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8 weeks ago

"Oi! What does it take to get some service around here?" a disgruntled customer grunted loudly, slapping his menu on the table.

I rolled my eyes.

Without even turning around I knew who the man was. His name was Arnold Jenkins. He was a seventy two year old war vet., who lost his wife of fifty years two years ago. Every Thursday evening he would come in, demand a particular booth by the window - if it was filled, he would wait, his foot tapping away - and he ordered the weekly special with a glass of tea. It was a routine he said he picked up after his wife died. He was a good tipper, but that didn't make waiting on him any easier for he thought the world owed him his every whim and that we ought stop everything and cater to his every desire. Plus, every week he would spiel a story from back when he was younger and this usually consisted of a forty five minute tale of something that could be told in five minutes. Needless to say, Lottie and I took turns waiting on the man, although half the time we decided who would do it by the grown up method of a rock-paper-scissors battle.

I put on my best fake smile and walked over to him, "Good evening, Mr. Jenkins, what can I get you to drink tonight?"

"I want the tea," he said gruffly, "I'm already ready to order seeing as getting service is about as easy as teaching a horse to dance the hula. I'll have the special." He thrust the menu at me, "thank you."

I sent the ticket back to the kitchen and stood against the wall for a moment, away from the sight of the fairly empty cafe.

"Taylor!" I turned and saw Lottie rushing towards me, a colossal grin on her face, "hottie in your section!"

I arched an eyebrow, "I'd hardly consider Mr. Jenkins a hottie. Maybe fifty years ago, but-"

"No, not him!" She said forcefully, dragging me to a little gap where we could see the seating area, "him!" She said excitedly pointing across the room.

I followed her finger and saw who she was talking about. There was a guy who looked roughly seventeen with a head full of disheveled black hair, he was certainly attractive.

"Well, get out there!" Lottie hissed, "Make a move!"

"A move? Lottie, you know I'm not like that."

Although for him maybe that could change.

"All I'm saying," she continued, "is that if you don't, I will."

"Fine, I'm going, I'm going," I said with a smile.

It had been a long time since I had had any interest in a guy. Between caring for my brother and working full time, a social life didn't exist. After my last relationship had ended, I swore off guys until I could actually make time for them. Because apparently boys don't like it when they not only don't see you, but the few times they do you aren't willing to have sex with them. My bad.

"Welcome to Pally's," I say cheerfully, taking out my notebook and pen, clicking it open. "My name is Taylor, can I get you anything to drink?"

The boy met my eyes and smirked, "I'll just have water. I'm James, by the way."

"Taylor," I say again, momentarily forgetting that I already said that.

"Yeah, you told me," he laughed. "So, uh-"

"JAMES!" He was cut off when another guy, who looked about the same age as him burst through the door, proceeded to his table, and sat down, as they high fived.

"Oh, this is my cousin, Fred," he said, nodding towards the Carmel skinned boy.

"I'm Taylor," I said shaking his extended hand.

Over the next hour, the boys found every excuse to get me over there, to refill their drinks, ask any question they could come up with and more. But, I won't bore with that because I know that isn't what everyone wants to know.

"So," James says, stirring his water with his straw, "How often do you work?"

"Full time, so...a lot." I laugh, refilling Fred's coca cola.

James nodded, "Your boyfriend must not like that, you working all the time. If I had a girl like you, I wouldn't like it, too many blokes could hit on you."

I smile, "Good line! But, I'm single, so, that problem doesn't really affect me."

"So, that means I can take you out sometime?" He smirked.

"I hardly know you," I wasn't against the idea, at all.

"What better way to get to know me?"

"Alright, maybe we can work something out."

"I'm going to hold you to that, Taylor."

"I'm sure you will."

Over the next two weeks, he came in almost every day, and stayed for multiple hours at a time. I worked all day six days a week, so our "going out" was confined to him staying while I closed up, but neither of us minded.

Over those two weeks I learned that he went to a private school, had a really big family, and wanted to go into detective work, although he didn't go into details, only that his father was in the same business as well. I told him as little information about myself as I could, not wanting to scare him off.

