It Had To Be Fate
By: Jey4eva

Chapter 1: A Big Shock

"Hey babe," a man in his mid-twenties called as I passed by him.

I was too preoccupied to give him the brush off. I was trying to figure out a way to tell my boss that I'd have to leave early. AGAIN. It wasn't my problem that I had classes. I would've had my shift moved but I was the only employee on the 8-12 shift.

I walked into the coffee shop and made my way to the door that said 'employees only'. I walked in and put the green apron over my head.

"Liz! Where've you been?" Ross Harding's voice boomed as he walked into the room. Ross was my boss. He was a man in his late twenties, always talking about how one day, he was going to make his coffee shops BIG. He has a couple of coffee shops around New Jersey, but he hasn't expanded other than that.

"I'm right on time!" I snapped.

He chuckled, "Take it easy. I was just joking."

"Hah hah," I said dryly. I tied the apron on.

"So how's school?" He asked, shifting through boxes of coffee cans.

I shrugged, "Its like school. Hard. I have 2 major tests tomorrow."

"Yeah, college is tough," he said nodding. He opened a box with his finger nail.

"So... um, Ross..." I trailed off.

"Yeah?" He asked, picking up the box.

"Um, I'm going to have to leave early today," I said.

He dropped the box, "WHAT?!"

"I'm going to have to leave early," I replied, my voice light.

"Elizabeth..." he said sighing.

"I have classes!" I exclaimed.

"Can't you change it?" He asked.

"You should know better than that. Its too late to," I replied.

"Why didn't you take a later class?" He asked.

"Because when I signed up- I was too late- All the later classes were full!" I exclaimed.

"Elizabeth... Can't you skip some of it?" He asked.

"Ross! Its my last year in college! You can't expect me to skip classes for a coffee shop job!" I exclaimed.

"Okay okay," he muttered. "Get to work." He walked out of the room with the box of coffee cans.

I shook my head as I walked out of the room and behind the counter. I immediately became busy with taking orders and making coffee. Finally, around 9:30... Things slowed down a little.

Occasionally I'd go around and ask if anyone wanted refills. I was getting pretty bored, just sitting around, chewing gum. Ross was keeping his distance, working around in the back.

I was just about to take out my nail file when the door banged open.

I looked up and smiled. It was my friend Jake.

"Hey Lizzie!" He called.

I've known Jake since we were 5. When I moved next door to him, he made sure that he introduced me to all the kids in the neighborhood. We grew up together. We went to the same schools. Hung out with the same group of friends. Double dated occasionally... We were really close. Like brother and sister. I knew Jake so well, that I could tell what he was thinking from time to time. When I was little, my nickname had been Lizzie. I gradually changed it to Liz. But Jake was pretty stubborn and stuck with Lizzie. He was the only person that called me that, so it was pretty special in a way.

Everyone stared at him as he made his way toward the counter. "What's up?" I asked as he took a seat on the stool. He took it gratefully and took a gulp, "You won't believe what happened today!" He exclaimed.

"What happened?" I asked, pouring myself a coffee.

"Do I look different to you?" He asked.

"Nooo..." I said, taking a sip of coffee and frowning.

"Oh c'mon!" He persisted. "Guess!"

"Okaaay... You cut your toe nails?" I asked hopefully.

"Never!" He cried. "These babies are here to stay," he said pointing at his feet.

I laughed then made a face, "Ewwww."

He laughed, "Keep guessing."

I shook my head and stayed on the subject of toe nails, "I don't know how Leanne can stand it."

"Its about Leanne," he said nodding.

I cocked my head to the side and studied him, "Well, you guys didn't break up, or else you'd be down and moping. You guys didn't decide to live together or you'd be in a perverted mood..."

"Hey!"

I giggled, then shrugged. "I give up Jake. What happened?"

"Alright, I'll tell you. Leanne and I are getting married," he said.

Right before he had said that I had taken another sip of coffee. I spit it back into my mug, "What?" I croaked.

He grinned, "We're. Getting. Married."

I stared at him, stunned. Jake and Leanne... Married?

"Y-Y-You..." I trailed off.

"Yeah- I've been trying to get the nerve to ask her for weeks. I finally did and she said yes!" He said excitedly. "I wanted you to be the first to know."

I opened my mouth to try to get something out, but the words wouldn't form.

"Its a shock, I know..." He trailed off, looking uncomfortable.

I let out a laugh, "A shock. Right."

"I thought you'd be happy for me, Lizzie," he said softly.

I looked at him, suddenly feeling bad. "I AM happy for you... Its just..."

"Leanne wants you to be the maid of honor," he said, hoping to lift my spirits.

I smiled weakly.

"I know what you're thinking Lizzie... We're rushing things... But I'm happy. We're happy. Aren't you?" He asked.

"I am," I said. "Congratulations," I said.

He smiled, "Thanks. So this is okay?"

"What is?" I asked.

"Leanne and I being engaged," he said, blushing.

"You need my approval?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

"Of course I do!" He exclaimed. "You're my best friend!"

I swallowed the lump in my throat, but it wouldn't go away. "Of course I approve. Leanne's great," I said forcing a smile.

"Great!" He said grinning. He got off the stool, "I got to go tell Mom and Dad. See you later!" He kissed me quickly on the cheek then walked out of the coffee shop.

I watched him go then sank into a chair. Leanne and Jake were engaged. Leanne... Well, she didn't cross me as Jake's type... She wanted to be a reporter and did a damn good job practicing. She was always grilling you with questions. I didn't think that she would last long with Jake. I always thought he liked shy girls. But now here they were... Engaged.

I sighed. What were Mr. and Mrs. Henderson going to think? Hopefully they'll think the same as I do- That they're rushing into things. But that they would be less nice and tell Jake exactly how they felt. Yes, I thought. Of course they will. So I have nothing to worry about.

"But you shouldn't care anyway," I muttered. "Jake's your friend. You should be happy for him." I am happy for him, I thought silently. I'm just worried.

"Ahem."

I looked up and sighed. An old man was standing there, waiting to order. I got up and pushed Jake out of my mind.


A/N: Hope you liked the story. Please review!