I dropped the platter of food all over him.
I dropped the platter of food all over him.
"Oh my god, I am so sorry!" I blush, trying to pick up the plates and attempting to get at least some of the food off of him. "Shit...sorry!"
It wasn't my fault, really. I mean, it was only half my fault. This happened once every few months. I seemed to remember I had no balance and that I shouldn't be carrying large trays of food and then I would drop the tray. Most of the time it wasn't on anyone but sometimes...well, sometimes I wasn't that lucky. But today I had been distracted by who had occupied the table for two across from the counter area.
Brady Fuller and Collin Corsini.
I wasn't one of those girls who ogled the La Push Gang and got all lightheaded when they were around. Well, I only got that way around Seth sometimes, but that didn't count. What had thrown me off was that Collin had proceeded to stare at me the entire time after I had taken their order. I really couldn't be to blame. Really.
"Nice!" Brady cracks up, reaching over and grabbing a cheeseburger resting on Collin's arm that was missing the top half of its' bun. Seth walks over, laughing and making my face heat up even more. He reaches over and ruffles my hair.
"You got him good...though nothing will beat dropping a plate of spaghetti on Sam." He admits, sending me a wink. I groan and Brady breaks into another round of laughter after taking a bite of the cheeseburger.
"Yum, still tastes good." He points out.
"I am so sorry, Collin." I apologize. "I promise I didn't mean to."
"I-It's o-okay." He stutters. I pause for a moment and appraise him. He didn't seem mad. I pick up a napkin that was resting on the table and wipe ketchup from his face.
"This is hilarious." Brady continues to laugh and munch on the food that is laying all over the table they are sitting at.
"I'll put your orders in again and rush them." I promise, looking anywhere but into their eyes. I quickly gathered the tray, plates, and as much of the food as possible. I turn to walk away only to be stopped by a warm hand on my wrist.
"Don't worry about it. Honestly." Collin says quietly. "No big deal." I nod my head once before heading back into the kitchen. It was a big deal. At least the diner hadn't been busy...just a middle-aged couple sitting off to the side. It would have been worse if there had been more people around. But I'm sure Collin and Brady would tell their friends who would tell their friends...I'd receive hell for this. Once I am safe inside the kitchen, I drop all the plates into the large sink.
"That was one of your best drops yet, Dani-Roo!" Martin, our head cook, says.
"That was horrible." I groan. "Are they still looking?"
"Nope." Martin assures me. I sneak a peak over the counter and, of course, they are both looking in this direction, grinning. Brady even waves. I let out a squeak and duck back down.
"I hate you!" I hiss while Martin continues to laugh. "Just remake their order."
"Already started on it, Babe." He replies with a wink. I stick my tongue out at him and grab the bucket of sanitizer and a dishtowel to clean up the rest of the mess with. Deep breaths. I push open the door and hurry back over to the table to wipe it down. Seth has left and I notice that he is standing near the front door talking with his girlfriend, Natalie...Nikita...whatever.
"Well, the good news is that since most of the food got on you, I don't have to clean up that much." I speak up, giving Collin a weak smile.
"Yeah, I guess." Collin muses, returning my hesitant smile.
"You can go use the bathroom and clean up if you want." I offer, gesturing to the bathrooms across the diner. "Though it would probably work better if you just stood outside in the rain."
"Is that you asking me to leave…?" He trails off, looking a tad disappointed.
"No! No, I...uh...it was a joke. When I'm nervous I make really bad jokes." I babble. "I also have no control over what I'm saying which is why— I'm gonna shut up now. Your food should be out soon." I turn on my heel and rushed back to the safety of the kitchen. I can hear Brady laughing hysterically. Well, at least someone thinks I'm funny. Martin is laughing too, having witnessed the whole thing.
"Shut. Up." I grit out before tossing the bucket into the sink, splattering water everywhere. "I'm taking my break."
I had hid outside under the small alcove in the back of the diner and made Martin personally deliver the food to them. I refused to see them again and stayed away from everyone until Martin promised me both the boys had left. It was quiet for the remainder of the afternoon, only a few more people coming in and some were just teenagers getting coffee or hot chocolate. Thankfully, I didn't mess up or drop anything on anyone for the rest of the night.
I'm just refilling the napkin dispensers for tomorrow when the little bell that is attached to the front door goes off. I finish filling the dispenser before looking up to see who had walked in. My breath catches in my throat. Shit.
