Mystery Love

black-and-white, coffee, couple

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.

Latte

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Sato felt warmed inside and out despite the rain hammering against the window. Sitting back in the over sized royal purple colored armchair, she carried on watching the wild wintry weather. Around her, the coffee shop was humming with soft voices, machines, people eating and drinking. The air was heavy with the smell of coffee beans, tea and cakes.

Wrapping her hands around the large red mug, Sato let her thoughts drift. She tried not to think too much about anything though; not her job, part-time studies, recent conversations with grandma, the breakup with her boyfriend. She thought about returning to Japan for Christmas. At least that would stop grandma complaining, but she still wouldn’t have anyone special to share Christmas Eve with.

Sighing, Sato looked into her mug at the light brown frothy top. The leaf pattern that had been drawn on top was almost gone now.

Just like autumn almost is, she thought.

Rising her head, she glanced around the coffee shop, which seemed as the weather raged outside to be too empty. There was only a few other armchairs and sofas occupied by single people or by couples. They all seemed quiet and reflective, just like her. Behind the counter, the two baristas were doing a quick clean up before someone else came in. Somehow, they were keeping their tasks quiet as if they didn’t want to disturb the peace that had settled in the air.

Sato turned back to the rain and condensation covered window. People were hurrying by tucked into coats and umbrellas. The wind was shaking the bus signpost and upturning everything it could. A car splashed through a puddle, sending spray everywhere and causing a man with a large briefcase to dodge out of the way.

In a better mood, she would have laughed at that. Instead, Sato felt slightly sorry for the man and sympathized with a near miss to her the other day. As she watched, he crossed the road and opened the door to the coffee shop. A blast of cold air and rain followed him. He went to the counter and began ordering.

A shiver ran through Sato then was gone. She un-crumbled her face and tried to go back to her thoughts again, but then she couldn’t remember what she had been thinking about. Shrugging, she brought the mug to her lips and taking a sip of sweet ginger spiced latte and let the world slide away.

The Train Station (Part 6)

Train Station

Bridget returned to the train station the next day. Nothing had changed, expect for the people. As she walked along to the coffee shop, someone was playing the piano. Slipping her headphones off, she heard the end notes of a song that sounded like it came from a Disney movie. Trying to figure what it had been, she went into the shop and joined the queue.

It was busy today. The smell of coffee drawing everyone in and the sight of snacks tempting even the strong willed. Bridget fiddled with her headphones, wanting to put them back on but knowing if she did that it would be her turn to order. So, she fell into people watching without really meaning too.

The old man in front of her was holding his glasses to his eyes and looking at the menu. He was leaning slightly on the handle of a suitcase, though trying to act like he was not needing any support. His skin was tanned and wrinkly and there was golden wedding band on his finger. he was wearing cool, loosing fitting cotton clothes and comfy shoes that sort of looked like slippers, but could not have been. He was also muttering the menu under his breath.

Leaving him and looking further down, Bridget saw four other people, one of whom person  seemed to be holding up the line as they could not make up their mind. Bridget started with him, noticing the blue suit he was wearing and the neat hair cut. She thought for a second, she reconsidered him, but then he turned and he was a stranger.

After him were three people waiting for their drinks. They were all woman and two of them seemed to know each other. Bridget could not get a clear view, but she thought they sounded like they were from London. The third woman was wearing a bright summer dress and looking unhappy. Or maybe she just really needed some coffee.

‘Hi, can I take your order, please?’

Bridget snapped around to the man behind the counter and said the first think to come into her head, ‘a caramel latte please.’

‘Size?’

‘Medium with cream,’ she added.

The man nodded and told her the cost. Bridget handed the money over and went to join the small group of people waiting. Once she had her drink, she hurried outside and grabbed any empty chair she could. Sitting down opposite the teenage girl who had let her have the chair, Bridget relaxed.

She looked around the station, hoping to spot Drew or Sas or someone else she had recorded in her notebook. The people before her seemed alien. They were hurrying about in that way she had  become use to, heading to the trains or out of the station. The hum of voices mixed with the sound of trains and also the background sounds of the city that the strong wind was blowing in. The smell of coffee, mingled with engine oil, people and fast food.

Bridget wrapped her hands around her coffee cup and wondered why she had thought she’d ever see them all again. The train station was just a gateway for these people. They came from their homes or places of work, went to wherever they were going in the city then headed back again. Or the other way around. She sighed and without thinking of it dipped a finger into the whipped cream on top of her coffee and licked it off.

