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IT HAD BEEN four months since Jess and Marley had first met, and to the surprise of no one and to the despair of Luke, their arguments had not become less frequent nor had they become less intense.

Luke had found himself (on multiple occasions) simply watching the two of them in awe as they found a way to fight about everything under the sun. The salt shakers. The temperature of the pickles in the back room. Jess' way of short-handing orders that Marley knew was only to piss her off. Luke had decided that he could leave them to stare at the goddamn wall and in when he came back in two minutes, they'd have already argued about the wall, and found a way to turn it into whether or not Stephen King was a hack.

It was exhausting just watching. At this point, Luke had found his efforts to stop their bickering nearly pointless. The two of them knew the rules by now, so they didn't make it as public as they once had. It was often quiet, them hissing insults back and forth in a way that was discreet but still destructive.

However, Luke would be foolish not to notice how much more comfortable they were around each other now. It was a strange dynamic to accompany an even stranger relationship. It was effortless between them, the way that they responded to each other. Luke would have thought that they were friends hurling insults at each other if he didn't know any better.

Unfortunately, Luke did know better. He knew that his nephew and his employee did not get along and would never get along. It was that simple. It didn't make it any less weird, though.

But today, for God knows what reason, there was a lull in their back-and-forth. Luke had chalked it up to the seasons changing and the snow falling outside. That was the only way he could make sense of what the hell was going on. For the first time in four months, Jess and Marley were quiet. Luke made a mental note to savor this moment for the rest of his life.

It was a slow day at the diner, a day that almost seemed sleepy. Maybe everyone had decided to stay indoors because of the snow? Whatever the reason was, the three of them tried not to think about it. It was best not to question a day like this.

The radio was softly playing a station that Jess and Marley had agreed on about a month back. Marley was standing up, studying for her Anatomy mid-term at one end of the counter (she didn't care that it was two weeks away, she needed an A). Jess was leaned back in a stool near the register, a book in his hands. His right one gripped a little tighter than his left, remembering that Marley had left a note in there when she clocked in.

Marley drummed her fingers against the counter, biting her bottom lip in concentration as she looked away from her flashcards, attempting to recount the names of the muscles she had memorized. Jess looked up from his book with raised brows, frowning at Marley.

"You mind, Ringo?" he said, gaze focused on her fingers that now seemed to be tapping a beat. Marley looked down at her hands. She didn't even realize she was doing that. She quickly stopped the drumming. "The hell are you doing over there anyway? You look like you're about to pass a stone."

SILVER LINED DOUBT. [JESS MARIANO]Where stories live. Discover now