Treat yourself to a tale filled with breakups, hookups, and more from the author of the Every Girl's Guide series.
In Table for Two, a corner table at a quiet coffee shop takes center stage, the latest release from Summit Books author Marla Miniano. The table is the setting for pivotal moments in the lives of the main characters—who, as it seems, are quite the lovelorn bunch. First, there’s the long-time couple on the verge of calling it quits after college graduation. Then there’s the serial dater who accepts her younger brother’s challenge to go dateless for two months. There’s also a photographer who attempts to dissuade his best friend from getting married (and we’re curious to find out why). And finally, there are the two hopefuls: a young man who meets with the girl he never stopped loving, and a young lady who pores over romance novels, waiting for her turn to fall in love.
Cosmopolitan praises Miniano for creating a “romantic yet very real world” in her latest piece of chick lit. Indeed, who doesn’t love a story where everything—and everyone—is connected? And if you aren't yet convinced that this fresh-off-the-presses paperback should be your next book buy, check out the excerpt for a sneak peek at this light and romantic read.
But one night, seven months and six days ago, you asked me to tell you the truth, and I did. The truth was this: I couldn’t stop thinking about you and that kiss we shared once and never spoke of again. Every moment was a moment further from the one where I leaned towards you and you pulled me in close. Every thought of you brought back that moment, our moment—the feel of your lips brushing against mine for the first time, for the last time. The truth was, at that moment, we were caught in the same place, breathing in the same air, which was why I couldn’t understand how it meant the world to me while it meant nothing to you at all.
You looked at me for a long time before you finally said, “I’m sorry I even asked. I just wanted to make sure you were okay with this.”
“I don’t know. This.”
You untangled your arm from mine and told me, “I’m sorry it meant something to you.” I said, “I’m sorry it meant something to me, too.”
My boyfriend Tristan is late again, and I am not surprised.
I am sitting at our favorite spot, a table for two by the window, in our favorite coffee shop. Not many people know about Café Carmelo—it is sandwiched between a Korean grocery and an appliance service center, along a street fifteen minutes away from a major road housing three universities and more than a dozen big-name coffee shops. People drive past it every day, on the way to school or work, but nobody ever really notices. And with its unassuming exterior and a sign you have to squint to read, it almost seems like it doesn't want to be noticed.
It was my idea to make this our regular meeting place. I figured it would be less embarrassing to be kept waiting for an hour and a half, or to be completely flaked on, when your only witnesses are a couple of bored baristas and a law student burning a hole through a mountain of handouts. Tristan used to say I was being paranoid, that when he stood me up in Starbucks or Seattle's Best, nobody could even tell I had just been stood up. Of course they could tell. There is an unmistakable vibe independent people give off, an enviable confidence that allows them to eat alone and sit alone and hang out at a coffee shop alone without looking pathetic. I am not an independent person. I do not give off that “I'm alone and I'm okay” vibe. What I give off, clearly, is an “I got stood up by boyfriend so now I'm loitering and trying to pretend that I'm okay” vibe.
I open my bag and pull out the envelope containing my resumés, cover letters, and 1x1 ID pictures. Today is my first day—our first day—as official members of the real world. I now understand why it is more common to say “fresh” graduates rather than “new” or “recent” graduates. I feel invigorated and energized, free from the burden of research papers and long exams and thesis proposals, and ready to dive into the adult world of job-hunting and panel screenings and salary negotiations. I feel eager and enthusiastic. I feel, well, fresh.
“Are we yuppies now?” my best friend Diane asked me several days ago.
“Yup,” I replied. “Yuppies.”
“I hate that word,” she said. “It makes me think of little people running around. Like boylets.”
I said, “It makes me think of puppies.”
She shook her head at me. “Sometimes I wonder why I put up with you, Mandy. I mean, you're obviously so much smarter than me. You have all these insights that are like, really deep, you know?”
I grinned. “Fine. Let's call ourselves something else then. Fresh. Fresh graduates.”
“Fresh,” she repeated, mulling it over. “I like it.”
“Does it make you think of orange juice?”
“No,” she replied. “Okay. Yes. Yes, it does. But I still like it.”
We both laughed. “Fresh it is, then.”
I arrange my cover letters in alphabetical order, according to the companies' names, and line up my ID pictures in neat rows on the table. Forty minutes pass and I feel my freshness deflating. My boyfriend Tristan is late. Again. I am always waiting for him to show up, and even though we've been together for three years, I still feel sick to my stomach every single time, like I am about to go on a blind date with a complete stranger who may or may not decide at the last minute to back out. You'd think I'd be able to brush off his punctuality problems by now. I imagine this is what it would feel like on our wedding day, as I sit inside the bridal car, a bundle of nerves, and wait for someone to tell me that the groom has arrived and the ceremony is about to start—that nervous, clammy uncertainty gnawing away at my high hopes until there is nothing left but fear and distrust.
Except we're never getting married, because today, we are going to break up.
Tristan walks through the door, no doubt with a good excuse for his tardiness: He came home late from a graduation party with his block mates, or his mom made him run a million errands. Or he lost his phone, or he couldn't find his keys. Or his car wouldn't start, or his alarm didn't go off. Or he overslept.
And all I will hear is, Look, Mandy, I just don't care enough about you anymore.