"Hey, Danielle." Collin says, sounding nervous. I don't know why he sounded nervous, I was the one freaking out.
"Oh, um, hey…" I trail off and push the napkin dispenser away from me before I can knock it over. "I see you've showered." He closes the distance between us and sits at the stool that is just in front of where I'm standing.
"Nah, I just stood outside in the rain for a bit." He replies with a hint of a smile on his face.
"Oh, I just—"
"Relax, Danielle, I'm kidding." He interrupts, giving me a real smile and seeming to relax more. I nod my head. Of course he is kidding. "You didn't come back and bring us our food...the second time I mean."
"Uh, I was on my break?" I defend, though it comes out sounding like a question. He raises his eyebrows at me slightly but doesn't push it.
"One-second." I speak up after a moment of awkward silence. I turn and go over to the freezer area, grabbing a dish from the stack. I scoop some chocolate ice cream into it, shut the freezer, grab a spoon, then head back over to him. "I probably owe you, huh?" I ask, putting the dish down and pushing it towards him. He gives me a full smile.
"Well, if you're offering me ice cream, then sure, I guess you do." He laughs, taking a bite. "Chocolate's my favorite."
"Awesome." He responds, sending me a grin. I blush and look away, checking the other napkin dispensers on the counter along with the salt and pepper shakers. "You know, if you really want to make it up to me, we could hang out sometime." I pause and almost drop one of the shakers. I wait five long seconds, expecting him to start laughing or something but he doesn't so I slowly turn to look at him. He is still sitting there and just looking at me, his ice cream abandoned momentarily.
"What are you doing here?" I ask, realizing he had never specified what he was exactly here for.
"Oh, well, I came to see you." He admits.
"To see me?"
"Yeah, you seemed upset earlier and I just wanted you to know I wasn't mad and I wasn't going to get you in trouble with Sue or anything like that." He says, scooping another bite of ice cream into his mouth. "And I thought that maybe we could hang out or something...you guys close in, like, ten minutes, right?"
"Is this some joke?" I narrow my eyes at him. "Because it's not funny and I said I was sorry. It was an accident so if this is payback then you can—
"Woah, woah, woah!" He interrupts, holding up his spoon in a mock-peace gesture. "I just wanted to hang out, you seem nice, I wasn't looking for revenge or whatever."
"Oh." I flush because he looks so sincere and a little upset. "Um…"
"We could just take a walk down to the beach...talk...I don't really know you." He suggests. I sigh and search his face for anything that may show an ulterior motive or that this is a joke but only see honesty and hopefulness.
"I don't think so…" I decide. "I have to go finish some homework and my mom likes me home before it gets too dark…"
"Well, how about I walk you home?" His hopefulness had returned full swing. "I mean, we live next to each other anyway."
"Okay...I mean, I guess that's okay." I finally mumble. His face lights up and I know I am blushing again. Great. "I'm just gonna...and…yeah...finish...um...yeah…" I stutter gesturing to the kitchen. He nods his head and goes back to his ice cream while I stumbled into the back kitchen area.
"Saw that." Martin sings, cleaning up the cooking area.
"Oh, shut up." I snap back at him. "You didn't see anything."
"You're right." He agrees and for a moment I think he is going to drop it. But only for a moment. "I didn't see you completely fail at flirting or be rude to a guy who was trying to be nice after you dropped an entire tray of food on him."
"What's that, Martin?" I call loudly. "Oh, you're going to finish closing up by yourself?"
"I didn't say—"
"Oh, you insist on it?" I continue. "And I can leave early? Thank you!" I clock out on the small computer off to the side near the staff table, grab my sweatshirt, and then walk right out the kitchen door, leaving a very shocked Martin behind. "Time to go." I say, grabbing Collin's unfinished ice cream from the counter and sliding it across the ledge of the metal window that gives you a view into the kitchen.
"I wasn't done!" He insists, looking mournfully after his ice cream before turning his attention back to me. "Don't you have to—"
"Nope, let's go!" I interrupt, climbing onto the counter and swinging my legs over. He chuckles and follows me out the door. "Bye, Martin!" I call just before making it safely out the front door with Collin in tow.
"He's pissed." Collin laughs, but I just shrugged. Oh well. He pauses for a moment and looks at me a little unsure but then easily brightens up and falls into step next to me. "So...you really came back to The Diner to see me?" I ask. "Because you know that I dropped an entire tray of food on you earlier, right?"
