"And he fell off, straight in to the nettles, just like I said he would." I was giggling at the story Alex was telling me of his holiday, where his friend had got extremely drunk and decided he was going to race a squirrel up a tree.
"That sounds brilliant! I wish things like that would happen to me." Then I remembered that things were happening to me.
"So, what's the story with this Evan guy anyway?" Alex asked, leaning against the bar casually.
"He," I began and then a customer came up to the bar. I served him, and then returned to Alex. "He's the older brother of one of the girls in my school. He saw me, we got chatting, that sort of thing."
"Older brother huh? How much older?"
I gave him a light shove.
"He's only 19."
"What's got in to you?" I asked, before being dragged away to serve another customer. When I returned, he was busy.
"I'm just concerned." He said, ten minutes later when everyone had stopped ordering.
"Why?" I asked, curious, especially after what Evan had said. I had been sneaking glances over at him every few minutes since we'd arrived, and he'd been either looking at me, or at Alex.
"Well you know. I do care." He said, not looking at me.
"Oh really?" I joked, poking him.
"Look I just thought about you while I was away. About whether when I got back you'd still have a job without me picking up the slack all the time."
I pretended to be insulted.
"You? Picking up the slack? Oh I think it was me doing most of the hard work round here..."
"Oh yeah?" He tried to tickle me but I swatted him away with the beer cloth.
"Serena." Evan was leaning on the bar. As always, when I saw him I caught my breath.
"Hey." I said, and then put on a cheeky smile. "So what can I get you sir?"
He smiled delighted, and then his eyes flicked to Alex and his smile dropped just a fraction from his eyes.
"Just another coke." He said, and I got busy preparing one.
"There you go. Anything else sir?"
"Well I don't think that's on the menu, but since you're a special customer... No sorry, I still have to finish my shift." I teased.
He looked delighted, and I wonder whether his phoenix was delighted too. That rather stopped my mind from being flirty, and instead I whispered to him.
"Only two more hours. They'll fly by."
"I wish they would." He said, then went to sit back down with his drink.
"Well, I definitely don't approve." Alex said, wiping the bar down two hours later.
"I've never seen you like that. He's changing you."
"Maybe that's just a side to me you've never seen." Alex mumbled something under his breath. "What?"
I rolled my eyes at his display of jealousy. Could it be that Evan was right? I'd always thought of Alex as a good friend, perhaps even a brother...
"Finally." Evan said, as I left the bar.
"You're very impatient."
"I don't like competition."
"He's no competition for you." I smiled and snuggled in to his chest as we stepped out in to the cold night air.