Dean slid into the booth, picked up a menu and sat back. On the outside Dean looked like any other guy, casually sitting in a corner booth, browsing through the menu and relaxing. Inside he was feeling sick with butterflies, hot and flustered like he was working in the restaurant kitchen in the middle of a heat wave and like he was making the biggest mistake of his life. To pass the time and appear casual to the other customers he pulled out his phone, tapped the Facebook icon and opened up the message. Reading it again he felt even more certain he was making a mistake. What if she’d changed so much he didn't recognise her? What if she said she didn't want to stay in touch? What if she was perfectly happy and there was no room for him in her life? His last thought, which was the most nerve wrecking of them all, was the one that had kept him awake every night since she had replied. What if she still loved him?
Noticing a shadow over the table, Dean looked up into the same sparkling blue eyes he had repeatedly looked into all those years ago. “Interrupting you am I?” she said with a light giggle. His heart bloomed with happiness. “No I was just checking my emails” he stammered and quickly put his phone back in his pocket. As she slid into the booth opposite him he noticed how much she had changed while at the same time looked exactly the same as she had when she was sixteen. Although she looked older and dressed appropriately for her age he could still see her desire to be in fashion without it looking like she was trying too hard, could see she still straightened her hair daily because her natural hair was to quote her “frizzy and disgusting” and could tell that even though she tried to cover them up, the small bags under her eyes were from staying up late to finish her current book which caused him to smile. “Something funny?” she asked him with the accusing stare she had given him so many times before. “Just remembering a joke” he replied in an amused tone. She gave him her “Yeah right I’m not buying that” stare and picked up her menu. “Let me guess a milky tea and a slice of Lemon Cheesecake?” he suggested, silently hoping it was still her favourite. She beamed at him assuring him he was right. “Wow even after all these years you still remember my favourite!” she said as she glanced back at her menu. “Come on Kallie it’s me”. Saying her name again made his heart flutter. “Okay then let me guess, you’ll have an Ice Tea with a Belgium Bun?”. He grinned at her to let her know she was correct. “See Dean you’re not the only one that remembers” she announced with a laugh. Hearing her say his name again sent shivers down his spine.
Flagging the waitress over, Dean ordered their drinks and cakes and then turned back to Kallie so all his attention was fixed on her. “So what have you been up to lately?” he asked her curiously. “Oh you know the same old things, shopping, work, seeing friends and spending more time reading books than I probably should” she replied as if it was the most mundane thing in the world. “Ah no change there then” he stated causing a smile to break out over her face. “Which reminds me I was out shopping the other day and came across this” he pulled a book out of a plastic bag. “Oh no, you didn’t!” she squealed quietly. “Yes I did. Rhodar’s Quest by Kallie Hillard” he read proudly. “I can’t believe you brought that!” she said feeling embarrassed. “Of course I did, why wouldn’t I?” he said feeling slightly hurt that she thought he wouldn’t buy her book. “Because it’s me and you didn’t have too. Not anymore” she said trailing off indicating the rest didn’t need saying. “Exactly! It’s you…” he whispered.
“Milky Tea and Lemon Cheesecake?” the waitress announced breaking the moment that had captured them both for an instant. “Err yes, that’s mine” Kallie said clearing her throat. The waitress placed her order down. “And the Ice Tea and Belgium Bun must be for you?” she said to Dean in an alluring tone and placed it down in front of him. “Let me know if you need anything else” she whispered and winked at Dean as she walked away. Kallie glared at the waitress then looked down at her food. “Something’s never change!” she said under her breath. Dean chuckled. “No need to get jealous”. "I’m not jealous, I’m just saying even after all these years, girls are still throwing themselves at you and flirting with you even though I’m sat right here! What!?”. Dean sat there laughing while Kallie sat there staring accusingly at him. “Nothing it’s just funny to see you still get wound up when another girl is around me” he said after he had stopped laughing. “It’s just out of habit” she said coldly causing him to start laughing again.
