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 Penelope Ward

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Your ruler, Mercury, is set to go forward motion, Gemini. You can sense you are coming out of a fog. Get Ready To Invite Romance Into Your Life!
How nice it would be if my horoscope actually came true today. Because something in the air shifted when he walked into the Stardust diner.
The feeling was indescribable.
Barry Manilow’s Mandy had been playing but the volume of the song seemed to fade with the feel of the brisk wind that blew in the door when the most gorgeous man I had ever laid eyes on walked in and sat down in booth number three.
That table wasn’t in my section, so from behind the counter, my eyes and ears focused in on him as he ordered a salt bagel with butter and a side of coffee. Then his crystal blue eyes proceeded to find me and stare back at me…right through me.
Hot flashes permeated my body and I instinctively turned away immediately, but the pull to look back at him was stronger than I could control.
Whoever he was, he was dressed to kill. From the neck down, it was all business. He wore a button down shirt that hugged his protruding muscles and tailored pants. From the neck up, he was ruggedly sexy with wavy hair that looked like it had just been messed with in bed. And he had just the right amount of chin scruff.
I tried my hardest not to stare, but the interest seemed to be mutual. Even when I wasn’t glancing in his direction, I could still feel his gaze following me when he thought I wasn’t looking and every time he did it, it was like everything turned from black and white in here to color.
So, this was turning out to be a far from typical Monday.
Sure, nice looking guys walk in here all the time: cops…firefighters…but this guy was…well, there are no words to describe the level of utter beauty. He was drop-dead—not someone you typically found visiting a suburban diner, that’s for sure.
Why did I have to be wearing this dumb waitress uniform right now? Max, my boss and the owner, tried to give the diner a retro feel, so we waitresses wore dresses reminiscent of those worn by the characters Flo and Alice in Mel’s Diner from that seventies TV show. The light blue uniform had my name, Allison, stitched over the left breast pocket and everything.
The customers often give me the same line: “Someone as pretty as you shouldn’t be waiting tables…you must be an actress too, right?” The truth was, this certainly wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life but for now, waiting tables was the only career I had.
I had dropped out of the special education graduate degree program at Simmons College because I couldn’t afford it anymore. I had always wanted to major in something where I could eventually work with special needs kids and make a difference, but the Simmons program was intensive and expensive. Plus, certain life circumstances in the past year made it impossible for me to focus on my studies. So, I decided to give my brain a rest until the time felt right to go back. I make pretty good money at the diner, mainly because I put in so many hours and the patrons are generous with their tips. So, I would be more than able to get by and save up, so that someday I could do something I was passionate about. Max was my neighbor and when he offered me the job, I took it.
And today, with Blue Eyes here…I am really happy to be a waitress at the moment and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Even though Delores had taken the gorgeous man’s order, which I overheard since my ears and eyes were in tune to him from the moment he walked in, she gave it to me to serve. I didn’t know whether to thank her or kill her. She knew what she was doing.
Holy Shit.
My heart was really pounding and my throat seemed to close up. I placed his tray on the counter and hesitated before walking over.
At the moment, he was looking down at the Boston Herald the previous customer left on the table. This meant I could study him for a few seconds before having to face him.
He was truly stunning with a chiseled face and thick shiny chestnut brown hair, slightly parted in the front and long on the sides curling just above his ears. And I mentioned the piercing blue eyes. He was tall too, at least six feet, I would guess.
Under the table, I saw he wore black argyle socks and shiny black dress shoes. I squinted my eyes to get a better view of the muscles trying to escape through the satiny blue dress shirt he wore and knew the form underneath had to be exquisite. This guy oozed sex but he was also definitely a professional of some sort, dressed like that. The combination meant he stood out like a sore thumb here.
His expensive looking navy suit jacket lay across the opposite booth and I was glad I had wiped down that greasy seat before he arrived.
A shiver ran down my spine when he licked his finger to turn the page of the newspaper.
