Mindy walked into work whilst tying her apron on. It was time for another long day. It was almost not worth it but she needed the money to support her and Elena and besides, she had one distraction on her mind that would help her get through. Ashton. Hopefully, she would see him again, at the Cambridge hotel. She caught herself smiling but stopped. If her friends saw her this happy, they wouldn't stop bugging her about why she was happy. And there was no way she was going to tell them…yet.
A few moments later, her friends Stacia and Marcus walked in. They were laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Mindy asked, curious.
“Oh we were just talking about what happened yesterday at your work”
“It’s all over the news. Someone had video recorded Ashton and Luke, from your sisters number 1 favourite band, 5 Seconds Of Summer, running away from a mob of fans”
Mindy bit her lip. On the outside, it looked like she was trying to hide her laughter but inside, she was trying to squeal like her sister at the mention of 5SOS. Stacia snorted.
“Yeah, remind me. What did Ashton say as he was running away?”
“Oh, uhm, I think it went something like ‘we only wanted a snack!!” Marcus said, mimicking Ashton but making it more melodramatic. This annoyed Mindy and pissed her off to the extreme. But she couldn’t say anything without revealing how she felt about Ashton. So she busied herself with preparing the restaurant for the day. Her friends looked at her, confused.
“Weren’t you working there yesterday, Min?”
“Yeah, Min, where were you when this comedy miracle happened?”
Mindy slammed down two glasses on a table and turned to them with force. That was it. She could show them how much this topic was making her annoyed without giving away anything. “I was doing my job. You know, cleaning rooms. It’s what I get paid for. And apparently, you guys don’t get paid for cooking and working here but for gossiping…” She trailed off, raising an eyebrow. Her friends caught on and started to tie on their aprons but now they looked annoyed. Good, they can live with it.
“Jeez, Mindy. Take a chill pill, we were just asking you a question. No need to get all pissy about it. Is it your time of the month or what?”
Honestly, it was but that wasn’t why she was mad. In fact, she didn’t even know why she had gotten so mad over it. But she wasn’t about to tell her friends that. Instead she quoted Ashton. “I’m just saying. It must have been a very traumatizing experience for him.” She said casually, like it was nothing.
An hour later, more co-workers came in and started to help with preparing the food and setting the tables. Things slowly started to come to life. Stacia and Marcus hadn’t mentioned yesterday again. And Mindy slowly started to get into the familiar rhythm of waiting, serving, cooking and cleaning. All thoughts of Ashton and 5SOS vanished…up until midday when Ashton entered the restaurant.
At first, she didn’t notice. You know when your like so pre-occupied with something that you don’t even register the words being spoken to you? Well, Mindy was so enthralled by her rhythm that as soon as he entered, she handed him a menu and guided him to an empty two-seater table, that Mindy didn’t even know it was him until he spoke.
“Ashton?” Mindy said. Her heart stopped as she looked up into the light brown eyes of Ashton’s that reminded me of melted milk chocolate…
Ashton changed his mind every second.
“I can’t believe I am actually thinking about going there. Am I crazy? Nope, that’s it. I’ve made my mind up. I’m not going there. It was a stupid idea. Pfft, what was I going to achieve by going there. Nothing. Absolutely nothing” Ashton said, sitting down on the couch. The boys rolled their eyes.
“You said that last time too but you changed your mind, Ash” Cal said, but honestly, he didn’t want him to go back.
“Welll, what do you guys think I should do? Go or not go?”
“Not go” They all said in unison. Ashton thought for a moment then sighed in frustration.
“But I mean, what harm would come if I did go there? I mean, it’s not like she will be there. It’s a restaurant. I go there, I look around, I see if she is there, if not then the trip wasn’t entirely wasted. I mean, it’s a restaurant. I sit down, eat some food, enjoy the rest of the day. No harm could come from just going there” Ashton said, he got up and started to pace again. The boys were worried he would burn holes into the floor with all his pacing.
“But what if she is there?” Luke said. Ashton paused, stunned at this question then scoffed.
