“Mrs Snyder?” A girl dressed in a Lakeview uniform shyly asked after knocking on Lily’s open office door.
Lily looked up from her computer and gave the girl a friendly smile.
“What is it Amanda?”
“There is someone at the front desk that wants to talk to you, Mrs Snyder.”
“Talk to me? Why? Is there a problem?”
“I don’t know.. he wouldn’t tell me. He just asked me to go get you for him.” The girl explained.
“Is he one of the guests?” Lily asked getting up from her desk.
“Yes, he checked in this morning. He-”
“Hello Lily.” An all too familiar voice cut the girl off.
Lily sat back down and closed her eyes for a second.
“Please tell me I’m hearing things and he’s not actually here.”
“Sir, this is a private area..”
“Now come on Lily that’s no way to greet me after all this time.” The male voice said, ignoring the girl.
Lily sighed and opened her eyes.
“I’m sorry Mrs Snyder.. I didn’t realise he followed me to your office.” The girl said quickly.
“It’s ok Amanda. I’ll deal with this, you just go back to the front desk.” Lily told the girl and turned her attention back to the man standing in front of her desk.
Dark suit, no tie, expensive looking shoes, hands in his pockets, amused look on his face.
“Damian, you haven’t changed much, what are you doing here?”
“Do I need a reason to come here?” Damian asked and sat down in one of the chairs in Lily’s office.
“Yes you do. And it better be a damn good one too.” Lily said crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“You’re beautiful when you’re angry Lily. As beautiful as ever.”
“Why are you here?” Lily asked again, ignoring Damian’s compliments.
“How is our son doing?”
“Luke is fine.”
They sat in silence for a minute, observing the other until the phone on Lily’s desk started ringing and broke their trance.
Lily looked at the phone and then at Damian, silently asking him to leave. But the man didn’t seem to get the message or simply chose to ignore it and sat back in his chair.
“Mum, hi it’s me, Luke. Sorry to call you on your work phone but your mobile is switched off.”
“It’s ok honey, I think the battery is dead, I forgot to charge it. How did your meeting with the dean go?”
“It went great! I am officially a student at Oakdale University again.”
“Really? Oh honey that’s great, I’m so happy for you. Have you told Noah yet? He was as nervous as you this morning.”
“No I haven’t told him yet, I have to go fill in some paper work and sign up for my classes again and sort out some other stuff first.”
“You haven’t told your boyfriend you are back in school?” Lily asked laughingly.
“I sent him a text saying good news the second I left the dean’s office but he’s at work now so he can’t talk or text back.” Luke explained.
“So you’ll spend the rest of the afternoon distracting Noah from his work? I think I won’t stop by Java for some coffee then, the barista is busy anyway.” Lily teased.
“Yeah, yeah, very funny mum. You know Noah and Kevin put in a good word for me with the dean? I knew Noah would even though I told him he didn’t have to but I’m kind of surprised Kevin did.”
“Oh honey you are so naive sometimes.”
“What? Why? What are you talking about?”
“I think Kevin was given a little push in the right direction by a certain dark haired, blue eyed guy who happens to be crazy about you.” Lily explained.
“What?! No Noah wouldn’t do that.. would he?”
“I don’t know Luke, he’s your boyfriend, you know him better than me.” Lily said and saw Damian sit up a little straighter at the mention of his son’s name.
“Yes I know, and I know Noah, he wouldn’t threaten Kevin to tell the dean to let me come back.”
“If you say so.”
“Yes I do.. and uh anyway.. I uh wanted to ask you something..” Luke trailed off.
"What is it honey?"
“I want to celebrate with Noah tonight.. so I was hoping that you could make sure we have a table in the restaurant.”
"You want me to book a table for you two? Why don’t you just call the front desk and make a reservation then?” Lily asked.
“Because you can get us a really good table and make sure everything is perfect.”
“Is it your anniversary?”
“No, that’s in October. I just want to celebrate in style tonight with a nice romantic dinner for two.. and I’m sort of making up for Valentine’s day.. we didn’t really do anything because of what happened with Reg and everything..”
“Ok I get it, I’ll see what I can do for you honey. I’ll call you later and let you know.”
“Ok mum, thanks, bye.”
Lily put down the phone and stared at her ex-husband.
“Was that Luciano?”
“Yes that was Luke. He asked me to book a table for him and his boyfriend for tonight.” Lily replied and picked up the phone again.
“Amanda, can you book a table for two for tonight for Luke Snyder? Thank you.”
“Luciano is seeing someone?” Damian asked curiously.
“He and Noah have been together for almost two years now.”
“Noah? Does this.. Noah have a last name too?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I’m just curious.” Damian replied and got up from his seat.
“Where are you going now?”
“I have a sudden craving for a good cappuccino.” Damian said smiling and walked out of his ex wife’s office.
“Have you heard anything from Luke yet?”
“No.. he said he would let me know as soon as his meeting with the dean was over.” Noah said and glanced over his shoulder to his jacket with his phone in it.