The teenage girl soon left, not saying anything else to her, even if she had seen Bridget licking the cream and sipping burning latte nosily. Bridget drew out her notebook and pen. She glanced around, sadly and tried to pick out someone from the crowd.

She just could not do it though. Her head was filled with a vision of those two men meeting and hurrying off. Their story had to be told and somehow she was the one who had to do it.

The Train Station (Part 4)

Train Station

The train station was just as busy as it had been yesterday. Bridget sat at the same table outside the coffee shop, notebook and pen awaiting her. This time though, she was sipping an ice fruit smoothie. Lost in thought, it took her a few seconds to see the man indicating to the empty chair opposite her.

‘Is anyone sitting here? Sorry to trouble you,’ he added.

Bridget glanced to the tables either side of her and saw that they were both occupied. The one on her right had a very large lady reading a thick book sitting at it and the one on the left had a teenage couple, both playing on their phones. Bridget nodded at the man and gratefully he sat down.

‘I was thinking,’ Bridget spoke.

The man looked questioningly at her.

‘That’s why I didn’t notice you,’ she added.

‘Oh. Its fine,’ the man answered.

Bridget smiled and took him in. The man was in his mid-thirties, with black wavy hair and a sculptured face. His nose, cheeks and chin, reminded her of Roman busts. He was wearing a plain t-shirt and jeans and carrying a single bag. He was holding a takeaway coffee cup and taking the lid off the top.

‘Are you waiting for a train?’ he asked.

‘No…I’m…waiting for a friend. Her train is late,’ Bridget answered.

The man nodded, ‘I’ve got a few minutes till mine.’

Bridget stopped herself from asking where he was going and instead put his face into her memory so she could write him up later.

The man turned from her, looking at the train time table board then at the ticket barrier. A train had clearly just come in and a crowd of people were coming through.

Bridget also drew her attention to them. Many seemed to be coming for a Friday night out or to spend the weekend. There were large groups of only men and only women, followed by a small mixed group of barely old enough teenagers. Bridget spotted a Hen party. All the women were wearing sashes that were pink and had silver writing on. They towed small suitcases and were chatting loudly.

Someone started playing chopsticks on the piano. The musical notes rising above the voices and the engines of trains.

Bridget sipped her drink and shot shy glances at the man. There’s no harm in asking him where he’s going, she thought.

A barking dog drew her attention away and she looked up. A woman was running to the ticket gates, holding two dog leads in one hand and suitcase in the other. Her dogs were racing beside her; a boarder collier and a smaller cross mix. She approached the wide gate, waved her train ticket in the guard’s face and was let in. Bridget watched her running to platform six, the dog still barking.

‘I have to go. Hope your friend gets here soon,’ the man said.

Bridget snapped her head back to him, ‘yes. Me too, thanks,’ she muttered.

The man stood, gave her a small wave and left. Bridget’s eyes followed him, noticing how nice his bum looked in those tight jeans.

Placing her drink down, she flipped open her book, wrote the date and title on the top line and started jotting down his description. She recalled as much as possible, adding in the question of where he was going underneath. Finishing up, Bridget looked up and saw a young man pacing before her.

He was checking his phone and when he reached the entrance to the pub he turned and came back. As he reached the entrance to the coffee shop, he turned and walked back again. Bridget watched him, fascinated. He was wearing a t-shirt that was too big that had some cryptic logo on and baggy jeans with scruffy trainers. There was something about the way he was pacing, it was frantic and clearly he was desperately waiting for someone.

Bridget dropped her eyes away and drew a line under what she had just written. With another look up, she began writing about the pacing man. Letting her pen flow across the lined page, she did not think too much about what she was writing. Stealing more glances, she noted down his clothes and how he looked. He had flat, wide cheek bones and a slight tan to his skin. His eyes were dark and constantly on his phone. He was so fixated that he did not notice his longish hair moving downwards over his face.

He stopped suddenly, looking up at the barrier as if he had heard something.

Bridget paused her pen and stared too. A new train load of people had arrived and they were all barraging through. There were too many faces and brightly coloured summer clothes mixed together for her to just focus on one person. So many had come for a night out, yet it had barely hit the afternoon. Families drifted passed with young children and large suitcases. Two middle-aged women stepped off to the side near the pub and began waving the rest of their group over to them.

Bridget regarded the pacing man. His back was completely turned and he was watching the crowd. Or at least she guessed he was. Whilst she studied him, a tall man peeled himself away from everyone else and came over. The pacing man jumped a little on the balls of his feet and slipped his phone away. As the man approached, they hugged and the pacing man went to kiss the other.

