My Grumpy Old Bear - Jayda Marx

Chapter One


I looked all around the café, wondering where my waiter was. I’d been seated nearly five minutes and hadn’t gotten service yet. I wasn’t upset about the wait time, though; I’m an asshole, but not that big of an asshole. I was just excited to see the waiter who always took care of me.

I’d been coming to this little café every weekday for the past month, and everyday the same guy, Noah, took my order. If that was the end of it, being this jittery about seeing him would be pretty stupid. No, he also always flirted with me, talked to me and made me feel like a million bucks.

The problem? He’s a kid. Well, okay, not technically a kid because my attraction would be fucking disgusting and I’d throw my own ass in jail, but he’s probably in his mid-twenties, which is a kid compared to my forty-five years. The first time he winked at and flirted with me, I thought he was making fun of me. I may have cussed him out. Okay, I did. But just a little. But, to my surprise, he just laughed and told me I was cute when I was grumpy. I should have run away and never came back to this place. But I can’t stay away.

As if the age gap between us isn’t reason enough to keep my distance, we are also complete opposites. Noah is young and free-spirited, kind and funny. I’m, as I said, an asshole. Actually, I’m a cranky, foul-mouthed motherfucker, but for some reason, Noah seems to enjoy our conversations.

Our looks couldn’t be more different either. Noah is...hell, Noah’s hot. He’s tall and thin with dirty-blond hair and blue eyes. He smiles so big his cheeks dimple up, and he lights up the room. His physical appearance and personality are both like a ray of fucking sunshine.

And then there’s me. I’m gray-haired, gray-eyed, thickset, and I have crows feet and a bad back. Yeah...totally not hot. My only saving grace in my opinion is that I’m pretty tall too. Not that being short is bad necessarily; but if I were short, I’d be rotund as well. But, Noah and I are just about the same height. Still, I can’t for the life of me figure out why Noah seems interested. Maybe that’s why I keep coming back; to try to solve the puzzle. Maybe he’s mental. He seems so perfect, but maybe he’s actually a fucking basket case. It would explain his attraction to me.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sight of Noah strolling out of the café to the outdoor seating area where I was. His smile cracked his face when he saw me, but I looked away and pretended I didn’t see him. I made a promise to myself I wouldn’t get attached to the beautiful man, because his insanity would surely run out soon enough. Besides, even if it didn’t, a soft, aging asshole could never make him happy. I’d seen plenty of heartache in my lifetime, and couldn’t handle any more. The best thing to do was keep Noah at a distance. That didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy his flirting, though.

“Hey handsome,” Noah said when he approached my table. My heart flip-flopped, but I played it cool. I looked up at him from under my brow to find he was carrying a tray with two sandwich baskets and two sodas on it. I figured he was just saying hello as he passed on his way to deliver someone’s lunch, but to my surprise, he sat down in the wrought-iron chair across the small circular table from me.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m gonna pretend you said, ‘Hey there good lookin’, how are you doing today?’.” I just stared at him, and he shook his head with a smile. “Fine, cranky, I thought I’d eat with you today. We always talk while I work, but I wanted to spend some more time with you, so I asked Jess to cover my lunch break a little early.” My breath caught in my chest, both from excitement and fear, but I kept my face neutral. Noah gave us each a soda and then set one of the sandwiches and fries in front of him and passed the other one to me. “Ta da!”

“What’s this?”

“Lunch,” he smiled. “And it’s on me. You always either order tuna salad, turkey or roast beef. Yesterday you had tuna, so I went with roast beef today.”

“What if I wanted turkey?” God, what is