The wind blew a small pile of leaves across my path, swirling them around in a tornado shape at my feet. I sighed, looking up at the bleary sky. There was a heavy cloud cover, bathing everything in a gray light. Stuffing my hands in my coat pockets, I kept walking along the sidewalk.
I'd been all over my small town already, from parks to the library and back again…twice. The chill autumn air was just now beginning to bite at my ears where it blew back my hair. Though the afternoon was still young, I decided that it was probably time for me to wrap up my day and think about going home. But before I could do that, I needed coffee to warm up. And I was just thirsty.
I directed myself toward the little café. They didn't sell Starbucks or anything like that, but I still couldn't help but love the little India-themed shop. As an added bonus, they had great Wi-Fi and even better food. Locally owned, the person behind the counter was almost always someone I knew, and if it wasn't, they were really nice anyway. (But I suppose you don't necessarily need to know someone to be nice, huh?)
Upon pushing open the door, both a bell and the smell of coffee greeted me. I breathed deeply and began to unbutton my coat. "Could I get a medium latte, please?" I approached the lady working.
She flashed me a smile and got right to work. "Do you want any flavoring in it?"
I glanced at the sheet describing the various flavoring syrups and whatnot available. "Just the French vanilla, please."
"You got it."
The barista quickly whipped up my drink and popped a lid on it, handing it over. "There ya go." She directed me over to the cash register, where she took my money. "Ok then. Have a nice day!"
I offered her a small smile as I stuffed my change in my purse and walked into the dining area. The chairs and couches were empty. "Where to sit…" I mumbled, flopping down in the nearest leather chair. My coffee was still too hot to drink, so I was stuck for at least a few minutes with nothing to do.
It only figured that the one day I have free all my friends would be busy. Hence exactly why I was sitting, alone, in this café, trying to decide if I should walk around town again or just go home and do…something. There wasn't anything to do here or at home, really. Either way I was stuck.
Bringing the cup to my lips, I felt the coffee had cooled enough for consumption. I couldn't very well play a game on my phone while drinking, and I didn't want to look like some kind of freak, just sitting there staring into space drinking coffee… With a sigh, I resigned myself to one of the things I didn't necessarily want to do but had no other choice for doing: reading. One of my friends always told me to read, but I hated doing so. Though if the novel happened to be The Time Machine... Well, that was a different story entirely.
So I started to read. Seeing as how I'd read this novel countless times, my eyes skimmed over the first chapter. I didn't really like the story until The Time Traveler actually went forward to the post-apocalyptic Earth ruled by Morlocks. Once that chapter came up, I was ready to buckle down and actually start paying attention to what I was doing.
The sudden voice shattered my concentration and I looked up in annoyance, a growled answer ready on my lips. It died as soon as I saw whom exactly I was about to yell at. "H… Hi." My eyes went wide and all at once I felt what must have been a vast majority of the blood in my body rush to my face.
I'd only met him once. Once, for about a week, when we sat next to one another in the Honors Band our county held. He played his instrument better than me, but I couldn't say I particularly cared. His trombone skills were only enhanced, in my eyes, due to the fact that he played with his left hand. I could only play with my right, and even then it was only good enough for second chair.
"What are you doing here? Are you with someone?" He smiled slightly, seemingly embarrassed by his own question.
I tried to get my mouth to form coherent words. Finally I sputtered, "Coffee. And alone." Giggling nervously, I explained further, "That is… I'm here for the coffee and I'm alone. No one here but me and the employees."
"Oh, that's cool." He glanced at the empty seat next to me. "Is it ok if I sit here?"
"Of course." I scooted my things down to make a bit more room for him. The cushion sagged only slightly as he seated himself. I noticed a little coffee spill onto the lid of the cup he held as he did so. "So, what brings you here?"
"Actually, I wanted to use their Wi-Fi. I don't have very good Internet at home, and I had homework." He rustled a computer bag on his shoulder. Chuckling, he looked back at me, his green eyes sparkling. "So much for that."
"Heh, yeah…" I tried not to get too lost in his eyes.
He turned to take a draught from the coffee cup. Gazing back at me, he tilted his head in curiosity. "Why are you here? I don't see a computer."
I couldn't hide the flash of sadness across my face, nor could I stop my lips from curling downward in a frown. "I wanted to spend the day with my friends, but they're all busy… So I decided to take the afternoon for myself. And this is where I ended up. I've been all over town, just walking around. It's either this or video games, and I want to move more than my thumbs."
He nodded slowly. "Ah… Yeah, I know that feeling. It's like when you finally have time, they don't, right? But every other time you're busy, they're not."
"Exactly!" I grinned up at him at having found someone to agree with me. Dissolving into a nervous cough, I shook myself. "Well… Yeah."
At that moment my phone began vibrating in my pocket. I whipped it out and saw that my mother was asking me to start coming home. I sighed, looking up at my seemingly new-found friend. "I have to go… Besides, you probably want to do your homework."
He pulled out his own phone. "Yeah. Can I have your number? Maybe sometime both our friends are busy we can do something." He held it out for me.
"Sounds like a plan." I traded cell phones with him. After punching in my contact information, I handed it back. "Thanks."
"Yep." He smiled, watching me gather my things. "Enjoy your coffee!"
"You too." I allowed my gaze to linger on him just slightly longer than I should before leaving.
Twice. I'd met him twice now. Still couldn't really control my heartbeat around him, but… Well, hopefully next time I'll learn. Next time.
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