Jim Reynolds, newly divorced, is headed to Sutter’s Bay just before Christmas. Wanting a new start after the broken marriage, Jim has accepted a new attorney position at a law firm after the holidays. He’s leaving behind Los Angeles, but also his new baby daughter, Hope. He’ll miss her first Christmas.
Edward Cross came back to Sutter’s Bay a few years back after a relationship grew abusive. A fire at the salon where he worked sends him to Mabry’s restaurant with a chance to begin again. There he runs into Jim, who just happens to be a former lover from LA.
Both men are seeking another chance at life, and maybe with each other. Can they reconnect over the Christmas holidays?
“Oh no.” The plates rattled in Edward’s hands but he managed to keep them upright.
“What? You’re doing fine.” This from his trainer, Marion, an older plumpish woman with short dark red hair and a ready smile. She had explained to him that she preferred the morning shifts as her grandkids were in school and she could pick them up for her daughter in the afternoons.
“No. It’s, the guy at table four.”
Marion looked. Grinned. “Oh, he’s a cutie.”
“Yeah and --”
“What do the cute ones make you nervous? Don’t worry, Edward. You’re a natural at this. You got this. I already plan on telling the guys how well you’re doing.”
Edward paused for a moment to take that in and give his trainer an appreciative smile. "Thanks. But no. I know that guy.”
“Yeah? Well, that’s fine then. It’ll be okay. Go put those in the kitchen and we’ll go right on over.”
Edward put the dishes in the tray for washing and hurried back out to the restaurant floor, smoothing down his hair as he did so. For no good reason. So, Jim Reynolds happened to pick his first day at Mabry’s to have breakfast. Alone. Edward wondered where his wife or girlfriend was. Not that it was his business.
Marion gestured for him to come over and he practically ran there. She gave him a look and then turned to Jim.
“Good morning, sir, and welcome to Mabry’s. My name is Marion and I’ll be your server, and this is Edward, who I am training.”
Jim’s gaze strayed up from the menu he had been perusing to look very briefly at Marion, then looked at Edward, his blue eyes widening. “Edward.”
The soft way he said Edward told Edward that he definitely had been recognized. And remembered, obviously.
“Jim, how are you?”
“Uh. Fine.” He seemed at a loss.
Marion cleared her throat. “Coffee, sir?”
“We’ll just get that for you and give you a chance to look over the menu.” Marion stepped away and immediately looked pointedly at Edward.
“Excuse me,” Edward said and followed after her.
“Don’t screw this up, Edward,” she admonished. “You’re doing great. You can talk to the eye candy after your shift. Got that?”
“It’s okay. I can imagine it’s a bit startling. Former boyfriend?”
“Something like that.”
Marion nodded. “I’ll get his coffee. You go over and check on table two.”
And so it went. Marion ended up taking Jim’s order without Edward because she decided Edward was too distracted by him. She was probably right. Edward was very much aware that Jim watched him as he moved across the restaurant. She did let him go over and clear his dishes away.
“Did you want anything else?” Edward asked, politely as he picked up Jim’s empty plate.
“Yeah. Actually. Um. What time do you get off work?”
Edward had only been scheduled for four hours, the seven to eleven shift, his first day. He hoped to have those hours expanded as soon as they realized he was not a fuck up.
“I’d like to talk to you. See you. Can we go somewhere for coffee then or something?”
“Sure. There’s a locally owned place called Sutter’s Brew on Main. Meet there at say eleven fifteen?’
Jim smiled and it did funny things to Edward’s gut. It had been a long time since he’d seen that gorgeous smile. “See you then. And for what it’s worth, looks like you’re doing great on your first day.”
“Thank you. Yeah, see you.”
After Jim paid and left, Edward was able to get back into the flow of things quite well and so he wasn’t all that surprised when his shift ended to see Chris Mabry waiting for him at the front of the restaurant by the entrance.
“Nice job today, Edward. So far so good.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I’d like you to work the breakfast shift exclusively for the next four days, if you’re able, the same seven to eleven, before we try you out for the lunch crowd. Think you’re up for trying it without help tomorrow morning?” Mabry asked.
Mabry smiled. It even seemed genuine. “Great. See you then.”