Espresso Pt. One

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Hm?” For a second I think I’ve misheard her. Sam is locking up, and I stand waiting with a pocketful of half the shift’s tip money.

“I said, what are you doing tomorrow? Are you working?”

I scratch the back of my head. “Nope, I’m off tomorrow. You?”

“I’m off too.” She slides the keys into her pocket and pulls out her phone. With her apron off, I can see all of what she’s wearing. Aside from the white polo—standard dress code—she’s in black skinny jeans, a studded belt, and banged up Chuck Taylors. “So there’s this place called the Stratosphere,” she says without looking up from her phone. “Heard of it?”

I nod. “Never been there, though.” The Stratosphere is one of the places Gray is always trying to drag me to.

She laughs. “No surprises there. Anyways, a couple of my friends and I are going at like nine; my brother’s band is playing. You should come.”

My breath catches in my throat. “You…want me to come?”

“Sure, why not?”

I force my head to nod. “I will totally be there.”

“Awesome. See you then.”

She turns and strolls out into the parking lot. “I like you, Jackson,” she calls over her shoulder. “You’re fun!”

I force air into my lungs. “Yeah,” I stammer, “me too.”

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