I pushed open the small diner doors and heard the tiny bell on top ring as I entered. Gosh was I nervous. I looked around waiting to see someone, anyone. There were a couple people, mostly old couples and families, but not the one person I was looking for. I made my way over to they booth by the window and took my seat waiting to be served. I glanced around, my heart beating so fast it felt like it would jump out of my chest, the butterflies in my stomach wouldn't stop and then I saw him. He walked out of what I assumed to be the kitchen over to my table; hand on the back of his neck, eyes on ground.
"Welcome to Leo's Diner, I'm Mark and I'll be your waiter. Can I start you off with something to drink?" Eyes still focused on the paper I scanned my eyes over him and smiled slightly.
"Tea please," I spoke softly and Mark looked up from his pad and pencil. His eyes widened and I felt my cheeks grow hot.
"Clare? What…" He ran his fingers through his hair, "What are you doing here?". I opened my mouth to answer but was cut off.
"Fitzgerald! Enough with the chit chat and take the girls order. Your shift doesn't end for another 2 hours!" Mark rolled his eyes at the sound of his bosses voice. He groaned and turned his head to look at me again.
"Tea, right?" I nodded and he headed back towards the kitchen. I folded my hands in my lap and looked down smiling to myself. The butterflies were still flying freely, but it wasn't out of nervousness. It was out of excitement. I hadn't seen Mark in…a long time. Was it prom? Maybe graduation? I wracked my brain for the last time we had seen each other…
The music blasted out of the Torres house. The group of kids were in the basement, celebrating that they finally made it out of high school and were going off to college. Clare, Alli, Adam, Eli, Drew and Fiona were sitting on the couch sharing some drinks and memories. Adam and Fiona coupled on the love seat while Alli and Drew tried to stay far away from one another. Eli kept stealing glances at Clare, but she seemed to ignore him. They had broken up two weeks ago as a result of Eli cheating with a girl from his creative writing class at the University of Toronto. Clare shifted around on her seat, taking a tiny sip of her water.
"Clare, do you remember when we had to do Romeo and Juliet for Dawes and you got mad at Eli so you completely changed the ending? That was so funny!" Adam reminisced and laughed loudly. He was clearly drunk
"Yeah, wasn't that your guy's first kiss?" asked Drew, who pointed at Eli and Clare. Clare's cheeks reddened and Eli coughed. "You guys made such a good couple, weren't you voted most likely to get married or something like that? I'm surprised you didn't make it I mean-"
"Andrew!" Alli said loudly, stopping him from continuing his rant.
"It's okay, I just need some fresh air," Clare excused herself from the party and walked out of the basement and up the stairs and out the door.
"Clare! Clare, wait up," She turned and looked over her shoulder to see Eli running towards her down the driveway. Clare rolled her eyes and kept walking. "Clare!" She heard his footsteps pick up speed and soon he was in front of her stopping her. "Clare, look I know you're mad at me, and I know you don't want anything to do with me, but you've gotta hear me out!" Eli pleaded.
"No, you made the choice, just leave me alone!" She tried to push him away but he gripped her arms tight.
"Not until you listen!" Eli squeezed and his grip tightened. Clare let out a squeak.
"Eli, you're hurting me!" She cried as his grip got tighter. "Eli, please!"
"She said let her go," Clare heard a deep voice say. Eli released his hands and looked to see where the voice was coming from. Out of the shadows came Fitz. Clare gasped at how much he had changed. He had gotten taller, his hair had grown a little, but he looked gentler. Eli scoffed and walked up to him.
"Well, well, well, Fitzy's back in town eh? What are you gonna do Fitz? "Stab" me?" Eli chuckled and turned his attention back to me.
"No, I'll just do this," Eli turned his head and was greeted by Fitz's fist to his jaw. Clare gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. "Now, leave her alone and don't touch her again. Got it?" Eli glared at Fitz and nodded. He walked back into the house, shaking his head. Clare looked Fitz up and down and he walked closer to her. "Sorry about that. He just…" Fitz sighed, "He shouldn't treat you that way,". Clare nodded and looked at her feet. "Here, let me walk you home," Clare looked up at him with a questioning eyes.
"Why are you being so nice to me?" Clare asked.
"Because I can," He smirked and Clare laughed softly. "Are you cold?"
"A little," Clare admitted. Fitz took off his jacket and draped it over Clares shoulders.
"That was so cliché," Fitz laughed.
"Pretty much," Clare laughed with him. They began walking down the road in a comfortable silence until Clare spoke up. "So, what have you been up to? I mean, did you go to college, or are you working?".
"I do some online classes, I can't exactly pay for college right now, but I'm working at this little place called Leo's Diner. It pays pretty well, and Leo is flexible with my hours so it works out pretty nicely. I'm home now because my little brother graduated from the 8th grade a couple days ago. Gotta love family," Fitz laughed, "How about you? Where are you going to college?".
"York University, it's got a good teaching program, so I'm pretty excited about that," Fitz nodded his head and smiled. They continued to walk down the road until they made it safely to Clare's house. They walked up the pathway to her front door and stood there for a couple minutes.
"So," Fitz started.
"So," Clare copied.
"I guess this is where we say goodnight?" Clare nodded and shrugged.
"Well, um, goodnight Fitz," She moved to unlock the door but she was stopped suddenly.
"I go by Mark now," Clare smiled and Mark smiled back.
"Alright, well then, goodnight Mark," Clare corrected herself. Mark smiled and took a step closer to Clare, leaned down and kissed her gently.
"Goodnight Clare," He whispered against her lips. Mark smiled at her one last time and moved to walk down the steps and back to his house.
I looked up from my hands and smiled at the memory. Mark was coming back to my table with my tea. He placed it on the table and smiled at me. "You ready to order?" He asked. I smiled slightly and shook my head.
"I, um, I'm not very hungry," I told him honestly. He sighed and smirked. "I just, I came to see you," My hands shook a little but he nodded.
"It's understandable, I mean, people do enjoy looking at me," I laughed and he smiled at me. "Well, I get off in about an hour. How about you come back then and we can go some where and catch up. Sound good?".
"Sounds great." I told him. He smiled. I stood up from my chair and began to walk out the door.
"Clare!" Mark called after me. I turned my head. "That will be 75 cents for the tea," He smirked.