Willow rapped on Lucy’s office door and waited.
“Come in.” Lucy’s voice sounded cheerful. Willow gulped down hard before she opened the door.
Lucy looked up from the pile of papers on her desk. “Willow! I’m so happy to see you.” She grabbed a sheet of paper off the top and stood up.
“I’m sorry,” Willow said as she glanced at Christian sitting opposite Lucy. “I didn’t know you have company.” She turned away.
“Don’t you dare leave. Just listen to me.” Lucy marched to within an arm’s length of Willow and placed the page into her hand. “It really wasn’t what you thought it was. In fact, it’s way better.”
“What’s this?” Willow flicked the page at Lucy. “How’s a page supposed to clear up anything? All it’ll do is give me a damned paper cut and prove my heart’s still beating.”
Lucy clamped her lips together, forcing down the laughter. “At least you haven’t lost your sense of humour. Christian had read it just before you came in – I promise, it will clear up this misunderstanding.”
When Willow digested the last word on the page, her face cracked into a broad smile. “The Gilded Plate Award! This is–”
Lucy and Christian, now in a mock embrace, jumped apart when Willow lifted her eyes.
“And that, Miss Jenkins, was when you walked in on us ― me congratulating Lucy.”
Willow’s eyes swung from Lucy to Christian. She bit her lower lip as a flush of heat swarmed her face. “I’m … I was wrong. I’m so sorry.”
Lucy pulled Willow into a hug. “You’re forgiven, because I could not have done it without you. Both of you.”
“You see, Miss Jenkins,” said Christian, rubbing his hands in glee and winking at her. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”
Willow jabbed Christian against the shoulder. “It was worth a try!”
Christian shook his head. “I understand why you’ve built a wall around your heart, and I won’t rush you by trying to knock it down – especially since I’m tall enough to see over it.”
Lucy tugged Willow by her pony tail on the way to the door. “You two have ten minutes to sort yourselves out. I can’t afford more of this drama. The restaurant can’t handle all this pent-up frustration between the two of you.”
“Hey!” they chorused in unison.
“Ten minutes! The clock is ticking.” Lucy pivoted on her heels and left the office.
Willow fanned her face with both hands and giggled. “That was dramatic.”
Christian stood tall, his hands resting in his pants pocket. “She’s right, and I meant it when I said I want to get to know you better.” He took a step closer to Willow. “Let me love you. Set your heart free.”
“Well, I do still owe you two dates.”
“I don’t want you to feel obligated, Willow.” Christian took Willow’s hands in his and peered into her eyes. “I want you to want it.”
Willow shook her head. She looked down at Christian’s hands holding hers, and it felt good ― like their hands belonged together. She raised her eyes, her face an emotionless mask. Then she smiled.
“I want it,” she whispered. “I really do.”
Tell us: How did you like the main setting of this story – a restaurant? Would you like to eat in a fancy restaurant like this, or do you have simpler food tastes?