‘Not here,’ the other man whispered and quickly withdrew.

‘No one cares, Sas,’ the pacing man muttered.

The man nodded at Bridget, who quickly turned away and grabbed her drink.

‘Well, I don’t care!’

‘Calm down, Drew,’ Sas said quietly.

Bridget slurped the rest of drink and put it down. Her fingers were wet, so she rubbed them on her jeans before picking up her pen again. Moving her hair back with her other hand, Bridget looked secretly at the men. The second one was a lot taller than the first and more muscular. He also had softer cheek bones and plum lips. His hair was a rich brown and floppy. He was wearing tight, low slung jeans and a half open midnight blue shirt.

‘I don’t see why I should! Why are you so later anyway?’ Drew snapped.

‘The trains,’ Sas said with a quick shrug of his shoulders, ‘Do you want to stay here for coffee?’

‘No…let’s find a wine bar,’ Drew demanded.

‘Okay, fine, whatever…’ Sas trailed.

They began walking away, their footsteps mingling with the countless others and becoming lost in the background noise.

Bridget got back to her notebook and began writing furiously.

 

To Be Continued…

The Train Station (Part 2)

Train Station

Bridget watched the hurrying people with interest and was reminded of the sea. People come in and out of the barriers alongside the trains coming in and out of the station. The noise of footsteps, voices, suitcase and pram wheels become one solid background sound that competed with the rattle of train wheels and rumbling of engines. Above it all, came the PA lady’s voice, shouting the arriving, departing and delays on the trains.

Sipping her latte, Bridget dug her other hand into her bag and pulled out a small notebook. Setting that on the now dry table, she reached back in for a pen and spent a few moments locating one. Pulling out a heavy sliver fountain pen, Bridget slid her eyes over to the table beside her.

The middle-age couple had fallen back into silence with the man looking at his phone and the woman now stealing glances at Bridget. Their eyes met once more and this time the woman turned away and drew out her own phone.

Bridget turned her back to them and flipped open the notebook. She turned to the next blank page, her fancy handwriting on the previous pages not catching her eyes enough to make her stop. Picking up her pen and taking the lid off, Bridget wrote the date at the right top corner of the page just like high school had drilled into her for five years. Then in the middle of that line she wrote; Observations At Victoria Train Station, Manchester, 2: 21pm.

From her mind’s eye, she then wrote a detailed description of the couple sitting next to her. After, she recorded that snatch of conversation she had heard. Looking down at what she had written, she tried not to read it back, but to let it go from her mind. Rising her head and tucking a strand of her long med-brown coloured fringe back, Bridget stared at the barriers and watched the flow of people come to a slow stop.

Two men wearing yellow high visibility vests patrolled the area. They were checking tickets that gates would not let through and opening the wide gate for those with prams, suitcases and wheelchairs. Further to the left side and now more visible, another group of people wearing the same yellow vests stood behind a desk. They seemed to be in charge of getting passengers just off trains to pay for their tickets if they had not been able to before. Bridget had missed them in the crowd of the lunch-time rush. The station crew did not held her gaze for long though.

The tinkling of piano brought her head around and to the train time board. Just underneath the forever changing place names and times was a large black upright piano. It had been painted with that special blackboard paint, allowing chalk writing and images to cover the surface.

Bridget had clocked it before when she had been heading to the coffee shop. Even though she could not see it now, she remembered that purple letters had shouted out play on me! Then they had been something about the piano being given free by the Manchester School of Music for public use.

Taking a few big drinks of her now cooling latte, Bridget listened to the sad musical notes ringing out. She did not recognize the song. Though if it was classic, she would have no idea anyway, beside from the few famous ones that get played all the time. On the other hand if it was a pop song or a love ballad, she would not have known that either.

Placing her half empty cup down, she picked up her pen and decided to note down the idea of a pianist who could only play sad music. Maybe his lover has died and he can no longer face the world.  The door of his Paris flat has been locked for many years and he’s now slowly dying as he creates the most saddest music man had ever known.

Bridget trailed off the idea. That was not her normally story writing subject. The song on the piano ended and though it had been good, nobody clapped. Normal sounds filled the train station once more. The female announcer broken in with, ‘the two-twenty-three Liverpool Lime Street train which was previously delayed, is now arriving at platform three. This service will be stopping at; Liverpool Lime Street only. Please keep your luggage with you at all times.’

