"Darn it! I'm late again!" I muttered as I hurried across the parking lot. I was a waitress at Noe's Place Café. Just before I got to the door, I ran into someone. My purse fell to the ground and everything inside of it scattered all over the sidewalk.

"Great!" I snarled. "Watch where you're going asshole!"

"I'm sorry, ma'am." Said a warm honey and smoke drawl from the South.

"Oh, it's fine. I'm just going to get freakin' fired! No biggie!"

"Here, let me help," He offered.

I looked up at him. Wow, he was gorgeous! He had shaggy black hair, the cut to make it so perfectly messy had probably cost him fifty bucks, he was lean and tan, and a two days' growth of beard shadowed his jaw. Most intriguing were his eyes, bright, steel-colored, and glittering with mischief.

"I… uh…" God, I was making an ass of myself. " Uh, it's fine. I've got it, thanks."

"You sure? That was completely my fault."

I picked the remaining items up off the ground and stuffed them in my bag. "Yep. All done."

"At least let me help you up." He insisted. Then he held out his hand to me.

Ah, a southern gentleman. I accepted his hand and he pulled me to my feet.

"Sorry about being so rude!" I said, and rushed passed him.

"Miss Emerson," My boss, Troy Greene snapped, "You're late. Do you remember the little chat we had last week?"

I nodded. "Yes sir."

"So, what's your excuse this time?"

I sighed. Titanic had been on TV and I'd wanted to see the end, even though I'd seen the movie countless times. "Traffic?"

"Yes, you know how busy streets get in a town this size." He growled sarcastically.

Park Hills wasn't exactly a booming metropolis. It was more like a map dot, a very small, insignificant map dot.

"Work this shift," he ordered, "It will be your last."

I turned to go.

"I'm sorry, Chayse," he said.

"Uh-huh. I'm gonna get to work now."

I left the office and checked the chart. I only had two tables. I took drink orders at the first table then hurried over to the second. The guy sitting there was the one I had run into outside.

"Hello again," he said with a slight smile.

"Hi." I said dully. "I'll be your server. I just got fired, so tip big."

"Oh… I'm sorry to hear that ma'am. I'll be sure to leave you a nice tip."

"I was joking, but I won't object. What would you like to drink?"

"I'd take lemonade please."

"Sure. I'll be right back with that."

When I brought the guy his lemonade, Leah Becker, the biggest bitch in the universe, bumped into me and the drink spilled all over the poor guy. This wasn't the first time I'd spilled something on someone, but it was the first time I'd spilled something on someone sexy.

"Oh my God!" I cried. "I'm so sorry, sir! Jesus, I'm having horrible luck today!"

"It's all right, honey; it's not that big of a deal."

"Dammit! I'm really, really sorry! Let me grab you a rag."

I was such a klutz! I got him a dishtowel. My boss came out of his office, but I wasn't too worried. I'd all ready been fired, what else could he do?

"Chayse, what have you done now?"

"I… I---"

"She just got me a towel. I spilled my drink. Sorry if I caused a fuss." Said the man.

I smiled gratefully at him.

"Chayse, just go home, you're useless." Greene said.

"But I—"

"I'll pay you for the day, please just go! You're giving me heartburn, Christ."

"All right." I muttered. "Sir," I said to the soaking wet customer, "I apologize again."

"It's really no problem." He said. "I'll walk you out, I'm gonna go home and get dry."

We walked out of the restaurant and into the warm summer afternoon.

"I'm Elliot," he said.

"I'm a freaking clumsy loser, but you can call me Chayse."

"It wasn't your fault. You got bumped. You seem to have bad luck with that."

I smiled a little. "Sorry you didn't get lunch."

"Yeah. I'd say you sorta owe me. Are you free tomorrow?"

I raised my eyebrows. "A date?"

"Well, maybe more of a getting-to-know-you-pre-date lunch."

He was hot, but he looked about 25, and I was only 17. "Sure, but how old are you?"

"Twenty-four." He told me.

"Cool. I'm 21." I lied. "Do you want my number?"

He nodded. "That'd be great."

I took a pen from my purse and wrote my cell phone number on his hand. "See ya tomorrow."