“So sorry I’m a bit later than expected,” I venture with a weak smile, pointing a thumb behind me toward the road. “I got... held up.” As if operating against my will, my eyes jump to the man I called an asshole only ten minutes ago. He returns my gaze with one dark eyebrow raised.

He looks like he’s enjoying watching me explain myself.

“That’s a myth, you know. That coffee helps you sober up. I saw it in a magazine,” he says unhelpfully and my eyes narrow as I look at him. I brace both hands on the counter across from him, leaning close.

“It’s coffee or a slap in the face, Miles.

You got a preference? Because after this morning, I’m thinking I know which one I’d choose.” My lips are tight in a grim expression.

“Listen, I’m so sorry about earlier-” I start.

Jude raises his head from whatever he was writing, a smirk tugging at the edge of his mouth. He places his pencil behind his ear and folds his arms across his broad chest, fixing his green eyes on me patiently.

He was waiting for this.

“You okay?” Jude says and I turn back to him reluctantly.

I lift my eyes to meet his with an expression that hopefully reads I’m not insane.

His smile tells me he’s as delighted as Nat is at my suffering, his green eyes shining with amusement. “Was I… interrupting anything?”

Oh, just me humiliating myself. Nothing to see here.

Move along, citizen. Please, please move along.