The bar was full by the time Brad squeezed into the last space at the table, joining the gang everyone packed in like sardines
"Seriously, could they get any more people in here" complained Brad. Jane tutted "Well if we had got here a little earlier we would have a bigger table" she said glaring at Alex
"What! I couldn't close the store I had a customer" Everyone looked at her astonished.
"A what now? Said Brad, only half joking. Alex ignored him and carried on. "In fact it was all for Max, for love in fact" she said turning to face Max.
Max was too busy trying to catch peanuts in his mouth that he wasn't aware of Alex or the rest of gang staring at him in fact he hadn't even been listening. Finally catching a peanut and feeling very pleased with himself he noticed the rest of the group. "I know right, it takes real skill my friends, real skill" taking a swig of his drink. Alex tugs his sleeve making sure he is paying attention.
"Max, listen you have to come into the store tomorrow" Max groaned. "There was this guy came in today..." Max interrupted "What a customer"? Alex rolled her eyes and continued "He's really cute and we talked about ex's and how it's hard to find the right guy. So I told him about my friend who's super cute and would be perfect for him" Dave leaned over "and then you told him I was straight. "Shut up Dave" Alex continued on "Max he'd be perfect for you"
Max looked unconvinced "I don't know Al."
Joining in the conversation Penny said "Come on Max it's time to get back on the saddle" Max immediately looked glum " I hate horses" mumbled Max "Especially ones pulling carriages with people called Grant on Valentine's Day" Alex put her arm around Max. "Please Max, I know it's hard but I really think you'll like him. Pleeease, I said you'd be here tomorrow around eight". Alex pleaded.
"Alright, enough with the puppy dog eyes, I'll be there"
Alex clapped her hands and grinned.
"So Al" asked Brad "your first customer, what was that like?" he joked. Jane give him a quick dig in the ribs while Alex bounced a peanut off his head.
The next night the bar was a lot quieter. Max ordered a beer and waited by the bar. He hadn't made much of an effort with his clothes and his heart certainly wasn't in it but he wanted to give it a go just for Alex's sake more than anything else. Although he hated to admit it things just hadn't been the same since he broke up with Grant and he'd hardly dated at all. Suddenly there was a tap on the shoulder "Excuse me" Max gave a sigh and turned. Wow Alex said he was cute but he really was handsome. "Oh, hi" was all Max could manage to get out. "Hey there, it is Max isn't it"? Max smiled "Yes I am and you must be, eer wait I don't think Alex told me your name"
The man laughed "I don't think I actually told her"! "It's Tom, Hi" reaching out his hand.
Max grinned shaking Tom's hand "Hi. Can I get you a drink"? "Thanks that would be great"
The two sat down at a table "So your friend Alex seems nice". "Yeah she's great. How did you end up in her store anyway?"
"Oh I was looking for a present for my sister I'm going for a visit soon she lives in San Francisco with her husband Grant".
Max immediately muttered out the side of his mouth "Yes he would be called that wouldn't he"
Tom looked perplexed "Sorry, what was that"?
"Nothing" said Max looking to the floor.
Tom spoke "I'll take a wild guess either that was the name of your childhood dog or that was the name of your ex"
"Sorry, what" replied Max. "Grant, the name of your ex" said Tom
"How did you know?" asked Max
Tom smiled "Because that was me six months ago. Everything reminds you of your ex. Am I right or am I right"?
Max nodded "Sorry man, I think I've wasted your time"
"Don't worry. Look here's my number maybe in another few months you want to give me a call"? said Tom handing him a napkin with his number scrawled on.
Max took the napkin smiled and they said goodnight.
When Max had got home Alex was waiting sitting on the couch.
"Al, what are you doing here"?
"Just checking in, how did it go?" Max just give her a look which pretty much said it all. He sat down next to her on the couch. Alex took hold of his hand "If it makes you feel any better Dave can never see a picture of pair of roller boots without tearing it to bits". Obviously referring to her disastrous wedding and running off with the rollerblade guy.
Max smiled "Yup, how about you"?
"I don't know I think about it less and I see Dave every day and I love him now as a friend. I guess you just have to try to remember the best times not how it ended".
"Who are you and what did you do with Alex"?
Alex punched Max in the arm before putting her head on his shoulder. Max reaches into his pocket. He shows Alex.
"I got his digits"
Alex smiles and takes the napkin "I'll keep it safe, you know, for love"