Chewing on the tip of her pencil, she sat down and went over everything she knew for certain—she had no car. She was too afraid to ride the subway after dark. Taxis were too expensive.
Her depressing list-making was thankfully interrupted by her cell vibrating in her pocket.
She pulled it out and looked at the number. It was work. “Hey, what’s up?”
“I’ll tell you what’s not up. Minnow’s working today, and he’s wearing sandals with socks.”
Angel couldn’t help but laugh. Matty always managed to cheer her up. “Did you honestly call me to complain about your lack of you-know-what?”
“I believe the word you’re searching for is hard-on. Come on, Angel, say it.”
“No,” she laughed.
“Stiffy, erection, throbbing member.”
“Matty!” Angel said, feigning indignation, although her face did feel warm. One of Matty’s favorite pastimes was to make her blush—no great feat considering she was a twenty-one-year-old virgin.
“To answer your question, I didn’t just call to tell you about Minnow’s woody-defeating fashion choices. Amanda cut herself. Suzi’s driving her to the ER.”
Angel groaned. “Was she texting and slicing again?”
“I don’t know what that girl was doing. I gave her a freshly cooled French baguette and suddenly the slicer and chopping block look like a cheesy horror flick.”
Angel sat up. “Jesus, did she lose a finger?”
“Who knows, and right now who cares? The after-work rush is on. People want their lattes and Italian cookies. Will you come in early?”
Angel looked at the time on her phone. “Now? It’s only six o’clock. You know I’m not supposed to be there until 3AM.”
“So, you’re essentially asking me to come in a day early.”
“We pull doubles all the time. Come on, Angel, pretty pretty please. Eric’s in Vegas, and Cindy can’t come in because of her kids. And I’m supposed to be leaving at eight to meet Darren. I’ll make it up to you—I’ll be back after midnight to start the morning prep, and I’ll work the rest of your shift so you can go home early.”
Angel groaned again. “It’s been a shitty couple days. Just cancel with Darren.”
“No way. I’ll quit first,” Matty threatened. Then his voice softened. “Come on, Angel. Be an Angel. I haven’t met a guy like Darren in a long time. He’s hot and a decent human being. Seriously, Ms. Virgin—you know how fucking hard it is to meet a hot, decent guy.”
Angel lifted her eyes heavenward as if seeking divine intervention—but as far as she was concerned, God couldn’t be trusted. After all, he did make man in his image. Matty was right—most men did suck, at least the men she had known, not that she had known many. Still, her only exposure had scared her off them altogether
Her birth father had left her mother before Angel had even said her first word. Her stepfather, who she had idolized her whole life, turned out to be a shameless scumbag. And the only man she had ever dated freaked out when she said she wanted to wait to sleep with him. He hit her so hard he knocked her out. She woke up hours later with a black eye, a bruised cheek, and short one TV and the stash of cash in her desk draw. She had been just eighteen.
Now, she was twenty-one and still a virgin with no plans for changing that despite how curious she was.
Her mind drifted once again to Ethan Calloway and his iridescent blue eyes and full lips. She couldn’t picture his hand raised at her in anger, but then again, as a little girl she always dreamed of marrying a man like her stepdad.
“Angel, are you still there?” Matty said, his tone insistent.
She fell back on the couch. “Fine. I’ll come in, but it’s going to take me a while to get there.”
“Angel, I could kiss you, but I wouldn’t want to ruin you for straight men.”
Angel let her phone drop from her fingers onto the table. “Walking it is,” she groaned as she leaned back in her chair. At least it was early evening and not the middle of the night.
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