Chapter 16.

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It probably wasn't such a great thing that I couldn't fall asleep until well after midnight, going over every small little detail that happened at Thanksgiving dinner. That, and I didn't get home until midnight, too. Thankfully, Mrs. Ellis, the woman who was "supposed" to be "checking in on me" usually had her lights out by at least eight in the evening, so I knew I wasn't going to get in trouble for breaking curfew. My parents may set rules, but they were pretty oblivious to the fact that I usually broke them.

 So, all in all, Thanksgiving dinner had been pretty eventful. I'd learned a few things that just might possibly help me out on my task of saving Archer. But I was beginning to think that maybe there was just more to this whole saving Archer deal. It'd be pretty cruel of Death to pile on more tasks than I already had, but I wouldn't put it past him. Maybe I was actually supposed to be helping the entire Morales family, as well as Archer. Because the Lord only knows that family had more than enough to deal with.

 It wouldn't be easy, but I was 97% positive that I'd be able to do it. Apparently, the kiss that unexpectedly happened between Archer and me in the kitchen was just the slightest bit of a confidence boost. Who would've thought that was even possible?

   And it was safe to say that that kiss was one of the main reasons that I couldn't fall asleep. I was a little angry with myself that it hadn't been my first kiss, but it had more than made up for the awful one I'd gotten in the sixth grade when some twerp named Jeremy Parker had decided that kissing me would be a good way to "make me stop talking" during lunch. 

 I'd never been able to live that one down, so it was nice to have another kiss to remember. 

   When I woke up at five that Friday morning, I was probably over the moon and completely terrified at the same time. How on Earth was I going to face Archer after that more than amazing kiss in the coffee house's kitchen last night? 

  In all honesty, I was scared. But I had to reason with myself that I'd faced worse before and that this should be no problem at all. 

  I was lying, of course, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to try and believe it anyway.

  I ended up having to call a taxi since I couldn't find a train that stopped at the station two blocks over, as I had to report to work at five thirty that morning. It was Black Friday, after all, and apparently that meant business in the world of coffee or something. 

 The back door to Mama Rosa's was open when I arrived, and I slipped inside as quietly as I could manage. I didn't expect the triplets or Regina to be up and about, and if that were the case, I didn't want to be overly loud and wake them up. 

  Lights were on and blazing in the kitchen as I walked in, shrugging off my coat. There could only be two people up - Victoria or Archer - and I was praying that just for a few minutes I'd be able to collect myself without Archer around. I was just the slightest bit afraid I was going to have a panic attack. 

  With my luck, however, I should've known that it would be Archer who was up, rummaging about in the fridge, as I hung my things up on the coatrack. 

 He turned around as he swung the fridge door shut and gave me a rather cool, collected look.

"Uhm...good morning," I said awkwardly, crossing my arms over my chest. 

  "Morning," Archer replied briskly before leaving the kitchen, holding what looked like a box of pastries. 

Okay, that wasn't what I'd been expecting to happen. Things were bound to be awkward between us at first, but  I hadn't expected him to just up and walk away. So far this wasn't turning out so well. 

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