The couple hurriedly finished their drinks and got up. Bridget watched them from underneath her hair as they gathered their belongings.

‘Finally!’ the man spoke out, ‘stupid trains, never on time.’

The woman shook her head and looked like she was going to say something back. Thinking better of it, she followed the man out of the coffee shop seating area and towards the barriers. Bridget saw her give a quick glance over her shoulder.

Was she checking if I was following her or if she’d left something behind? Bridget wondered.

Frowning, Bridget watched them feeding their tickets into the gate and going though. Dropping her shoulders and wishing she could have learnt more from that snatch of conversation the couple had had, she let her eyes drift across the station. There was still a large number of people standing about or walking. A few had gathered under the train time table board and were looking up at it. Other people standing still were clearly waiting for people. Bridget spotted someone coming towards her.

He was a tall guy, six foot two at lest and he had long black hair tied back off his face. He had a bushy beard too and a very round fat face. He was a huge young man with a belly hardly held in by the belt of his jeans. He was wearing a black heavy metal band t-shirt and was looking down at his phone as if the thing was alive.

Bridget picked up her pen and began writing again. Another part of her mind drifted off into thinking about who he was waiting for. A family member? An old friend? Maybe he might be going on a first date with someone he met online?

Bridget raised her head and looked at him. She could see the handsomeness in him, the almost American biker style look or perhaps Viking warrior. His arm muscles looked strong under his t-shirt despite his overweight body. Suddenly the man looked up, but not at her at the gates were a woman was coming through. She had ginger hair, fair skin with a splattering of brown freckles and small features. She was wearing a blue vest top, leather jacket and long blue skirt. She was also just carrying a handbag on one shoulder.

She came over, looking happy if a little tried and hugged the huge man. She had to stand on tiptoes and her arms barely went around his bulging neck. She seemed to become lost against him as they embraced tightly. Then, they kissed and hand in hand walked away.

Bridget watched them go, her mind reeling then took to her notebook once more. Just as she started writing someone began playing the piano. It was a different person this time. Bridget rose her head as the first notes become caught up in a man singing- badly. She tried to see who was seated at the piano, but it was not possible from the angle she was at. Getting back to writing, she tried block out the off key and slightly squeaky rendition of a current love song.

She hurriedly wrote down what she could remember about the young man and his girlfriend. Setting her pen down, she finished her coffee and thought about leaving. The man on the piano was making a terrible sound with his voice and yet his playing was not so bad. It also seemed like he had attracted a small group of people, but Bridget knew they were actually looking at the train time table.

She packed her stuff away, zipped up her bag and stood up. Tugging it on as she walked away, Bridget avoided a small running toddler whose mother was yelling in Polish for him to come back. She side stepped and carried on walking as the pianist finished his song and launched into another one.

She saw him for the first time, a short Asian man with close cut black hair, wearing jeans and a green polo shirt. There was a large gold watch on his wrist, which didn’t seem to be slowing him from playing. Bridget almost stopped, the notes sounding very familiar. Then the man opened his mouth and began singing the theme song from Titanic.

Bridget cringed, unable to hide it from her face and picked up her pace. She headed out of the train station the piano and terrible singing chasing after her. Stepping through the doorway, she took a few breaths of polluted city air and though she did not really want to, Bridget went home.

 

To Be Continued…

The Train Station (Part 1)

Train Station

The train station was busy as Bridget waited for a table outside the coffee shop. She leant against the wall with her large headphones getting uncomfortable around her neck. She looked for a place to quickly put her latte down but there was no space. She glanced through the window of the shop and thought about going back inside. A burst of laughter drew her attention and she looked at the people occupying the tables.

A group of eight young businessmen had put two of the small tables together and were enjoying a late lunch whilst talking loudly. They were all wearing black suits with white shirts and plain coloured ties. At their feet were messenger bags and small rucksacks. Bridget tried to hear what they were saying, but it was difficult to when they were all talking and laughing at once.

Bridget looked at the only other table where a middle-aged couple sat in silence. By their body languages they were avoiding each other. The man was turned away, looking down at something whilst the woman was looking across at the businessmen. She turned her head and met Bridget’s eyes, a frown on her lips. Bridget knew what the woman saw; a geeky twenty- something girl getting her afternoon coffee fix.

Feeling a touch of guilt, Bridget looked away and up at the train times’ board. From here though the orange letters and numbers with unreadable. However, she was not waiting for a train or for someone to arrive; she was here for something else.

