When Evan arrived at the small ice cream shop and sat down, it was almost two p.m. AJ hadn’t called or messaged to tell him that she had landed. He checked online, but no flights from Boston departing around the time of their last texts had been delayed. He assumed she was stuck in traffic on the way to the café that had her favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was the very café that her cousin, Will, had taken them to when they came out to officially check out Stanford. AJ had him promise her that the next time they were in Los Angeles together, they would return for the ice cream.
And here Evan was.
Sitting at the table by the window, waiting for a cab to pull up and AJ to step out.
“Here you are. A chocolate milkshake,” the kind middle-aged woman who worked the front counter said as she set the tall glass down.
“Thanks,” he said as he grasped the cold glass and set it across from him. It was AJ’s milkshake. She wasn’t a big coffee drinker and only ever liked iced tea or chocolate milkshakes on a hot day.
“You’re welcome, love. You waitin’ on a girl?” she asked.
Evan swung his gaze from the milkshake to the ice cream worker. “Yeah.”
“Aren’t you a sweet thing. You let me know when milkshake girl gets here, so I can say hello. And what a man she has who is willing to wait an hour for her.”
He should have corrected her, but he didn’t.
Evan Gilmore was not AJ Parker’s man.
He was her best friend.
There for her whenever she needed him.
Lifelong friends who would finally spend four years together in college.
Finally, Evan’s life was where he wanted it.
Blissful and right.
“I’ll be sure to call you over when she gets here.”
The waitress winked and then headed back to the counter. His smile faded when he realized she said he had been waiting an hour for AJ. He picked up his cell from the steel table and unlocked it.
No new messages.
Evan pressed on her number and called her. He brought his cell to his ear to hear the rings until her voicemail instructed him to leave a message after the beep. Evan called her five more times as the anxiety and concern wreaked havoc over him.
“Where are you, AJ?” he mumbled as he shot her a text, hoping she’d read it if she couldn’t answer her phone. He knew she hated answering her cell when she was in another person’s company. She found it rude.
Evan: AJ, I’m here. I ordered you a chocolate milkshake. Are you stuck in traffic? Let me know you’re okay.
Then Evan waited.
For hours, he waited.
Until the same woman who served him was by his side and said, “It’s almost eight p.m., love. We’re gonna close soon. Can I get you something else?”
Rage and embarrassment consumed him.
He had sat on that steel chair long after AJ’s milkshake melted.
He had called her.
Sent her more messages.
She gave him nothing but silence.
“No,” he whispered as he got up from his chair, picking up his phone and the gift bag. “Thanks for everything.”
“I’m sorry she stood you up.”
He nodded his appreciation and made his way out of the cool store into the hot LA night.
Evan was hurt and angry that his best friend had not shown up.
It was the first time in their lives that AJ had broken a promise.
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