Just a possibility for the start of season 3 based on some of the spoilers that have been floating around.

I don't own these characters.


It was late as Wade climbed his porch stairs. Another day of working from opening til last call. He'd spent most of his summer doing the same. Passing his time while the business grew.

As he reached the porch, he heard the cab pull up. He knew she was due back today- Lavon had mentioned as much. Quickly, Wade slipped in the door of the gatehouse, leaving the lights off. By the light of the cab, he could see her get out of the cab, pay the driver, and struggle up the stairs with her four large suitcases. She looked just as beautiful as he remembered her, wearing her too-high heels and short shorts as she wrestled the suitcases up the short staircase. He considered going over to help her, but thought better of it. Instead, he remained in the dark, watching the lights in the carriage house turn on, then off a few minutes later. He didn't see her glance in his direction once. His heart sank.

He spent the night thinking of her and what would happen next. All summer, he'd waited. He hadn't given into calling her, although it often seemed like an hourly temptation. It was one thing when she was a few thousand miles away. But at this moment, she was so close, and his head was spinning. Sure, he'd come up with a thousand ideas for their first encounter as the summer ticked by- grand romantic gestures, moves that Lavon would definitely call "pulling her pigtails"; but he hadn't been able to settle on anything. He didn't have a plan, and it wasn't until the first birds began to stir that he'd come up with an idea. He knew the ball was in her court, but Wade could not let this drag out any longer. First, though, he knew he needed supplies.

He quietly let himself into Lavon's, hoping to not wake the sleeping couple. He set about making coffee- he'd even forgone his regular Foldgers and picked up a bag of the fancy stuff from the Dixie Stop when she'd once made a comment about how hard it was to get a good cup of coffee in Bluebell. Lavon came down the stairs as Wade reached into the fridge for the eggs, butter, and milk. Lavon took in the scene before clearing his throat.

"Oh hey, Lavon," Wade whispered quietly, "sorry if I woke ya. I'll try and be quiet."

Lavon paused before responding. With the non-stop work, Wade had been a bit of a phantom in the kitchen over the summer. Aside from an occasional beer or slice of leftover pizza missing from the fridge, there was almost no evidence that Wade came and went in the wee hours of the night. Lavon shook his head. "Nah, man, you didn't wake us. I got an early appointment in Mobile with that lawyer about the Fillmore mall again. Annabeth and me thought we'd make a day of it up there."

"Uh huh," Wade responded, turning back into the fridge. His mind was clearly elsewhere.

"Now, babe," Annabeth announced as she came downstairs, "I know you said my shoes were in the way, but what did- Oh, Wade!" she exclaimed, her eyebrows raising as she glanced at Lavon. "I didn't hear you come in." She flashed a big smile in his direction and sat next to Lavon at the counter.

"Hey, Annabeth," Wade said, emerging from the fridge with heavy cream and some fruit. He placed everything on the counter and began to crack eggs into a bowl.

"Since we haven't seen you in a 'coon's age," Lavon began, "can I assume this culinary excursion has to do with the return of a certain doctor?" Annabeth giggled and squeezed Lavon's hand.

"Oh, she's back?" Wade tried to play it cool, but the corners of his lips betrayed him. He looked down as a smile crept across his face. Annabeth looked like she was going to vibrate off her chair with excitement.

"I just knew it!" she exclaimed. "When I came down and saw you in that button-down shirt and clean jeans, I just knew this had something to do with Zoe being back. Did you talk to her last night? What did she say? Did she tell you-"

"Now, Annabeth," Lavon cut in, putting his arm around her shoulders, "let the poor man speak. You can interrogate later."

Wade grabbed a fork out of the drawer and began mixing the eggs, trying to bide some time. He knew they talked with her regularly over the summer. During those three months, he'd tried to play it cool: asking occasionally if they'd heard from her, making comments about the weather in New York, or the latest big news from New York that he'd set his phone to alert him to. He didn't want to seem desperate, but it drove him crazy to think Lavon and Annabeth had contact with Zoe, and she wouldn't call him.

"Wade?" Lavon said after a few minutes, snapping Wade out of his thoughts. "Did ya see her last night?"

"No," Wade responded, measuring out the cinnamon, vanilla and milk, beating them into the eggs. He turned to gather some bread from the cabinet. He didn't want to talk about this. His idea was only half a plan so far, and saying it out loud made it sound even worse.

"So what's the plan, Wade," Lavon asked gently. Annabeth had stilled, and she appeared as though she was willing Wade to answer. It was all too much for him.

"I don't know, OK, Lavon?" Wade snapped. "She's been gone for three months. I told her I loved her and she was gone. And there's nothing I can do about that, but I can't keep dragging this out. I'm making her breakfast, and I am going over there, and I am hoping," he paused. "I'm just hoping," he finished, sounding defeated, as he placed the skillet on the stove. His feelings were all mixed up. He'd felt hopeful when he'd started working on his idea, but now it hardly seemed like enough.

There was a pause as he fired up the stove and added butter to the skillet. Annabeth was the first to break the silence. "Well, I think it's very romantic," she said quietly. "And you know how much Zoe loves your mama's french toast recipe."

Wade sighed and smiled at her. Maybe this would work, after all, he thought, coating a piece of bread with the egg concoction. It was a place to start, at least, and he would take baby steps if he had to.

As he placed the piece of bread in the skillet, there was a knock on the back door. Standing outside the french doors was a tall, well-built man in a crisp polo shirt, pleated khakis, and wingtipped shoes. Parked next to him was a rolling suitcase, and a leather breifcase. As Lavon made his way to the door, Wade's stomach began to knot. He didn't know who this was, but he did not have a good feeling.

"Hi," the man began as Lavon opened the door, "I'm looking for Zoe Hart. Am I in the right place?"