when he did. It’s like I could see him perfectly now that his glasses aren’t on.
“Well,” Jamie began to say, getting up from the table. “I should be getting back to my friends at the bar.”
Without hesitation, I began talking to him like it was just normal for us to carry a conversation. “Oh? Shawn and Kevin?” I asked. I knew it had to be those two. If brotherhood was a living, breathing image, it would be Jamie, Shawn, and Kevin. But I couldn’t help but wonder if they’re here because they’re doing another case. What was it about America that these three loved anyway?
“Yeah,” I said as I nodded my head. “They’re at the bar a couple of stores down on the boardwalk,” I continued.
“Ugh, that place?” Grace said without even hesitating. “That very much screams Summer tourist attraction central,” she continued. I couldn’t help but laugh. Grace always knew how to make me laugh even when she wasn’t trying.
“Yeah, so I should go back to them and help them out,” I calmly said.
Seeing Jamie get up from the booth took my breath away in ways I didn’t even realize. How the fuck did this man still have this affect on me? Even after everything that has happened between us, it’s like he always had this fucking hold over me.
“Uhm, maybe,” I began to say. He looks back at me; his eyebrow slightly scrunched in curiosity. I felt the wind literally knock the words out of me. Fuck, what am I doing? Why am I getting Jamie involved in my life again? “Maybe we could grab a coffee sometime… of course, in another coffee shop; it doesn’t have to be here, or–” My voice began to get hoarse. Jamie didn’t say anything back right away, since my boss calls out for me and I turned my head to face her.
Grace was something else. I wasn’t expecting her to want to ever speak to me again, yet here we are. I hesitate at first for a moment; I truly didn’t want Grace to feel like she needed to speak to me, and I also didn’t want to feel obligated to speak to Grace because of our history. It was a rough one, and for most people this wouldn’t have gone the way it went for us. Other people would’ve cause a scene, accused one another of foul behavior and then stormed off without a trace. Not us. We were never conventional anyway.
She looks back at her boss once she hears her name being called. I knew right then and there I had to do something; she was going to run off and I couldn’t let that happen. I will not let her run off, truly because I waited so long to finally see her and hear her voice.
I grabbed her memo pad and pen, which made her quickly turn around back at me.
“I don’t want you to get in trouble,” I began to say as I wrote in her memo pad. “And I should get back to Shawn and Kevin before they do something illegal or something…” I wrote my phone number down and ripped it out of the memo pad. I looked back at her; my God she was beautiful. I looked at her and folded the piece of paper and placed it in her apron pocket.
“Whenever you’re ready,” I simply said.
“Whenever you’re ready,” he said as he placed a piece of paper inside the pocket of my apron. I don’t say anything back; Jamie just starts to walk out of the cafe with his iced americano in his hand. I couldn’t help but watch him leave the cafe up until the very last moment the door closed behind him. I went to get the paper in my apron pocket. I grabbed the piece of paper and unfold it. I bite the inside of my lip when I read the phone number on the paper with his name on me.
Fuck. What did I get myself into again?