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Literature and Lattes

HE FIRST saw her in a coffee shop.

The way her short dark chocolate curls bobbed while she talked enthusiastically to customers mesmerized him. The way her lips curled up into a smile and displayed only the top row of her pearly white teeth made him want her.

He was next in line. He had to make a good impression.

When she looked up from the register, he noticed the striking green of her eyes. They were the color of freshly cut grass. "Welcome to Literature and Lattes. May I take your order?" The young woman smiled brightly, deepening her spell on the man in front of her.

"One large black coffee. Iced." He offered her a small closed-lipped smile in return. "Please."

"You must be a hardcore coffee lover." She laughed. "Your total is five ninety-nine."

He handed her a five along with a dollar. "Your name?" she asked, handing him a penny in change.

"Ryan," he responded. If she didn't recognize him before, she surely would now.

Realization seemed to click in her eyes. "You were in that movie Sneak Attack, weren't you?"

Ryan smirked. "I was wondering how long it would take you to recognize me," he paused briefly to glance at her name tag, "Kendall."

"I've only seen the movie once, back when I was in Georgia," Kendall stated, inputting Ryan's name into the register's computer.

"Why'd you move to LA?"

"Same as every other girl. To achieve my dream."

"And what would that be?"

Kendall paused for a moment, wondering why Ryan was asking so many questions. Usually her customers would want to talk about things like the weather, or new movies. "I want to be a singer," she said.

Kendall's co-worker, Eric placed Ryan's coffee on the counter. "Iced coffee for Ryan." He put a hand on Kendall's shoulder, an action that didn't go unnoticed by Ryan. "A customer needs assistance in the romance section."

Kendall smiled and walked out from behind the counter. When she had completed disappeared behind a tall white bookshelf, Ryan looked back at Eric. "Is she your girlfriend?"

Eric smiled and ran a hand through his blonde hair. "I wish."

The thought of Kendall being with someone like Eric made Ryan angry. He wanted to be the one to wake up next to her in the morning. He wanted to be the one who was always there for her. He knew he could give Kendall what she wanted- what she needed. He knew that he and Kendall were meant to be. She shared her dream with him. That practically made them soulmates.

Right?

Ryan took his coffee off the counter swiftly, then walked through the small shop's glass doors. His driver stood attentively beside the backseat door. As soon as he entered the vehicle, he pulled out his phone and dialed a number.

"Yes, Mr. Hughes?"

"I want you to do a background check on a girl named Kendall. She moved here from Georgia and works at that coffee shop, Literature and Lattes."

"Mr. Hughes, I'm afraid that's not enough information to-"

"I don't care," Ryan said lowly. "Just do it. And if you find nothing within twenty-four hours, consider yourself fired." He suddenly hung up before the private investigator could protest.

Kendall swung open her apartment door as she kicked her shoes off, instantly feeling the relief from her black Converse. The apartment space was small, but doable.

She made her way to the kitchen and peaked into the small white fridge.

No groceries. Looks like I'm eating fast food tonight. Again.

She grumpily eyed the shoes she had just kicked off before reluctantly lacing them on.

The walk to McDonald's was incredibly short, which was one of the reasons why Kendall chose to live where she does. And it was within walking distance of her job.

"Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?"

"Um," Kendall pretended to think. She already knew what she wanted. She always ordered the same thing. "A McChicken, small fries, and a medium drink."

The cashier inputted Kendall's order and told her the price while handing her a medium cup. She paid it, then headed over to the fountain drinks machine. Outside of the restaurant, a mass of paparazzi and screaming girls crowded around a celebrity. Kendall looked over her shoulder briefly, but quickly lost interest.

"Order for Kendall."

Kendall grabbed the 'heart attack in a bag'—as she liked to call it—and stepped out into the humid Los Angeles night. She passed the horde of people, not once glancing to see who they were gawking at.

A very disappointed Ryan forced his way through the crowd, watching Kendall with longing eyes. He quickly turned away, however, when she looked back in his direction.

Kendall pulled out her phone and selected a contact.

"Hey, Ken. How are ya?"

Kendall smiled at the familiar sound of her father's voice. "I'm good. What about you?"

"Could be better," he sighed.

"Is mom still not talking to you?" Kendall frowned. It had already been a month since she moved away, and Kendall couldn't understand why her mother was still upset with her father. Granted, he was the one who encouraged her to go, but Kendall was the one who took his advice. Her dad didn't deserve to be ignored because of her.

"Yeah. She's still pretty mad."

"Maybe mom was right. I should just go back to Georgia and finish college—"

"No," Kendall's dad interrupted. "I helped you move to LA to accomplish your dream. I think you should stay."

Kendall stopped at a crosswalk. "I don't know, Dad."

"Well I do. You were born for this, Ken. Don't give up so easily."

She nibbled her bottom lip. "All right. I love you."

"I love you more."

Kendall laughed. "I highly doubt that. Goodnight, Dad."

"Goodnight, sweetheart."

"

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