Home > Collide (Collide #1)(3)

Collide (Collide #1)(3)
Author: Gail McHugh

“Sounds good to me,” Emily laughed.

“I heard you’re from Colorado?”

“Yes, Fort Collins actually,” Emily answered.

“You drink?” she asked, handing her a cup of coffee.

“One of my addictions, thanks,” Emily took the cup from her. “Have you lived in New York your whole life?”

“Born and raised.” She took a seat at the coffee bar, gesturing for Emily to join her. “It’s early yet,” she said, looking to her watch. “The rush will start within an hour or so.”

Emily sat next to her and took a sip of her coffee. She glanced around the restaurant, watching as the busboys set up the tables. Antonio spoke to them in what Emily assumed to be Spanish. His voice rose in an anxious tone as he motioned out to the streets of New York.

“So what brings you across the country to the city that never sleeps?” Fallon asked. “Are you an actress or model? Which is it?”

“Nah, neither of those reasons,” she replied, trying to ignore the pain anchoring itself in her chest. The fresh wound still searing deep felt like salt had been sprinkled over it. “My, uh, mother passed away in January. There was really no reason to stay out there after she died.”

Fallon’s face softened. “I’m sorry to hear that. Death definitely fucking sucks, that’s for sure. My dad died a few years ago from a heart attack, so I know how you feel.” Fallon let out a sigh and looked away for a moment. “No matter what age, race, or economic status we hold, death touches us all at one time or another.”

Emily found her comment wise beyond her age, but then again she knew death seemed to bring out a completely different way of looking at life once someone was gone. “It does. I’m sorry to hear about your dad.”

“Thanks. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.” Fallon paused in thought. “What about your dad? Did he move out here with you?”

Another sore topic, but these days sore topics were plentiful and unavoidable. “Nope. I haven’t had any contact with him or his family since I was five. I really don’t remember him.”

“I’m batting a zero here with you,” Fallon joked. “Sorry. Maybe I should ask about puppies or something?”

Shaking her head, Emily smiled. “Don’t worry about it. It’s cool. Besides, I don’t have any puppies so that would be a dead end.”

“Neither do I. They’re cute, but I don’t do the shitting all over the place that well,” Fallon laughed, tossing her hair into a ponytail. “So what made you come to New York specifically? Do you have any other family here?”

“Not here. I have an older sister in California though.” Emily took a sip of her coffee. “But my boyfriend Dillon lives here. We started dating during my last year of college.”

Fallon smiled. “College sweethearts, huh?”

“No, actually, he was already living here in New York when we met. My roommate from college, Olivia, has a brother who came to visit her one weekend, and Dillon went with him.”

“Isn’t it amazing—the paths that bring people together?” Fallon stared into Emily’s eyes. “I mean, had your Dillon not taken the trip with your roommate’s brother, you two would’ve never met. Life is all kinds of weird like that.”

Emily knew she instantly liked Fallon. “I totally agree with that. Fate and the roads that get placed in front of us. It’s like one huge puzzle that ultimately fits in the end.”

“Exactly,” Fallon smiled. “So what did you study in school?”

“I graduated with a teaching degree. I’ve started to put out some resumes, hoping to land something for this fall.”

Fallon frowned, her lip ring shimmering in the light. “So you’ll be leaving us by the end of the summer?”

“Nah, I’ll probably work part time then.”

“Cool beans,” she quipped, standing to her feet, her tall, lengthy frame towering over Emily’s. “So do you club?”

Emily wrinkled her brows. “Club?”

“Yeah, go out clubbing,” Fallon replied, shaking her hips from side to side.

“Oh, you mean dancing,” Emily laughed. “Yes, in Colorado I did, but I have yet to do it here in New York.”

“Killer. I love breaking in newbies to the club scene.”

“Well, I’m down for getting broken in. Let me know when.”

“I will. I’m dating this older guy in his forties, and he gets me into some of New York’s hottest clubs with no cover charge at all.”

Emily nodded and took a sip of her coffee.

“The sex is just an extra bonus,” Fallon added.

Emily nearly choked on said coffee. “Oh, that would definitely be an added bonus for sure.”

“Yeah, that’s what I figured,” she smiled. “Okay, new girl, let’s get going here.”

Throughout the day, Emily followed Fallon. She showed her how to use the computer and introduced her to quite a few of the restaurant’s regular customers. They shifted between very upscale business-suit types to your “Average Joe” construction worker. There was a heavy lunch rush that came around noon, and one of the waiters had called in sick, so Emily took a few tables. Even though she wasn’t familiar with the menu and felt shaky on the computer, she made it through without any major problems. By the end of her shift, Fallon had her head buzzing with which guests tipped the best to which servers were the cutthroat types. For the most part, considering it was her first day, Emily thought it went well.

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