That was one lucky finger.
I inhaled deeply, lifted the tray off the counter and walked over as my heart beat out of my chest. The fluttering of the butterflies in my stomach intensified with each step toward the booth.
After placing the bagel down in front of him, my hand trembled causing the coffee cup to clink against the spoon set on the saucer beneath it. I somehow managed to empty the tray without spilling anything and cleared my throat.
“Can I get you anything else?” I asked.
“No, thank you.” He smiled flashing beautiful white teeth. The combination of his smile, scent and smooth voice was so sexy it was painful not to reach out and touch him.
“Well, just let me know if you change your mind,” I replied.
“Will do,” he said, nodding slowly but continuing to look at me after he stopped speaking. His eyeballs briefly moved side to side a few times as if he was trying to take a picture of my face with his translucent eyes.
There was an awkward silence between us, but I could hear his breathing. His eyes never left mine. I turned around suddenly without saying anything more, taking in his musky scent and feeling the weight of his heated stare on my back as I walked toward the kitchen. Sweat droplets trickled down my armpits and I hoped I remembered to wear deodorant.
In my haze, I bumped right into a customer who was getting ready to leave.
“Excuse me, I am so sorry ma’am,” I said nervously without making eye contact with the woman. Of course, Blue Eyes’ head was still turned in the direction of my mishap.
Back behind the counter, I snuck peaks at him as he bit heartily into the bagel and swallowed.
That was one lucky bagel.
He wiped his hands from the salt crumbs and took a sip of coffee, revealing what looked to be a Rolex watch wrapped around his sleeve.
When he turned his head in my direction again, I quickly turned away, focusing on a conversation between two elderly women who sat at the counter, as I refilled their coffee cups. One was talking to the other and when the woman on the left got up to go to the bathroom, the other one looked at me with lipstick on her teeth, and confessed, “I couldn’t hear one word she was saying to me.” I laughed and looked up when I heard chimes signaling the front door opening.
One of the regulars, Mr. Macchio, walked in. He came from Italy forty years ago, and still had the strongest accent. His loud voice snapped me out of my cologne-drunken stupor. He headed straight for his favorite seat in the corner, motioning to me. “Hey, Bella…why-a don-cha get me a green-a tea-ya today, eh? My wife, eh, she say, I should cut down on, eh the coffee, so I gonna try a green tea, o-key?”
I smiled. “Sure, honey.”
From the corner of my eye, I could see my mystery man turn around and look in Mr. Macchio’s direction as I went to the kitchen to put in the green tea order.
When I came back out, I nearly dropped the tea in a panic when I saw Blue Eyes suddenly get up from his table, plop money down, grab his jacket and quickly walk out. No…he practically ran out. The abrupt sound of the door chimes and wind that blasted through upon his exit were like a slap in the face.
So fast?
My heart was pounding harder upon his exit than it had been when he was here. Panic quickly transformed into a feeling of emptiness that washed over me. I actually felt like crying, which was pathetic. I had imagined him maybe striking up a conversation with me before he left or at least maybe getting his name off of a credit card.
As Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour played over the diner speaker, I had the urge to rip off my apron and follow him out the door. That, of course, would never happen…but I sure did want to.
Without saying more than a few words, this guy had managed to awaken something in me that had been dead…desire. Not only that, but it was a level of want…of need…of lust…that I had never experienced in my entire life. He had such an effect on me and now, I could quite possibly never see him again.
I swear I felt the room swaying as I walked over to the table still smelling his amazing scent and noticed he left behind more than just his smell…fifty bucks on a bill that was under five-dollars. I almost wanted to chase after him (…again) in case this was a mistake. Did he forget change? Who leaves that big of a tip to a flustered mediocre waitress, at that?
Faster than I could think of the answer, I remembered Mr. Macchio’s tea still sitting on the counter where I left it. After delivering it, I then went to the register and sniffed the fifty before depositing it and gave Delores half of the sizeable tip Blue Eyes left.
