“Really?” I ignored the annoyed glare Jane gave me and continued. “I really like them. How are they live?”

“Pretty good,” Jack shrugged, and turned sharply into the parking lot outside an all night diner.

When we got out of the car, Jane scampered over to him, looping her arm through his. He didn’t look pleased by it, but he didn’t pull away either.

Outside in the bright glow of the streetlights, I looked him over again. He had on pair of Dickies shorts, skater socks, and light blue Converse, along with the pink tee shirt. He more closely resembled cotton candy than he did a love interest for Jane.

“Oh crap,” I said after I’d gotten out of the car, and looked down at my dirty, bare feet. Blisters and oil covered them, and I couldn’t imagine cramming my swollen feet back into Jane’s shoes.

“What?” Jack asked, and then followed my gaze down. “Oh. Just don’t wear shoes.”

“I can’t not wear shoes.” I didn’t see much of another option, but I couldn’t go into a restaurant without shoes.

“You can wait in the car,” Jane offered up with a smug smile and leaned in closer to Jack, so he pulled his arm free from her and took a step away. She looked a little defeated, but I knew she wouldn’t give up that easy.

“No, you’ll be fine,” Jack insisted. “If they hassle you, I’ll take care of them.”

“What does that even mean?” I asked, but he’d already convinced me. After all, I’d seen the way he chased a gang of unruly guys. The graveyard shift at a Denny’s rip-off wouldn’t stand a chance.

As predicted, nobody noticed my lack of footwear. In fact, nobody noticed me, or even Jane. The waitress kept her eyes completely focused on Jack.

He sat down first, and Jane squished up next to him, so he kept moving over until he was plastered up against the window. I sat down across from them, and Jack rested his arms on the table, leaning towards me.

“What can I get you?” the waitress asked.

“Just coffee,” Jack answered. “Or did you guys want something else?”

“Coffee’s fine,” I said. I was a little hungry, but I felt uncomfortable eating in front of him and Jane.

“Are you sure you’re not hungry?” Jane asked, running her fingers on his arm, but this time, he actually recoiled from her touch.

“Nope,” Jack sighed, then muttered under his breath, “but I wish I was.”

“What?” the waitress asked, leaning in closer to hear him.

“Nothing.” Jack smiled at her. “Just the coffee.”

“Thanks,” I told the waitress when she lingered at our table, and she left to get our order.

“Thanks again for saving us.” Jane pressed herself against him. “If there’s anything I can do to repay you, just let me know.” There was definitely something strange going on, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

His skin was beach bum tanned, unnatural for people in Minnesota in March. His eyes were a weird blue-gray color, and there was something tremendously boyish about them, about him really, but otherwise, nothing seemed to stand out as overly attractive.

“Are you famous or something?” I blurted out, and Jane looked embarrassed enough for both of us so I didn’t bother blushing.

“What do you mean?” He sounded confused.

“Everyone’s staring at us. At you,” I corrected myself.

Jack just shrugged and looked down at the table but didn’t bother checking to see if I was right.

“I’m not famous,” Jack said. He looked like he wanted to explain things more, but then the waitress appeared with three mugs and a pitcher of coffee.

“Is there anything else I can get you?” the waitress asked.

“We’re fine, thanks,” Jane snapped, putting her hand possessively on Jack’s thigh until the waitress left.

“Come on. What’s going on?” I rested my arms on the table and leaned in closer to him because I’d lowered my voice.

“I don’t have an answer for it.” Jack picked up the pitcher of coffee and poured a cup for himself and me, and then filled Jane’s too. “Do you take cream or sugar in yours?”


I was perfectly capable of doing it myself, but I think he wanted to occupy himself so I would be less likely to notice him hedging the question. He dumped a creamer and two packets of sugar in my coffee, and stirred a creamer in his, then settled back in the booth.

“I take cream and sugar too,” Jane added, and Jack pushed the bowl of creamers and sugar towards her.

“So you’re not famous?” I refused to let it go without a direct answer.

“I can assure you that I’m not famous,” Jack smiled. This one thing I would say about him; he had to have one of the greatest smiles of all time.

“You just look so familiar to me,” I said.

“I know, right?” He gave me a perplexed look that mirrored my own.

“So do I know you from somewhere?” As soon as I said that, I knew that wasn’t exactly it either. I could almost guarantee that I’d never seen him before, but there was something undeniably familiar about him.

“That’s not possible,” he shook his head.

“How is it not possible?” I asked. “Did you just move here or something?”

“It’s complicated.” He touched his coffee cup and made like he was going to drink it, but he never even lifted it off the table.