* 2 weeks later *

"When do you get off today?" James asked, tucking his change in his pockets.

"Eleven," I sigh, wishing I was like Lottie, getting off at five, "Late, I know."

He nodded, "The other day didn't you get off at six?"

"Yeah, but they need the help and I need the overtime, so except for the fact that I have to walk home in the dark, I'm fine with it."

He nodded and looked like he was about to say something when Fred sauntered in, "Oiya James, c'mon, Teddy wants to have a guy night!"

"I guess I'll see ya around?" He asked with a smile. I nodded and his smile turned into a grin, which didn't exactly hurt my pride.

"See ya later, Taylor!" Fred hollered, dragging James along towards the door.

Just before he could leave, a large woman pushing through the door, shoved him out of the way and demanded a table.

Oh, how I love my job.

James and Fred started laughing, "Have a good night, Taylor."

They left, leaving me with the rhinoceros of a woman who looked as if she would eat me.

"Right this way," I sigh.

The night went on, fairly uneventful, and I made a decent amount of tips, but I couldn't help but wish that I was anywhere but at work. Eventually, the last customer wandered out and I could clean up and clock out. It was oddly quiet without James asking me all about myself and all the cooking utensils, it was obvious he has never spent a lot of time
helping his mum in the kitchen.

The good thing about closing up wast that there wouldn't be any more customers who thought I was their servant, the bad thing was that I would then have to go home. This morning before my shift, my dad and I had a huge fight because I didn't appreciate him shoving me against a wall and ripping my tips from me the night before and I had stuff to say about it. Needless to say, I didn't care to go home.

Finally, I locked the door and saw that, to my surprise, James was waiting outside, his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels, "Ready?"

"What are you doing here?" I laugh.

"What? You think I'm going to let you walk home in the dark when there are weirdos out there? Please. Besides, you already said you didn't want to do that."

"Thank you, you didn't have to though, I could have managed."

It wasn't often gentleman came into my life.

"Aw, come on, what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't? Girl gives boy food, boy walks her home. Sounds like a good trade, and I definitely come out way ahead."

"Aren't you supposed to be having a boys night?"

He scoffed, "I'd rather be here with you."

I start to laugh, he was using total lines, but for some reason they worked.

"Alright."

"Lead the way!"

We started off in the direction of my flat, but as we passed an old playground, I couldn't help but detour. James didn't seem to have a problem with it and before long we found ourselves on the swings, talking, flirting and just avoiding everything else in the world outside of our little bubble.

"So," says James as he continued swinging, "Tell me about Taylor."

Well, I'm sixteen, a drop out, and my dad is a raging drunk...so according to society, I'm a taxpayer liability/charity case/troubled teen, take your pick.

"Eh, I'm pretty uninteresting," I shrug.

"You got the first part right, you're very pretty," he smirked, "but I see no way the second is the least bit true."

"Too bad it is," I half laugh, wanting to change the subject.

I had scared many a person away with my life story, and I never got into anything very deep, except with Lottie.

"I'll be the judge of that," he decided, pushing himself of the ground to go even higher.

"What do you wanna know?" I relent, "Give me a specific."

"Alright," he thought for a moment. "Tell me about your family."

Of course.

Of course this was his topic of choice.

I didn't answer for a moment, "Well, my mum ran out when I was young, haven't seen her since my brother was a baby."

"I'm sorry," he said awkwardly.

Afterall, there isn't much to say in that situation. He looked genuinely sorry though, which was rather refreshing to be perfectly honest.

"It's just been me, my dad, and my baby brother, Parker, since then. My dad is an airline mechanic."

"Nice."

"Okay, now it's my turn. What's your favorite thing about this little town?"

"The people, most definitly." He winked at me and I felt awkward as a blush rose on my cheeks, burning my face.

"Okay," says James and I could hear his satisfaction, "What do you find most attractive about me?"

I stopped swinging so quickly I nearly toppled over and fell on my face, "What?"

Even with the moonlight being our only sense of light, I could see that his face had lit up with the laughter that was pouring out of his mouth, he kept trying to speak, but I couldn't make out a word. When he had finally contained his laughter enough that I could be heard, I answered, "Who's even to say I find you attractive?"

