First Date

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They been unlucky in love and given up on ‘the one’. For them, online dating was a window to meeting people.

Darcy had locked her heart and wanted to fill empty winter evenings.

Jack’s heart was broken but wanted to out chase loneliness.

The coffee shop was a flurry of people. The scent of coffee and cake hugged like best friends. Christmas music played in the background.

On a corner table for two they sat, wanting to speak but unsure. Finally, Darcy questioned if it was too early for Christmas songs. They laughed and chatted on.

The ice on their hearts melting.

The Queue #FridayFictioneers

The rain dripped of trees and umbrellas, splashing into puddles as people queued. There was a chatter of voices, rustling from clothes, cars driving passed and an angry raven squawking close by.

I waked by and wondered why there was a queue. I was too shy to ask so kept on walking. The line was long but when I got the front, I still couldn’t see what they were waiting for.

I hoped it was nothing important. Had I missed some voting day or celebrate visit or grand opening day?

No….They were queuing to get Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks!

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/09/25/27-september-2019-2/ with thanks).

Rift #WritePhoto

I called a coffee break and began sitting up a place to sit. Nat and Kiara helped me to set up the folding stools and table. We dumped everything else but the stuff we needed whilst Damex set and started up the instant campfire.

Ode hadn’t stopped with us but carried on walking through the rocky clearing we had just entered. She seemed lost in her own world, the amazement of being on Earth not worn off for her yet.

Around us the forest was loud with sounds we weren’t use to. There was the calling of different wild birds and animals which roamed around without the need for programming. The wind was real in the trees and not from fans, the sun also real and pleasantly mild on our sensitive skin and the air wasn’t recycled or filtered but fresh and earthy.

It had all taken some getting use to and we still hadn’t adjusted fully even after the four months we had now been here for. Earth had been abandoned a few hundred years ago, humans had found other planets to spawn on and it had been decreed Earth needed time to regenerate and was to be left alone.

That was until the reason we had come here. A small time-space rift had been detective somewhere in this location and we were the team that went around fixing those holes.

‘Fire’s up, Ash,’ Damex announced.

I popped the folding coffee pot out, but in some water formula and coffee grains then set it on the stand above the fake flames.

Kiara appeared at my side and put some cheese toast pockets next to the pot. They only took a few minutes to cook and made good hot snacks.

‘I’ll get Ode,’ Nat spoke and walked over to her.

I sat down in one of the chairs and looked around. It was impossible to grow bored of the Earth’s sites but I found being in the places with buildings much more interested then the wilds.

Damex sat down on a rock and began rubbing his hands along the surface. The moss catching in his fingers and the dirt getting under his nails. It was always hard to tell with the android but he seemed to be enjoying the sensation.

Kiara looked as bored as I was feeling. She took the chair next to me and began messing around with the hand held computer. No doubt, emailing her husband and children then she would play some games and let her frustrations out on those instead of us. Kiara wasn’t one for these long, complicated trips.

I turned my attention to Nat and Ode, ‘the Lil’ scientific genius’. They were stood on the other side of the clearing, a few feet or so away, next to a mass of rocks. They were looking at a large rock piece that appeared to have a huge, gaping split down it, like a giant had tried to cut the rock in half but had given up before the job was done.

Ode, her white hair tossed in the breeze seemed excited about something and was holding a scanner around over the rock.

Nat laughed, tried to calm her down and pointed back to us. Ode shook her head, determined to stay and it took a few minutes for Nat to convince her to leave whatever it was and come back to the group.

The coffee pot whistled, I took it off and poured it into the four mugs lined up on the table. I set the pot off to one side and grabbed the snacks which Kiara had forgotten about and opened one to let it cool slightly before I ate it.

‘Ash! Ash!’ Ode shout as she ran over.

‘Yeah, Ode, I’m not going to eat all the cheese toast,’ I answered.

‘No….I mean, it’s not that,’ she said coming to a skidding halt, ‘I think I’ve found the rift!’

‘That rock over there?’

Ode nodded, a huge smile on her flushed faced, ‘sensors indicate it could be! Can I please close it? You know it’s the first one I’ve ever found! Expect for the training and exam ones, but those don’t really count. Please, Ash can I do it?’

‘Calm down,’ I responded with a shake of my head but I couldn’t help smiling. Ode was infectious when she got like this, ‘have something to eat and drink first. You’ll need the energy.’

