Reunited Ch. 01byAvaAmour©
As the sun set on a beautiful spring day, two people sighed at the view. One, Ellie Brown, sighed with relief. It was the first anniversary of her escape; her year of freedom had been everything she'd dreamed it would be and more. While she fervently hoped that the search for her would soon end, allowing her to live at ease once again, she mainly felt thankful for her continual ability to evade recapture. She released another sigh and grabbed her pack. She had hiked the mountain trail to find a good spot to get a photograph of the city bathed in the setting sun's last rays.
The other, Alexander Reynolds, was sighing with contentment as he watched the sun dip behind the mountains. He had finally reached the city after one extremely long week of packing and two straight days of driving. He'd been longing to live there for years after a family vacation in high school had introduced him to the nearby mountains. Now he had accomplished that goal and had even scored an apartment with a perfect mountain view.
Grabbing his jacket, he locked up and set out to explore the neighborhood. Though he was exhausted, sore, and hungry, he smiled. He was actually here. His apartment was in an amazing location: within walking or biking distance of both the bustling downtown scene and the area where he'd be starting his new job in a week.
The only thing missing from his life was a girl, and now that he was settled down, he could rectify that pretty quickly. That would please his mother more than anything else he could do. She kept teasing him, asking when he'd provide her with grandchildren. He smiled and whistled a tune to himself as he spotted an all-night diner that advertised steaks. Yep, life was looking good.
"Rum & Coke."
"A pitcher and five cups, please!"
"Three of the shots on special!"
The bar was swamped. Every time Ellie turned she heard more orders. Luckily for the customers, all the most experienced bartenders were working. As she scurried to and fro making drinks, serving them, and taking money, her thoughts were elsewhere. She loved working in the bar because people flocked to the place and kept it busy, so her work was generally mindless.
"Last call, ladies and gentlemen!"
Groans sounded throughout the bar. Some nights the girls were willing to stay open later, but the managers generally didn't approve. Most of the patrons started to disperse, finishing their drinks as they walked toward the doors. A few ordered more drinks as they readied themselves to leave.
"Almost done, girlies!" cried Carrie Kent, Ellie's closest friend. She was always optimistic, particularly at work. Ellie loved working with her, was glad to have met her; it almost made everything worth it sometimes.
"How do tips look, Carrie?"
"This jar's full and that's just the TIP of the iceberg!" Carrie giggled. She loved making puns, no matter how decidedly not funny they were.
Ellie's laughter followed quickly. She was bent over a table next to the bar as she cleaned up the cups and pitchers. She looked up, still smiling, as a late-comer walked up to the bar. He glanced at her and her smile froze.
Carrie noticed the new customer. "Sorry, sir," she called out. "Last call is over. We're closing down now." She looked past him at Ellie, who had just dropped all of her stuff and walked to the back room in a daze. The stranger spoke, drawing her attention again, "Oh. I apologize for the inconvenience. What are your normal hours?"
"We're open from two to two every day."
"Well, I suppose I'll have to return then."
"Please do." Carrie surveyed the man. He was quite tall, well over six feet, and thin yet muscular. His smile was simply adorable. She batted her eyes at him. "We love new customers," she said with a grin. "I'm Carrie."
"Alec. I'll see you around, Carrie." The man winked at her before walking out.
After the girls had finished cleaning the front rooms, Carrie went to the kitchens to find her friend. Ellie was washing the last pile of the night's dishes, her expression vacant.
She jumped as she realized someone was in the room with her. "Yes?"
"What happened back there? You just dropped your stuff and walked off."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I remembered suddenly that Gene had asked if I could help clean back here tonight."
Carrie detected a false note in her friend's voice, but decided to let the matter drop. Ellie didn't normally lie, so she must have had a good reason to stop working, plus Carrie hated doing dishes, so she couldn't really complain.
"Move over, you goof. I'll help you finish so we can leave." Carrie debated telling her friend about the guy who'd come in. He sure was handsome, but Ellie's didn't seem in the mood for gossip, so she remained quiet and daydreamed about entirely inappropriate things with that man.
The two finished the dishes in silence, comfortable in their routine and their friendship yet unaware that both of their minds were filled with thoughts about the same man.