There’s too much distraction in this coffee shop. Too much chatter at the counter, too much whirling, fizzing, and grinding from the coffee machines. All this noise didn’t used to bother me.
Or maybe it’s her.
Holly. Sitting across the booth from me, staring at her laptop, her finger twisting some of her red hair as her other hand moves a wireless mouse.
She’s the one distracting me. And I don’t have time for distractions. Too much to do. She might have to go somewhere else. Even though that’s the last thing I want.
I don’t want her to be anywhere else but with me. That’s all I’ve wanted since the day I met her—since the day Nathan introduced us at that bar in Winter Park. The one I haven’t been able to go back to since.
Remembering how it felt to see her on his arm, this woman that I knew right away was not meant for my best friend, still makes me sick. I’d never bought into love-at-first-sight or any of that crap. Not until that day. And I had to watch all of it—feel all of it—for two years.
She doesn’t know all that, though. I’ll tell her someday. I’ll tell her how I used to avoid hanging out with the two of them. How I couldn’t have a conversation with her because I was afraid I’d give too much away.
There’s a lot of things Holly doesn’t know right now. Like where she’ll work next. Or what her future holds. She doesn’t like that—not knowing. She also doesn’t know that we’re getting married. Not right now, but someday. Because this is it for me. Holly is it. I won’t ever want anyone else. I’d ask her to marry me right now if I didn’t think she’d run straight out the door of the Lava Java.
“Why are you staring at me like a creeper?” she asks, not even looking up from her laptop.
“I’m not,” I say, keeping my face from responding like it wants to. I’ve learned to have a pretty good poker face after having to watch her and Nathan together.
“Yes, you are,” she says, still not looking up.
I reach up and scratch the side of my neck. “It’s because you have something on your face and I was trying to figure out how to tell you.”
Her green eyes shoot up to mine, her hand coming up to cover her mouth and nose. But she drops the hand away and her shoulders slouch when she sees the smirk on my face.
“Jerk,” she says, her lips pulling up into half of a smile.
The side of my mouth pulls up in return and then I make my eyes move back to my laptop. My screen has gone to sleep. She really is a distraction.
This isn’t the first time my screen has timed out since we’ve been sitting here. I’ve stolen glances as we’ve sat across from each other, each working on our own computers. Well, like I’ve said, she’s been doing most of the working. I need to be working. I’ve got loads to do for the Applee purchase that we found out about last week. Holly has been less distracted than me. At least it seems that way. But she’s also determined to find something for work. Or to start something. Whatever it is, she’ll do it right.
Her friends keep asking how Nathan is dealing with all of this—me and Holly. I tell them he’s fine with it. They don’t believe me. I don’t know how to make them see that it’s Nathan. Cool, calm, rarely-lets-anything-bother-him Nathan. He knows how to compartmentalize like no one I’ve ever known. It’s a talent. And he’s really fine with it all. He’s happy for me. He even helped me find the plane ticket to go to London to find her. I knew that’s how he’d be. Because I know Nathan. So there was no fighting, no drama. Her friends aren’t buying it. I don’t really care what they think, as long as Holly is with me.
Without permission, my eyes travel back to her face. Maybe I am a creeper. This time, though, Holly’s eyes lock with mine. She gives me a sly grin and I hear the sound of a flip-flop falling on the cold tile floor. Then I feel her foot on my lower calf, her toes slowly making their way up to my knee. Her smile morphs into something more devious, and I have to take in a steadying breath.
“You’re going to have to leave,” I say, keeping my poker face on, my voice flat.
“Why?” She asks, a smirk forming on her lips.
“Because you’re a distraction.”
“Am I? Well, too bad.”
I pull my eyebrows down. “Too bad?”
“Yep. I’m here,” she says, her face turning more serious. “And I’m not going anywhere.”
My lips pull up into a smile—the full one that I know she likes. The one she might even love.
I can get used to distractions.
Narrated by: Eric Martin Reid