Home > One Wish

One Wish
Author: Jaimie Roberts

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

The echoes of the coffee machine chortling and spluttering ring through my ears as I simultaneously inhale the sweet aroma of coffee. I will never tire of that smell. It’s lived within me ever since my parents bought our little coffee shop in Sheridan, Wyoming, sixteen years ago. I remember being this little seven-year-old with pigtails running out back to fetch some more coffee for my dad, a bright smile on my face, a little skip in my step. I never had a care in the world back then. Never knew the pain my father was secretly going through with cancer riddling his body, slowly but surely making him weaker. Sure, I had noticed the dark circles under his eyes, the way he sometimes winced when he had to bend down for something. Whenever I caught him, he would say, “Never mind me, little scamp. Your old dad is just that… Getting old. I’m not the spritely man I once was, but the main thing is I’m still here.” I had no idea of the hidden meaning to his words. He was taking every day as it came, knowing that one would be his last.

I was twelve when he eventually passed, leaving behind a devastated daughter and an equally devastated wife. My mother found it hard to cope for a while after his passing. As a result, I had no other choice but to grow up, and grow up fast. She quickly lost interest in the café, citing that it brought up too many painful memories. In the end, my two aunts and I rallied around the café, keeping it afloat because we all knew that my father would be devastated if we sold it. Now, nine years later, I am eighty percent shareholder—my mother being the other twenty percent—and manager of the place. It means early mornings and being rushed off my feet all day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Audrey, what time are we meeting at the restaurant tonight?”

Turning from the coffee machine, I gaze towards my employee and friend, Victoria, her bright red, wavy hair bouncing as she levels her inquisitive brown eyes at me. “At Joe’s, around seven?”

Her ruby red lips turn up into a huge grin before winking at me. I know that wink. She’s up to something. “Gotcha. By the way, me and the gang got you something for your birthday. We’ll let you have it as soon as the rush hour calms a little.”

“Victoria,” I protest. “No one needed to get me anything.”

Victoria pushes a wavy strand of hair away from her face, puffing out her annoyance at the same time. “Audrey,” she replies, a sarcastic drawl in her voice. “It’s not every day you turn twenty-one. Besides, we all love you here. Why wouldn’t we have gotten you something?”

She smirks before I turn to see my two other employees, Jason and Trent, with the same amused expressions on their faces. Rolling my eyes, I smile back. “Okay, thank you. I appreciate it, you guys.”

I turn around to deal with my orders when I hear Trent’s singsong voice saying, “You haven’t seen it yet.”

“I’m sure whatever it is, I’ll love it,” I reply, without turning.

“Latte with a double shot,” Victoria shouts from behind me.

“Got it!” I shout back, trying to be as quick as I can.

For the next two hours we’re rushed off our feet with order after order. When it finally calms and I’ve just finished doing the last coffee, I feel a tug on my arm. I turn to find Victoria standing alongside Jason and Trent. Trent’s dazzling light blue eyes light up like a Christmas tree, causing me to chuckle. “Time for your present,” she sings, waltzing towards the storage room out back. I gaze around the shop and see there’s no customers waiting to be served, so I follow them all to the storage room. It’s not much to look at, but I spent many an hour playing hopscotch in the middle of the room when I was small, or sneaking coffee in here when my father wasn’t looking so I could have a little fix. I often wondered to this day if he ever knew what I was up to back here.

“So,” Victoria says, snapping me from my memories. “Here’s the little something from all of us.”

In Victoria’s outstretched arms is a little square blue box with a blue ribbon tied in a bow. I give them all an amused smirk before taking the present. “Seriously, guys, you shouldn’t have.”

“Just open it already!” Victoria snaps, giggling away.

“We hope you like it,” Jason pipes in, all of their eyes now watching me untie the ribbon.

Once I have the ribbon untied, I pull open the box to find two tickets to the premiere of my favorite heartthrob, Eli Prescott’s new movie, When Love Finds a Way.

When I gasp, Victoria shouts, “And guess who’s going to be there at the opening ceremony? Only Eli effing Prescott himself!”

I snap my eyes up to Victoria, a look of complete shock and disbelief. “Nooooooo,” I draw out, unable to comprehend what I’m hearing. I have been crushing on this guy ever since he came on my radar seven years ago. He’s since married to a beautiful model wife named Kendra Banks, but it hasn’t stopped me daydreaming about what it would be like to be married to him. What a life they must lead together. I know one day I will be devastated when they start having Prescott babies, but until that time, I can still fantasize about what it would be like to have him as my husband.

“Yes!” Trent pipes up. “He’s actually in town right now and will be appearing at the showing tomorrow night. This is your chance to be up close and personal with Mister God himself.” He fans his face causing the jet black curls on top of his head to dance.

Trent loves him just as much as I do, but since I loved him first, I have dibs. He still admires him from afar but has started drooling over Mark Wahlberg lately. I can’t say I blame him for that either.

“I can’t believe this, you guys. Thank you so much!” I move in for a group hug, a huge grin plastered on my face. I’m so grateful to have such fantastic employees that I can call my friends.

“You’re welcome,” they all sing together, crushing me in an embrace.

“Any service here?” I hear a voice sing from afar.

I make a move, but Victoria grabs my arm. “I’ll go get that.”

I smile my thanks and watch as she walks out the door. “I really mean it. Thank you.”

Jason’s brown eyes sparkle as he approaches me, takes my hand and kisses it. “You deserve it. You work so hard around here when you really don’t need to. It’s about time you had a break—even if it is a little outing at the movie theatre.”

I barely have the words “Thank you” out of my mouth when I hear Victoria shouting my name. “Can you come out here and help with an order, please?”

I frown up at Jason and Trent before moving towards the door. It’s not like Victoria doesn’t know how to use the machine, but then again, she can get flustered when it’s a particularly difficult order.

I take one step in front of the other noticing just how woozy I am and how weary my feet are. I’ve been on the go since five this morning, and it’s now ten. No wonder my feet want to give up.

As I walk out into the storefront, I notice a man standing with his back to me waving to another man outside. I frown, turning my attention to Victoria and noting that she has that mischievous look in her eyes again. “This customer wants a triple venti soy no foam latte to go. You know what I’m like with orders like that.”

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