“That waitress keeps looking over here” Kallie said jealously. “Keeps giving me a look then gazing at you”. “I wouldn’t know, I’m more interested in looking at you than the waitress” Dean replied. Kallie stared at him with a puzzled look and was about to say something then dismissed it. “How’s the cheesecake?” Dean asked with a mouthful of Belgium Bun. “It’s gone sour” Kallie replied keeping her eyes fixed on the waitress. “Well it would do, it’s Lemon” Dean said humorously. Kallie looked at him. “Ha Ha very funny” she said stubbornly but the amused look on Dean’s face made it impossible to keep up. “See I’m still the funniest person you know” Dean said triumphantly. “Still the cockiest too” she replied with a smirk. “Hey!” Dean threw his crumbs at her in protest.
Noticing the waitress was heading their way wearing a disapproving glare, Kallie sobered. “Oh look your girlfriend’s coming over” she said in a mocking tone. “Shall I take those for you?” the waitress asked keenly keeping her eyes on Dean. “Yes and the bill” Kallie said in a flat tone. “Of course” the waitress replied politely and cleared the table. Kallie turned to Dean and smiled. “Anyway how are things going for you? I heard a new restaurant’s just opened up in town. Cartler’s, ring any bells?” she said with a grin. “Ah yes, I wondered when that would come up” he replied shyly. “Not as great as a bestselling book though” he added pointing to the book on the table. “Are you kidding? Owning your own restaurant is a huge achievement, you should be very proud of yourself”. “What about you? Writing a bestselling is a huge achievement too!”. Kallie giggled nervously as Dean sipped his drink.
The waitress brought the bill over and left it on the table without saying a word. “So shall we split the bill half and half?” Kallie asked whilst digging around in her bag for her purse. Without hesitating Dean put a 10 pound note on the little black tray, “No. No. I’m paying, my treat”. Kallie looked at him with confusion but decided it was best to let him pay. She’d argued with him over this very thing all those years ago and never won. What would be different now?
Thanking the café owner, they left and automatically started walking down the street without stopping to look which way they were heading. When they reached the traffic lights they stopped. “So my cars parked down there” Kallie said as she pointed down one of the roads. “I’ll walk you to your car” Dean quickly replied. He wasn’t ready for her to leave just yet. “Err okay” Kallie said awkwardly and headed down the road she had pointed down. “This was really fun, we should do it again” Dean said to make conversation, he couldn’t let it end like this. “Yeah that would be great!” she said as she turned and smiled at him. They continued in silence until they reached a Purple Nissan Micra. “Well this is me” she said looking anywhere but at him. “Okay well…” Dean stood there with him hands in his pockets waiting for her to drive off and leave his life forever. Just like that fateful day when she got into her father’s car and headed off down the M3 to Plymouth. When she left him, instead of the other way round, like it had been so many times before. Kallie looked up and noticed he was staring at her. She squirmed uncomfortably. “Please stop looking at me like that” she whispered. “I can’t” he whispered back and taking his hands out of his pockets he moved closer. “Dean we’ve been through this before, so many times! Thinking maybe this time will be different, we’ll get it right and…” she cut off as Dean took hold of her waist and pulled her in so their bodies pressed together. “There’s a reason you agreed to meet for coffee” Dean breathed in her ear. “Dean please” she pleaded with him. His breath on her neck gave her Goosebumps, the kind she hadn’t felt in years. The kind of Goosebumps only Dean could give. “You know what they say” Dean said in between kisses that he planted up Kallie’s neck. “First love’s are?” he stopped when he reached her lips. Her eyes locked with his and he motioned for her to finish the sentence. “Forever” she answered almost inaudibly as his lips met hers and reality melted into the background. The sound of traffic became nothing but a noise, like the static sound you hear when listening to the radio, as the kiss transported them back to when they were sixteen and first in love.