23 ~ Her

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A/N: Two more to go. Thank you for reading and supporting the story. I hope to edit this next year for editing month on Nanowrimo. Let's pray I won't be too busy for it. Happy reading! ~ Mel.


Day 292 – What now?

The ride got me breathless. Once we're reached out destination, I hadn't thought twice jumped out from the motorcycle as we parked. I could hear Collin's muffled chuckles while I handed him back his helmet.

"Don't laugh. It isn't funny," I muttered grimly as I straightened out my hair.

As he hopped out and firmly tucked one of the helmets on the seat, he walked up to me and pushed aside the remaining strands of tangled hair. I tried not to blush as his fingertips brushed over my ear from the action. It took him a moment to realize what he had done. From his surprise, he took a calculated step back and turned away.

"Ah... anyways, the restaurant is over there," he pointed to change the topic and evaded the slightly awkward moment.

I nodded and gestured for him to lead the way.

I didn't know what changed between us. Before we weren't this timid around each other. It might have been the actual distance for nearly a year, or how things had changed between us. Not just emotionally but mentally as well. It was like we were not different people after our recent conversation.

Entering the restaurant, the maître d' escorted us to a secluded booth where we could talk privately. This would have been an ideal place for the serious talks we would be covering, based on Collin's serious expression. After the waiter got our drink over and would return later for our meal choice, Collin addressed a lighter topic first.

"How's everything going at work? Are you still working at the bistro?"

"Yes, I am. But I'm only overseeing Penny and the new employee."

"So it's true Penny's the new head chef?"

"Yes. She's very proud of that promotion. She's eager about getting me out of the kitchen for good too," I chuckled humorlessly from a memory. "And you, how are things with a... the new place?" I hesitated a bit; feeling like the topic might trigger something he found awkward.

But ever since that day, we both had been self conscious around each other. It was nothing new between us.

"It went well..." he trailed off and winced like he remembered something. "Actually, we've nearly finished with everything. But I'm not sure what day to have a soft opening. Marisa suggested a few weeks before Christmas though..." he trailed off again. His suddenly become somber.

"Did you two already talk?" I finally asked, my voice soft and low.

Collin didn't have a chance to respond when the waiter came back with our drink and took our meal orders. After we were gone, he avoided the question and brought up something else entirely. Now I was the one under the spotlight.

"Had you already found a place in Italy?"

"Ah... I found something, but I'm inquiring Shayne for some help."

"Shayne? Is he going to be placed in the same restaurant as you?"

"It's a possibility as per our training Chef had informed. But we both need to wait for the final email about it."

"I see," he nodded stiffly and grabbed his drink, taking a cautious sip. Once he was done brooding what ever was on his mind, he huffed in frustration and spoke what had bothered him. "Are you sure the two of you hadn't...? I mean I'm not one to talk..."

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