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“Get ready to drool. The boys are back in town!”
Annabelle’s gleeful voice greets me as I step into the Milano’s entryway. As always, the scent of marinara and fresh-baked bread wafts over me, welcoming me back. But this time, the entryway is also flooded with the charge of her words. Her harmless statement causes the world to tilt around me, the polished tile floor rising up in waves as I navigate to her side.
She’s bent over the host stand, intently studying the floor chart like it’s a textbook. Her pale blue eyes flash to mine when I reach her side, playfully alight.
“We even get a two-for-one! They’re both on tonight.”
She taps the chart emphatically, as if I don’t believe her. As if I need proof. His name is there. Clear as day. The mere sight of those four letters has the pressure mounting in my chest, my fingers twitching with anticipation. I need to calm down. What is it about the sight of just his freaking name that has me so sprung?
I distract myself by reaching into my apron pocket to retrieve two foil-wrapped chocolates from my perpetual stash. I hand one of them to Annabelle and pop the other in my mouth, savoring the rich flavor, willing my heart to stop pounding away like a drum line.
She slowly unpeels the foil at the seams, grinning unabashedly. “And now we’ll have eye candy too!”
She’s right. This restaurant is about to become eye candy central. Both Damien and Adam are tall and athletically built, but where Damien embodies the tough guy persona, all sharp quips and smug demeanor, Adam is the type of guy who is instantly likeable, always with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye. People just want to be around him; they gravitate to his side, light up under his gaze. Adding to his intrigue, he has an almost exotic look about him, all tan skin and dark eyes with a thick head of chocolate brown hair.
What I wouldn’t give to pull on that hair even once!” I groan.
I playfully imitate grabbing onto his locks in the throes of passion, downplaying my excitement, acting like it’s purely physical, when in reality Adam’s been under my skin since the day we met. I don’t want to just pull his hair. I want to explore his mind, make him laugh, see him smile. But I don’t tell Annabelle any of this. I can’t even begin to explain to myself why this one particular boy has gotten to me the way no one else ever has.
Annabelle howls with delight at my lewd imitation. “You might be onto something there.” She returns her gaze to the floor chart, her blonde ponytail cascading down her back as she ponders. “You could finally end the drought you’ve been in. Adam would be the perfect rebound! It’s guaranteed no strings attached. Just two months of fun and then send him on his way.”
And therein lies the problem. Every time I see him the clock resets, ticking down until the fall semester arrives and he goes away again. I don’t want to casually hook up then send him on his way. I want more. I want him and me and future. But I can only assume he doesn’t feel the same. In the three years I’ve known him, we’ve never moved beyond our playful joking, our friendly chats.
“A girl can dream,” I sigh, propping my elbows on the host stand and cradling my chin. “After all this time, I’m pretty sure I’m firmly entrenched in the friend-zone with Adam.”
“He’s a guy,” Annabelle mutters dismissively, rolling her eyes with exaggerated flair. Her dearth of experience being friend-zoned by the opposite sex leaves her remarkably unsympathetic to my concern. “Alexa Clausen, I better not see you give up so easily.”
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About the Author:
Kaisa Clark is the author of the new adult novel Calm Like Home. She is passionate about reading and writing and also has an intense love for music, coffee, and dark chocolate. She lives with her amazing husband, sweet dog, and kooky cat.