Over Us, Over You Page 1

Author: Whitney G.

Genres: Romance


(Present Day)

Seattle, Washington




THE BLACK AND BOLD words in front of my face said it all, but I was still having a hard time accepting the truth. As Seattle’s soft morning rain fell over me, I traced my fingers around the words “Tenant Notice,” trying not to remember how excited I once was when I first signed the lease.

Months ago, my coffee and wine bar was open and thriving—serving tourists and locals alike whenever they ventured downtown. But now, the only thing I had to show for all the hopes, sweat, and tears I’d poured into every cup of coffee was a soaking wet pink notice of failure.

Sighing, I peeled the paper off the front door and unlocked the building one last time. The only things left inside were the massive glass pantry cases that lined the back wall, a few wooden chairs, and the shop’s namesake and motto etched in chalk above the menu board.

Wildest Dreams Coffee & Wine Café: Where Impossible Never Ends...

“Hey, Miss!” A police officer stepped inside, waving a flashlight. “Are you one of the owners?”

I nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Oh, well—” He glanced at his watch. “You’ve got about fifteen minutes before I’ll have to change the lock on this place.” He walked over to the bar and ran his hand against the mahogany tabletop I installed months ago. “This shop had some of the best cupcake and coffee pairings I’ve ever had,” he said. “Some of my colleagues and I came here after hours a few times. Well, until Starbucks opened across the street. Can’t beat Starbucks, especially in this city.”

He laughed, and I gave him a blank stare.

“Thank you so much, Officer.”

“No problem!” He smiled. “I mean, if my daughter ever told me she wanted to open a place like this, I’d tell her she should open it anywhere except this city.”

I rolled my eyes. “Can you excuse me for a few minutes, please?”

“Thirteen minutes to be exact.” He tapped his watch and toyed with the spouts behind the counter. “Oh, wow. You even named each of the beer spouts after a cupcake.”

Ugh! I resisted the urge to scream, “Let me put my business to death in peace, please!”

Walking away, I snapped a few last pictures of the hand-painted murals in the hallway. There was one of the Memphis “M” bridge glittering against the night, one of me and my best “non-friend” and business partner Kelly standing in front of Seattle’s Space Needle, and of course, one of the secret founder of this business. The man who thought he was giving me tuition for business school every six months while I sank every dime into this dream. My older brother, Jonathan.

With five minutes to spare, I pulled a bobby pin from my hair and etched a final message into the wall.

Thanks for the memories and the dream while it lasted...

Wildest Dreams Coffee & Wine Café was once here.

—Hayley and Kelly



“Are you damaging the property, Miss?” The officer cleared his throat from the other side of the room. “That’s an additional five hundred dollars if you are.”

“Not at all.” I returned the bobby pin to my hair. “I was just saying goodbye.” I walked out of the place with him at my heels—ignoring whatever final memory he wanted to share. I pulled my hoodie over my head and stepped into the city’s falling rain, heading straight for Pike Place Market.

I took my time walking past the vendors and farmers who were setting their wares and fruits out for a new day. Past the giant, white Ferris wheel that spun slowly in the distance.

I wanted to soak up every mundane sight I’d taken for granted while living here, wanted to cling to my last sense of independence before having to come clean and tell the truth.

Unless I can come up with a Plan B...

When I made it to my apartment, a cramped walk-up in the middle of an alley, I noticed that the door was already unlocked.

What the hell?

I pushed the door open and saw a man with salt and pepper-colored hair tossing things from my kitchen into a pile. I grabbed an umbrella so I could beat him over the head, but he turned around, and I realized he was my landlord.

“Mr. Everett?” I dropped the umbrella and crossed my arms. “What the hell are you doing?”

“What I should’ve done six months ago.” He turned around and narrowed his eyes at me. “Putting your ass out. You and your smart-mouthed roommate, Kelsey.”

“It’s Kelly.”

“It’s irrelevant because she’s just as broke and incompetent as you are.”

“Is this because we’re always a few weeks late with the rent?” I pulled my checkbook out of my purse, knowing damn well anything over twenty dollars would bounce today. “I can pay you back right now.”

“I doubt it.” He held up his hand. “I called your bank when the last check bounced. They said your balance is rarely above eighty-five dollars these days, so the chances of me getting my money for the last few months and this month are slim to none. Are they lying?”

“They’re breaking the law,” I said. “They can’t disclose my information like that. But for the record, I try to keep it at ninety-five dollars. Not eighty-five.”

“That’s what I thought.” He shrugged and tossed my favorite romance books onto the pile. “You’ve got forty-eight hours to get all of your shit out, and I won’t file a lawsuit against you for back-rent.”

