When Wednesday morning came around, Aaron went to the effort of getting himself spruced up. He wanted to make a good impression. After all, he was going for coffee with Penny Pizzazz, an A-Lister for sims.tv. His ex-girlfriend always used to buy magazines for the drama and scandal stories. When she was done with them, Aaron would read the reviews written by Penny for your Thoughts, the alias that Penny Pizzazz went by. He couldn’t believe he had actually met her in person or that she had agreed to have coffee with him. He had also noticed that, since meeting her, he hadn’t thought about Alice as much. The feelings were still gnawing at him, but it was Penny’s face he was picturing. He pulled his hair back into a bun and sprayed himself with cologne. As he was about to leave, his phone rang. His boss was calling to let him know he had been promoted to Airman.
Aaron arrived at the Hare and the Hedgehog, a cafe in the heart of Windenburg. All the tables were taken apart from one by the window. He sat down and waited. Half an hour had passed and Penny still hadn’t arrived. As he stood to leave, he heard a familiar voice. “I’m so sorry I’m late!” Penny rushed over. Aaron smiled. “It’s okay. I haven’t been here long.” He lied. She breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, good. I went to the cafe across town. I’m so silly.” Her cheeks turned pink. Aaron touched her hand. “You’re here now.” Her eyes sparkled as she smiled back at him. He watched her as she read the menu. “What would you like? My treat.” Her eyes shot up. “Oh, you don’t have to pay for me.” He put his hand on his chest. “I want to.” She looked back at the menu. “Thank you. Just a cappuccino will be fine.” Aaron smiled and walked up to the counter. “Two cappuccinos and two croissants, please.” The barista nodded and started up the machine.
Aaron made his way back to the table and placed a cup and a croissant in front of Penny, who was staring out the window. She eyed the croissant. “Mmm. I love these!” She grinned at him as he sat back down. “Me too. They’re so good.” She stared at him. “So, Aaron. What brought you to Willow Creek?” He cringed. “Fresh start I guess. I realised that I wanted something different to what I had.” He took a bite of his croissant. “Interesting. And what do you want?” He looked around for a moment. “To be happy, mostly. All these people seem to have their lives figured out. I thought I did too. When I realised I didn’t… I just don’t want to waste my life, you know?” She gives him an understanding look. “Yeah. I get it. I hope you can be happy. You deserve it.” Aaron looked into Penny’s eyes. “I feel happy right now.” As he stared into her eyes, every problem seemed far away. They spent the next couple of hours laughing and talking. He told her about his family and his new job. She congratulated him on his promotion and he told her which of her reviews were his favourites. They had a lot in common and the chemistry between them was undeniable.
When he looked at the time, Aaron gasped. “I’m so sorry, I have to get ready for work.” She stood up and embraced him. As he felt her warm breath on his neck, he melted. He felt the urge to kiss her lips, but resisted. She was an amazing person and he didn’t want to rush things in case she rejected him. He smiled at her and gave her a peck on the cheek. “I’d love to see you again.” She nodded. “That would be great. Can I call you?” They exchanged numbers and he rushed towards the door. As he reached the exit, he felt a hand on his arm. He spun around and she wrapped her arms around him, embracing him in a passionate kiss. His eyes widened, then slowly closed as he returned the kiss, squeezing her tighter until they both pulled away, breathless.