“Your secret’s safe with me.”
ALL THE BOOKS
TYLER SMILED AT ME FROM across the bar, and I sighed, content with his company. You know, as many matches as I’d made, I’d never attempted to set Tyler up. The reason was simple: Tyler deserved the absolute best, and I hadn’t found anyone for him yet that lived up to my expectations for him. Not that I’d looked super hard, but that was beside the point.
Bayleigh pushed through the double doors just in front of the bar, waving at me cheerily as she walked past. “Hey, Cam.”
“How’s it going, Bayleigh?”
She made her way behind the bar and shoved her purse into the cubby where we kept our stuff. When she stood, she ran her hands through her blond hair, pulling it into a ponytail. “Weird question, but could you call me Leigh?”
My brow furrowed. “Sure, but why?”
She sighed and rolled her big, brown eyes. “It’s dumb.”
“I doubt that. Come on, what happened?”
“Well, I’m just sick to death of everybody spelling my name wrong. I went to get coffee this morning, and the barista spelled it Baylee. Not that it matters — I mean, it’s just coffee. But it’s gotten to the point that I spell my name to everyone I meet, whether it matters or not. Like, I met a guy the other night, and when I spelled my name he looked at me like I was crazy. So I’m trying on nicknames. At least there’s a chance someone will spell my name right if it’s more common. Leigh seemed like the obvious choice.”
Tyler tilted his head. “Spelled L-e-e?”
Bayleigh’s nose wrinkled. “Ugh. No. L-e-i-g-h. See?” She gestured to Tyler. “I’m doomed, Cam. My parents thought they were so fucking cute, those assholes.”
I chuckled. “I mean, there could be worse things, I guess.”
“I know. I know it’s dumb to get bent about it. I didn’t used to mind so much, but lately it’s been driving me insane. Guess there’s no easy way out, though. Plus, I don’t even know if I’d answer to Leigh.” She sighed. “Back to the drawing board.” She swiped her ID card on the register terminal and clocked in. “How’s it been today? Busy?”
“We were slammed at lunch today — I had to pull Elizabeth off the floor to help make lattes.”
“And Rose, too,” my boss said from behind us.
I turned to the sound of her voice. “Hey, Rosie. Finish that paperwork for the accountant?”
She rolled her dark eyes and pushed her long, dark hair over her shoulder. “Yeah, and it only took me all day. The list of things I hate about owning a store is topped by paperwork.”
“You finished? Want a drink? Scotch or whiskey?”
She took a seat next to Tyler. “Scotch, if you’d be so kind.”
I grabbed a glass and poured her a couple of fingers of amber liquid into a rocks glass.
“You’re a lifesaver, Cam,” she said as she took the offered drink.
I smiled. “I do what I can”
Rose took a sip of her drink. “Bayleigh, don’t forget about the meeting in the morning. We’ve got inventory all day.”
“Yup, and then singles night tomorrow night. I’ll be here,” she sang. “Though I still need a costume. I don’t have anything even remotely comic book-related to wear.”
“Oh,” I said, taking the unplanned opportunity to set plans into motion like a sneaky, sneaky matchmaker. “I had an idea for you — what about Spiderman’s first love, Gwen Stacy? She’s blond too, all you’d need is a black headband and a skirt and top. A lab coat, if you’re feeling adventurous.”
She nodded, excited. “I can pull that off. I think my roommate was a sexy scientist last year for Halloween.”
“Perfect,” I said. “And you and Greg will be working the bar tomorrow night together.” I pictured them behind the bar together, and the giddy rush from The Reader and Batman returned.
Tyler gave me a look that said to stop meddling, and I gave him one back that said I’d do what I damn well pleased.
Bayleigh smiled and blushed. “Yeah.”
“Greg’s great to work with, isn’t he?” I nudged.
“For sure,” she swooned. “He’s sweet and funny. Plus, I mean, when he wears T-shirts and you can see all his tattoos? I’d watch him make Harvey Wallbangers all day.”
I laughed. “I should make him squeeze fresh orange juice for the bar. Like, out here on the floor where we can watch.”
Her flush deepened. “Oh, please do, and let me know when it’s happening so I can make popcorn.”
“I’m sure that won’t get me sued for sexual harassment at all,” Rose said and took a drink.
Tyler kicked back his pint and smirked. “That’s my cue.”
I pouted. “Wait, you’re not leaving, are you?”
“As much as I enjoy hanging around, I’ll leave you girls to objectify men without me.”
I laughed. “Aw, jealous it’s not you?”
His smirk stretched a little higher. “Maybe.” He tossed some bills on the bar top. “Have fun, ladies.”
“Bye,” all three of us chimed as he walked out, and we watched until he turned onto the sidewalk and disappeared.
“Man, that boy is fine,” Bayleigh said with a sigh, shaking her head. “I can’t believe he doesn’t have a girlfriend.”
“Right?” I said. “He’s had a few serious girlfriends and dated a bunch, but he’s been through the ringer. Get this — in college, his girlfriend dumped him when he got hurt.”