Chapter 23

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Jazmine got up quietly from the table leaving Matt to his thoughts and headed outside, at the back of the restaurant.

Jonathan was standing outside, near a huge pile of garbage, looking at the sky probably praying he wouldn’t get fired on his first night.

“Tough evening, huh,” Jazmine, said as she walked towards him radiant as always.

“Waitressing is a lot harder than it looks,” he replied.

“I was surprised to see you here.”

“It might be the last time you see me here given how the night's been going.”

“Come on. They can’t seriously fire you for breaking only twenty plates. That would really be unfair.”

“I know right. I’m sure I could win a lawsuit against Silver Spoon for wrongful termination.”

“I’m at least thankful you didn’t break our plates. I couldn’t care less about the other customers’ food.”

“How very generous of you, Jazmine,” he replied, throwing his head back as he laughed. “Typical Jazmine behavior.”

“How can you say that? You barely even know me!”

“I’ve seen enough of you to know what you’re capable of,” Jonathan affirmed seriously.

Jazmine nodded, her eyes sparkling playfully.

She was always surprised at how Jonathan saw right through her, but also challenged her. She had stopped seeing him as a dorky geek for a while now and found his klutziness charming. Behind his large glasses, she saw his soft features and kind, brown eyes. He always seemed to be laughing at a private joke he shared with himself and didn’t seem to need anybody else.

Jonathan was actually quite appreciated at their school. Although incredibly intelligent, he never hesitated to help those who needed him and even tutored a few football players in dire need of divine intervention. Nevertheless, he was never interested in making lasting relationships or gaining popularity. This bothered Jazmine. As she had grown closer to him, she wanted him to feel he needed her, that he wanted to be near her. He either didn’t notice or pretended not to.

“I actually was extra-careful with your plates. I personally took out all the bugs I found. Did you notice?”

“I did, Jon. I was just telling my family how Silver Spoon had improved since the last time we came. Usually there are rats running all over the place. This time, nothing.”

“That’s all me.”

“I guess hiring a professional plate-smasher has its perks.”

“Yeah, too bad, I’m quitting after tonight. They are going to be so sorry to see me go.”

“I would be sorry, too,” Jazmine replied, all playfulness gone from her voice.

She looked into his eyes and leaned slowly towards him. Jonathan leaned towards her, too. He could smell the soft, strawberry scent of her dark, raven black hair.

And then he pulled her close and kissed her softly, tenderly, as if he needed her just as much as she needed him, as if being near her was the most natural thing in the world, and he never wanted to let her go. And neither did she.

He abruptly stopped, pulled back, and walked swiftly towards the door.

“We’d better get back inside. We wouldn’t want to catch cold now, would we?”

Jazmine looked blankly at him, confused and puzzled.

“Why did you do that?” she asked, her voice almost a whisper.

Jazmine didn’t have a habit of beating around the bush.

“Do what?” Jonathan asked, although he knew perfectly well what she was talking about.

“You kissed me! And then you stepped abruptly away? Am I that repulsive to you?” she asked, baffled.

“You know you’re not, Jazmine,” Jonathan said.

“Then what’s wrong? I’ve been pretty obvious how I feel about you. Even Matt noticed and probably everyone else at the table for that matter. And I know you like me too.”

“Now how can you be so sure about that?” Jonathan challenged with a smile.

“I’ve noticed the way you look at me during rehearsals. And I guess this kiss is a pretty good barometer of your feelings for me,” she answered.

“I know you, Jazmine,” he answered, looking away from her. “I know your type. And I know you would smash my heart to little pieces. I don’t want to end up looking like the twenty plates I handled tonight,” he concluded.

He opened the door and went back inside, leaving Jazmine all alone. She shivered and turned towards the pile of garbage.

“You’re the witness to my very first, most painful rejection,” she said aloud, wrinkling her nose.

“Lily and Stacey would laugh if they saw me right now. Rejected by the school’s official nerd and having evening chats with a pile of disgusting trash.”

She sighed sadly and went through the heavy door that closed behind her with a loud bang.

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