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Danielle's cup of coffee was cold and half-empty, her hand clamped around the handle in the same tense position it had been in for nearly an hour. Mark's impression on the faux-leather seat was long gone. The familiar scent of his cologne had disappeared into the stuffy air of Darlene's Diner, thick with bacon and coffee.
"'Scuse me, sweetheart?"
Danielle continued to stare out into the street. Her eyes were red and glazed over.
"Look alive, punkin!"
The waitress lifted her hands from where they were resting on her hips and clapped loudly.
Danielle merely turned her head. She blinked twice.
"Sweetie, you haven't moved a muscle since that boy walked out. Everything alright, darlin'?"
Danielle's small face broke out into a reassuring smile, shaking her head like she was amused.
"Oh no no no! Of course I'm fine. You see, Mark just went out to buy some...flowers."
The waitress gave the girl a skeptical look, her eyes full of pity behind her cat-eye glasses.
"Stargazer lilies. My very favorite, you see."
Danielle's eyes shone with adoration, dimples appearing in her cheeks.
"When he gets back, we'll go watch a movie or go to the park. A walk, maybe. Only I don't know what I would do with the lilies. It would be bothersome to carry them around in the park. Maybe we would put them in his car. I wonder if they would wilt..." She trailed off, lifting the mug awkwardly to her mouth and stopping halfway.
Setting the coffee down, Danielle looked up curiously at the waitress.
"Oh! Your nametag says 'NANCY' on it. I know a girl named Nancy. Nancy Peterson...she's in my english class."
Nancy the waitress slowly placed her plump hands in the pockets of her apron. She decided against telling the confused girl that the said Nancy Peterson had been in the diner with Mark Evans too many times to count. She pictured the skinny blonde girl who always ordered a chocolate malt with two straws.
"Sweetie...I don't think that boy's going to come back. You've waited long enough already. I think you should just let him go," Nancy said gently.
Danielle now wore the same glazed expression she had worn as she waited patiently for her boyfriend to come back. She shook her head ever so slightly.
"I can wait. I always do."
It was this patience that let Danielle slip between the cracks of her parents' divorce and stumble quietly through her life to adolescence. It was this patience that Mark couldn't stand. It was why her peers avoided being her friends, tiptoeing around the small, fragile girl like a mental patient.
Danielle lived, seemingly in a dream.
Nancy felt tears of frustration prick in her eyes, and an aching sadness weighed down her chest.
"He's coming back, you know. Stargazer lilies are my favorite."