Chapter One: Sweet Concoctions

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*** To: BriaWaldron for a really nice comment!! Thanks so much***

"He's here again, Mel," Jasmine whispers. We're both in the kitchen right now supposedly picking up the dishes our customers have ordered.

"Who?" I ask. I can't help but wonder if it's the person that I think it is.

"You know who I'm talking about," she teases. "That man that's head over heels for you, poor guy. He better leave you a huge tip." I shake my head at her silliness. Just because he's been sitting in my section the past three nights doesn't mean he's in love with me.

"Jaz, you should get to work," I point out. She pouts but picks up the plates she's supposed to serve.

"So should you, Ms. Single-for-life." Jasmine winks and walks out the door. I shake my head at her teasing, but I've gotten used to it. The other servers and chefs joke about my chosen single state, but it's easy to put up with. Easier than explaining my choices to them, at least.

"Here you go, Mel," Aaron says. He places the French toast and scrambled eggs in front of me.

"Thanks." I pick it up and exit the warmth of the kitchen. The teen that ordered the meal lights up when he sees me coming.

"One Sweet Breaksfast Combo," I say with a smile.

"Thanks," the boy says. Then, he ignores me and digs in. I grin. It's nice to see someone that enjoys our food. I leave him to enjoy the meal and look around. One of the other tables in my section is occupied, and I remember Jasmine's comment.

Sure enough, it's Mr. Sharpe. My new regular. I stride towards him and whip out my notepad. He hears my approach and turns to face me.

"Good morning, Mr. Sharpe. How are you doing?" I inquire. He smiles at me.

"Fine, thank you. And yourself?" he asks. I feel like saying "swimmingly" just to see his reaction, but I restrain myself. Messing with diners is a no-no.

"I'm good. So, will you be taking your usual, or would you like some more time with the menu?"

"Well, what are the others having?" he asks. That stops me in my tracks for a moment. My mind blanked for a moment. I'd thought he was going to ask me what I'd recommend. Is he already drunk this early in the morning?

"The new blueberry and chocolate pancake is a popular choice this morning," I say. He nods and peruses the menu again. I usually don't feel awkward waiting for a diner to make a choice, but with him, I feel like tapping my pen. Or leaving and coming back later when I won't have to stand here for so long.

"Then I'll have the same," he says. I nod and take the menu he hands me.

"And would you like anything to drink with that?"

"One coffee with sugar and cream." I nod again and smile. I'm about to ask him something else, but he answers for me. "I'll take it with the meal."

"Okay, then. Just a moment." Back to the kitchen to place the order.

As soon as I enter, I feel like I'm in a warm cocoon. The rush outside doesn't affect this place. I can hear the clanking in the kitchen, but I can't see it. The counter is a peaceful in-between place. "So, Mel, is it the mystery guy?" Aaron asks. I laugh.

"He's not a mystery guy. We know his name," I say. "By the way, if you're interested, he wants a blueberry-choco pancake and a regular coffee." Aaron grins.

"I'm always interested in doing my job, Mel," he says melodramatically. Sometimes, I wonder how any work gets done in this place.

"Out of the way. Out of the way!" Ashley bursts into the kitchen with a stack of dirty plates and cutlery. I press myself to the wall to let her pass. She has too much. Oh no.

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