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They spent the rest of the day walking around and doing tourist things. She was enjoying herself more than she had in so long.

When they were out to dinner that night, she asked, “Is it hard for you to eat at other restaurants?”

He laughed at her. “No. Or not really. I do my research. Trust me, there are places out there that don’t have good food. Average food that most have no issues eating or paying for, but not me. I want something decent or I’ll cook it myself.”

“So you’ve been here before?” she asked of the restaurant they were in. There was a lot of seafood and fish on the menu. Thankfully, she liked that and knew it’d be fresh.

“I have,” he said. “I know someone that works here too.”

“I’m not surprised,” she said. “Do they know you’re here?”

“No,” he said. “I don’t do that. No reason to. If Anne comes out and sees me, fine.”

“Anne?” she asked. She didn’t want to be jealous, but there was part of her that worried she might be sounding that way.

He laughed at her. “We went to culinary school together. She’s gotten a lot of awards. Many of us have. We don’t keep in touch like you think. Nothing to worry about. It’s not like we dated.”

“Sorry,” she said. “I just always heard that there is heat in the kitchen more than the food. I mean, here we are too.”

He laughed at her. “Not the same thing, but I get it. I’ve had relationships with coworkers before, but once I became the boss I stopped that. Too many lines can be blurred or crossed.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I know. I’ve seen it before.”

“You have?” he asked. “At your old job?”

“There and other places. Coworkers date and then they breakup and there is drama. One of my past jobs a boss started to date an employee and they got separated into other departments and they were both annoyed over it even though they knew the policy.”

“No reason to get annoyed if they knew that going in,” he said.

“I thought that too,” she said. “And my last job. I told you how I worked with Eddie’s cousin. Things just got tense thereafter. So, though I wasn’t in a relationship with a coworker, I had that tie...”

“It’s behind you,” he said.

“It is,” she said, smiling at him.

An hour later their bill came out and so did a woman in a black chef’s coat. “Duke. I was out here making the rounds and I’d notice those golden locks anywhere.”

Duke turned his head. “Anne,” he said, standing up. The woman hugged Duke, but Hadley wasn’t bothered. You could tell they were friends and that Anne either had a great appreciation for food or was eating for two. “How is Carlos doing?”

“He’s happy as can be. Feeding me well.” Anne patted her belly. “Me and the baby.”

“Congrats,” Duke said. “Number two for you, huh?”

“It is. Didn’t lose the weight from the last one and don’t think I will from this. But hey, they say chefs are heavy because they eat their own food. Though no one can say that about you.”

“As we know, it’s why I work out,” he said, laughing. “This is Hadley. Hadley, Anne Ramos. She and her husband, Carlos, met in college and haven’t left each other's side since.”

“Well,” Anne said. “We leave it to work. No way we could work together.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” she said. Anne moved away a few minutes later to talk to other patrons. “She seems nice.”

“Very nice. Carlos staked a claim on the first day and we let him. Anne is a sweetheart but not my type.”

“What is your type?” she asked.

“Right now, you.”

She supposed you couldn’t get a better answer than that.

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