“Mr. Everett, please give us one last chance to pay what we owe. We had a few unexpected expenses with our shop three months ago, so—”

“Forty-eight hours.” He cut me off. “Period.” He pulled an envelope from his pocket and handed it to me. “Your boyfriend dropped this off for you an hour ago. I was tempted to open it, but since it didn’t feel like a wad of cash, I left it alone.”


“You’re welcome.” He smiled and pointed to a stack of flattened boxes in the corner. “Get busy packing, young lady. I’ll be right back with some duct tape.”

I waited until he walked away and took a seat at the breakfast bar. I’d counted on the final day of my leased cafe space being over, but I wasn’t prepared for a sudden eviction from my apartment.

Pulling out my phone, I scrolled to Kelly’s name and hit call.

Please pick up. Please pick up. Please pick up.

“Hey, Hales!” Her voice was cheery as usual. “Did you get a chance to take a few final pictures of the café?”

“I did. Did you get a chance to talk to the loan company?”


“Yeah? So, what did they say?”

“Nothing good.” She sighed. “They said they would loan money to a homeless person before giving us another chance.”

“Well, seeing as though we’re about to be homeless in forty-eight hours, can you ask them if that means we qualify now?”


I held back my emotions and replayed the last five minutes I’d had with Mr. Everett, while she damn near hyperventilated.

“I think it’s time for you to call your brother, Hales,” she said after several minutes of silence. “You always said you would go to San Francisco with him for a fresh start if this business didn’t work out. “

I said that? “We have forty-eight hours to come up with a plan, Kelly. If I call Jonathan, that means I’m giving up on Seattle completely. You didn’t call your older brother yet, did you?”


“Thanks for the warning,” I said. “You know, a real friend would’ve given me a heads-up.”

“That’s why we call each other non-friends.” She laughed. “I’ll be home in an hour or two, and we’ll pack up everything together. Then we’ll come up with a plan for the rest of our twenties. We’re still young, Hales. Life isn’t over because of one failure.”

“I hate that you’re so optimistic sometimes.” I couldn’t help but smile. “Would it kill you to let me have a pity party for like five minutes?”

“It really would.” She laughed again. “Be home soon.”

I ended the call and scrolled to my brother’s current name: Mr. Overprotective. My finger hovered over the call button, but I couldn’t bring myself to come clean with him right now. If I told him where I really was and what I’d been doing over the past two years, he would fly his private plane here in hours just to grill the shit out of me.

And that’s before he gets angry and starts talking in staccato sentences...

To everyone else, my brother was the Jonathan Statham, self-made billionaire and CEO of Statham Industries and one of America’s favorite rags to riches stories. His face often graced top-tier technology and entrepreneurial magazines, and his backstory (the version he’d concocted anyway) served as inspirational fodder for dreamers everywhere. The public clung to the idea of a young boy growing up poor in Ohio, working his way through Harvard, and of course, eventually dropping out to found what became the country’s top tech company. They especially loved the part about him being generous regarding local charities, funding global initiatives for great causes, and taking care of a younger sister who “wished to live her life in private under a different last name at this time.”

Despite his overwhelming popularity, he was just a brother to me. An overbearing, over-protective, yet loving older brother. Then again, even though our age gap was only five years, it often felt like twenty, since he acted more like my guardian.

Tomorrow. I’ll call him tomorrow.

I set my phone down and opened the envelope my boyfriend gave to Mr. Everett. I was surprised he hadn’t met me at the shop this morning like he promised, that he hadn’t joined Kelly and me for the farewell coffee sipping session last night.

Inside of the envelope was a letter and five condoms. Confused, I unfolded the sheet and read.


Dear Hayley,

We’re OVER.

Feel free to use the condoms with whoever you’ve been fucking instead of me over the past few months. I used the rest of the package on Raya last week. (Yes, Raya. The first “amazing” barista you hired.)

I’m done with one-handed nights, one-sided conversations about your shop, and your LIES.

FYI—Your coffee shop was doomed from day one. (We’re in SEATTLE where there’s literally a Starbucks on every. single. corner. What the hell were you thinking?)


PS—Since you’re always so “broke,” why not just call your brother who is **supposedly** THE Jonathan Statham, right? I honestly can’t believe I ever fell for that bullshit.  #donewithyou


I READ THE LAST LINE of the letter and finally let out a pent-up scream. Then I crumpled his harsh words and tossed them into the trashcan. This was my third loss in an hour, and it hurt even worse than the others.

Jacob had followed me from my short-lived business-school days in Memphis to Seattle, to pursue his dreams of working in the cruise ship industry. Even though the past months had flown by in a busy blur of us settling into a new city and struggling to see each other regularly, I thought he believed in my shop, and I thought he understood why I wanted to wait a little longer to be intimate.

I wiped away a stream of tears, shook my head at his cruel confession, and decided Kelly was more than right.

It’s definitely time to start over.