AN: This was my entry for the anonymous Love Lost Contest. There were some really great entries, go check them out: (dot)net/u/2458839/Love_Lost_Contest Thanks to my betas, nicnicd and MsKathy and to LeanneGolightly, RainyGirl1978, maria2906, and Amelie Gray for the translations. HeatherDawn made me an awesome banner for this, link's on my profile.
Disclaimer: All copyright and trademarked items mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No infringement intended.
WARNING: this is not a happy story. That is all.
"Ready, Mr. C?"
Looking up at the kid in front of me, I smiled before continuing with my task of wiping down the counters in my small diner. He'd been coming to my café for years, yet I was thrown for a loop when he asked to interview me.
Like my life's so great.
"Sure, kid," I said. "Didn't I tell you to stop callin' me that? Name's Edward."
A broad grin spread across his face as he looked over his shoulder, nodding to a crowd of young teenagers. The bell on the door rang out through the near-quiet diner, alerting me that they were leaving. I glanced up, happy to see the last of his buddies hold the door open for a woman that was on her way in. Most kids weren't like that nowadays.
"Just a sec', kid," I told him as I made my way over to the lady, offering her a place at the counter or a booth. She took the booth, ordering a Schön—hold the lettuce—and a coke.
The kid watched me with rapt attention as I arranged the layers of pastrami, pepper turkey, and provolone before topping the sandwich with tomato and a bit of German mustard. Normally, I would have found his fascination with a sandwich odd, but his dazed expression was so familiar to me, somehow. I hadn't for the life of me been able to put my finger on it in all the years I'd known him.
While it was true that I'd been seeing this boy for practically his whole life, I hadn't recognized his father all the times he'd brought him in, and he didn't seem to know me, either. Still, I hadn't ever been able to shake the feeling that I knew him from somewhere.
"Want one?" I asked, breaking him from his rapt concentration.
"Nah," he snickered, "I'll just have my usual."
"One Omorfos coming up," I said, making my way around the half-wall into the kitchen.
He called out to me as I entered, "Why don't you just call it a gyro, Mr. C? I mean, you've got all these things on the menu, and they have totally complicated names for simple sandwiches. He glanced over the menu and started naming some of the most popular ones. "Omorfos, Bonny, Schön, Jamila, Hermoso, Vacker..." He trailed off, shaking his head at me.
I started assembling his sandwich and thought about what he asked me.
Why couldn't things be simpler?
"Well, kid, life's complicated. I could call this sandwich a gyro," I said, setting the plate in front of him before wiping my hands on the towel tucked into my waistband and continuing, "but then it wouldn't mean anything."
"So, you calling my sandwich Omorfos is supposed to mean somethin'?" he questioned, quirking a brow at me.
"Yep. Everything on this menu means something," I said, gesturing toward the folded up menu on the bar in front of him. "It could mean something to someone else, and that means something to me," I stated cryptically.
Thoughts of her and what she'd think if she could see me standing there flooded my brain. Would she understand that all the words on this menu, that everything in my life, had been for her—still was only for her? I wondered what she was doing at that very moment.
Was she about to spill her guts to some kid about how everything in her life had started out so right but quickly turned out to be so fucking...wrong. Did she have the same regrets I did? Or had she moved on to have the life she begged me to have with her?
These thoughts plagued me daily.
"Yeah, kid. Tell me what this is all about, again?"
"Well, my name's Pierce Landon," he said, sitting up straight and shifting to a professional demeanor, "and my assignment for Port Angeles High School is to interview someone..."
"Landon, you say?" I questioned, cutting him off as I tried to figure out if I'd heard that name somewhere before. Though I couldn't shake the feeling that I knew this kid, his name wasn't familiar, either.
"Yes, sir. My dad's Peter Landon. Anyway," he sighed dramatically, "my assignment is to write an article about someone you admire."
"Why'd you pick me, then? Too lazy to go out into the world and talk to someone?"
"No," he chuckled. "You're dedicated—you seem to really love what you do." He paused for a moment before continuing. "Besides, my mom told me that this place has some cool back story."
Shaking my head at him, I wondered who his mother was, if she knew the story to this place. "I'm not someone you should look up to. I've fucked up, er, I mean messed up plenty of things in my life." I motioned over to the booth, and said, "Well, come on, sit down. My story starts with a girl—doesn't every story start out that way? Matter of fact, it all started in this very booth."
