Home > Boyfriend (Moo U #0)

Boyfriend (Moo U #0)
Author: Sarina Bowen

 

One

 

 

Stick With The Usual Favorites

 

 

Abbi


Thursday nights are always busy at Moo U’s favorite bar and grill. By nine o’clock, I’ve been hustling burgers and wings for eight hours. But my apron pocket is full of tip money, so I can’t really complain.

I have one party that just sat down, though—three women about my age wearing matching hockey jackets. “Welcome to The Biscuit in the Basket." I pull out my order pad. “The special salad tonight has spinach greens, apple slices, and a warm bacon vinaigrette. The special wings are Cranberry Almond.”

“Did you say Cranberry Almond?” one of the girls asks, lifting one eyebrow as if she doesn’t believe me.

“You heard correctly.” I lean a little closer and whisper. “Nobody likes them. Stick with the usual favorites.”

“Got it,” she says with a smile. “I’d like a half dozen of the Honey Garlic wings, in a basket with fries.”

“Wait—what are the flavors again?” one girl asks.

I could rattle them off in my sleep. “We’ve got Honey Mustard, Honey Garlic, Tikka, Thai spiced, General Tso’s, Chili Bacon, Chicken Parm, and—of course—Buffalo style in mild, hot, or wild.”

And that’s just the regular menu. The chef does a special flavor every week. Whiskey Maple is always a winner. Teriyaki is pretty good. But this week’s special has been a disaster. Making a Thanksgiving-themed recipe was a nice idea, but I can’t give away the Cranberry Almond wings. Not for love or money.

The other two girls make their choices, and I rush the order to the kitchen before it closes. Then I take up a position leaning against the nearly empty bar with my friend Carly, who’s also on shift. She worked the bar tonight, while my section was in the dining room.

“We survived another one,” she says, passing me one of the mints she keeps in her pocket. “What was your best tip of the night?”

“Depends how you look at it,” I tell her. “A six-top tipped me fifty bucks. But my history professor tipped me fifteen bucks, and warned me to look over the Articles of Confederation before tomorrow’s quiz.”

“He gave you a clue?” Carly looks scandalized. “And a fat tip? I think he wants your body.”

“Think again.” I give her a smile. “He was here with his husband and their baby. I think he just felt bad that I was serving his dinner while the rest of my classmates are studying at the library.”

And the man has a point. I work a lot of hours, and I go to school full time. There’s no time for anything else. But that’s just the way it is.

“Fine, fine. So he’s not going to be your new boyfriend.” Carly drops her voice. “Besides, I know you only have eyes for that crew over there.”

My glance jumps involuntarily to table number seventeen. She’s not wrong. Who wouldn’t be interested in an entire table full of sizzling-hot hockey players? “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

"Uh-huh,” Carly says, eyeing them. Then she lets out a little sigh of yearning. “More for me then.”

“You wish,” I tease.

“You bet I do, Stoddard. Let’s face it, table seventeen is the best thing about working here.”

Once again, Carly is right. Neither of us can quit until springtime anyway. The owner pays a $1500 bonus to wait staff who work for him for an entire year. I need that money. So I’m going to smell faintly of chicken wings for the next several months, no matter what.

At least I can ogle the hockey players. Table seventeen is a long, high table surrounded by a dozen bar stools. And it’s usually open by the time they wander in at eight o’clock, after practice. They’re always starving for wings and fries.

For Carly and me, it’s like a delicious buffet. The hockey team has as many flavors of hotness as The Biscuit in the Basket has flavors of wings. First you’ve got Tate Adler, who’s six feet tall, at least. His flavor is what we’d call Brown-Haired Defenseman Hot. Next to him sits Lex, who’s Pretty Boy Freshman Hot. And then Jonah—the Grumpy Hot Giant.

And we can’t forget the Twins of Hotness—Paxton and Patrick Graham. I can’t actually tell them apart unless I take their order. Paxton likes the Chicken Parm wings, while his brother goes for Buffalo style with extra blue cheese.

My favorite player of all, though, is Weston Griggs. He’s a defenseman, sporting thick brown hair in a tidy cut. He has a winning smile and inquisitive blue eyes. But he’s also got tattoos that poke out from the sleeves of his T-shirts.

I’ve had a thing for him ever since he scored Moo U’s first goal at the start of last season. And then my thing became a full-blown crush when he came into The Biscuit in the Basket that night and flashed me a huge smile, called me by name—or at least the name that’s printed on my nametag—and then ordered a dozen wings and a side of coleslaw.

If I were a braver girl, I would have jotted my number onto his bill. But that’s not how I roll. I’m the kind of girl who says nothing but then thinks about him all the time instead.

Weston often shows up in my daydreams. Hey girl, I can’t help noticing how sexy you look tonight. I have a weakness for women wearing T-shirts with hockey-playing chickens on them, shooting a Southern-style biscuit into a net. And even though I can have my pick of the campus women, I like mine wearing a polyester apron just like yours.

I might as well fantasize, right? It’s not like I have a real social life. I spend all my free time here.

Table seventeen has a big game tomorrow. So it’s a little quiet over there. They’re much rowdier on actual game nights. After a win, they drink beer by the pitcher. And after a loss, they also order shots.

But there are more wins than losses. Moo U is a hockey school, and our guys have brought home more league pennants than any other team in the Hockey East conference. And this year could be big. The team looks great. They could go all the way to the Frozen Four.

They’re decent tippers, too. Especially for college boys.

“Tell you what,” Carly says. “All my other tables are gone. And since you can’t stop watching the hockey players, how about you tip me forty bucks and you can close ‘em out in my place? You know you want to.”

“Forty bucks?” I yelp. “They’re not drinking tonight. I’ll be lucky to break even on that deal.”

“But I’m giving you my eye candy! Duh. And besides—they just ordered two pitchers of beer. It’s someone’s birthday.” Carly chirps. “Weston’s I think.”

“Weston’s birthday,” I say stupidly.

“Yup!” She holds out her hand. “Now pass me forty bucks, and bring the tattooed hottie his birthday beer. You know you want to,” she repeats.

My glance travels, unbidden, to the strapping defenseman at the head of the table. The one whose smile makes my heart go pitter-patter. And now I know when his birthday falls. That will come in handy when we’re married.

“Earth to Abbi! Are you going to let me go off shift, or what?”

“Fine,” I say, digging two twenties out of my apron and passing them to her. “Go already.”

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