"Hmm, I'll have a meat feast 9 inch and mint choc chip ice-cream."
Brendan ordered as soon as he stepped foot inside Carter & Hay. He placed a £20 note on the counter and took a seat on the nearest stool.
Carter & Hay had been open for business for two weeks now. Business was booming, and Brendan had been in everyday, without fail.
Ste practically threw the change back at Brendan. His patience for his ex was still wearing thin. He wished he'd just back off. But Ste was finding it harder to ignore Brendan, he had hoped Brendan would maybe get bored of him again and just leave him alone, but it wasn't work. And maybe he would have loved the attention months back, but he knew Brendan. He knew nothing would change if he gave in and he let his barrios down.
"Blimey, did no-one tell ye about good customer service?" Brendan asked, picking up his change.
He didn't get a reply.
Ste couldn't hide his disgust and fascination at the way Brendan ate his food. He knew he was a messy eater, but the man ate as though he'd been starving for years.
Doug carried on serving customers. Even he had noticed Brendan's animalistic way of eating, and he too, failed to hide his disgust. Not that he would say anything, each day Brendan came in to the deli, he feared he'd spill all and tell Ste why they even had the place in the first place.
"That's proper dirty, that," Ste blurted out, still watching Brendan.
Brendan looked up, his mouth full of pizza, "aww, don't say that about ye cooking. It's great, coulda done with a bit more meat, though."
Ste pouted, crossing his arms. "I meant the way you eat!"
Brendan grinned, "stop staring then. That's if ye can take ye eyes of me, of course."
Ste huffed and went back into the kitchen.
"I'll close up, Doug." Ste smiled wiping down the chairs and tables.
"No, don't be silly –"
"I'm not, get yourself off. I'll see you bright and early tomorrow."
"Only if you're sure?"
"Of course I am, it'll only take two minutes."
Doug nodded, "alright then, see you tomorrow."
"You sure will, night Doug."
Doug left and Ste finished up. He went in to the back to put away the money in the safe. He heard the doors bell go off when it opened.
"We are shut!" Ste shouted, prepared for some drunken state demanding something to eat.
But no, he couldn't have been further from the truth, "what do you want now?"
Brendan put his hands in his trouser pockets, "supper." He paused, looking Ste up and down. "One of ye burgers would go down a treat."
"Well you'll have to go somewhere else, we are shut."
Brendan went back to the door as if to leave, but he turned the sign on the door back to 'OPEN.' He smiled, "not anymore."
"Ya aren't funny, Brendan. Its shut, end of, now can you go please?"
"We are making progress ye know, ye do know that right? Brendan asked, sitting down, clearly in no rush to leave.
Ste scrunched his face up, "wha'?"
"Us," Brendan leaned back, "talking. Ye've spoke more to me today than you have in the past 3 weeks." He nodded, "progress." He finished.
Ste sighed, "Only 'cause you won't leave me alone."
"Anyone would think ye didn't enjoy my company."
Ste sat down at a stool at the counter. His annoyance for the man getting to him, he was too tired for this now. He was always tired, when it came to this with Brendan.
"But ye do," Brendan carried on, "ye used to tell me all the time."
Ste bit his lip and nodded, "yeah when your fists weren't breaking my ribs." He said bitterly. Ste got up and put his coat on, "go now."
Ste had said too much. Now Brendan knew he still cared, that he still felt the pain, and that he still thought of the times they would spend together when things were 'good'.
"Stephen…" Brendan said his tone now empty of any confidence. His cocky attitude now none existent, he hurt too.
Ste opened the door, "go before I call the police!"
Brendan left without saying another word. He didn't want Ste to be angry with him anymore; he wanted the Ste back that would tolerate him, and smile at just the sight of him.
Carter and Hay had now been open for 2 months. Brendan hadn't been in since his encounter with Ste.
Not that Ste cared. It wasn't as if he'd begun to enjoy seeing Brendan every day again, or as if he looked at the door every time someone entered hoping for him to walk in.
Yeah, Brendan had got the message and Ste was happy with that. Brendan had finally listened to a word he'd said.