Bennie and I walked around a little store, spying new clothes for Ari. She was nestled in my arms, munching on a baby cracker.
"What about this?" Bennie asked, pulling out a leopard print dress from the rack. "Yes!" I smiled, taking it from her hand and holding it up against Ari.
"Ya!" she squealed, feeling the soft fabric.
"I think she likes it," Bennie smiled.
"I can't believe she's going to be two next month." I smiled, thinking back to when she was born.
She was so small. And I was so scared.
I had no one, only Bennie.
"I wish Mom would come up so see her," I frowned, thinking about my mother who practically disowned me.
"I know, she's acting so stupid. Maybe I can try and convince her?" Bennie joked, but I wish she were serious.
"Alright, let's go checkout. I've gotta leave for work soon." we walked to the checkout and placed the dress on the till. Ari seemed fascinated by the BEEP noise, when the cashier scanned the tag.
"That'll be 35-" Bennie jumped in front of me. "I'll get it."
"Are you sure?" I asked and she nodded. "Consider it, one of many birthday gifts for my darling niece."
She handed the bag to Ari who chewed on her finger. We walked out to the busy street, I looked down to where the people were gathered before and it seemed to be that the crowd grew.
"Let's get going, you have to leave for work soon." I followed Bennie to her car and buckled Ari back into her car seat.
"I'm just going to throw this out," I picked my Starbucks cup up from the cup holder and walked over to the garbage can.
Right when I tossed it in, someone spun around and bumped into my shoulder, letting out an 'ooph' sound. "I'm so sorry-" my mouth went dry.
It's fine- Maeve?" I blinked.
When I could finally say something, I was scared too. "Hello?" she waved at me.
"Gemma." I searched for another word, but none came to mind. I was in complete and utter shock.
"You look amazing!" she reached in to hug me and I hesitated. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders, a place I haven't been to in a long time.
She smelt of cinnamon and sugar. She smelt just like Harry. Tears jerked my eyes shut and I pulled back. "Are you okay?" she asked, looking at me with a face to familiar to Harry's.
"I'm fine, it's just... It's been so long!" I lied. I actually hoped I'd never see another Styles again... But that was a lie too.
"Maeve!" Bennie called, I turned around to see her waving at me from the front seat.
"Bennie!" Gemma smiled, racing over to the car.
"Shit! No!" I quickly ran after her, but she was already at the car.
Bennie's face went white, "Gemma?" she gave a weak smile, then gave her attention to me. Her eyes were calling for an exit, I was scared to know what mine called for.
"It's been way too long! How have you two been?" Gemma smiled at us, her dimples bringing back fond memories of her brother and I, swimming at the lake house with her.
"Good! Jordan and I are engaged..." Bennie tried to make conversation but could tell I needed to leave.
"It was so nice talking to you, Gemma. But I need to go to work." I walked over to the passenger side and opened the door.
"Oh, well we should really meet for coffee soon and-"
"Mama!" Ari's voice hit me like a bullet.
Gemma looked in the back seat and spotted Ari, wiggling her toes in her seat.
"Who's this?" my heart jumped, Gemma peaked over the passenger seat and at her niece.
"Mama!" Ari began to whine, pointing at me.
"S-she's yours?" Gemma looked at me. I said nothing.
"Who's is she?" I said nothing.
She looked at Ari and must have seen her fathers dimples or her curls or her smile or her shocking green eyes.
"Oh my God." Gemma stepped back and I got in the car, Bennie pulled out and drove away, leaving a shocked Gemma in the parking lot to take in what she had just seen.
"I'll see you tomorrow, baby." I kissed Ari's head and thanked Jordan and Bennie for watching her while I work.
I needed to get my mind off things and I knew this was the only way to do it. I drove to the restaurant where I waitress and pulled into the employee parking lot.
I signed in and began taking orders right away. We were crazy busy for the first few hours, couples and families going in and out.
But as the night went on, the crowd grew less and less, which was very unusual for us. But I never thought anything of it and kept my mind on my job but my eyes on the door, hoping that Gemma wouldn't come marching in here demanding answers.
"Maeve, can you come here for a minute?" my boss, Mitch, called me over. He was a heavier build with only a few patches of hair on his head.
"Yes, Mitch?" I trotted over, putting a few empty glasses in my hand down.
"We have some very special guests coming tonight and I need you to take very good care of them." he smiled, looking over his shoulder.
"Who?" I asked.
"I can't for security reasons," he winked.
"Well, I'll take very good care of them." I smiled, picking the glasses up and bringing them to the kitchen.
I watched as nearly everyone walking out, making their way in and out of the restaurant. Eventually, Mitch's special guests arrived.
"Okay, there they are." I walked over and brought them to a seat. "We have five more people coming," a man had explained that they were running a bit behind. I pulled more chairs over to the table and waited for the other guests.
I didn't recognize them, but I figured if Mitch found them important than they were probably just close family.
I turned around to see the table now occupied, seeing that every chair was taken, I grabbed my note pad and went to work.
"Hi, my name is Maeve and I'll be your server tonight, can I get you anything to drink?" without looking up I wrote down the orders as they came to me.
A very obnoxious voice came next, I quickly glances at the blonde bimbo in the tight red dress ordering. "Um.. A sex on the beach." she giggled.
I rolled my eyes and scribbled it down.
"And for you?" I looked up, nearly dropping the pad.
"Erm.. How about a Pepsi?" he looked up from the menu and his eyes met mine. His eyes went from the boredom to shock. But we both stayed silent.
"Mhm." I almost ran away. Instead of going for the drinks, I slammed the order on the bar table and grabbed onto the edge for balance.
"Maeve, are you okay?" one of the bartenders asked.
"Yeah, just.. Can you get me these?" I nudged the paper forward and she nodded, making the sex on the beach first.
Memories from my teen years came rushing back.
Holding his hand, kissing his lips, having his arms twisted around me as he whispered sweet nothings in my ear as I nudged my head under his chin.
I remember the feel of his fingers on my hips and how when he ran his fingers through my hair, it would put me to sleep. He'd sing to me.
He set my every nerve on fire and made it so hard for me to resist him.
So many times we wanted to have sex. But so many times we knew what could happen.
And what could happen, did happen.
I looked back over at the table, he had his arm wrapped around the blonde girl, who looked more like a hooker than anything else.
"Here, sweetie." I dried a falling tear and picked up the drinks, silently bringing them to the table.
I handed them out, but tried to say nothing.
"Here, Harry." I bit my tongue and the whole table looked up.
"Fuck," I cursed under my breath.
His eyes made me ache, but they were so forgiving.
I missed him too much. But I just smiled and walked away, acting like everything was fine. Just like I did two years ago.