Jeweled Latte

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Mark slipped his arm around Sienna’s waist underneath the tux jacket he’d wrapped around her shoulders outside of the hotel earlier as they entered the Holiday Cafe. He’d convinced her to let him drive and leave her car at the hotel until tomorrow. He never wanted to let her go again. The cafe buzzed with people too young to go to the clubs on Central but too old to hang out at McDonalds. He spied a nervous couple around Sienna’s age that must be on their first date. He tightened his grip on Sienna, realizing his present for her was in one of the jacket pockets. He’d just thought of a clever way to present it to her, but he needed the jacket back.

“Wow!” called Chloe. “You guys are smokin’ hot tonight.”

Sienna beamed. It was the first genuine smile he’d seen all night.

“Let me see the dress better.”

It was like Chloe read his mind. He’d have to give her a huge tip tonight, especially after all the goodies she sent with Sienna to the hospital. He took the jacket back as Sienna slipped it off her shoulders and spun slowly for Chloe to see.

Chloe whistled. “I love it.”

“Thanks,” said Sienna. “I spent a ton of money on this, and you’re the only one who said anything nice. Glen said I looked terrible.”

“Glen? What were you doing with him?”

“Long story, but Mark slugged him.”

Chloe held her hand up for a high five from Mark. “About time. I never liked that guy. But how have you not told Sienna she’s beautiful tonight?”

He slapped her hand, knowing his face turned crimson. “Believe me, I plan to make up for being remiss in that area.” He watched Sienna as he spoke, suddenly wishing they were alone in his bedroom. She was still pale, but her smile did wonders to assure him she was recovering. “Could we have two Toil and Troubles extra cinnamon?” He asked Sienna, “What do you want to eat?”

“A bacon Havarti sandwich sounds good.”

“Two of those.”

Sienna opened her purse, and he said, “What are you doing?”

“You’re always paying. I think it’s my turn.”

He frowned, worried money was still an issue between them. “You paid last night for me and the kids. My turn.” She sighed and closed her purse again. “The couch just freed up. Would you mind grabbing it?”

She nodded and made a beeline for the sofa.

He reached in the pocket of the jacket and pulled out a small velvet box. He asked Chloe, “Could you do me a favor?”

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