Image courtesy of Pxhere

Breakfast for Three, Dinner for Two

The sticky tray of orange juice and coffee wobble on my palm when I see him. Hot Dad and his two cute kids again. I don’t understand why after all this time I still get butterflies just seeing him.

I can see the other waitresses eyeing him and inching towards the door, but I can beat them. I pretend I don’t see my table’s eager eyes as I set their tray of drinks down on the back counter and grab three menus, waving over the heads of two waitresses and smiling. Hot Dad nods, grabbing a hand of each kid and follows me to one of my tables. I ignore the glares of my other customers while we make stilting small talk.

By the time food comes out, their table’s gained a few more admirers. Two little blonde girls stand in the corner, giggling at Hot Dad’s son, a cutie with blonde curls and green eyes. The kid, who looks like he’s probably ten or eleven, blushes scarlet and stares fixedly at his plate, pushing cut pieces of blueberry pancake around, not eating.

“Hey,” I say to the kid, another tray of someone else’s drinks in one hand. “Got girl problems?”

I see his dad smile and my stomach flutters.

“Yeah,” mumbles the kid.

“Well,” I say, not knowing how I’m going to finish this sentence. Then words flash in my mind, rolling to my tongue before my brain can stop them. “If you grow up to look anything like your dad,” my mouth continues while my brain says shut up, shut up, shut up, “you won’t have any girl problems.”

When I realize what’s come out of my mouth, my heart drops to my stomach. I start inching away from the table, but Hot Dad is watching me. I notice he isn’t wearing a ring as he leans his arm on the table. “Oh, yeah?” Hot Dad asks, eyes on mine.

I giggle, but it isn’t convincing. There’s no chance he’d be interested in me, and I hate myself for opening my big gob. “Yeah,” I say with another step away.

Hot Dad is smiling, he’s painfully gorgeous. Tall with broad, muscled shoulders, light grey eyes and big lips framing a contagious smile. He’s so far out of my league we’re not even in the same country. “How many problems will I have?” he asks.

“Umm, ninety-nine?” I offer with another weak chuckle, painfully aware of my clunky, non-slip white sneakers and my zoo-keeper waitress uniform — a shapeless polo tucked into long khaki shorts.

“And what won’t be one?” He’s egging me on now, and I’m getting more and more nervous. I’m unnaturally aware of how large my tongue feels in my mouth.

“Uh… ladies?”

Hot Dad laughs a real laugh now and I laugh with him, taking my chance to exit before I make things worse.

I spend the rest of their meal as far away from their table as possible, afraid of what else my mouth will say without permission. I see him grab the check off the table and head to the register as his kids run out ahead.

I’m weighed down by another tray when he stops next to me, slipping me a folded napkin tab. I see numbers scrawled in red crayon as he bends down slightly and whispers, “If you ever want to go to a meal you don’t have to serve, I’d love to take you to dinner.”

I smile noncommittally, trying to keep my eyes from popping out of my head in shock. He doesn’t give me a chance to respond, but keeps moving to the register. I shove his number deep in my pocket and watch as my crush of years walks out the door, his number in my pocket and a dinner in our future.

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