‘But-‘

‘No, buts,’ Nat said playfully, ‘Ash is right, you need to be at your top if you are going to close it. Sit down, here’s a mug.’

With a loud groan, Ode did as she was told and began sipping the coffee.

Nat took the other chair next to her and began nibbling on the cheese toast.

Damex looked up, coming back from wherever his android mind had been and announced, ‘I shall go and complete the scans and confirm it whilst you rest.’

‘But I want to do everything!’ Ode cried like a over-excited child on her birthday.

‘And you shall,’ I cut in, ‘but a second opinion and results is always needed.’ I turned to Damex, ‘please go and do that. We’ll join you soon.’

Damex nodded, collected what he needed and walked over to the huge rock piles. We watched him began the scanning and data collecting. Androids were so useful for those kinds of tasks.

Ode, impatient had downed her coffee, swallowed the cheese toast in a few bites and hurried back to the possible rift. Nat and I took our time, drinking and eating the snacks in silence.

After, as I thought about putting another coffee pot on,¬†Kiara finally stopped being distracted and spoke to us in the first time in about two hours, ‘can I tell my family we might be on our way back then?’ she asked.

‘Better leave it till tomorrow,’ I said, ‘we need to see what Damex and Ode find, then confirm it’s the right rift and then that there are no more around.’

‘Right,’ Kiara snarled.

She shoved the computer into her bag then sat with her arms crossed looking super enraged.

‘I’m sorry. I know we all want to go home. Let’s try and speed things up. You and Nat pack up here. I’ll go and see what those two have found.’

I stood up, leaving them to sort things out and made my way over. I would be sad to leave Earth but this was just another job to be done.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/21/thursday-photo-prompt-rift-writephoto/ with thanks).

Coffee

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They whispered love for each other over coffee, knowing they could never be together but unable to deign the feelings.

Autumn Coffee #TwitteringTales

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She started popping into coffee shops again just to see the menu. By the second week, all her favourite drinks appeared. Frequently, she sat and tasted autumn over and over again.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2017/09/05/twittering-tale-48-5-september-2017 with thanks).

Out The Window

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Finally, she was going to give in. She’d had enough of saying no to everyone. Standing at the counter, she looked down at the mouthwatering display. There was everything anyone could want here and it was going to be hard to pick. When it came to her turn, she paused before ordering. Was she really going to do this? She had tried hard all this year and now she was going to break.

‘A chocolate cupcake, please,’ she said before she could stop herself.

The teenage girl smiled and in flash, placed one of the cakes from the display on a plate before her.

Receiving her coffee, she paid and after a moment of hesitation, picked up the plate and went to an empty table.

It took her a good few minutes, but then she picked up the cupcake and bit into it. Chocolate, sugary goodness filled her mouth and she couldn’t hep but moan. How had she ever given up this?

Well, it’s too late now. Diet’s out the window, she thought and ate the rest of the cupcake.

Vellichor #atozchallenge

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Vellichor; the strange wistfulness of used bookstores.

What is it about used book shops? You go, you browse, you pick up a few books, you read a few pages, sometimes you buy book/s and other times you don’t. You might stay for coffee if they ¬†have a cafe. It’s a meeting place, a talking point, a land of discovery.

You like the smells that whiffed from the shelves; old ink, yellowing pages, dusty attic, dampness and salty tang. You like running your fingers over cracked spines and flattened leather. You like pulling random books out and seeing what they are. You wonder who the previous owner/s and why they give this book up.

You enjoy a good mystery and there is always just more then the story inside to be had. You adore supernatural and horror too; ghosts give you chills and vampires have you shaking at your knees. You love adventures to far off lands or under deep seas or high in the sky. Science fiction always makes you ponder if this is what the future will really look like even though it’s your less favourite.

If you could you’d live in the used book shops. In fact, your home is slowly turning into one. Your bedroom is floor to ceiling with books! You’ve read most of them, but there are others still waiting to be read and still you go to the used book shop to see more. It’s an addiction, a terrible terrible addiction and yet, its harmless.

Mystery Love

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I don’t know how it happened really. The coffee shop was busy again, just like it had been on Friday and there was no where else to sit but next to him!

She sat down next to me, muttering, ‘excuse me,’ and clutching her bag and coffee mug. I shuffled to the side, trying hard not to look at her. I had admired her from a far for so long and now she was next to me!

