"Gabi!" I turned around and jumped at the sight of Andrew's fiancee standing next to the hostess stand, "Hi!" I said, coming over to give her a hug.
"I've got a delivery," she said, hugging me back and holding up a white bag.
"Oh-What?" I stared at the golden Godiva logo.
"It's from Andrew, he's quite taken with you I think," she held out the bag with a knowing smile.
Andrew Kang, her Andrew's best friend. The guy I had met two nights ago.
"Sh-should I open it now?" I didn't even know what to do as I held the bag at arm's length.
"Whenever, it's up to you. Hopefully it'll change your mind about coming out tonight," she said with a smile.
"Well thanks," I said, staring at the bag, not even knowing what to really think.
"See you tonight?"
"I guess I'll have to come out and say thank you," I waved to Gabi as she headed out of the small pizzaria where I worked.
"What is that?" One of the girls I worked with as I brought the bag with me behind the counter.
"Better question, who is it from?" Another one of the girls peeked inside, "Open it, Xaylia!"
I cringed as I reached inside the bag, pulling out an envelope with my name on it. There was a cheesy card, with something about "smiling when I think of you, which is a lot" accompanied by a phone number. I read over it so fast the words barely registered with me. I didn't even want to read the card, it was too sweet. And I wasn't one of those girls you tried to be sweet with. In high school, my nickname had been the Black Hand of Doom, or Black Hand of Death. Both of which were used interchangeably, given to me because of the "black soul" my marching band instructors told me I had. Along with the letter was a purple box of Godiva truffles.
With shaking hands I grabbed my cell phone and pressed the number that was all too familiar.
"Jen, I'm freaking out," my entire body felt strange, my heartbeat was racing, and things seemed to blur.
"What's going on?" Jen asked.
"Kang, did you know what he did?"
"What are you talking about?" I could hear her smiling on the other end of the line.
"Is he with you?" I asked quickly, pacing behind the restaurant counter.
"No, just Andrew," Jen replied, "What did he do?"
I hesitated. Andrew was the one I needed to talk to. Jen didn't know the full story.
"Chocolates. Godiva chocolates Jen! He had Gabi drop off Godiva chocolates at work for me! Jen this is too much! I'm not a-a flowers and chocolates kind of girl! I don't even eat sugar! I don't-"
"Xaylia, relax!" Jen laughed, "This isn't high school any more! This is what real guys do when they like a girl! He likes you!"
"I've known him two days! How can he like me, he hardly knows me?"
"You need to chill out! Stop freaking out! It's all good girl! Are you coming out with us tonight?"
"Well now I have to, I've got to say thanks! I'm a little burnt out from two nights in a row of partying, but I guess I can make it a third," I sighed, before catching a glance over my shoulder that made my heart literally stop, "Shit, Dan just walked in, I'll talk to you later," and without even ending the call, I threw the phone under my bag as my boss strode up through the kitchen.
"Who got these?" he asked, poking his head into the Godiva bag.
"Just guess," said one of the other girls, "Xaylia of course!"
"Damn girl," he gave me an impressed look, "You get numbers from all of the customers and now you've got guys giving you chocolates."
"I don't get it!" I said quickly, still feeling slightly disoriented, "I don't even eat sugar, Dan! Where does all this come from?"
Dan shook his head, "Sometimes you need to know where to apply those smarts of yours and you'll figure it out," he laughed before heading back to his office.
"I've got to tell Jen," I told myself as I swept up the restaurant after the lights had turned off, "She's got to know really why I'm freaking out."
But how to tell her without her murdering me on the spot? "Hey best friend, this really nice guy who you're also good friends with likes me and its all too much for me because I still have a tiny thing for your brother," wasn't about to go over too well.
Months ago, behind the same counter where I had just had the closest thing to a panic attack I've ever had, me and Jen had the closest thing to a fight we've ever been in.
"You know what my Grandma and my Dad were talking about this morning?" Jen had asked.
"Uh, how would I know?" I raised one eyebrow.
"They were talking about how you and Ian should date," she spat, "if any more of my family says that, I'm going to lose it!"
"Any more of your family? I know your Mom said something once but-"
"My mom! My dad! Andrew! Gabi! My grandma! And you know what?" she turned to me, "I don't want to lose my best friend to my brother!"
"Jen, what are you talking about?"
"Yesterday! At my Dad's party! They all didn't want to disturb you and Ian when you were chatting at the bar! But I don't want you to come over to my house to see him and not me!"
"Jen, hold up! Ok, that just couldn't happen, he's your brother!"
"I wouldn't put it past you!"
"You wouldn't put it past me?" I threw the term back incredulously, "Ian wouldn't even look twice at me! It couldn't happen!"
"I just don't want to share my best friend!" Jen shouted.
"Jennifer! He's so far out of my league, you don't even have to worry about it!" I raised my own voice.
"He is not out of your league!"
"Yes he is!"
"He's not! I'm saying that as his sister! And if you were ever to date him, I don't know what I would do, I would, I would-" she was searching for the term, "I know where you live! I know where you sleep! I could slit your throat if anything happened with you and Ian!" she proclaimed.
"Well trust me, you don't need to break out the knives, because nothing would ever happen between us!"
That was before I made out with him, after he sent me a birthday present when he was traveling, and smack in the middle of our flirting. A couple months later, she changed her tune. She admitted that we would be good for each other, and she would want her brother to end up with someone good, someone like me. Of course, she came to that realization exactly a week before he left to spend the summer working in London. I couldn't have thought of more sucktacular timing.
I couldn't tell her that night. The moment wasn't there. Instead I lied through my teeth to Kang, telling him that the chocolates I hadn't even opened were delicious. I also realized, I had an even better friend in Andrew than I had thought. Kang had asked him what we talked about on our walk the night before, and he didn't tell a thing. I had a feeling I had told the right person in the family about me and Ian.