Taking a glance around the nearly-deserted diner, I took a deep breath and got ready to tell this kid my life story. I didn't know what it was about him, but there was something that made it easy to talk to him. "I was sitting at that table right there," I said, squinting my eyes and motioning to the table across the room, "the day she came into my life. I was fifteen years old, and she was the hottest girl I'd ever seen. She was wearing a yellow dress and had these eyes and this hair this cute little smile and just…yeah. Like I said, hottest. Girl. Ever."
The kid laughed at me and took a sip of his drink. "Yellow dress, huh?" he snickered.
"So anyway," I said, rolling my eyes at him, "I knew I had to meet her. School started the next day and I wanted to know if she was going to the same school as me. Hell, I wanted to know everything about her. I walked over to where she was sitting, which incidentally was right here, and asked her."
"What'd you ask her?"
"I asked her what school she went to and if she was new. She was a new student at my school, and I offered to show her around the next day. She accepted, and I walked out the door on cloud nine." I leaned back, unable to contain the smile that stretched across my face as I remembered. "By the end of the week, we were almost inseparable. I brought her back here for ice cream and we sat at this same booth when I asked her to be my girl."
His mouth gaped open. "After only a week?"
I nodded. "Things were different back then."
"Obviously," he said. "So, what does this have to do with you buying this place? I don't think I've seen her before—does she work here with you?"
"I'm gettin' there, kid," I explained. "Now, back when I was in high school, and when I'd come home from college, this place was happenin'. They even had live music on some weekends. It was the hangout. Everyone came here. Kids were always makin' out, or breakin' up, or tryin' to figure out the secrets to life in here. And I did all of those things with my girl right here," I said, gesturing around the room.
He blushed a bit before asking me, "You made out with her here?"
"Yep," I stated, "matter of fact…" I paused, noticing that the lady who'd come in earlier raised her hand to indicate that she was finished. Acknowledging her, I turned to the kid and told him to "hold that thought" before heading over to my customer and handing her the check.
As I took her money and cleaned off the table, my mind wandered to my girl, and what it'd been like to be with her.
Loud music pounded through me as I pressed my hand to her chest, feeling the vibrations of the bass through her delicate skin.
She looked up at me, pretty eyes dancing as the most beautiful, breathtaking smile lit up her features. "I really love you, you know," she said, practically yelling so I could hear her over the music.
"Love you too." I grabbed her, pulling her closer to me and wrapping my arms around her. The band switched it up to a slow song as she turned in my arms, pressing her back against my chest and running her hands along my arms.
Leaning forward, I pulled her long hair to the side and trailed my lips from the base of her neck to her ear. Grazing the lobe with my teeth, I whispered, "Let's get outta here, baby."
She moaned, shifting back and rubbing her tight ass on my dick. Turning around and grabbing my hair, she tugged me down and pressed her lips to mine. She was so fucking hot, and I wanted in so fucking bad. I thought I'd burst.
Suddenly, she grabbed my hand and started pulling me toward the exit. As soon as the cold night air hit us, she spun around and hopped up on me, wrapping her legs around my waist and crashing her lips to mine.
"Fuck, baby," I groaned out, standing on the sidewalk with her wrapped around me, grinding down on me. Stumbling around the corner, I took notice of the people passing us by and tried to loosen her grip.
She started to undo the buttons on my shirt as she continued to writhe against me. "I want you in me now, please, Edward," she murmured as she bit down on my shoulder.
Turning around, I pressed her back to the brick wall behind us. Her breathy moans reverberated through the space as she trailed her hand down to the buttons on my jeans, deftly pulling them apart. She wasted no time in wrapping her soft hand around my dick, and I couldn't control the sounds I made as she stroked me.
Brushing my lips along the shell of her ear, I murmured, "You sure you wanna do this out here, girl?" Sucking on the tender flesh just below her ear, I continued my journey down her neck, nipping at her shoulder and earning a squeak from her. I was so fucking hard as she tightened her grip on me and started to move her hand faster.