"C'mon, don't try to deny that you are attracted to me!" James shot back, "That would be a contradiction!"

"Contradiction to what?" I retort through my laughter.

"To our date," he answered back matter-of-factly. "It would be completely preposterous to think that we would be on a date had you not found me attractive."

"Excuse me, sir, but when did this become a date?"

"Let me take you back to the restaurant! I seem to recall me asking you to go for a walk, which you eagerly accepted, and now here we are. That, my friend, is a date."

"It was a walk home, James. Home."

"Yet, here we are. Swinging on a park swing set, talking. I believe that's called a date. In fact, I would be willing to bet that you planned this whole thing! I think you intentionally mentioned your fear of going home in the dark, knowing I would be a gentleman and offer to walk you home. Then you intentionally had us go by this conveniently located park where you planned to seduce me."

I thought about rejecting that statement and arguing my case, but figured I may as well have a bit of fun with it. "Oi!" I sighed, "I thought I was very convincing!"

"You did great, for a beginner. Your efforts would have probably worked on someone who wasn't an expert."

"I have failed miserably," I drop my head, trying to suppress laughter, "I was just so sure that I would have my way with you right here in this very park!"

Wow.

Did I really just say that?

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because surely that statement scared him away.

I heard the sound of someone hitting the ground - and just knew he had jumped up and ran due to my sheer awkwardness - but, to my surprise, he was now sitting on the ground in front of the swing, shaking with laughter. He was laughing so hard no sound was even coming out.

I got up and sat beside him, and we both stayed there for the longest time. Looking back, it wasn't that funny. But, for whatever reason, it was at that moment.

When we had finally regained the ability to speak, I was the one who spoke up, "It's your eyes by the way."

"Huh?"

"You had asked what I found most attractive about you. It's your eyes."

He looked puzzled, "I didn't expect you to answer that."

"Don't act like you know everything about me yet, Potter. Now, it's your turn to answer a question," I was silent for a moment, thinking of how to properly word what I wanted to ask. "How am I doing?" I asked simply, with a smile, "In my plot of seduction, that is."

He smirked, "Could be better."

"Do I sense a challenge?"

"If you're up for it."

I scooted closer to him and for a moment we had one of those cliche moments in teenage relationships where you just stare longingly into the others eyes. Then, I leaned forward and softly pressed my lips to his, placing one of my hands on the back of his neck. When I pulled back, I pulled away slowly, my fingers curling lightly in his hair, "What about now?" I whisper in his ear, quite seductively, I might add.

He looked back at me, not breaking eye contact, "Much better." He took my face in his hands and this time he pressed his lips to mine. He pressed them there with a little more force, but still gentle. His tongue pressed against my lips and they parted for him and we stayed like that, kissing softly, for quite a while.

Now, let me just say, that while I'm not completely innocent, I'm not the type of girl who does this sort of thing. Ever. I'm never this far forward, but something about James Potter seemed to bring out the worst in me. Or the best, it's up to you.

After a while, James broke our kissing and pushed some hair out of my face, "It's late, I don't want to get you in any kind of trouble..." He was visually disappointed, and it was obvious it was taking all his will power to be a gentleman at this moment.

I thought this over for a moment.

I'm sixteen years old and can either go home and get yelled at, or stay out with a cute boy.

Decisions, decisions.

"I don't want to go home," I say quietly. "I forgot my key anyway, I'd have to wake my dad and he really does not appreciate that.."

Okay, so I really did have my key. But, honestly, who can blame me?

He seemed to know I was lying, but went with it, "I'm a might spot more comfortable than that log," he gestured to said log, "So if you want to spend the night at our cabin with me..."

"Yeah, yeah, I would like that."

"Really?"

"Yeah, why not?"

* 1 hour later *

"So, this is it," James announced awkwardly as we came upon the log cabin. It was nice, I'll admit that.

We went inside, and he showed me around, and before long we found a note from his cousin that the place was his tonight - he was staying at Jenny's (whoever she was).

