LOVE IS LOVE, NO MATTER WHERE YOU FIND IT!
Architect Justin Bailey has been alone for over 20 years. The love of his life, Rachel, died at 25, just three years into their marriage. Ever since that loss, Justin had been unable to find love with another woman – nor was he sure he really wanted to. His life revolved around his family and his dogs. For him, day-to-day life was a routine, and romance was the memory of his wife and her captivating smile.
Freddy Jameson was a loner when it came to affairs of the heart. Sure, he had friends, but in his over 20 years of life, he never found someone he felt romantically attracted to – female or male. He dreamed of loving someone, but he could never see the face, only the comforting green eyes. He was content to work his coffee shop job and plug away at veterinary school, a few classes at a time.
A chance decision by Justin to try a different coffee shop put him face-to-face with a young male barista, whose smile reminded him of Rachel. For Freddy, the man he was serving had the very eyes he had been dreaming of. Is it possible that the love of Justin’s life lived on in this young man, born the day his wife died? Could this handsome older man be the one Freddy was born to love?
Join these two men as they navigate a relationship that neither expected, but each seemed destined to be a part of. What they find on the way to their “Happy Ever After”, is that even with “divine intervention”, love will find its own way. Love truly is love.
- 1 To Be Read list
By the time four-thirty rolled around that afternoon, the office was almost deserted. Justin had gotten back late from his lunch visit to the cemetery with Carole, and even though his boss told him he could go home early with the rest of the office for the holiday, Justin decided to stay and finish what he was working on that day.
As he exited the building, he started to turn right to follow his usual route to his car in the parking garage around the block. But then Carole’s words echoed in his mind.
“Maybe do something small. Something to break your routine up a bit. Like maybe going to a different coffee shop or something.”READ MORE
Justin took a deep breath, and turned to his left instead. As he rounded the corner towards the parking garage, he saw a coffee shop across the street he had not noticed before. He chuckled at the name: “Never Bean Better”. Instead of continuing on to the garage, he decided to cross the street and check the place out.
He walked in the door and an old-fashioned bell jingled over his head. It was typical coffee shop décor – rustic industrial, with high ceilings, painted brick walls covered with free-standing shelves full of coffee-themed decorations and potted plants. A long bank of distressed looking cabinets creating a service counter, with a display case of sandwiches and baked goods. A row of exposed bulb light fixtures hung above. It was a pleasant spot, and Justin felt a comfortable vibe there.
There were a few customers sitting at tables, but overall, the place was not especially busy. Justin was not surprised, given it was the day before a major holiday. He adjusted his glasses and took a few minutes to peruse the tall, chalk-written menu board in the corner, listening to a Neil Diamond song playing overhead – it was Rachel’s favorite. He was startled out of his memories by a voice he had not heard in over twenty years.
“Hello, again. Hello!”
Justin gasped and looked around for the source of the voice. A young male barista with blond hair and strikingly blue eyes was standing at the register, smiling at him. He knew that smile.
“Sorry,” the young man offered. “I was making a joke about the song.” He nodded up towards the ceiling, his smile never wavering.
“Uh … Hi,” Justin replied, attempting to regain his composure. “Yeah, that was clever,” he added with a nervous smile about the young man’s joke.
“You’re a new face here. Welcome to Never Bean Better. What can I get for you today?”
Justin could not take his eyes of the young man whose name tag read “Freddie”. Freddie was wearing a white polo shirt and jeans, behind his royal blue apron with a coffee bean pattern on it. The color brought out the blue in his eyes, making him even more … handsome? Justin smiled again nervously before asking for a large hot mocha with an extra shot.
“Name?” Freddie asked, still smiling.
“What?” Justin’s mind was still trying to process the smile he was seeing.
“Your name. For the order,” Freddie clarified cheerfully.
“Oh, yeah. Justin,” he said, blinking himself back to the present. He paid for his drink, and waited while Freddie busied himself getting it together for him.
“This is a nice place here,” Justin offered, trying to keep Freddie engaged as much as possible. He wanted to keep hearing that voice. “I can’t believe I’ve worked down the block forever and never noticed it before.”
“It’s been open about a year,” Freddie explained as he worked on Justin’s order. “Some friends of my family started it and they asked me to work for them while I’m in college.”
“That’s great! What are you studying for?”
“I’m in the UW Veterinary Medicine program. I’m on the ‘extended’ path, as I have to work for a living, you know. But it’s always been my dream, and I’m just happy to be there.”
“Well, good for you. Pursuing your dreams is always a good thing.” Justin smiled as Freddie handed him his drink.
“I hope so,” Freddie said, their eyes meeting for a beat longer than normal. As their fingers brushed transferring the paper cup, Justin felt an unexplainable energy pass between them.
“I’ll … uh, just go find a place to sit and try out your creation.” Justin nodded towards one of the tables along the opposite wall.
“Enjoy!” Freddie said, his beautifully engaging smile never wavering.
As Justin sat, sipping his coffee, he could not take his eyes off Freddie. The young man glanced over his way inquisitively with a tentative thumbs up gesture. Justin sipped his drink and nodded approvingly, causing Freddie’s smile to get even brighter.
Just then, the door from the back of the shop burst open, and three of Freddie’s coworkers entered, carrying a cake with lighted candles. They broke into a chorus of “Happy Birthday”, and Freddie blushed and demurred. Justin smiled, as he began to feel a bond with the young barista – like he had known him for years, even though they had just met.
“How does it feel to finally be twenty-one?” one of the female coworkers asked with a chuckle.
Hearing that made something inside Justin snap. This kid was born the day his precious Rachel died. He heard Freddie’s familiar-sounding laughter with his coworkers, and thought of his blue eyes and captivating crooked smile – so much like Rachel’s. Suddenly he felt the need to leave. He got up and headed out the door, leaving his mocha behind on the table.COLLAPSE