Most Eligible Baby Daddy(10)

By: Chance Carter


“Thanks, Elle.”

Elle looked her in the eye. “You’ve got my back, I’ve got yours.”





Chapter 6

Elle

THE FOUR BOYS DIDN’T SHUT up until their mouths were full. It was a relief to Elle when they finally brought out the orders and the boys could divert their attention to their food instead of to the waitresses.

“Ketchup,” one of the boys demanded through a mouthful of hamburger.

“Certainly,” Elle said, keeping a fake smile on her face as she went to get it.

As she returned, a new customer arrived. Kelly made a face. It had already been a long shift and the two girls still had a few more hours of dinner to get through before they could flip the sign and knock off for the night. Elle knew that every new customer was going to get that same grimace from Kelly and she considered sending her friend home and trying to take the dinner rush on her own. She had no doubt it had been a while since Kelly’s last night off, but she wasn’t sure she could handle the whole dinner on her own. They only had the five customers right now, but it might get a lot busier later.

She looked outside and already could see traffic picking up on the street as people clocked off work. It would be dark in half an hour too.

“Sit anywhere you like,” she said to the new customer, and then, looking up, got a proper look at him for the first time.

He was the exact opposite of the four boys she and Kelly had been dealing with for the last half hour. He was tall and broad, with dark stubble and a mess of hair. He seemed about thirty, and while the four at the table were definitely boys, this guy was all man. His arms were thick and muscular, each muscle perfectly defined as if it had been chiseled. His skin was tanned as if he lived near the beach. His eyes were deep, with just a hint of fine lines around the corners, showing that he smiled a lot. He seemed thoughtful too. Elle was good at reading people, and in this man she saw a depth that was rarely apparent on the face of a man his age. He looked back at Elle and without saying a word, took her cue and found himself a seat in her section.

He walked slowly but purposefully. He was a man who knew where he was going, even when he was unfamiliar with the place. And he was new to this place. Elle was sure of that much. The way he looked around, taking in all the salient details of the diner as if he might need them later. He was the kind of guy who liked to know where all the exits in a room were before he let himself get comfortable.

Takes one to know one, Elle thought to herself.

She suddenly felt as if the diner was empty, as if the four troublemakers were no longer there, as if Kelly and Grace were no longer there, and the only people in the room were her and the new guy. Forgetting to be subtle, she allowed her gaze to follow him to his seat. Then she almost tripped up, hurrying to grab him a menu before Kelly took him.

Kelly stopped her at the counter.

“Who’s that?” Elle hissed.

Kelly shrugged. “I’ve never seen him before.”

“He’s not a regular?”

“He’s new.”

Elle looked to Grace. “I don’t know either, but he’s caught your eye, hasn’t he?” Grace said.

“No he hasn’t,” Elle protested.

Grace smiled knowingly. “Sure he hasn’t.”

“I was just wondering if you knew him.”

Gracie looked over and squinted. Something inside her recognized something about the man, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. “I’m not sure,” she said at last.

Elle grabbed a menu and some cutlery.

“Just be careful,” Kelly whispered.

“Careful?”

“He looks, dangerous.”

“He does not look dangerous,” Elle responded, but as she walked over to the man’s table, she could feel her heart thumping in her chest. There was definitely something about him. Danger was one word. Smoldering was another. Knee-weakening might be another, if that was a word.

She cleared her throat as she reached his table. “How are you tonight?” she said, placing the menu in front of him.

He was sitting still, looking at a crumpled letter in his hands. He looked up at her as if she’d startled him out of his thoughts.

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