We made our way to his bedroom. It was a medium sized bedroom with a large four poster bed and plenty of odd looking balls and sporty decorations - typical boy.

"I don't have any pyjamas," I said quietly, more to myself than to him, but he heard.

"I think I can find you something," James says with a sly smirk. He digs in his drawers and pulls out a plain, light brown tshirt, "I'll give you a minute to change," says James as he quietly slips in to the hall, a massive smirk on his face.

I slip out of my waitress uniform and pull the tshirt over my head. It came to my mid thighs and was many sizes too large. I have him the okay to come back inside and it didn't exactly make my pride hurt to see the way his eyes managed to pop out a little before he collected himself. I saw he had already changed into a white tshirt and boxer briefs.

Before I knew it, one thing had led to another and we had picked up right where we had left off, only this time we were on his bed. Our lips moved together, seemingly acting on their own, with very little concentration on our parts and I couldn't help but to feel warm inside as his arms traveled up and down my body, giving me chills. He pulled me closer to him and then rolled over so I was on his lap as we continued our kisses. He slipped the shirt over my head and it fell in a crumpled heap on the floor as I entangled my fingers in his hair once more and continued kissing him. Things escalated quickly from there. As time passed, every piece of our clothing wound up scattered around the bedroom in various crumples.

He looked at me, gently stroking my face, "are you sure?"

I nodded.

In that moment neither of us even gave a moment's thoughts about protection. The word 'condom' never crossed our minds once. All that mattered was he and I. Time didn't exist, it was just us. Two people having a nice night together to kick off a summer night. I wasn't the type of girl who normally did this type of stuff, but something about James made me want to. I wanted him.

I gasped as it happened, as he explored the cradle of my hips. Not out of pain, or fear, or shock, or even bliss. It was just...special. I couldn't explain it. Our breathing grew heavier and neither of us spoke. I kept my hands tangled in his hair the entire time, my fingers roaming freely through the unkempt black hair. He groaned. He looked over at me and kissed me, and this time it was different than the previous kisses.

I gasped against his skin, quietly, into the crook of his neck.

Not long after that, we fell asleep, completely exhausted from not only our evening together, but the burdens of the day. He pulled me closer to him and I couldn't help but enjoy the smell of him. You could still faintly smell the light scent of his cologne. As if filled my nose, everything blackened and I fell into a world that was, except for tonight, much better than my own.

* The Next Morning *

"Good morning," James said groggily, yawning.

"Morning," I say happily, content to stay where I am.

For the first night in as long as I could remember I hadn't spent the night getting screamed at, getting shoved, or being told how worthless I was. It was a refreshing moment.

Oh shit. Work.

"What time is it?" I jump up and start scrambling to find my uniform.

"Uh, around nine," he says, a but confused.

"Shit, I'm late," I find my clothes and start throwing them on as quickly as possible, "Shit shit shit."

"What's going on?"

"I'm late for work, and Mr. Acreman - my boss - isn't going to be happy."

"I'll get you there, don't worry!"

Forty five minutes later we reached the restaurant and the moment I walked in Mr. Acreman was already following me, rattling on and on about how irresponsible I was and how if he had 'any sense of a brain' he would fire me in a moment.

"I'm sorry," says James, who suddenly appeared with us, "But don't be mad at Taylor, it's all my fault. She saw that I was lost and stopped and helped me and then I kept talking, it was all my bad."

Mr. Acreman looked unsure but shrugged, "Just get to work and don't let it happen again. And I'm not paying you for the lost time."

Most people would thank or hug their bosses, but mine was not the sort to like that sort of thing.

I headed back towards the kitchen, but not before mouthing a thank you at James who simply winked as he left.

Perhaps this would be the start of something new? Something good?

* Present Time *

Couldn't have just let him walk you home, could you, Taylor?

Couldn't have stopped when he offered to stop and take you home?

Couldn't have stopped when he asked if you were sure?

I clock out after another fourteen hour shift and lean against the wall, placing a hand on my stomach.

I couldn't help but feel guilty. I had gotten myself in a bad situation, yes, but I also put an innocent baby in an even worse situation.

And that was something I didn't know if I could forgive myself for.

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