"Hey," Iona says as she reaches across the table to grab my hand. "You alright?"
With a sigh, I lean back in my chair and take a sip of my iced coffee.
I want to tell her that I am. Ever since I came back from California, I've been trying to tell myself that I was gonna be alright. That everyone needs to make mistakes and Joe was apparently mine. I hadn't meant anything to him, so why should I even bother giving him any second thought?
Things between Ryver and I had slowly started to get better again. He was still mad at me for going behind his back with his best friend, but he also needed to realize that I was an adult now, and I had to make my own decisions.
Make my own mistakes.
"I want to be," I respond, looking up at my best friend.
The past few days she's been trying to keep me busy to make sure I wouldn't wallow in self pity too much. And it worked. Right up until bedtime rolled around.
"You gotta stop wearing that," she says, nodding her head to Joe's jean jacket hanging from the back of my chair. "You'll never get over him."
I scoff. Will I ever get over him?
"Look," Iona starts, "I know that he was a complete asshole to you and I know that you were crushing on him for as long as you can remember and maybe it's a good thing that this happened."
"A good thing?" My eyebrows rise high. "Iona, he-"
"Let me finish, Rubes," she holds up her hand. "If this hadn't happened, then you would still be pining for him. Yes, he broke your heart and for that, if I ever see him, I will kick him in the nuts so that he will never be able to reproduce, but at least now you know, you know? Now you can get the fuck over him and move on to better things."
"I just never thought... Not like that, you know? I never expected him to just leave. Just like that. We make love and then what, he leaves as if nothing happened leaving a shitty as fuck note saying he's sorry?"
"Rubes, we've been over this a hundred times already."
"I know, I just... I don't get it. I want an explanation. I deserve an explanation."
"What are you gonna do? Fly over to Canada and try to find him? You don't even know where he is. And seriously Ruby, as long as you don't get that asshole out of your head, you will never realize that the cute barista over there has been eyeing you ever since we took our seats."
Pushing my eyebrows together, I turn around and look at the bar. The baristas have switched shifts and a tall, blonde-haired guy has taken the spot behind the counter. When he smiles, small dimples form in his cheeks.
Iona and I are sitting a bit away from the counter, but we're still close enough that I can make out the deep green color of his eyes when they meet mine.
My cheeks flush a little as he smiles at me instead of the customer before him waiting to get their receipt.
I lick my lips. Shit, he is cute.
"Go on," Iona presses on, practically pushing me out of my chair to go up to him.
"Iona, I'm leaving for Europe soon and besides, what would I even say?"
She smirks and grabs my iced coffee, finishing it for me. "You need another coffee."
Groaning, I make my way over to the line that formed in front of the bar and join at the back of it.
While it slowly moves forward, I look at all the treats on display. Pie, muffins, cookies, sandwiches. Ugh, I could go for a slice of New York cheesecake right about now.
"Hi!" His voice is soft and dreamy.
I look up and meet his eyes, swallowing hard when I take in his features from up close. He's even more handsome than I though.
"Can I get an iced cappuccino?" I ask, staring at him. "With vanilla, please," I quickly add as he enters my order in the register.
"Alright, that'll be four twenty," he says as the total appears on the small screen in front of me.
"Can I get your name and your number?"
I pause as I dig in my pocket for the money. "It's um, my name's Ruby and I-"
He chuckles and scribbles my name down on the cup. I notice him writing something else down too. "Tell you what," he starts, showing me the cup. Below my name, he wrote a series of numbers. His number. "This is mine, I'd love to take you out sometime. Call me when you're ready."
He slides the cup across the counter to the barista preparing the drinks and I just stand there, wide-eyed an my mouth slightly ajar.
"I, uh, I still need to pay," I respond lamely, holding up my money.
"On the house," he says with a quick wink.
"Are you sure? I mean-"
He chuckles again. Oh what a wonderful sound. "Yes, Ruby, I'm sure."
"Okay." I relax a little and put my money away again.
Just as I'm about to head to the back of the bar to wait for my drink, I turn back to the barista. "Wait." I can hear the person behind me groaning and scoffing."What's your name?"
He flashes me his pearly whites and points to his name tag tag that I hadn't even noticed was there. "Jesse," he says.
"Jesse." I repeat.
"I hope to see you again, Ruby."
I smile sweetly. "We'll see, Jesse."