My Girl

108K 3.5K 439
                                    

Saturday was always busy at the Library Cafe. Located close to Washington Square Park, the tables filled up quickly, the books removed from the shelves and then returned—but never in their original spots—faster than the employees could put them back, and it was known for its coffee. All this meant that Riley was always busy.

Ever since the death of his wife a year earlier, Allen had taken to spending more time with his children who all lived upstate, leaving Riley to take over much of his duties in balancing the books, ordering supplies and even verifying the paychecks that were all done electronically. It had been Clint's idea to buy into Allen's business, and make Riley part-owner in the process after her near overdose, something more than just showing up for work to serve customers.

It gave Riley purpose and something she could call her own, even if it were only half of the business. At the very least, it gave her a raise, and she didn't need to work two jobs just to make sure all her bills were paid. After all, she lived in Manhattan and had a place of her own, no matter how small.

Though Saturday was her day off, Riley still came in the late afternoons to do the inventory and accounting which meant she always ended up working. But after a night of restless sleep, unable to stop thinking of Ashe and what Paige told her about his girlfriend (who died) and a possible child (whom he never mentioned), she gave up at around five, showered, and dressed. She arrived at the Library Cafe by seven, helping open up the place and get the tables out on the patio.

"You look terrible," Tessa said as she dragged one of the patio umbrellas out but did not open it. It was still nippy out. "Was the foursome that bad?"

"It was exhausting," Riley replied.

"You were babysitting, right?" Tessa asked, unsure. "I mean, it's not like you to be involved in foursomes—"

Riley laughed. "Of course, I was babysitting. I don't have a life, Tess. Look at me; it's my day off, and I'm here when I could be doing something else."

"Personally, I'd be sleeping in if I were you," Tessa said as they returned to the counter. A line of people had formed, and the two baristas were busy.

"I know, but I've got to do some inventory," Riley said.

"Carl and I went to see Sentience last night, by the way," Tessa said, and Riley stopped just before she reached the office door. "It was, like, awesome, Ri! You should see it. Ashe nailed it, and Carl couldn't believe he was in here, and that I got myself a selfie."

"By any chance, did you post it anywhere?" Riley asked, noticing the influx of new faces walking through the door. She usually knew most of the regulars, and today there were simply more customers than she was used to seeing.

"I hope it was okay," Tessa said, her face reddening. "I posted it online."

"Did you tell everyone where you ran into him?"

"Well, yeah, I had to tag it with a location, at least," Tessa said, her face grew even redder. "But it should be good for business, right?"

"Well, you do have a point there. We could always use more business," Riley said. "I'll be in my office if you need me. Allen won't be back until Monday."

It was usually much quieter inside the back office, which was right behind the storage room, but it was a tight squeeze. Square footage always came at a premium in Manhattan, and the Library Cafe was no exception. There was only enough room for a desk, a filing cabinet and a safe where Allen kept loose bills and change, which always made Riley nervous. But ever since she convinced Allen to go digital, using point-of-sale software that also tracked inventory and sales in one report, the only thing they had to worry about these days was making sure the vintage cash register worked. Most sales were made using a mobile app on an iPad that made it easy for customers to include tips if they wanted to.

Loving Ashe - Book 1 of the Celebrity SeriesWhere stories live. Discover now