The Waitress(155)

By: Melissa Nathan


‘Yes,’ said Paul. ‘Absolutely. I was –’

‘And not just the café,’ cut in Dan. He looked down at her. There was silence. ‘But me too.’

The room sighed as one.

‘Katie,’ he said. ‘I absolutely adore you.’ He got down on one knee on the counter. The room hushed. ‘Paul may be my silent partner, but you are, without doubt, my outspoken one.’ The audience gasped. ‘Without you, the café would be nothing.’ The audience cheered. ‘Without you, I would be nothing. I know, without a doubt, that Paul will agree with me when I ask you, Katie Simmonds, please will you do me the honour of becoming my official business partner.’

The audience erupted. Katie couldn’t remember how she got up on to the counter with him, she just remembered being lifted up and then being held tight, while the sound of cheering drowned out her crying.

And finally, their third kiss. Which was a bit of a dark horse, because it overtook the other two and became the instant Best Kiss Ever. Ooh yes, she thought, tears running down her smiling face, as Dan picked her up and squeezed her to him. They just got better and better. She should definitely ask for the best seven.





Epilogue




Katie sat in the corner of the café, an espresso on the table in front of her, while Patsy showed the new boy how to work the coffee machine. Dan was due back from the jeweller’s later this afternoon – he’d insisted that even though they had chosen the ring together, he was the one to pick it up.

She’d waited a long time to open the letter. Great-Aunt Edna’s funeral had been surprisingly serene. It was hard to mourn for someone who had so clearly loved her life. There were no great surprises in the reading of the will and Katie’s share hadn’t amounted to much, just as her mother had predicted. And Katie had been glad. It meant she had no emotion to deal with other than bidding farewell to someone she had grown to love. When the solicitor had handed her the private letter, he had told her, most clearly, that this was not to be opened until she was somewhere that made her happy. That was her Great-Aunt’s wish. And so, here she was.

She tore open the envelope and pulled out the sheet of paper.

Katherine Jane,

There are many sayings in this world: Life is not a rehearsal; What doesn’t kill us makes us strong; You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. All I know is that in a world where speed has overtaken sense, where money is all and where feeding one’s soul has become the last priority, you were strong enough to wait until you understood yourself. I did not want you to know the money was safe. I wanted to see if, as I thought, you would make ‘finding yourself’ a priority over money. I wanted you to learn the value of independence, so that you could then appreciate the value of money. But I had no idea that I would learn from you. The more time you took to make your decision, the more I realised you didn’t need anyone to teach you what you knew instinctively. And the more I grew to love you. So I will add another saying that I’m sure you know well: ‘Good things come to those who wait.’ If one is waiting for the right thing, this one is the truest of them all. And I should know, my love, because I waited until you were ready to know me for me, and not just for what I could offer you.

You have a trust fund in your name, my dear.

Be happy. God Bless,

Edna.





Which was how, when Paul’s fiancée decided, upon reflection, that she really did need a house with a pool, Katie was only too happy to buy Paul out and become Dan’s partner. In every sense of the word.