Finally getting my bearings, I pulled her shirt open, not caring if I ripped the buttons off, to reveal her perfect tits. Dipping my head down, I nuzzled over the soft skin before snaking my tongue out to taste her. Her resulting moan was so loud that I jerked my head up, looking around to see if we were putting on a show for anyone.
No one was paying us any attention as I ran my hand from her neck, between her breasts and down to the top of her jeans. Why the fuck didn't she wear a skirt? Unbuttoning her pants, I slipped my hand inside and groaned out when I came in contact with her slick skin. Pressing the heel of my palm into her, I started thrusting my hips subconsciously—wanting more.
She cried out as I thrust two fingers into her and started circling her clit with my thumb. I smirked, knowing that I could play this girl like a fucking instrument. No matter how many times I'd had her, I always wanted more.
"Please…" she moaned out as I continued pumping my fingers in and out. Pulling her closer to me as she sped up her motions on my dick, I knew I wouldn't last much longer. She tugged on my hair to capture my lips with hers. Her tongue pushed into my mouth at the exact moment she came, panting and clenching around my fingers.
As I slowly lowered her so she could remove her pants from one leg, the hand she'd wrapped around my dick slackened for a moment. She righted herself again, intensifying her grip and squeezing me tighter. I almost lost it as she quickened her movements, digging her heels into my ass and guiding me inside her.
"Fuuuuuck," I muttered, never getting used to the feeling of burying myself inside her. Anchoring her to the wall with one hand, I gripped her ass in my hand as I drove into her, moving fast until I came deep inside her.
Kissing the top of her head, I leaned back slightly to see a brilliant smile cross her face. She looked into my eyes and whispered, "I can't believe we fucked outside. She grinned, still out of breath. "At least we're at our café."
"Mr. C? Uh, Edward?" The kid's voice broke me from my thoughts.
Smiling slightly at him, I walked back over to the table and sat down, roughly running my hand through my hair. "Where were we?" I croaked out.
"Um, you were telling me about your girl, and about…" he trailed off, his eyes twinkling and as he tried to suppress a shit-eating grin.
"Oh yeah. So, all of our most important moments were here. I asked her to the dance here, I asked her to be my girl here, and just after college graduation, I…" I paused, not wanting to remember the huge fight we'd had on the sidewalk right in front of this place. "I broke her heart here," I finished lamely.
"You broke up?" he asked incredulously. "What happened?"
Shaking my head sadly, I thought about what she looked like the last time I saw her—her beautiful face marred by sticky tears, the way her hair blew around us in the wind, her trembling body as she broke down in a sob.
How had I been so fucking stupid?
Looking at the kid, I cocked my head to the side and tried to impart all the worldly wisdom someone in my position was able. "Same thing that always happens, kid," I muttered, my voice laced with sadness. "Boy gets girl. Boy and girl are ecstatically happy. Boy does something incredibly stupid. Boy loses girl. Forever." Taking in his sad expression, I continued, "After she broke up with me, she wouldn't return my calls, she was never home, and none of her friends would tell me where she was. I couldn't find a trace of her—it was as if she never existed."
"What'd you do then?" he asked.
"I came back here, to this diner. I knew one day that she'd wake up and find that she missed me, that she needed us, and that I was fucking sorry. This would be the first place she'd think of when she wanted to come back. So, I waited, right out there," I said, gesturing to the place on the sidewalk just to the side of the door.
"You just waited?" he asked, sitting forward slightly.
"How long did it take her to come back?"
"She didn't." His eyes widened. "I'm still waiting."
His brow furrowed as he tried to process the situation. "So, she never came back. And you just—stayed here?"
"Well, days passed, and I didn't move. People thought I was a bum and would drop money in front of me. They had no idea that I had a trust fund and an Ivy League education. The old man who owned this place would bring me food and make me come inside to shower, promising he'd keep a lookout for her the whole time I was gone. I'd been a good customer and he knew my parents." Noticing the inquiring look on his face, I motioned to the door behind me on the left. "There's an apartment upstairs. That's where I live now."
He nodded and waved his hand in front of him, prompting me to continue.
"Anyway, time just fucking passed me by. Seasons, people on the sidewalk, life. It just all passed me by. I just sat right there on the sidewalk and let it happen."
Just as I opened my mouth to continue, his phone rang. "Sorry, it's my dad. I have to take it."
