(I wrote this last year for my office party’s short-short story contest, and I won $100 for it! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!)
Erin said goodnight to the last customers. It was 10:55 the night before Christmas Eve, and the rush of last-minute shoppers had kept her busy. Now, she would wipe down the remaining tables and lock up.
He wasn’t coming.
Of course, he isn’t coming. Male customers flirted. That’s what they did.
Erin shook her head to clear the foolish thoughts. Erin Parish was lucky; she had more than most: a home of her own and a successful coffee shop. Business at Parish Perks had boomed from the start. She didn’t need Luke and his devil-may-care-curls and teasing smile.
Still, it had felt good the first day he’d come in, ordered two peppermint lattes, and handed one to her.
The next day, he’d swiped her Sharpee, leaving his number on the cup. She’d laughed, but ignored him.
This morning the note had read, “Go out with me tonight?”
“I work ‘til 11. Sorry,” she’d said.
“We could get a drink. I’ll be here before you close.”
But so much for that, she thought, rolling her eyes.
The bell on the door jangled, and Erin turned.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said, clutching a green bundle. “It took forever to find mistletoe.”