“Well you know what they say, no news is good news.” Jeff said trying to cheer his friend up.
“I hope you’re right and I hope that little weasel did as I told him..” Noah said and glanced at his jacket again.
“Little weasel? What did I miss here? Who is the little weasel?”
“Kevin Davis, Luke’s ex best friend. I asked him to put in a good word for Luke with the dean.” Noah explained.
“Didn’t you do that too?” Jeff asked.
“Of course. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn’t?” Noah replied, raising his voice.
“Ok, ok, no need to bite my head off.” Jeff muttered and went back to work.
“I’m sorry. I’m just a little nervous about it all.” Noah said apologetic.
“It’s ok man, I get it. Go check your phone maybe he’s called you already.” Jeff suggested.
Noah nodded and disappeared into the backroom to check his phone.
Barely one minute later he was back and a huge smile lit up his face.
“Yeah. I guess so anyway. He sent me a text saying good news, just that, nothing more.”
“Good news is good news, Noah.” Jeff said patting his friend on the back and pointed to a man standing on the other side of the counter waiting to be served.
“I’ll get this one, you take your break, I’m sure you can use it after putting up with me the whole morning.” Noah said laughingly and walked over to the waiting man.
“Good afternoon sir, what can I get you?” Noah asked politely.
"A cappuccino please." The man said friendly.
“Coming right up sir. Take a seat, I’ll bring it over to your table in a minute.” Noah said and wrecked his brain trying to place the man’s accent.
The man nodded and sat down at a free table in the back of the cafe, facing the counter.
“Looks like you got a fan.” Jeff said taking his place behind the counter again.
“I thought you were taking a break?” Noah asked ignoring Jeff’s comment.
“I was, and then I got bored. You see my breaks are different from the ones you usually take to kiss and cuddle with your boyfriend.” Jeff teased and Noah rolled his eyes.
“Why don’t you make yourself useful and go give that man his cappuccino.” Noah said jerking his head in the man’s direction.
“No, he’s your fan, you go bring him his coffee, stud.” Jeff said and laughed at his own joke.
Noah rolled his eyes again and walked over to the man’s table and put his coffee down in front of him.
“Thank you, Noah.” The man said and Noah was sure he hadn't looked at his nametag.
“Can you bring me my bill?” The man asked.
“Bill? Oh uh yes sir. I’ll be right back.” Noah said and walked back to the counter.
“That guy is weird.”
“Why? Because he ordered a cappuccino?” Jeff asked amused.
“No he’s acting like this place is some five star restaurant or something and he just called me Noah.”
“Uh yes, everyone calls you Noah, that’s your name remember?” Jeff said slightly sarcastic
“I know that but I don’t think he even looked up to check my nametag. He kept his eyes on the coffee.”
“So? He probably saw it when he ordered or he heard me call you Noah. Who cares?”
“I do. He freaks me out.. and where the hell did you put that pen that was here this morning?”
“You mean this pen? The one that hasn’t moved an inch since you signed for that order this morning? That pen?” Jeff said waving the item in front of Noah’s face.
“What do you need it for anyway?”
“Mister mysterious over there wants his bill.” Noah said scribbling something on a notepad with the Java logo on it.
“Just give him the receipt from the register.” Jeff said and shrugged.
“No I can’t, he hasn’t paid yet.” Noah said and tore the sheet from the notepad.
“This looks like a bill right?”
“You’re useless today, you know that?”
Noah turned around again, put his best toothpaste commercial bright smile on and walked over to the man’s table.
Two can play this game weirdo. He thought.
“Here is your bill sir.” He said and put the note on the table in front of the man.
The man glanced at the note and put his hand in the pocket of his suit jacket and took out his wallet.
“I don't suppose you accept credit cards here?” He asked with a small smile.
“I’m afraid not sir.” Noah replied.
“Oh well.. then I’ll just do it like this.” The man sad and pulled a $50,- note out of his wallet and placed it on the table. “Keep the change.”
“A, are you sure sir?” Noah asked slightly shocked by the man’s sudden generosity.
“Yes, I’m sure. I overheard your conversation with that other boy when I came in. You got some good news right?” The man asked and Noah nodded.
“Well then take this money and take your girlfriend out for dinner tonight to celebrate.”
“I don’t have a girlfriend, I have a boyfriend.” Noah said almost automatically.
“Oh right.. well take him out for dinner then. Make it a nice evening.” The man said and placed another $20,- on the table
“I can’t accept this sir, it’s too much.” Noah said, trying to tear his eyes away from the money on the table.
“I insist you accept this.” the man said, grabbed Noah’s hand put the money in it and closed his hand.
“And my compliments on the cappuccino, it’s almost as good as I’m used to.”
Noah nodded and walked back to the counter, trying to understand what had just happened.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost. What did he say? Did he ask you to join him in his mansion to keep him company?” Jeff asked jokingly.
“I wish it was as simple as that.. he just gave me a 66 dollar tip..” Noah said and put the money for the coffee in the register.
