By Amy Hale
As a teacher with a new school year in full swing, I contact a parent about a new student and end up face to face with Aidan. His son is in my class, and avoiding this widowed dad, and any complicated emotional entanglements falling for him will bring, becomes a test I may very well fail.
The waitress, with the name tag of “Mabel”, clears her throat and we both jump a little. She smiles down at us. “It’s so wonderful to see a young couple in love. How long have you been together?”
I open my mouth and can’t think of how to respond. To keep from looking like a trout, I snap my lips shut quickly and look at Aidan.
He smiles at me, then aims that deadly charm at Mabel. “We’ve been together for about a year. It was love at first sight. I met her in a bar and couldn’t take my eyes off of her.”
She sighs in this fluttery, “how romantic” kind of way. I revert to looking like a trout.
Mabel hands us both menus. “Take your time looking over the menu. Just give me a wave when you’re ready to order.” She walks away with a little more spring in her step as if the idea of young love has made her night. I can’t seem to close my mouth.
“Why did you tell her that?” I squeak out.
He laughs. “It made her happy, and I didn’t want to embarrass her by telling her she was wrong.” I think I just fell a little bit in love with him. He continues. “Besides, no one knows us here. We can be anyone we want to be tonight. Think about it. If you could be anyone, or do anything, what would you be?”
I look at him warily but realize he’s right. I have no reputation to protect here. No one knows me. Even Aidan doesn’t know my last name. I can cut loose a little and pretend. It might actually be fun to pretend I’m not stuffy and boring Whitney Dawson for a change. In fact, I’m convinced this is exactly what I need right now. I look at Aidan and smirk. “Well, honestly, I like the idea of being in a love-at-first-sight relationship. My guy adores and worships me. He spoils me with his undivided attention. And he doesn’t care that I can kill a short stack of pancakes faster than he can.”
Aidan throws back his head and laughs. It’s a deep, rumbling sound that once again makes me think of things I probably shouldn’t. “I like that. Please continue.”
I notice the smile reaches his eyes, and I get the feeling that this is his first genuine, non-guarded smile all evening. I decide I want to make him smile like that more, so I continue as he requested, “Well, I guess I’d stillbe a teacher; I do love it. But if I had to choose a different job, I’d probably be a cat wrangler.” He laughs again, and I feel myself smile and really relax. Like really, really relax. It’s nice.
Mabel approaches the table. “Would you like something to drink while you decide?”
“Coffee for me please,” I say.
Aidan nods. “Yes, I’ll have the same. And I think we are ready to order.”
I look at him surprised. He smiles at me and winks. “We’ll both have a short stack, please.”
I smile and nod my head. Game on, Aidan. Game on.
Amy Hale is a best selling author, mother, and wife living in Southern Illinois. Her husband and kids are the center of her universe, although her cat believes otherwise. She also loves reading, music, and photography.
Amy started her writing career in 2003 with non-fiction and educational pieces, but decided to take the leap to fiction in 2014. Her whiteboard is full of crazy ideas and she’s always plotting new projects. She’s a hopeless romantic and adores all the various ways a love story can be told. Amy also loves comedy, mystery, suspense, and other action filled stories, so her goal is to blend action and fun in with the romance and keep you on your toes.