Getting up to allow him some privacy, I started wiping down the tables. It was almost time to close up.
Though I tried not to eavesdrop on his conversation, I couldn't help but notice that the kid was whispering desperately to his dad on the phone. "You have to come. You know Mom said she won't ever come here…I dunno, Dad, she just… Fine, then. No, no, I'll call her. Thanks anyway."
He pressed a few buttons on his phone as his shoulders slumped dejectedly. Holding the phone up to his ear, he said, "Hey, Mom…no, nothing's wrong. I mean, well…Dad can't come get me—he's still at work. Yeah, I know. So, can you pick me up? You know where I am, right? Oh, I'm at the Come Back Café. Please? I know. Thanks, Momma. Okay. Yeah, yeah, love you too." He rolled his eyes as he ended the call.
"Sorry about that," he apologized. "My dad's working late, so my mom has to come pick me up. Anyway, my mom, she refuses to come here. I can't wait to get my license." He laughed.
"Don't worry about it," I reassured him, wondering what was up with his mom but not wanting to push. "Any more questions?"
"Well, you didn't really tell me how you got into the business? Or what happened to your girl," he stated.
Nodding at him, I chuckled as I realized he was right. I still hadn't answered his original question. Taking a deep breath, I ran my hands over my face. "Anyway, the café wasn't doing so great. Except for me, all the kids who had used this as their place had all grown up and moved away. I was the biggest attraction, to be honest. The man who couldn't be moved. Eventually, the old man wanted to sell—so I bought it. I changed up the menu, changed the name, and here we are."
"Oh, the name" he exclaimed, as he realized whatever it was he was thinking. "It isn't because it wasn't doing well and you brought it back, it was your way of telling her…"
"Begging her," I corrected him, cutting him off. "Begging her to come back to me."
"Because you're still waiting?"
Sadness washed over me as I started to answer him. "Yeah, kid, I'll always be waiting. I know I'll never see her beautiful face again, but I can't let go."
We stared at each other for a few moments. I thought of her again, like normal, and wondered if the kid had a girl. Was he good to her, did he treat her right? I sure hoped so.
"Do you wish you could change it? What would you do if you could talk to her right now?"
"Honestly? I dunno. All those years— it's a long time to pine away for a girl, you know?" I asked him, smiling slightly that this kid didn't know what I meant. "Let this be a lesson to you, Landon. When you find her, do everything you can to keep her. Do right by her. And if you fuck it up, don't sit around and wait for something to happen. Go after her—make her understand that you'd take it all back if you could, that you'll spend the rest of your life making it up to her if she'll let you."
Just then, the tinkling of the bell echoed throughout the café. The kid stood as his face lit up with recognition. "Mom, thanks for coming," he said.
As I turned around, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut as I looked into the eyes that had haunted me for most of my life.
"Oh. I didn't think—I didn't know. He's your son?" I croaked out.
"You two know each other?" the kid asked.
She nodded curtly at me before looking up at him and stroking his cheek with the back of her finger. "We better get going, baby," she whispered to him. "Your dad'll be home soon." She turned to me and cocked her head to the side.
Time had treated her well. She'd changed, of course—almost twenty years could do that to a person. Her hair was shorter than I remembered, cut just above her shoulder in a curly style. It framed her wide, expressive eyes nicely though. She wasn't as small as I remembered, with a few more curves thrown in that, frankly, she carried well. There was a softness to her features; she looked happy, despite the small puckering of her lips.
The images of the younger girl, now a woman, seemed juxtaposed in my mind, and I reeled while I tried to fit them together.
"Thanks again, Mr. C," the kid said, stepping forward to shake my hand.
Unable to move, I was riveted to the spot as he grasped my hand in his, shaking firmly. "See ya, kid," I managed to whisper, my eyes never leaving hers. He walked toward the door and turned back to look at his mother.
Tears filled her eyes as she gazed at me. "Goodbye, Edward," she uttered before turning to walk out the door.
And then she was gone.
I trudged over to the counter, playing idly with the menu. I glanced down at it, searching for the one name I'd based them all on.
Omorfos, Bonny, Schon, Jamila, Hermoso, Vacker... They all meant the same thing, in different languages.