“It’s not like we are strangers. We are not the type of people who are awkward around each other or hate each other. I’ll be civil and polite like I always am and say hi. Ask her how she and everyone is, catch up over a coffee and be friendly to each other”
Mike rubbed his hands on his face then combed his fingers through his neon, coloured hair. This whole thing was giving him a headache. “Then go, Ash. Clearly you have everything planned out. So go”
“But what if…” Ash started to say but Mike could not stand his indecisiveness anymore.
“Ashton, I swear to god if you do not go, I will literally force you to drive there and go”
Ashton held his hands up as if in surrender. “Alright, alright. I’m going. Yesh, I’m sorry I got on your nerves. I’ll see you all later, or not. I don’t even know” Ashton grabbed his keys and headed out.
The whole time he was driving, he kept changing his mind. And by the time he reached the restaurant, he was still indecisive about the whole thing. He took a deep breath and came to a conclusion. He didn’t waste petrol and drive the whole way to the restaurant to change his mind. Ashton had made it this far, he was not going to chicken out.
He walked into the restaurant which was buzzing with noise. A waitress walked up to him with a menu and led him to a two-seat table. She pulled out the chair and handed him a menu. He looked at her to smile thanks and faltered. He knew that hair, those eyes, that mouth. He knew her posture and the colour of her eyes and the only thing that scared him more than running into his ex at the restaurant was something he didn’t think was possible until now.
“Mindy?” He said with surprise and terror in his voice. Mindy looked up from grabbing the extra wine glass and cutlery. Her mouth parted in surprise and his name came out of her mouth is a rush as if she had been holding her breath until this moment.
“What are you doing here?” Mindy asked, smiling awkwardly and looking around.
“I heard this was a good restaurant by people, but now I think they’re wrong” Ashton said, beaming. Mindy frowned and tilted her head to the right a little bit.
“Why do you think they’re wrong, Ashton?”
“I think they’re wrong because they've totally undermined it! Now that I know you work here, I’m sure the food matches your personality” He said, pausing. He was contemplating on continuing and he did. “And your looks”
Mindy was confused. Was he complimenting her or insulting her? But Ashton ended up answering her question.
“Beautiful” He finished with confidence. Mindy blushed and looked back down at the table to hide her face.
“Well, you’re not too bad yourself. Where’s your entourage?” She asked, peeking up at him through her hair.
“Who?” Ash asked, raising an eyebrow questioningly.
“You know your posse?”
“Oh, you mean the boys. They stayed at home; Mike’s probably ordering a pizza right now, Calum is probably sleeping or watching tv and Luke is currently in love with your sister”
“Okay…that’s a topic for another day but I didn’t mean the boys, I meant the girls that usually come with a lot of screaming, crying, fainting etcetera, etcetera?”
“Oh right. They don’t know I’m here. I slipped out without them noticing me, so I’m good. You’re good. We’re all good.”
“Okay then” Mindy said, she stood up straight. “So I have to get back to work. Try not to draw attention to yourself. I honestly do not want to save you again. I know it was traumatizing for you but it was also tiring for me. Very exhaustive stuff, saving people. I will never do a job that reguires to save people…ever. When you’re ready to order, put your menu down and I will try and be the one to serve you”
“Alright then. I look forward to being in your presence again”
Mindy smiled and bit her lip shyly and then walked away, tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear. Ashton chuckled and then studied the menu. She walked up behind the counter and hear two sets of feet walk up to her.
“Oh my gosh, Mindy who is that?”
“Wait, is that…no, it can’t be…is that…Ashton Irwin?”
“What? No, it isn’t. Believe me, I would know if he was here because my sister would be here too”
“Alright then. Well, whoever he is, he’s totally checking you out and you are totally checking him out. I expect deets on him asap after this shift”
“You’re forgetting I have another job to do after this one, Stacia. So unfortunately, you will not be getting them today”
“Fine, but you can’t avoid it forever. And you can’t avoid telling me forever” Stacia said, walking over to a table to serve someone. But Mindy wasn’t listening. She was thinking of Ash and when he complimented her looks. She never thought herself beautiful and never felt it, but after Ash said it, she couldn’t help but feel like she was the most gorgeous girl on the world. And she liked that feeling.