“What the—” Delores said as I handed her twenty-five dollars cash.
“I know. That gorgeous guy! He left us a fifty. There is your half,” I said walking solemnly into the bathroom where I tried to grab my bearings.
I locked the door and sat on the toilet with my head in my hands.
Silly girl…you really need to get some.
Every day in life, people we will likely never encounter a second time, pass us by. For some unknown reason, I just couldn’t accept that he was one of them.
For the rest of that afternoon, I fantasized about the beautiful generous stranger and what it would have been like to thank him properly…with my lips.
Oh fuck…oh fuck.
Sweating profusely, I ran down Main Street as far away from the diner as I could get.
Where the f**k did I park my car?
I need to think. It’s over there.
I got in and slammed the door. Silence.
She was so f**king beautiful.
My God.
I had an idea of what she would look like, but never could have imagined her to look as amazing as that. I was imagining a girl…but so much time had passed, I should have known that clearly, she would be a beautiful woman.
Those gigantic green eyes…
God, I hope my staring wasn’t that obvious. I just couldn’t look away.
Will do…WILL DO? That was the best I thing I could think of to say to her?
And why the hell did I leave a fifty-dollar bill? Way to slip under the radar. I was so flustered and it was all I had in my wallet; I just couldn’t stay for change and risk saying something stupid or unintelligible while I waited for that. I could tell by how fast my heart was beating in there, that if I had stayed, I would have f**ked it all up.
My heart rate has yet to slow down.
I had to get out of there. It’s bad enough I have a forty-minute drive back to the agency in the city. Who travels forty minutes for a bagel? Crazy stalker men, that’s who.
I must have been doing eighty-five miles per hour down I-93 when I thought about her name: Allison. It’s pretty just like her. But of course, I knew she would be more than pretty. And she smelled like green apples.
She seemed nervous. Her hand trembled and her cheeks turned rosy when she approached me and that made me want to rub her sweet face with my hand.
I wonder what her story is, why a girl that looks like that is waiting tables in a diner in the suburbs. Surely, she at least could do better at one of the trendy bars in Boston. She could have anything she wants with a face and eyes like that.
Not to mention her slamming body…the way that tight uniform hugged her ass.
She’s the last woman I should be thinking like this about. Yet, all I can focus on now is whether she tastes as good as she smells.
Snap out of it, Callahan. She’s the one woman you can’t have.
Which is why I want her.
I need to control my thoughts, but I didn’t expect to be so f**king captivated liked this.
I have to see her again when I can calm the f**k down. I just don’t know how I am going to manage it. The next two weeks are jam packed with client meetings.
I get back to the office in record time, passing my assistant Julie who immediately points to my office.
“Karyn is waiting for you,” she said.
I had been in a relationship for six months with Karyn Keller, an attractive blonde television reporter I began representing after she walked into the agency and demanded to be added to my client roster. We were immediately attracted to each other and decided to ignore the agency’s non-fraternization policy.
D.N. Westock represents some of the biggest names in broadcast news and I was their highest grossing agent and rising star after nabbing one of the hosts of a national morning show as a client. Not bad for a kid from Dorchester.
To say I had humble beginnings is putting it lightly. I grew up on the third level of a triple-decker apartment house in one of the highest crime sections of Boston, the middle child of an Italian mother and Irish father. My parents, older brother Caleb and I and my sister, Callie, who’s ten years younger, shared the two small bedrooms in the apartment. My parents, Paul and Bettina, went with the whole ‘C’ name thing for the kids, which went even further because our last name is Callahan.
Money was tight, but our parents did the best they could to provide for us. My father worked as a steelworker and my mother was a maid. Even so, no one was surprised when I, the boy who survived an accidental drive-by shooting on my fifteenth birthday right outside our front door, left home as soon as I graduated from high school. Marked with a bullet hole on my left arm, I managed to get into Northwestern on a merit-based scholarship because studying and school came easy to me, plain and simple.