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘It’s busy here today.’

‘Yes, it is. Must be the weather,’ he responded.

I nodded and tried to keep my eyes off him. But they kept wondering back towards his dark hair and nicely shaped chin.

She was looking at me and I was trying so hard to avoid her. However, our eyes finally met. She smiled, a small one at first then she tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear and smiled wider.

‘I like your hair. It’s really red,’ I spoke.

‘It’s natural,’ she responded, ‘I like your hair too.’

Then she giggled and settled back on the plush sofa. She picked up her coffee, but it must have been too hot because she placed it down again.

He was watching me and I was trying to be all casual, but I could feel it wasn’t working. I wanted to say something, act all chatting and hide my crush for him. The words didn’t want to form but as the silence stretched I knew I had to say something.

‘Terrible weather,’ I said.

‘It really is. I think the news said it was a storm. It’s meant to snow later,’ he replied.

‘Yes, I saw that too. I really hope it doesn’t snow!’ I cried.

‘Why?’ he asked.

I thought a moment before answering, ‘I don’t mind it, I just don’t like being in it. I guess that’s how most people feel. What about you?’

He shrugged, ‘I don’t mind it either way.’

She looked away, out at the steaming up windows and the rain dripping down. I looked down at my phone and began flicking through things, not really interested in anything. I wanted to ask her questions, but I couldn’t do it. Maybe more small talk would help? But I didn’t know what else to say.

The silence grew again. She noticed it and started talking again.

‘You know, I’ve seen you before.’

‘In here?’ I asked.

She nodded, ‘I’ve been trying to figure you out. But I guess you must really like the coffee here or something.’

She laughed and her cheeks flushed. She was embarrassed. She turned away, looking at the people, the windows, the art on the walls, anything other then me.

‘Actually….’ I began and trailed.

He spoke and I turned back to him, fussing with my hair and scolding myself for saying something stupid. He didn’t seem to have noticed though. He was looking thoughtful now and picking over his words.

‘The coffee is rather good here,’ he announced.

I nodded and picked my mug up. I was having a hot chocolate today and it was still too warm to drink.

‘But there is another reason…’ he said, ‘you.’

I frowned and looked at him, not sure I’d heard him right.

‘Me?’ I questioned.

‘Yes. Do you think sometime, if you are free, you’d like to go on a date with me?’ he asked, shyly.

I smiled and nodded, ‘yes, I’d really like that.’

Mystery Girl

Portrait of Woman Photographing With Smart Phone

Was she late or had I missed her? I sat down and searched the coffee shop for her once again. Of her lovely long red hair there was no sign between other people’s heads. The chattering voices were loud today as the weather was bad and people were seeking warmth.

The door opened, letting in high street noise and the sound of the rain. I looked up and there she was, hurrying to join the queue. She folded her umbrella away and took down the hood of her coat. Her hair was dull today, but I didn’t mind that.

I sneaked glances then when she got a coffee, she squeezed in at a table close by. We always seemed to sit close to one another. Sometimes, I or she would do it on purpose, even if we were the only people in here, we’d pick spots a little away from each other. Other times though, our closeness seemed be coincidence.

She started looking around and I dropped my head to my phone. I couldn’t meet her deep green eyes, but I knew with a look between my eyelashes that she had spotted me.

When she finally turned away, I fixed my gaze on her and that was the start of our looking game.

Mystery Man

Brown Long Haired Man in Black Jacket Sitting in Front of White Coffee Cup and Phone

I placed my coffee mug down and casually looked over at him. He was sat two tables away to my right, head down looking at his phone. I couldn’t read his face from that angle.

Who are you? I thought.

I lent back, trying like I always did to catch his eye, but he never looked at me. Or if he did I never saw him.

We were often in this coffee shop together. Over the months, I had noticed he had a pattern just like me; Saturday mornings, Friday late afternoons and Wednesday lunchtimes. He would get a medium or large coffee, the type differed, just like mine did. Then he would sit and drink his coffee whilst looking at his phone.

I had never seen him with a laptop or a book. Nor did meet up with anyone else. He always alone. Strangely, we seemed to sit close by each other, no matter who was here first or how busy the coffee shop was.

A part of me had sometimes wonder if he was stalking me or if this was some kind of set up but I had found no evidence of anything. It just seemed to be a big coincidence.

And yet, I had a feeling that something else was going on.