Stealing glances at the couple, whilst trying to pretend she wasn’t watching them, her mind began to fill with ideas. What was their story? She questioned herself. The writer in her wanted to jot all these thoughts down before they become lost to the void. Still though, she hung back, holding her hot takeaway coffee cup and looking around the station.

A large number of people were heading to or from the barrier gates. Suitcases wheeled behind a few of them whilst the majority had rucksacks and some had others bags. Most of the people, Bridget saw were alone and clearly traveling for business. A handful of people were in small groups of friends or family. Voices rose and fell, echoing slightly by the glass roof as they all mingled into one.

The sounds of trains arriving and departing broke up the collected voices. Loud rumblings and clicking of engines sent vibrations through the floor. A whistle blew somewhere, the sharp sound cutting through everything else. A train started to leave platform one, which was only a few meters away from the coffee shop. Bridget watched it go, lost in thought.

A female voice over the PA crackled in with an update announcement, ‘the two-oh-five train to Blackpool North is arriving on platform six and I’m sorry to say that the two-twenty-three Liverpool Lime Street train has been delayed due to a passenger taking ill at a previous station. It is now due in at two-forty-eight on platform three.’

Bridget flashed her eyes up to the roof as if the woman was actually speaking from there. For a moment her thoughts switched to imagining that being the case and just like a life guard sat on their tower, Bridget saw a woman sat on top of the station’s roof monitoring all the trains and informing the passengers.

Smiling, she finally gave into being drawn back so much to the couple. Watching them, she started to notice things. The man had short brown hair, a long nose and scrubby brown beard. He was wearing a loose blue shirt and black trousers. One of his legs was resting on top of the other and sometimes he would wiggle his black pointy shoe. He was on his phone, Bridget observed, reading an online newspaper.

The woman on the other hand was fixated on her coffee. Her sad eyes were staring into the white mug clutched tightly in her hand. Bridget knew that look and guessed the woman was fighting back something she wanted to say to the man. Stress lines crossed the woman’s face, appearing through her natural look makeup. She took some shelter behind her curled blonde hair whilst risking a look at the man. She was wearing a peach blouse, a black pencil skirt with coal tights and black flats. The clothing showed nicely her curvy figure and large breasts.

The woman sighed and opened her mouth to speak a few quiet words, ‘I still can’t believe you said that.’

The man slowly rose his head, met her eyes and replied, ‘she deserved it and don’t tell me you wouldn’t have done the same.’

‘Not like that though…’ the woman trailed with a small shake of her head.

The man shrugged and looked back at his phone again. The woman let out a sigh and stared into her mug once more.

Bridget’s curiosity swelled. To distract herself, she took a small sip of her latte. The hot sweet coffee burnt her tongue and she quickly withdrew. Swallowing as she winced, Bridget noticed the businessmen leaving.

They stood up slowly, keeping the conversations going as they gathered their things. It had had been hard to tell them apart before, but now Bridget could see them individually. They ranged in heights with there being a large difference between the tallest and the shortest. All were clean shaven and three had black hair, one had blond and the others had brown. They seemed an unlikely group of friends, but clearly work had brought them together.

As they walked away, Bridget moved to the tables, but then stopped in disgust. The men had left their empty coffee cups and lunch remains. The crumpled fast food bags and cardboard containers littered the table. She turned away and caught the eyes of the woman who give her a smug look.

Bridget shuffled back to her spot against the wall, just about avoiding two teenage Chinese girls going into the coffee shop.

‘I’m sorry,’ the female announcer seemed to shout above all the noise,’ that the two-twenty-three Liverpool Lime Street train has been delayed due to a passenger taking ill at a previous station. It is now due in at two-fifty-five on platform three.’

The man huffed and muttered something that sounded like, ‘just typical.’

‘Next time let’s go via Piccadilly,’ the woman added.

Bridget sighed and looked over at the small pub next door to the coffee shop. There was one high table over there that was free. However, it would not give her a clear view and that was what she needed. As she thought about cleaning the table herself, an older woman with light blonde hair going grey walked up and started cleaning the rubbish away.

Missed my chance, Bridget sulked.

She took a sip of her latte, finding it cooler and watched the woman matching off to put everything into the bin. As she came back, Bridget saw she was actually a worker for the coffee shop. Feeling her luck finally changing, Bridget slide over and waited whilst the tables got wiped down and separated again.

‘Thanks,’ Bridget said as the cleaner walked by.

The woman nodded, smiling happily.