“He what?! Wow. I wish I’d taken that coffee to him after all.”
“He told me to take my boyfriend out for dinner tonight to celebrate my good news.”
“Did someone say my name?” Luke said smiling as he walked over to his boyfriend and kissed him.
“Guess who is officially back at Oakdale University?”
“You’re back in?” Noah asked happily.
Luke nodded and wrapped his arms around his boyfriends neck.
“Your boss isn’t here today, is she?”
“Do you think you would be standing behind the counter with me now if she was?” Noah replied jokingly and put his hands in the back pockets of Luke’s jeans.
Luke grinned and kissed him again.
“I guess she’s not here then.”
Noah shook his head and stole another kiss.
“I have a surprise for you.” Luke said mischievously
“Really? What is it? Are you going to carry my books from now on?” Noah asked and pulled Luke a little closer.
“Jesus Noah do you want to lose your job?” Jeff said annoyed as he watched the two boys flirt and kiss.
“What? She’s not here anyway and the place is dead. So who cares?” Noah replied and turned his attention back to his boyfriend.
“So what’s my surprise?”
“I’ll tell you.. after you answer my question. And you have to promise me to be honest.”
“Luke, I would never lie to you, you know that.”
“Ok.. so answer me.. Did you make Kevin go to the dean to try and get me back into school? Did you threaten him?”
Noah looked at his feet.
“What? I only talked to him and asked him to do that for you because he owed you that much after you saving his ass twice already. I can’t help it if the little weasel is scared of me..”
“Little weasel? Is that what you’re calling him now?”
“That’s what he reminds me off..” Noah muttered.
Luke laughed again and kissed his boyfriend’s cheek.
“Do you still want to know what your surprise is?”
“Yes, tell me.”
“Well... I called my mum after I was sure I was back in and I asked her to book a table for us at the Lakeview tonight.”
“A romantic candlelit dinner for two at the Lakeview?” Noah asked. “Isn’t that a bit over the top for just celebrating that you’re back in school?”
“Maybe.. but that’s why it’s also for Valentine’s day. We didn’t really get to do anything because of the whole thing with Reg and stuff.. and I want to make it up to you.”
Noah smiled and kissed Luke again.
“Sounds great but I kind of had the same idea.”
“Really? Did your plan involve a hotel room with a king-size bed and room service too?” Luke whispered in his boyfriend’s ear.
“You booked us a room? Please tell me your mum doesn’t know about that.”
“No, no she doesn’t, don’t worry.” Luke said running his fingers through Noah’s hair.
“So you wanted to take me out tonight too? I thought you were broke.”
“I am. Or I was. I got a 66 dollar tip.” Noah told his boyfriend.
“You what? What the hell did you have to do for that?” Luke asked.
“Nothing. I just gave that guy his coffee and he gave me 70 dollar to go celebrate my good news. He overheard a conversation between me and Jeff about your text.” Noah explained.
“Is he still here?” Luke asked curiously.
“Yeah he’s been observing me for the past 30 minutes or something, which is kind of freaking me out.. He’s right there sitting at that table in the back.” Noah said and nodded in the man’s direction.
Luke turned around in Noah’s arms and looked over to the table. The smile on his face quickly faded when he saw exactly who this generous stranger was.
“HE gave you that money?” He said as he turned around again.
“Yeah.. he is a little weird but the money is real.” Noah said shrugging his shoulders.
“Did he tell you his name?” Luke asked.
“Because that is Damian Grimaldi.”
“That’s your fat- I mean Damian.” Noah said and quickly recovered when he saw an angry frown forming on his boyfriend’s face.
“Nice save.. and yes, unfortunately that’s him. Give me the money.”
“What? Why? Are you crazy?”
“No I’m not. Give me the money.” Luke demanded and Noah reluctantly handed it to him.
Luke let go of his boyfriend and walked over to Damian’s table and threw the money at him.
“We don’t want your money.” He said and turned around again.
“Hello Luciano.” Damian said and smiled.
“My name is Luke. And I don’t know what you’re doing here but just stay away from me and my boyfriend.”
“Oh so he is your boyfriend.” Damian said, an amused look on his face.
“Come on Damian, don’t pretend you didn’t know.” Luke said crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“Is there a problem here?” Noah asked, wrapping an arm around Luke’s waist, glaring at Damian.
“No I don’t think so. Is there a problem Luciano?” Damian asked.
“Don’t call me that. My name is Luke.” Luke said through gritted teeth.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave, you’re upsetting my customers.” Noah said, looking Damian in the eye, daring him to say something.
“Customers? I’m merely having a conversation with my son.” Damian said as he stood up.
“Don’t make me ask you again.” Noah said and looked the man in the eye, silently amused by the fact he had to look down slightly in order to do so.
Damian shrugged, smiled and started walking towards the door.
“Mrs Snyder?” A girl dressed in a Lakeview uniform shyly asked after knocking on Lily’s open office door.