Hello everybody! I'm starting a new story here, and this is just the beginning, so tell me what you think. Hopefully there will be more to come, but based on my schedule and common writing blocks, there are no guarantees. Thanks for reading, enjoy!


1

She was walking home that day. Just like any other day. The pouring rain made no difference. Beginning her trek, somebody had offered her an umbrella, which she had kindly refused. She always preferred enjoying the world in its natural state, whether it soaked her to the bone or not. Walking with the hat pulled down over her brow and her hands shoved beneath her armpits, she trudged through the muddy downpour.

Her skin quivered. Her mismatched socks were heavy with the water that seeped into them. She tried counting the puddles, but she lost track, and stopped evading them altogether. Her concentration moved to the sound of the rain whizzing past her ears and colliding timelessly with the earth. The sound was like the music on old, scratchy records; it held the traditional, classic ring. Her steps found a new spring as she contemplated the beat of this tune. Through the rain, her smile trembled. Her head bobbed to the tune. If she were to even have minded, nobody was around to see her.

In the nick of time, she was able to see through the wall of raindrops and realize that she was passing by her favorite corner café. Without hesitation, she walked through its dripping door, her smile widening at the welcoming jingle that greeted her. Instantly, there was warmth, and it penetrated her body like a wave. She stood at the entrance for a little while, wiping her feet to stop the dripping.

"Pretty bad out there?" the cashier asked while he prepared her usual beverage.

"I guess," she shrugged, "but I kind of like the rain."

"Well that makes one of us." He raised his eyebrow.

She had been expecting a response like that, and simply smiled as she accepted her coffee and huddled into her favorite booth. The store was quiet that day, with a few lonely stragglers like herself sipping their coffee and staring dreamily out of the window at the seemingly infinite sheets of silver rain. The constant pattering was comforting, and her mind began to wander as she watched and sipped. Watched...and sipped...

"This is where we had our first date."

It wasn't until that moment that she got chills and truly shivered. She was afraid to look up.

"Is it?" she managed, the cup lingering at her lips.

"In this very booth, as a matter of fact."

A figure, simply a silhouette to her evasive, downcast eyes, slid into the creaky wooden chair across from her. Her fingers wrapped and unwrapped themselves around the seething handle of the mug anxiously. She licked her warm lips. She rubbed the back of her right calf with her left foot. She tilted her head sharply to clear the strand of hair from her face. She blinked. She sighed. She grinded her teeth. Never once did she lift her eyes even a centimeter.

"...Oh."

"Do you remember?" he coaxed. Her first instinct was to nod, vivaciously, but she caught herself. The amount of restraint it required was immense. "Do you?"

His voice had acquired a familiar twinge of urgency, one that made her bite the insides of her cheeks.

As she finally gave a meek little nod, her ears still concentrating on the pattering of the rain, she looked up. At the sight of his determined face, something seemed to stir deep within her. It caused an overwhelming flood of powerful emotions and fantastical memories. She had to look back down almost immediately. She was afraid to look into his eyes, afraid to feel everything again, afraid to see the memories, afraid to watch his lips turn into a smile. And she was afraid of the tears that were welling in her eyes. She was afraid of him seeing them, afraid of him pointing them out, afraid of him trying to dry them with his pale, smooth thumb.

"Won't you say something to me?" He sounded desperate. "At least look at me."

But she would not. She took another sip from her mug, as if it were a strange ritual, waiting for him to make the next move. When he sighed, she mimicked him, and realized that her foot had been resting against his beneath the table. She withdrew it immediately and heard him sigh again.

"I was walking outside, and I saw you sitting here. I wanted to come in. To talk to you."

Her brain was starting to function again, as if its frozen gears were melted by the warm coffee on her lips and the soothing voice drifting into her ears.

"About what?" The voice with which she spoke was harsher, raspier than she had been anticipating. She sat, spoke, and tried to gather the courage to look up again.

"Well..." He paused. "Well you know what."

"No," she responded. The strength in her voice was rising with the steam from her mug. "No, I don't."

The truth was that she did know. She just wanted to hear him say it, hear the sweet words roll off of his sweet lips. The same sweet lips at which she refused to even glance. She felt it was too late, that the expression on his face had become too frightening for her to even consider looking up. Still, there was a tiny voice inside of her head urging her to tilt her chin just enough to see his face.

"We haven't talked in a while."

She didn't respond.

"I tried calling. And I understand why you wouldn't pick up, but I need to talk to you."

She was still silent.

"And you need to talk to me."

When he said that, his voice had acquired such an authoritative, decisive tone that it took her breath away, and she found herself sitting in her seat gasping for air and squeezing the handle of the mug so hard that it left red marks on the palms of her clammy hands. His words penetrated her mind and sat there in the center, overshadowing everything else and making her forget how to move. Her lips parted, as if she was about to speak, but no words came out.

"Please. Say something."

Once her mind had cleared, she looked up. His expression was one of despair, of hopelessness, of absolute and utter sadness. The determination she had seen only moments ago was gone and the tears in her own eyes, staring into his, threatened to spill. She sat with her mouth open in deafening silence. The color in his cheeks was becoming darker, redder.

"What do you want from me?"

"Tell me you love me," she said. "Tell me you love me and mean it."

As her weight lifted, so did the sadness in his face. He smiled that crooked smile, leaned back in his chair, and took a large gulp from her cup of coffee.