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Author's Chapter Notes:
Sorry for the shortish chapter, I promise not to let it happen very often!
Max got to the diner early the next morning and quickly started organizing things. Marjorie had called to say she was going to be out that morning and that the younger woman would have to handle things by herself. The thought of being on her own caused some panic and she had to keep reminding herself that she was perfectly capable of taking care of things. She had just finished setting the booths and turned to change the sign when she saw him in the parking lot. Not again, she thought as she unlocked the door.


AJ was sitting in the parking lot playing games on his phone while he waited for the diner to open. Marjorie had told him that she wouldn’t be in until ten but he decided to take a chance and get there early anyway. Fate must have been on his side because he noticed that the only one working seemed to be the new girl. Shutting off his phone, he slid out of his car and headed in to get a seat at the counter.


Perfect she said under her breath; here he comes and there’s no one else in sight. So much for being able to keep a distance from this man who seems hell bent on talking to her. She knew that he was the same bad boy she noticed in the bus terminal and he was acting as though he remembered her, which she was hoping he didn’t. Not planning on sticking around very long, she was completely uninterested in getting to know any person other than Marjorie and Bob.


AJ slid onto one of the booths and turned his coffee cup upside down; he pulled a menu out so that it looked like he was trying to make a decision about what to order.

“Would you like some coffee?”

He looked up and found her pretty eyes staring at him. She wasn’t rude in how she asked but she definitely was putting off vibes that she wasn’t looking to get friendly. AJ, as usual, chose not to go with those vibes and decided to be extra welcoming.

“Please.” he said as she poured. “You’re new here right?”

The woman nodded and asked him if he knew what he wanted to eat.

“What’s your name?” AJ asked, ignoring her request for his order.

The waitress paused for a second. “Max.”

“It’s nice to meet you Max, I’m AJ.”

He stuck his hand out but she just nodded and told him it was nice to meet him too. Her reaction surprised him and not for the refusal to shake his hand; she never even blinked when he told her his name. She asked him again what he wanted and he ordered pancakes with orange juice.

AJ watched her as she put in his order and served other customers as people dawdled in. She finally came back with his breakfast and he thought he’d go for broke and try to talk to her again.

“Are you from around here?” he asked as she placed the pancakes in front of him.

“No.” she replied quickly. “I’m sorry but I’m on my own. Do you need anything else?”

AJ shook his head and quietly ate his breakfast. Nothing he’d tried so far had worked so he wracked his brain to come up with another strategy to get her attention. She came by to check on him again, and when he asked for the check, she happily handed it to him.

He tucked something under his coffee cup for a tip and cashed out his bill at the register. A quick glance around caught her heading towards his table and caused him to move a little faster out the door. By the time Max came through the front door, he was already backing out of the parking spot. Now that he knew how to get her attention, he was determined to keep it.


AJ’s phone rang the minute he stepped out of the car. Hoping it was a call from the diner, he was disappointed to see Nick’s number pop up.

“Yo J! What’s up?”

“Not much.”

“You sound funny. Were you hoping I was someone else or something?”

Actually I was, AJ thought to himself.

“No, just got home; it’s been a long day.”

“I hear ya. Anyway, Howie’s out here for a couple of days and I was thinking that we should go golfing together. You in?”

“Sure, what time?”