Bridget took the table closer to the fabric barrier that marked the coffee shop’s seating area. Placing her latte down, she pulled off her bag and placed it on the other chair. She took her headphones off her neck and iPod out of her pocket. Unzipping her bag, she put them in then felt the table top. Her fingers came back feeling slightly damp. Settling in, Bridget sipped more of her coffee and watched the flow of the train station.

 

To Be Continued…

Coffee Overload

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Wiping the inside front windows of the coffee shop clean, Morgan wondered were she had gone wrong in life. She paused and glanced over her shoulder, whilst her hand still held the cloth to the window. She could see the long white counter stretching across the wall next to her and the army of chairs, tables and sofas that were arranged on the dark oak floorboards opposite.

Turning fully, she took in her in business. The counter held a large choice of cakes, biscuits and fruit in glass domed plates. Next to them sit two modern tills then there were the coffee and tea machines. Behind the counter was another work top to make cold drinks and food on. Above all that were three blackboard menu boards, divided by mosaic mirrors. The lighting wasn’t dim or too bright and the large windows at the front actually let a lot of sunlight in. The opposite wall was pale blue and held a few large photographs of the city at different times of the day and night.

Messing with the cloth in her hand, Morgan thought about how the place use to look. It had come so far since her grandparents nineteen-fifties restaurant. Instead of being divided into two spaces – kitchen and dining room, it was all one now. Everything was bright, clean and modern, a whole world away from her grandparents time. Yet, Morgan wished she could give it back to them.

Stepping back around, she finished cleaning the windows. Collecting her things, she put them into the back room then got out the books. Her thoughts were far away when a knocking on the door brought her back. Frowning, she checked the time and saw it was nearly half past six. Closing and sliding away the books, she went to the door and saw it was Colette, the supervisor.

‘Morning,’ Morgan said, letting her in.

‘Did you sleep here?’ Colette asked.

Morgan shook her head and let go of the door. She walked behind the counter and began switching things on and setting up.

‘You look like you need to,’ Colette picked up.

Morgan shot her sister-in-law a look, but did not voice her words.

Colette was tall, skinny, blonde and perfect looking. Everything Morgan was the opposite of and yet they had become friends, even though Colette belonged on some front cover of a glossy mag or big screen movie.

Morgan looked down at her scruffy pumps then across at Colette’s shinny black designer work shoes. Then she flicked her eyes up and looked at the pencil grey skirt and frilly cream blouse that Colette had on. Morgan was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

‘Maybe I need a break,’ Morgan announced.

Colette give a single nod as she opened and peered into a small fridge.

‘I’m been thinking about for awhile actually…..I want to see the world.’

‘From your sofa?’ Colette asked, closing the fridge.

‘No! for real!’ Morgan snapped.

The bell above the door chimed and they both turned. A regular customer walked in, eyes glued to his phone, wearing a business suit and carrying a messenger bag.

Colette intercepted him and took his order whilst Morgan turned back to the sink and washed her hands. The cold water somewhat calmed her and Morgan let everything go with some deep breaths. She shut her eyes and listened to Colette making coffee and chatting to the young man.

After he had gone, Morgan turned to her sister-in-law again. Collect was tutting over the plastic sticks and spoons. Morgan folded her arms then dropped them again. She smelt the fresh coffee and decided she needed some.

‘I’m going to make a drink. Want anything?’

Colette shook her head, too fixated on putting things back into place.

Morgan walked past her and into the staff area. In the tiny kitchen at the back, she made herself some coffee, which didn’t smell as good as the one before. Going into the small office, Morgan sat down and fell into wondering again.

As the coffee worked into her brain, she decided she would make the first steps tonight and get out of this place for awhile.

Closed Heart

Heart, Valentine, Love, Sky, Fly, Wings, Door, Open

What was it about opening her heart again that she found so difficult? Fay stopped thinking and took Reed in again. There was nothing wrong with him on the surface and he seemed fine underneath too. Most importantly though, he ticked all of her boxes; handsome, nice smile, good figure, funny, well educated, liked a lot of things she did and found her attractive.

Fay sipped her cooling latte and wondered why the walls where still up. This was what? Their seventh date now? And still, she could not let him in. Which was totally not her. Tucking a stray strand of light brown hair back, she got back to paying attention to him. Reed was saying something about the movie they had just been to see, but Fay was not sure what he was talking about.

She frowned at her half empty coffee mug and pushed it away from her. She needed to figure this out somehow without him noticing. Taking a deep breath, she told herself she would start trying to let him in, but first letting go of the past would help.