It wasn’t supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to meet, much less fall in love. But the heart has reasons…or something like that.
Anyway, I was just getting off work and stopped in my favorite coffee-bookshop to relax for a little before heading back to the dorm. Elaine eb Beaufort made the best pastries and coffeecakes in town, and I was early enough to still have mine warm from the ovens. I was sipping on my cinnamon latte and debating a pumpkin or blueberry muffin. I was vaguely aware of the woman next to me, sporting a very long fuzzy scarf over her yoga top and pants. A college kid came up behind us, and I could hear the music through his earbuds. I didn’t listen when people told me not to play my music so loud at that age – and I wished I could convince him he would regret it as much as I would. Elaine had stepped into the back room, and I guess he probably wanted to pay. He pulled out one earbud and said, sort of generally to both me and the other woman, “Can I ask you a question?”
We both said, “42”—stared at each and burst out laughing. He looked confused, put his earbud back in, and wandered away. I briefly felt bad, but then we were talking and laughing and comparing favorite Elaine treats, and the guy was forgotten even before we walked out of the shop together. She was waiting for the train, and I kept her company on the platform. As the train pulled up, she fumbled in her bag.
“Oh, shoot! I want to get your phone number. We should totally meet up again!”
“Don’t miss your train. Let’s meet back at Elaine’s. Is this time good for you? Maybe 20 minutes earlier so we can hang out there for a while?” I could swing it if I cut my lunch hour short.
She nodded, and then right before she jumped on the train, she reached over and kissed my cheek. I touched my fingers to it and watched the train pull away. I still didn’t know her name.
I was in a bit of a goofy daze as I walked back to the dorm. The morning hall monitor called me over as I stopped to check my mailbox. “Victoria no Langham, you’ve got a package from home. Come by my room and pick it up.”
My mom is the best. She sends me a package about every week, with my favorite magazine, High Fashion—don’t judge me—along with gift cards to the grocery and at least one other treat. I happily carried the package up to my room and tossed it on my bed. My roommate, Donna eb Ford, was already gone for the day. That was another reason I often lingered at Elaine’s. If Donna was gone when I got home, chances were good I would have the place to myself for the rest of the day.
I climbed in bed and opened Mom’s package. A big Toblerone bar and 40 bucks on the grocery card. Thanks, Mom, that’s love. I had one square of the chocolate and decided I was too tired to stay up any longer. I didn’t expect to dream about the woman I had just met.
I woke up about three, with a smile on my face. As I stretched, I realized I didn’t even know her name. Yet. I couldn’t keep the goofy grin off my face all day long. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. And it didn’t even feel weird. I was just hoping she would be at Elaine’s when I got there the next morning.
If I hadn’t been sporting the goofy grin outside the shop, I was as soon as I walked in. She was looking at her tablet, sitting at my favorite table, tucked in the corner between the bay window seating and the card stand. There were two mugs and two muffins on the table in front of her. I slid into the opposite seat, and she held up the tablet.
“Why do I start the day with the news? It’s always awful!” she said. My mouth and heart dropped at the same time.
“Start the day? Um, I think we skipped something yesterday.” I held out my hand over the table. “Hi, I’m Vickie no Langham. What’s your name?”
She closed the tablet slowly and laid it carefully on the table. I think that’s when I knew she felt the same way. She took my hand and shook it. “Hi, Vickie. I’m Kate eb Grant. Nice to meet you.”
We sipped our lattes and broke off pieces of the muffins and traded them. She reached over and popped a piece of chocolate walnut in my mouth, then wiped a smudge of chocolate off my lip with her thumb. We didn’t say much that morning. I walked out to the train platform and waited with her again. I don’t know which of us reached for the other’s hand, but we were standing there with our fingers entwined when the train pulled up.
She looked sideways at me. “See you tomorrow?”
“I don’t care.”
I pulled her against me and kissed her on the mouth. “Okay, early bird. I’ll see you in the morning.”
I stood on the platform until the train disappeared around the curve, then I walked home and laid on my bed in my clothes until I fell asleep.
TBC (almost definitely)
TBC (almost definitely)
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