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AJ didn’t make it back to the diner for a few days; work and the guys were keeping him busy. When the week finally wound down, he made a point to get up early and head down there for breakfast. Marjorie greeted him as he entered.

“Hey there stranger, haven’t seen you in a while.”

“Been busy but I’m back.” he replied with a smile. “How are you?”

“Good but I’m pretty sure that’s not the question on your mind. Let me guess, is she here yet? Oh and the answer is no, not yet.”

AJ blushed.

“I knew it!” the older woman exclaimed. “You’ve been cheatin’ on me.”

AJ laughed. “You caught me.”

“I sure did.”

“When is she coming in?” AJ asked as she poured his coffee.

“Should be any minute now.”

As soon as those words left his mouth, Max entered and went to the back to change. She came back out a few minutes later, tying her apron and scanning to the area to see what needed to be done. Her eyes hardened when she saw him sitting at the counter. Stalking over to where he was, she removed something from her apron pocket and slammed her hand against the counter.

“I don’t need your charity.” she hissed and walked away.

AJ turned red and Marjorie looked back and forth between the two of them.

“What did you do while I was gone?”

AJ unfolded the fifty dollar bill and shrugged.

“You gave her that?” Marjorie whispered.

“You said she was only working for tip and I wanted to get her attention.”

She sighed. “You got it alright.”

“That’s not exactly the attention I wanted.”

“Honey, when you go around leaving big tips like that, waitresses start thinking two things. You’re either looking to get in their pants or you’re showing off how wealthy you are. I’m guessing she gave you the benefit of the doubt and chose the latter.”

“You see it that way?”

“Not me!” she chuckled. “Feel free to leave me a fifty whenever you want.”

AJ smiled. “How come she can’t see it that way?”

“I know you sweetie and she doesn’t.”

“I’m trying to get to know here but she keeps slamming the door in my face.”

She thought about it for a minute. “Why don’t you let me try talking to her? Maybe I can put you in a better light.”

“Would you?” he asked excitedly.

She nodded and AJ leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek.

“You’re the best!”


Marjorie watched as Max finished up with the last customer and turned the sign on the door. They worked together in silence for a few minutes before she struck up a conversation.

“You got pretty mad at AJ today.” she said quietly.

“He’s a jerk. He acts so important and throws his money around like he’s rich or something. Who does he think he is, a rock star?”

Marjorie had to bit her lip to keep from laughing. She didn’t want to rat him out and tell her that he was a Backstreet Boy so she decided to try a different route.

“He’s always like that. We’re his favorite place and he knows we don’t make much; he tries to help us out.”

“Well I don’t need, or want, his help.”

“Easy honey. I’m just saying that maybe you could cut him a little slack. I know he’s sorry and if you got to know him better…”

“I’m not going to be around long enough to get to know anyone. Thanks for telling me he’s a nice guy but I have no interest at all in getting better acquainted.”

Max tore off her apron, threw it on the counter and grabbed her stuff. Marjorie watched her storm out and went back to cleaning up.

“That went well.” she muttered.