Shannon waited on him before. She only knew his name from the credit card he dropped on the table at the end of his meals.
They never talked about anything other than what he wanted to drink and how he didn’t like mayonnaise on his sandwich. He always reiterated that fact.
Shannon didn’t need him to. Not that he would know this.
She just smiled and said, “Yes, sir.” He would smile back and then bend his blonde head back over his phone.
As best as Shannon could tell, he was a lawyer or accountant or something like that. He wore precisely tailored suits and carried a tobacco-colored messenger bag with his tablet computer and all sundry of other expensive devices.
His hands were smooth and neatly manicured. They were almost feminine in their grace. The rest of him was more masculine.
Jonah Moran stood just over six feet tall—built like a runner with well-honed, compact muscles. When Shannon looked into his startling, pale gray eyes, she felt both the urge to run and the urge to run her finger over his perfect bow lips or his strong, clean-shaven chin—all at once.
For a while, she wondered if he could even grow a beard. But then, at the end of a work day, he stopped in at the bistro where Shannon worked and picked up a club sandwich to go. A smattering of stubble had appeared on his face. He could grow a beard and pretty quickly. Obviously, that was unacceptable to him so he kept it strictly at bay.
That was the first day Shannon could remember fantasizing about the feel of his nascent beard on her cheek. He was finely handsome and obviously rich.
All of this is why Shannon never spoke to Jonah Moran about anything except his sandwich.
He was out of her league. She had experience dating out of her league. Those men never stayed, and on their way out the door, they took a little more of her confidence with them. Of course, even her shitty boyfriends did that. The last one had been the worst.
Kid hadn’t been a boyfriend. He’d been a husband. Even making him an ex-husband hadn’t stopped him from wreaking havoc.
Shannon sighed and poured Jonah a refill on his coffee, working to steady her hand. She needed to swap out her nicotine patch.
Cigarettes weren’t the only thing Shannon had decided to quit. She and men weren’t a good mix. She needed to focus on her own life and nothing else.
Men were trouble, and she finally had a stable job, making decent money. She finally had a relationship with her daughter, Olivia. This was the height of her aspiration.
Jonah smiled up at the cute waitress pouring the refill on his coffee. One of her honey blonde curls had slipped from the ponytail pulled back taut above the nape of her neck.
That’s what her name tag said. At one time, she’d been a stunner. Jonah frowned. That didn’t sound right. She was still a beauty, but she looked tired—the sort of tired that doesn’t evaporate with a good night’s sleep.
Her ready smile didn’t quite reached her eyes, which feathered lightly at the corners. He supposed that working on your feet slinging lunch plates and coffee probably did that to a woman. Did she feel forced to smile at him? He hoped not.
“Is something wrong?” When she asked the question, her nose turned up toward the crinkle between her brow.
“No. The roast beef is great as always."
She looked relieved and turned to walk away. Jonah cleared his throat.
Her ponytail bobbed as she turned back around. “You need something else?”
“No. I wanted to say thank you.”
The furrow of her brow deepened.
“Thank you. For the coffee.”
“Oh.” Her blue eyes widened, and the left corner of her mouth lifted into a crooked half smile. “You’re welcome.”
Jonah grinned at her and winked reflexively. He thought he saw a tinge of pink wash over her cheeks, but he didn’t have the opportunity to look closer.
She walked briskly to another table where a perturbed patron snapped his fingers. All Jonah could see was the side of her face and half of a forced broad smile. She was apologizing. For what, Jonah didn’t know.
He passed the restaurant everyday between the office and his house. Sometimes, he stopped in for breakfast and she’d be here. Then, maybe when he picked up dinner, she’d be there again, working a second shift. What did she do when she wasn’t on her feet in this place?
Jonah had never worked that hard. He could admit that to himself. He worked in his father’s investment firm, Moran Financial. They financed companies and bought and sold them.
His work had more tedium than difficulty. He hated it most days, but it was lucrative.
His sister, Vivienne, pestered him to quit and find something more meaningful to do with his life. The problem was that he had no idea what that would be. Vivienne was in the mode for everyone to “live their bliss” as she kept saying.
Ever since coming out as a lesbian, she felt compelled to have everyone make bold declarations and step away from convention. But she was the artistic one. The free spirit. Or she was as free a spirit as any child could be growing up as they did.
Their primary job as children had been to walk a straight line. Get good grades. Don’t cause trouble at school. Be mannered and congenial at every turn. Never do anything that would put a wrinkle in their parents’ plans.
They had a series of nannies and a mother, Sheila, who seemed in constant need of rest and spa vacations despite having a complete household staff and no job. Their father worked and travelled constantly. Thomas Moran was a born wheeler dealer. He once missed Christmas traveling to Japan to close a business deal.
“The world doesn’t stop because we want to eat honey ham and sing Jingle Bells.” The elder Moran had then slung on his coat and motioned for his driver to take his suitcase.
Jonah had been nine. He shook his head. He had no reason to complain. His parents had loved him and given him every advantage, including a greased path to his current vice president position in a company with his family name on the door.
He looked again as Shannon bounced from table to table. What she did was work. He shifted in his seat. He couldn’t imagine dealing with the rotten customers and sore feet everyday.
He wondered what dreams Shannon might have had. No one dreams of being a waitress.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish