I Won't Forget

I look at him, his blue eyes, his brown hair. Claire has that. He smiles at me, a little smirk, enough to make me want to run back into his arms again. Enough to make me want to put behind all our conflicts and have him next to me. I almost let that feeling overcome me. But then I remember what I had just seen. How much that had hurt me . . .no. How much he had hurt me. I won't forget.

Follow Kate and Adam as they discover love, what it means, what it is, who deserves it, and how they can make theirs work.

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4. Chapter 4: Present

"One mocha latte supreme with whipped creme," I read off the slip that Alex, my coworker, filled out at the ordering station. I hand the drink to a woman in her mid-thirties wearing business attire and a scowl.

"Took you long enough," she mutters, handing me her credit card, even though I haven't even told her the total. I sigh and swipe her card and then wait while the old machine prints off a receipt.

"Here you are," I say, returning her card and giving her the receipt with a smile. That's all part of the job, wear a smile. However, I'm tempted to break the rules with this woman; I've already had a rough morning.

Once the business lady has gone, I lean against the table holding all of our baked goods. How is it that I, number 5 in my high school graduating class, have only been able to secure a measly job at Starbucks? I was supposed to be a doctor. I was supposed to be taking care of people. I was supposed to go to college.

I fiddle with my fingers and think about how much of my life I wasted. Five years. I gave him five years. I scuff my feet against the ground a little.

"Well aren't you Miss Smiley today?" Alex says, not smiling himself, just bumping his shoulder into mine a little. "What's up, Kate?"

I sigh. Alex and I aren't friends, to say. We work together, but at slow moments when one or two customers come through the door, we find ourselves talking a lot. About everything. It's good because he doesn't tell anyone about what I say, and I don't tell anyone about what he says. There's no reason to. No one else cares.

"Adam's back," I mutter and cross my arms over my chest. "He's finished two-year college and is taking a gap year before getting his master."

"Remind me again," Alex says, his pursing his lips in thought. "Adam is the douche who knocked you up and then left?"

That's another good thing about Alex. He says everything how it is. No matter how vulgar, or sometimes painful.

I bite my lip. "That's him."

"What a jerk," Alex says, also leaning against the table. I feel it creak slightly under our weight, and worried that it'll tip and spill the pastries, I stand up. "He gets to be successful and you're stuck at Starbucks," he continues.

I just look at my feet. "I don't know what to do."

"What do you mean?" Alex asks, obviously confused.

"About him being back!" I exclaim, putting my hands in the air and raising my voice. A few customers glance over at me. I lower my arms and whisper. "What am I supposed to do, Alex? Do I confront him? Do I pretend he's not here? Do you think he'll want to see Claire?" I hold my forehead in my hand and lean my elbow on the counter. "I didn't think he'd come back."

"Well, his family still lives here, right?" I nod. "Maybe he'll be occupied with them and won't want to see you."

I bite my lip. That hurt a little. Do I want Adam to come see me? To tell me that everything he did was a mistake? That the entire time during college he only thought of me? I laugh to myself. He certainly wasn't thinking that last one. I can't imagine how many girls he hooked up with at college. Or maybe I don't want to imagine how many girls he hooked up with...

I realize Alex is studying my face. Maybe waiting for me to breakdown or something. "No such luck," I mutter. "My mom is friends with his parents still."

"So dinner parties every night?" Alex jokes but I give him a look.

"If my mom is smart, then she wouldn't," I say, my face going completely serious.

Alex opens his mouth to say something else, but is cut off by the sound of the bell that we placed on the door. We got tired of being interrupted by customers while we were talking. At least this way we got a two minute warning.

I walk to the machines as Alex greets the customer and takes his order.

"One large coffee," Alex says to me. "No cream."

I start to make the order. My hands move quickly, pouring the coffee, pushing down the slid, and putting on the cardboard sleeve. I move to the register.

"Here you go," I say entering the order into the cash register. "That'll be . . ." I wait as the numbers on the register appear to me. "$1.59," I say and look up at the customer.

I can't tell if my jaw has dropped, but I hope for the sake of my dignity it is still closed. The customer is Adam.

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