You Had Me at Chocolate Cake

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Sandra can't stand by idly while her crush struggles through an awful date on Valentine's Day. What's a self-proclaimed wimpy waitress to do, except solve all problems with a slice of chocolate cake?

This story was contributed by Eden Young 

"Wow, it's like that dude doesn't even need to breathe between words."

Oliver shamelessly stared at the couple sitting near the window until I grabbed his arm and dragged him along to the bar.

"Stop staring at them and make two cappuccinos for table five," I scolded him before slipping behind the bar to prepare a fresh mint tea, which was also part of the same order.

With a sigh, Oliver trudged over to the coffee machine. "Don't be Sandra Spoilsport. It's bad enough we have to work on Valentine's day and don't even pretend you haven't been staring. Oh, poor Margo."

Poor Margo, indeed. From the moment she and her date had stepped inside our little café 'Take the Cake!' she'd hardly been able to get a word in. Oliver and I had raised our eyebrows at each other when Margo's date loudly proclaimed he was so happy she was as pretty as in her pictures. He actually repeated it several times before moving on to stories about how horribly 'busted' his other dates had been and that he had to ditch them.

Now, he's doing what could only be described as a monologue about his collection of cameras. Oliver cringed exaggeratedly whenever he mentioned techniques for wildlife photography, probably because the dudebro was completely wrong.

"Why aren't you over there helping that poor woman." Oliver elbowed me. "She's always nice to us, right? And no one deserves a disaster date like this on Valentine's. Go be her knight in shining armor."

I looked down at myself. "More like her wimpy waitress in an dirty apron."

"Same difference."

Absolutely not same difference. There was a reason why I always seemed to be reduced to a puddle of mush whose most intelligent question was 'hey how have you been' whenever Margo was around.

I wished I could get to know her, but I was far too chickenshit to ask. So far, I'd only found out she studied at the same uni I did because I'd seen the logo on her notebook. I knew she made cute little drawings when she was bored, chewed her pen when she was thinking, and that I was hopelessly in love with her black curls and the freckles on her nose.

Without fail, Margo came in during exam weeks to study in the cafe all day. Oliver always rolled his eyes and said she would obviously keep coming back every time. He would too if some waitress kept giving him a free slice of cake because it was exam week.

"Sandra!" Oliver hissed. "She's going to the bathroom. Here's your shot. Go! Go check on her!"

"Huh. I'm amazed she managed to interrupt the camera-monologue and slip away," I replied, carefully dodging around Oliver's suggestion to follow her. But he would have none of it.

"Sandra Chong, you're going into that bathroom and ask that girl if she's okay. Or I swear to God I will go and tell her you have a massive crush on her."

"Shhh!" I felt blood rush to my cheeks. "Okay, okay! No need to full-name me. I'm going."

I placed the fresh mint tea I'd made on Oliver's tray and glared at him in passing for blackmailing me. But the truth was I wanted to talk to Margo. I really, really did. And now that I had a clear reason to do it, to help her, maybe I'd finally not be tongue-tied.

The bathroom door squeaked as I pulled it open, making Margo look up at me. She'd been on her phone, probably texting a friend to lament or laugh about her awful date. Maybe both.

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