"Yeah, it's not something I'd forget." He smiles, sending me a wink. "I dunno...I was sitting with Brady and you came over to take our order and bam… I mean, I just wondered why we never talked and I was gonna ask if you wanted to hang out later and then you dropped food on me and then never came back…" I blush again. Dammit. "Brady thinks you're hilarious though and, well, you know it's important that your bro likes your girl. So you're already off to a good—"
"Your girl?" I question, scrunching up my nose. "I am not your girl."
"Yeah, about that, I was thinking we could go out sometime." He finally says.
"You're a freshman." I laughed, hoping he isn't serious.
"And you're a sophomore. So?" He challenged.
"I'm fifteen." He corrects. "Same as you. And I'm taller than you."
"You're on steroids."
"You're a klutz." He sings. He's enjoying this. "And no I'm not."
"Well...I...I have a boyfriend." I snap. He grins wider.
"No, you don't, I already asked Seth." He smiles confidently.
"You've never said a single word to me." I knew he wouldn't have a response to that one.
"You've never said a single word to me." He echoes, raising his eyebrows. "And I've only lived here for, like, five months."
"Whatever." I reply. Okay, not one of my best comebacks.
"So…" He drawls, holding out the word. "I'll see you Friday night? We could have a movie night at my place. I don't wanna brag, but I make awesome popcorn. From the bag of course." I almost laugh. Almost.
"Uh, no you won't." I promise, crossing my arms. I realize I have led him all the way to my house and we have stopped in front of it to continue our conversation.
"Sure I will." He replies calmly.
"It's almost dark, wouldn't want your mom to worry." He interrupts and is suddenly leaning closer to me. I freeze in my spot, unable to move even to ask him what he is doing. He reaches out and tucks some of my long hair behind my left ear. "It was really great talking to you, Danielle. I'll see you soon." Then he pulls back and I am able to breathe again. He gives me one last cocky smile and sends me a little wave. "Bye."
What. The. Hell.
I slam the front door shut behind me and lean against it, breathing in deeply. What was that? I'd never even talked to Collin, let alone gave him any reason to kinda ask me out or kinda flirt with me. That's what he was doing, right? I control my breathing before pushing off from the door and starting towards the stairs.
"Danielle!" My moms voice calls from the living room. "Is that you? Could you come here?" I pause before turning towards the kitchen to see what she wants.
"Can I just go up to my room? I had a long day and I— oh." She is sitting in our living room with a man dressed in a suit. They are both holding a glass of wine and my mother is beaming at him. I also don't miss how he has a hand resting on her leg.
"Danielle, baby, this is Troy Clayton. This is my youngest, Troy." My mother introduces. He offers me a smile but I just stand staring at him. Who the hell did he think he was and why was he touching my mom's leg?
"It's great to meet you, I've heard so much about you, Darling." He smiles, sticking his hand out to mine like we are at a college interview. "Please, call me Troy."
"Uh…" I flounder, unsure of what to say. I glance over at my mother who looks like she is about to have a heart attack if I don't welcome Troy Clayton into our home like he belongs there. "Nice to meet you." I finally choke out, shaking his hand.
I wasn't stupid. My father had left when I was four and hadn't come back. My mother hadn't remarried and I had never met any boyfriend she might have had. I wasn't sure I ever wanted to.
"Troy and I were just finishing up after dinner, why don't you go to your room. I'll talk to you later." She suggests. It is clearly more than a suggestion. Am I seriously being sent to my room?
"Or I wouldn't mind another glass of wine." Troy suggests, tipping the glass towards me in a mock toast. Is he asking me to serve him? I stand there in silence for a few beats before my mother jumps up from her perch and snatches the glass.
"I can get it! Just go to your room, Danielle." She says, her voice a few octaves higher than usual.
"Okay." I clench my teeth and spin on my heal, turning to head to my room without even saying goodbye to her or Troy 'I Don't Know Who He Thinks He Is' Clayton.
Later that night, I sit perched on top of the roof in my secret hideout. It isn't really a secret...but it kinda is. There is a flat piece of roof next to my bedroom window just like most of the houses on this street. The difference with mine is that my mom had finished off our attic to make it a room for my oldest sister, Brittany, so none of us had to share a room. The attic juts out above my room and offers a small area where no rain can touch the roof and where you can melt into the shadows at night time if you really need to.
