Henry left the room without saying a word. Over the months when April had gone on dates he was beside himself with worry. He hated the feeling of helplessness, of wondering if this date would be the one for her.
No, he couldn’t bear to see her with anyone else, but he couldn’t force her to be with him.
Sitting in his seat, he saw Angela look up. Her lipstick stood out to him. The thick red lips repulsed him along with the rest of her body.
“Are you okay, baby?” she asked.
Why did he even try to date this woman? She was the daughter of a colleague, nothing more.
“I’m fine. Have you decided what you’re going to order?” He took a sip of his red wine searching for April. She stood at the bar talking with Donald. Her gaze kept returning to their table, waiting to see when they needed her.
I’ll always need you, baby.
“I’ll just have a salad with no meat or dressing. I need to stay in shape, and pounding on the calories is not going to cut it.”
He tuned her out as she started to talk about her figure and how important it was to fit in. Her voice grated on his nerves, irritating him with every passing second. Couldn’t the woman think of something else to say?
This is what you get when you try to avoid your true feelings.
Serving Henry wasn’t all that bad. Their orders were a little boring and predictable for her taste. What’s the point of ordering something if you’re going to remove half of the good stuff? Meat and dressing made the salad.
She took the order through to Marcel, who scorned it.
“What’s the fucking point me even having a menu?” he said.
“I don’t know. Girl doesn’t know what she’s missing that’s for sure.” He stared at her, and she placed a hand to her mouth. “Sorry, sir. I tried the salad when you were asking for tasters. It was so delicious.” The salad had been amazing, and she’d been trying to recreate it at home.
“You’ve got good taste. I can appreciate a woman with good taste.” He tapped her shoulder. “Go and do your work. I will cook up this poor excuse for a meal.”
The meal went by smoothly with only Henry ordering dessert.
Antonio showed them out once they were finished. She went to get their plates when Henry returned.
“If you ever need me for anything please don’t hesitate to call.” He placed a card in her hand. She looked down as he left the room to see his business card with all of his numbers.
In all the time they’d known each other she’d never once asked for his number or his card.
Placing the card in her pocket she went about her work for the remainder of the night. The card held all of her focus even though she couldn’t see it.
When she got back to her apartment later that night, she took the card out and stared at his name. Henry Jones’s name was scrawled over the rectangle in fancy writing.
Get over yourself, April.
This means nothing.
She couldn’t bring herself to throw it away and left it on the fridge under a magnet.
The days and weeks passed with her work at the restaurant. Her life slowly rebuilt as she began to decorate her apartment. Every now and then Henry would frequent the restaurant with a business partner or date. She never gave him much thought, and as time passed, she started to feel less trapped by her feelings.
April took the time to visit Julia’s grave, replacing the dying flowers with fresh ones. There were times she missed seeing Henry, but like all things, distance seemed to help her focus on herself and her career. Marcel took the time to teach her certain techniques in the kitchen. His tutoring helped her with her own cooking, and he even placed one of her dishes on the menu, which gave her a buzz.
Her life started to change one night when she was walking around the grocery store. It was a Friday and her day off. She glanced down at her list of ingredients as she reached to grab a stack of bananas. Someone else had reached out for them and their fingers connected.
Pulling back, she glanced back into a pair of beautiful hazel eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” she said.
“It’s okay, love. My fault. I wasn’t watching where I was going.” He offered her a smile before reaching for the bananas and handing them to her. “A gentleman wouldn’t deny a woman some fruit.”
Her cheeks were heating, and she hoped he couldn’t see her blush. Tucking some hair behind her ear, she took the fruit he offered. “Thank you,” she said.
“You’re very welcome.”
For several seconds they stared at each other. “Erm, I’m going to finish shopping.” She waved the list in front of her feeling like an idiot.