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Sunday. A day I loved to relax and get re-centered on my focus. I decided to go out for a coffee, something I rarely ever did. My parents questioned me as I left the house, but I assured them I wouldn't be gone long. They said they were going to have a picnic with our neighbors and  probably wouldn't see me until tonight anyway.

While I dressed myself for the day, I thought about last night. It had gone better after my talk with Mr. Whitaker. Mateo had wandered off to do Heaven knew what, so I was able to dance with Rachel like I'd wanted to. Neither of the pestering guys in my life had bothered me again. Even though Rachel had offered a sleep over as the night drew to an end, I'd declined. By that point, sleep was my only cure, and I didn't feel like being around anyone any longer. There had been no magical kiss or prince in shining armor, but I had been thankful to get home and take a bubble bath in peace.

Sighing at my reflection, I grabbed my belongings and trotted downstairs and then outside. The drive to our small town's only coffee shop passed in about ten minutes. I grabbed my leather laptop case and wallet before heading inside. A strong coffee aroma clung to the cream walls and long, cornflower yellow curtains. I crossed from the door to the register in two steps.

"What can I get for you?" the barista inquired with a polite smile.

"A chai latte would be great."

"What size? We have small, medium, and large."

"Let's go with...medium."

Smiling again, she tapped the order into her computer and collected my debit card. She swiped the card, handed it back, and then rushed off to whip up the drink. I turned away from the register to survey the shop. It was mostly empty, to my relief. Most people were probably at home on an early Sunday afternoon.

I padded to a small wooden table in the back corner of one of the rooms. Light poured in through the bay windows and from a retro metal chandelier on the ceiling. After setting my belongings down, I traced my steps back to the register. The barista slid the steaming cardboard cup across the counter, which I accepted with a grateful beam.

Just as I was settling into my seat by the window, nestled into my little nook, the coffee shop door opened. I tried to ignore it and submerge myself into the moment, but a familiar voice stopped me. My gut clenched. Peeking sideways over my shoulder, I saw him.

Mr. Whitaker stood at the register like I had only seconds prior. He ordered something to drink and made small talk with the barista. My shoulders hunched in a sigh as I contemplated the odds of our encounter. The fact that we continued to run into each other around town irritated me. I wanted to say it wasn't coincidence, but it was possible in a town this size.

I slid deeper into my chair and kept my back towards the rest of the shop, praying he wouldn't notice me. Praying that if he did, he wouldn't recognize me.

My prayers were crushed when his oxfords, the brown ones I really liked, clapped across the floor in my direction. He placed his coffee cup on the table beside me and pulled the briefcase off his shoulder. Meanwhile, I pretended to be engrossed with my laptop. I pulled up some old story I'd been working on months ago and pretended to be skimming through it.

"You really need to work on your acting skills."

My teeth ground together as I turned my head. "Mr. Whitaker?"

"You can't pretend to not notice me and then steal glances from the corner of your eye," he scolded sternly though his mouth was grinning. "And outside of school, it's just Boston, remember?"

I faintly recalled him telling me that at the Rotary function. That encounter was only weeks ago, but it felt like it'd been so much longer.

"Right," I whispered, looking back at my laptop.

Meeting Mr. WhitakerWhere stories live. Discover now