I used to come out here all of the time when I was younger, almost every night. I would look at the stars, escape from my crazy older sisters, and just take in the quietness of La Push at night. I started doing it less and less as I got older but one night a few months ago, I climbed out to the roof to think and noticed that something wasn't quite right. A boy about my age was sitting on the roof of the house next to me. He was laying on his back and looking up at the stars. I hadn't seen him before but, later that week, I found out it was Collin Corsini. He had just moved into the house with his parents and sister, Ariana. I sat there for a while, just watching him before realizing how creepy I was being and climbed back inside. I had seen him on some of the clearer nights a few other times since then but not always since, because of the constant rain in La Push, you couldn't sit outside often — unless you had a built in alcove like me.
Tonight though, it is not raining, even though there were clouds in the sky that look like they could start storming soon. I glance over towards Collin's house almost out of habit and stifle a gasp when I see Collin sitting out on the roof, leaning against his window, with a textbook open. I debate going back inside but decide that this was my special place way before he even moved to La Push and that I don't have to go anywhere. Instead, I open the latest assigned reading book for school and get started on the chapters we would most likely have a quiz on tomorrow.
I'm not sure how long I am reading for but I know I am well into the chapter when I hear a voice near me. Right below me to be exact.
Startled, I almost loose my balance until I felt a warm hand rest on my ankle to steady me. It is Collin. Of course.
"Hey." He repeats, climbing up the side terrace and ducking under the alcove. "Watcha doing?"
"What are you doing, Collin?" I ignore his question and shut my book. It isn't that interesting anyway.
"Well, I saw you over here and I thought, I don't know, maybe you were out here because you were bored or needed to talk to someone. So...here I am." He flashes me a big, white smile and I have to bite my lip to keep from returning it.
"You know, I could call the cops on you. Trespassing is illegal." I threaten but he only grins more.
"Nah, you wouldn't do that. 'Sides, I have some friends at Forks PD, they'd let me go." He responds lazily, stretching out his legs and getting comfortable on the roof. His arm casually brushes mine and I ignore the tingles that flow through my arm and up to my shoulder. "So, what's got you out here tonight?"
"How do you know I'm not just out here to read Frankenstein," I say, "and to admire the view?"
"Well, for one thing it's raining," He begins, "and, for another, my sister had to read Frankenstein last year — she said it was torture." I look out over the landscape of La Push and notice for the first time that it has begun to drizzle. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Of course we are both safe from the storm in my little hideout.
"It's not that bad!" I feel the need to defend Mary Shelly. She was probably a very nice lady. "I mean, I've read worse." He chuckles lightly. "But, I guess I was kinda mad at my mom or Troy 'Not Interested Is Seeing You Ever Again' Clayton or whatever. I mean, it's not my fault I hate him and don't even know him yet."
And even though I'd only just really met Collin and didn't really know him either, I found myself telling him about how my mother had a new boyfriend and how I didn't like him. How he called me darling even though we hadn't met before and how he expected me to get him more wine. Collin listens intently, nodding at the appropriate times and paying more attention to me than anyone ever has. When I finish, we both pause and he nods his head slowly.
"I think," He breathes, "that it was probably his fault and that — if we play are cards right — we might be able to argue that it was justifiable homicide."
I burst into laughter in surprise and Collin's whole face lights up. We stare at each other for a few beats past comfortable and I can feel my face heating up. I am unsure of what to say but, thankfully, a whoop of laughter sounds from Collin's driveway, effectively breaking our gazes.
There is a boy I recognized as Embry Call who has wrapped Collin's sister in a hug around her waist while Jacob Black grabbed a basketball from her and shoots it from the spot he is standing, letting it sink into the basket.
"Embry!" Ariana whines loudly while Leah Clearwater crosses her arms and demands a rematch. Quil Attera is off to the side, lounging on the grass and laughing.
"Why aren't you down there with them?" I ask, glancing back over at him. He is still looking at me instead of watching the basketball game that is going on at his house. He stays quiet for a little bit longer.
"You tell me, Danielle." He finally says.
Then he gets up, says goodnight, and climbs back down the trellis.
"Goodnight." I mutter long after he is out of hearing distance.
So here's chapter 1… more to come!
In case you didn't know, this is part of a series! It is book #3 and is precluded by book #.5 Break You Hard (Kim/Jared), book #1 Mirrors (Embry/OC) , and book #2 2 is Better (Seth/OC). I am still working on 2 is Better and you definitely don't have to read the other books in this series to understand what is happening — there is just more information and background on my OC characters that will appear in this story if you're interested.
Thanks for reading!