“Why are you hauling my ass out of bed at seven in the morning to go to some diner? Don’t they serve breakfast all day?”
“Yes, but we’re not going for the breakfast.”
“What the hell are we going for then?”
“There’s a new girl…”
“Whoa, I’m not up for being a wing man this early in the morning dude.”
“Come on Nick, help me out.”
Nick groaned but AJ could hear Lauren murmuring something on the other end. After a few hushed seconds, Nick came back on.
“Fine.” he said grumpily. “She better be worth it.”
Nick and AJ had been at the diner for twenty minutes and Max had done everything in her power to avoid them. Nick was starting to feel like they had the plague or something.
“Give it some time.”
“Some time? She won’t even look in your direction. Did you already piss her?”
“Kind of.” AJ replied and explained what had happened before.
“I’ve heard enough.” Nick finally said.
“Are you kidding dude? She’s living out of her car which means she’s essentially homeless…”
“Bob gave her a place to stay.” AJ said in her defense.
“So as I was saying, she essentially homeless, she’s working for tips and she has the worst home done haircut and dye job I’ve ever seen.”
“I think it’s kind of cute.”
“That’s what you find cute?” Nick asked incredulously. “Man, you need to borrow some taste.”
“From who, you?”
“Hey, I have Lauren.”
“I have two words for you, Paris Hilton. Still want me to borrow your taste?”
Nick turned red. “That’s a low blow.”
“Then don’t criticize what I find attractive.”
“Fine.” he agreed. “She still has the other problems.”
“She’s staying at…”
“Bob’s spare apartment. What’s she gonna do once she leaves here? She’ll be back to sleeping in her car.”
AJ ignored that comment. “What about the other problem?”
“She’s working for tips.”
“So what? You only do that for one of two reasons; you’re hiding from someone or something or you’re just plain crazy. Either way, she looks like a hot mess to me.”
AJ was shocked to hear Nick say that. “But you don’t even know her.”
Nick sighed. “And neither do you J. You think you know her from somewhere; big deal. You know nothing about her and you already said she wasn’t going to stick around very long. It’s not like you guys are dating.”
“I’m not talking about dating her, just getting to know her. Maybe she needs a friend.”
“Admit it J, you just like the challenge.”
“I won’t lie, I do like a challenge, but that’s not what I’m looking for.”
“Look, I’ve know you for a long damn time. You always want to take care of strays. Find a woman to be friends with that doesn’t need saving.”
That comment was like a slap in the face; he was pissed that Nick was referring to her like she wasn’t even a person.
“She’s not a stray.”
“Whatever man.” Nick said as he stood up. “Let me know when you’re over this.”
AJ watched as Nick walked out and, as his eyes turned away, he caught sight of Max across the diner. She looked away as soon as she noticed him and darted into the kitchen. He stood up and left a small tip under his coffee cup; he didn’t care about what Nick thought. Something was gonna give and he was determined to make it happen.