:: o n e :: w i r e d

I'm sitting amidst these empty tables in WiRED, a new café that has just opened up at Castle Towers. It's one of those cafés where you sit and drink coffee, while there are all these books around... I think they have a book club thing going on too. It kind of reminds of one of those artsy kind of cafés that you'd read about in some guidebook to some American city.

There aren't that many people around, just a short, bald man in the corner, reading the thickest book I've ever seen, and a Goth chick at a window seat, who looks like she's sleeping.

The clouds are rolling in and it looks like it's about to rain, and there have been heaps of people walking past, looking in, so at any moment there could be someone new.

I must admit though, it's only my first time.

Like all those other people, I had walked past the café plenty of times, my folder in my arms, but always in a rush, heading down to the bus stop, or preoccupied with my friends.

But, that's not going to happen anymore.

Now, I've moved and I live two streets away from Castle Towers, so I can just walk home once I get off the bus.

Or come inside and actually see what it's like.

Now, my friends have decided that they're too cool for me. Thus, there's no one for me to be preoccupied with.

That's what ran through my mind as I got off the bus this afternoon. My old friends headed in their usual direction to the food court, and I couldn't help but wish that I was back in with "the group".

But that was not to be. I would never be able to get back in with them.

I used to think that differences were a good thing, that being yourself set you apart from everyone else.

Well, I was both right and wrong. Right, that being your self set you apart from everyone, really set you apart, while I was wrong in thinking that being different was good. Because if this is how it feels to be different, then I don't want any part of it. No sirree.

The waiter brings out my mug of hot chocolate and I flash him a smile of thanks, spotting a marshmallow bobbing at the top, in all its melty goodness.

He's kind of nice looking, not like most of those emo boys that I see around so often now. He's tall, mousy brown hair, messy and curly. There's this little apron thing wrapped around his waist, a dishcloth tossed carelessly over his shoulder. I watch him as he goes back behind the counter, checking the register.

The door rings as it opens, a flood of people coming in, closing their umbrellas.

So finally the clouds let go.

About five people queue up at the counter, looking at the cakes and slices behind the glass.

"Welcome to WiRED," he says cheerfully to the new customers, a dazzling smile on his face. His eyes are a rich brown, sparkling in the bright lights of the café.

The first person in line, a mother with her child in tow, puts her finger to her lips, thinking about what she wants. She finally decides on a flat latté, while her little boy blows raspberries on the glass of the display cabinet. She laughs, embarrassed, while taking her kid to a window seat.

The Goth chick cringes, the light catching on the stud in her nose.

I watch as the next person in line steps up, orders a brownie and counts out his change. The businessman carries a briefcase in one hand, and seems to be ten cents short. He digs his hands into his pockets, fumbling around for some loose change and comes up with only a five cent piece.

The waiter shrugs and says that it will be fine, not to worry, and with a wink, to bring an extra five cents the next time he comes.

As the next three customers come through and order their drinks, I watch them, but more particularly, I watch the waiter as he smiles and makes casual conversation with them. He has a nice smile, a bit lopsided, but that's what makes it perfect.

With all customers served, and the bald man making a move to leave, dog-earring the top corner of a page in his book and putting it into a black backpack, the waiter picks up a tray and clears the corner table, wiping it down, all in one swift motion.

Time seems to fly by and before long it's turned dark outside and the Goth chick has left, her equally Goth boyfriend waiting for her at the door, a Seven Shadows tag around his neck. They make out at the door of the café, before walking across the road, hand in hand.

A polite cough gets my attention and I turn to look at the waiter.

Funny, it seems like he's the only one who runs the place.

"Sorry, I've got to close up," he says apologetically, flipping the chairs up on to the tables.

I nod and gather my things, filing things back into my binder, scattered pieces of paper over the desk. I gather a ball of scrunched paper.

"There's a bin behind the counter," he tells me, before I can even ask.

I give him a grateful smile and head over to behind the counter. I toss the offending ideas and scribbles into the black bag and happen to glance at the bench.

It's a picture of me, with my eyes watching the counter. It's good. It's really good.

I smile to myself, but I don't say anything.

He's signed the bottom of it: Case K.

I glance up at him to see that he's still putting up chairs. I grab the pencil lying next to the diary and scribble in a title: Watching the Waiter.

"Find the bin?"

I drop the pencil lightly, hoping that I haven't been caught. I reach down to the bag in the bin and rustle it.

"Yeah. Thanks."

I smile, pick up my things and walk to the door.

As I pull open the door, I feel him come up behind me and hold the door open.

I walk out, nod my appreciation and leave, walking slowly to the traffic light, the door banging closed on my way out.

I hear the door open again while I'm waiting for the little green man.

"I'm Case," he says.

The little man turns green.

I cross the road, then stop and turn back.

"I know."

:: e n d ::

Well, this is the story that I have been going on and on about. I haven't put up the pictures and all that on the site yet, but I'm working on it.

Anyway, this is going to be my baby. I've got Alexia's LJ all set up and ready to release to you guys once I get the next chapter out. But for now, you can just look at the layout, and tell me how great it suits.

The WiRED section of my webby should be up in no time (hopefully by the end of the weekend).

The thing with this story is that I'm going to be VERY irregular with posts, concentrating mainly on LTOMM. I'm sure you don't mind. But yeah, this is in a slightly different style to the usual, so yeah...

With that said, Chapter 23 of LTOMM should be out some time next week. So be all smiles for that. Lol.

You know what to do!