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Beautiful With You Part Twenty-Five
Chapter 25

After Maya finished her morning classes, she and Frank headed to the coffee shop where she worked. She got herself an iced tea and she got him a regular black coffee. They sat down together in the same little out of the way corner that they sat in on their anniversary a few months back. Frank ripped open a few sugar packets and dumped them into his coffee, “So tell me, why’d he decide to break it off?”

“He was gonna be moving and he decided long distance wasn’t going to work,” Maya said, which she could say was technically true. Richard was leaving. But he was just leaving schools and he was probably still living in the same house, “I mean, I thought the long distance would work but I guess he didn’t.”

“Sounds like an a*****e,” Frank said, stirring his coffee, “He didn’t even say much at my Halloween party. Remember that? He was dressed as Batman right?”

Maya nodded. In Richard’s defense, he kind of had to keep quiet because she thought that Frank might recognize his voice even if he’d only met Richard once. She wanted to play it safe and not let Richard say much. But she just kept quiet and nodded in agreement, “He uh, didn’t want to be in the Batman costume and I forced him to get it anyway.”

“Wow. What an a**,” Maya suddenly felt kind of bad that she was making Richard out to be an a*****e when it really wasn’t like that at all. It was true that Richard didn’t want to dress up as Batman but he knew as well as she did that it had to be done to make sure no one knew about the two of them. He got used to the costume eventually. And if he had been allowed, he would’ve spoken to everyone in that house. But then again, Richard was being an a** so Maya let Frank say what he wanted about Richard especially since he was in fact acting like an a**, “How’d you meet him anyway?”

Maya was silent for a minute. ********, she never did come up with a story on how they met. Jade and Audrey had never asked. Why didn’t they ask? They should have prepared her for this question! She looked around for something to give her answers and just suddenly blurted out, “Here. I met him here. At this coffee shop. Both of us loved coming here and it just went from there ya know. Then we started hanging out around other places that wasn’t here and then we saw how much we had in common and-” Maya stopped herself when she realized she was beginning to babble and even Frank was kind of looking at her like she was insane.

“Figures you’d meet him here,” Frank chuckled after an awkward pause, “You love this place more than most people. You even decided to work here.”

“I would’ve worked at that bookstore Jade works at but she said they had literally just hired new people by the time I sent in an application,” Maya said with a pout. She had really wanted to a bookstore too. Dammit.

By the time Jade had finished her morning classes and arrived at work, she had texts and missed calls out the a** all coming from David. The first few she wasn’t aware of because she was distracted with her schoolwork. Once she had a minute to sit in her car before driving to work, David was texting her and calling her and she kept sending him straight to voicemail, which he took full advantage of. She didn’t really want to really talk to him after his little episode a few days before. He had really freaked her out. He had never done that kind of thing before and he had never expressed his dislike for Audrey and Maya. He had always been nice to them, even though Maya and Audrey would disagree.

“He’s a shifty little s**t,” Maya said when Jade had told her about it the day after it happened, “I would say I told you so but I don’t think saying that would be enough. I might need a little dance to do when I say it just so it really sinks in.”

“Yes Maya. I know. You were right and I was wrong,” Jade said. She hadn’t told Audrey because she knew her reaction would be very similar to Maya’s and she didn’t need that twice. Besides, she hated telling the same story multiple times. She would leave it to Maya to tell Audrey the story.

But eventually, after he began calling a certain amount of times, Jade just turned off her phone because she was tired of hearing it ring fifty times. Once she got to work she was able to ignore her phone and not be distracted. She had eventually become comfortable working outside of the café and was getting back to the things she used to do. Today she was putting some new hardcovers on the shelves. This was the first time since her stalker had snuck up on her that she had gone into the back area to grab the new books. She was nervous at first, constantly looking over her shoulder as she grabbed the first box. She brought it out and began placing the books onto the shelves. The store was quieter than usual, but she was able to push the fear deep down and continue with her work. She wasn’t going to let that creeper ******** with her anymore. He obviously had no reason to since she wasn’t seeing Norman anymore. Getting over him was hard especially since she not only saw him in class but saw him all over campus and he had even stopped by the café at lunch. But that did start happening less and less so she was only seeing him at school now. And now that he wasn’t her teacher anymore, she barely saw him at all. But every time she did, it was like reopening an old wound. At first she could see the hurt in his eyes too but eventually they just became cold and there was nothing there anymore.

