A/N: Hello! I already had this chapter mostly typed up, so you get another chapter tonight! This one's not too long either, sorry- only 1300 words, about. But it sets things up, and leaves you hanging a bit. Enjoy!
It started out just as ordinary as my life ever was, but how often do big things start out extraordinary? Looking back on it, I still find nothing special. Not until much later in the day, that is, but we're not quite there yet. But I'm sure you're not reading this for my opinions on days. You're here for a love story, aren't you? Well, I hate to disappoint, but it's not that simple. It's never that simple, because this is real life. Bad things happen, and good things happen, and you just have to learn to take everything in stride. But I do have a story to tell, so I digress.
Every morning, I went to this tiny coffee shop about a block from my tiny little apartment in Brooklyn. It wasn't much—both my apartment and the coffee shop—but, as a man of routine and convenience, it worked. The waitresses there all knew me by name, and always had my order ready when I walked in, still groggy from waking up too early.
Now, let it be known that I was by no means a party boy. I was never popular, nor into drugs or alcohol, or any of the things parties seemed to be. Well, I tried to convince myself of that, at least. The truth was, I wanted friends. While parties really weren't my scene, was it really such a horrible thing to want to hang out, play stupid games, watch stupid movies, and drink until I couldn't see straight?
Anyways, back to my morning. You'll learn more about me as we continue on, after all. This morning was the usual—get in, inhale copious amounts of caffeine, chat with the cute waitress, Melody, and get the hell out.
My day continued on as usual. I went to class. I got more coffee. I went to another class.
It wasn't until lunch that anything unusual happened.
I mentioned previously that I was a man of routine, yes? Then it should not surprise you that I had a tendency to eat lunch in the same place most days. There was a sunny old café about a block from school (NYU, creative writing major, at your service). They served a variety of food, thank god. Had they not, I probably would have grown tired of the rustic place quite quickly, and then what would I do?
Maybe I should take back my original statement on how ordinary today really was. Had it been an ordinary day, I simply would have meandered on over to the café. Perhaps it was something in the air, or perhaps the sun was shining especially nicely, but one way or another I found myself turning the opposite way I had intended to go. It was not until I had walked a few blocks that I realized that I had no clue where I was headed.
In what I will continue to call a momentary lapse of judgment, I froze in the middle of the sidewalk, my bewildered gaze scanning the shop-lined street for somewhere, anywhere promising.
Fate, or maybe just dumb luck, hit me in that moment by the means of a little old lady wearing too much pink.
The pink lady in question bumped into me—rather rudely, might I add—and sent me spinning into a wall. I suppose I should be glad it wasn't an alley, but if you tried telling that to me as I stood brushing the loose brick dust from my now-sore arm, I probably would have flipped you the bird. Once my bearings were regained, I risked a glance up at the offensive building's sign.
"Miracle Café," it read, and I suppose it was.
Without a second thought—another unusual thing, what was I thinking?—I stepped out of the crowd and into the warm, dark, and surprisingly large café.
The small scattering of patrons seemed to simultaneously turn their heads to assess me as a little bell announced my entrance. I stood my ground as best I could, and met the patrons' eyes. I only made it through about a third of the people, though, before a tiny figure was in front of me.
"Jake!" the figure exclaimed. I may or may not have jumped, startled. A smile lit up my face as I slid my gaze to the figure before me, my tension draining. Remember that cute waitress I mentioned, from my morning coffee shop, Melody? Well, lo and behold, there she was.
"Hey!" the fact that we had greeted each other rather loudly did not escape me, but I let it pass.
"What'cha doing here?" Melody's voice was, well, melodious, and she smiled up at me. Truly, she was beautiful, with her long, platinum blonde hair and large grey-blue eyes, but her smile is what truly made her gorgeous. She had the smile of a girl who loved to make people happy, and would be damned if she couldn't make the saddest of people crack a grin. But for some obscure reason, as attractive as she was, I wasn't attracted to her.
I shrugged, grinning down back at her as I approached the counter with her following close behind. "Just wanted to change things up. What's good here?" Any nerves I might have had about changing the schedule I relied so heavily upon had melted away upon seeing the person who was the closest thing to a friend I had.
"I don't know. I've never been here before, either," she said, "but you can't go wrong with a grilled cheese, can you?" She pointed with one thin, pale finger to the aforementioned item on the menu I held.
Well, she did have a point. "I'll take the grilled cheese," I said, turning from Melody to the middle-aged man behind the counter. He nodded and rang it up, while I chatted with Melody some more. It turned out she was meeting friends here, but she was early. I was welcome to sit with them, she said, unless I was meeting someone else. After assuring her that, no, I wasn't meeting anyone here, and I'd love to sit with her, she sent me to find a table.
In one of the corners was an old, droopy looking bookshelf, with a few tables near it. This was, predictably, where I chose to sit. Melody joined me momentarily and we sat in companionable silence as we waited for our food and her friends. Somehow, after many mornings of conversation over coffee, we had reached the point where we no longer felt the need to fill every gap in conversation with meaningless chatter. That realization shocked me—when had we become friends? However, I had little time to dwell on this surprise, as our food chose that time to show up.
The grilled cheese truly was delicious, but I was only a few bites in when the doorbell chimed again. Melody hopped up and hurried over to greet the newcomers—the friends she was meeting, it appeared. She soon returned to the table with two girls my—and her—age, and a guy who appeared to be a little older than us. At first, I only glanced at them and waved, then stole a fry from Melody's plate as she ushered the posse to the counter to order.
When she returned, she immediately began the introductions. "Jake, this is Marcus," she said, gesturing towards the tall, tan, and muscular male. I shook his hand and offered him a polite smile, and he offered me a friendly nod. "My twin, Brooklyn," she continued, gesturing at one of the girls. I was momentarily taken aback by the girl's vibrant purple hair, but then composed myself and waved at her. The girl—Brooklyn—really did look like Melody, aside from the hair—they had the same milky pale skin, the same beautiful eyes, and, he was sure, the same heart-stopping smile. "And this is Katherine."
He was pretty sure his heart stopped as his gaze landed on her.