Jade emptied the first box and got up to grab the other one and almost ran into someone, “Oh god I’m sorry sir! I-”

Standing in front of her with his coffee cup over his head to avoid a spill was Norman. Both of them stayed where they were, inches apart about to collide. Norman was the one to take a step back and he sipped his coffee, “Jade.”

“Nor-uh, I mean, Professor Winters,” Jade said, swinging the empty box around in front of her, staring at the coffee cup in his hand, “What’s that you’re drinking?”

Norman looked down at the cup and then back at her, “Well I’ll tell you it’s not a Caramel Macchiato. I did try drinking one that someone else had made but it just…didn’t taste as sweet. It tasted too bitter so I started getting what I used to get.”

Jade felt her cheeks get warmer and she looked down at her empty box, “Come on, my Caramel Macchiato wasn’t that good. They were pretty average.”

“They were the best,” he mumbled, “The best I’d ever had.”

They both looked down at their feet and Jade threw her arms up, “We’re not even talking about coffee are we?”

“I wasn’t, no,” he said, keeping his voice low. There was a pause and then he continued, “Ya know, that day that you ended it, I didn’t want to stay and teach for the rest of the day. I still did because hey, I gotta stay professional, right? But then I spent the next week trying to figure out how it was so goddamn easy for you to end our relationship and move on so quickly and I was a mess for all this time?”

“You think it was easy for me?” Jade said, “I had to see you the next day and the next day. I never got to move on.”

“That makes two of us,” Norman shot back, “I would have given up everything for you. You think I gave a s**t about that job? There are dozens of schools all over the city.”

“And until you found that new school, if they decided to overlook the fact that you dated a student, how long would you have been out of work?” Jade said, putting her hands on her hips, “I didn’t want you to have to be jobless for me. I don’t want that for you.”

“Even if I didn’t find another school, I have other skills outside of teaching,” he said, “I can take care of myself.”

“I’m not discussing this anymore with you,” she said. It was the next thing she said that surprised both of them, “And ya know what? It was easy to move on after I ran into David. Real. Easy.”

Norman was actually heartbroken but he hid it well, laughing at her, “Oh yeah? You actually got back together with him? That shifty little ******** a*****e? Then you deserve everything you get Jade. Everything.”

“Good,” Jade snapped, shoving him out of her way. She couldn’t believe she had said something like that. She wished she could take it all back but now it was too late. She’d said it and there was nothing she could do to fix it. She heard him stomp away and she went into the back area, crying in the far corner for a few minutes before she returned to work.

Audrey sat down to eat her lunch and saw some students leaving Tom’s classroom. Two girls walked past her table, talking amongst themselves, “So Professor Brooks is gonna pick someone to work with him on a project. I hope it’s me.”

The girl’s friend glanced at Audrey and scoffed, acting like she was trying to be subtle but she couldn’t have been more obvious, “At least we won’t have her in our class to ******** her way into doing the project, right?”

The girls giggled as they continued on their way and Audrey suddenly lost her appetite. She dropped her sandwich and rested her head on her hand. She saw Tom come out of the classroom after the last student left. He noticed her and headed for her table. She sat straight up, surprised that Tom was actually approaching her. He had barely spoken to her in so long. She missed him so much. Tom didn’t sit down with her but he stood next to her table, leaning against it, “So I heard from Benjamin that you entered the most recent contest.”

“I did,” she said with a nod, “I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.”

Tom actually smiled warmly, “Well good for you. And good luck to you Audrey. I may be working with a contestant in the near future but you deserve it the most.”

“You still think that?” Audrey whispered.

“Audrey I never hated you,” he said, “But you have to understand where I’m coming from. I just hope you’re not doing this for me.”

“I have to admit, I was…at first,” she replied, “But when I got the actual information about the contest, I realized I really wanted to do this. I wanted it for myself. And my friends told me they’d beat me up if I skipped out again.”

Tom started laughing as he started walking away, “I should’ve tried that in the beginning. Good luck again Audrey. Good-bye.”

So I realized that Tom & Richard had moments of being douchebags but Norman hadn't acted like that yet, so I thought it would be fun to make him an a*****e...even though....he's kind of right...and Jade's a b***h. LOL!

And Audrey & Tom are still my OTP. Audrey & Tom forever. They need a ship name I feel wink LOL


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