Part Two

Chapter One

Prudence leaned back heavily in her car's smooth, black leather seat. The sound of the rain pattering against the roof of its metal body always cooled her soul after a heated argument. It rained a lot where she resided in a quiet, unknown remote town on a small island West of the equator. Craggy was far out of the way from the cities, and although that seemed to suffocate her at times, the views of tall, full-bodied trees and the towering, steep mountain always helped to soothe her mind. She placed her elbows on the steering wheel in front of her, holding her wispy light brown hair in her hands. Prudence was usually a tranquil person, with a collected mentality however it was constantly tested by the rules and commandments of her parents. It’s not that she had bad parents, it was more so that they had high expectations and plans for her that she wouldn’t always choose for herself. That and maybe they suffered from a troubling case of narrow-mindedness. On the days when their nagging became overbearing, she would take a detour from her habitual coffee store to take a longer drive to the bookstore closer to the mountains. She preferred it there because it had a certain charm about it, plus, she decided the coffee was better there even if it tasted a little scorched and bittersweet at times. She always sat in her car for some time before going in, even though she was becoming a regular- she felt out of place there and she could always feel the wishful gazes from the other patrons. She didn’t fit in there and she knew it.

The town of Craggy had a distinct division. Prue lived on the West side of the town. There was a big difference between the East side of the town compared to the West. The West was a grand district, with large, pastel painted houses and bright, extravagant gardens to match their lengths. The people who walked their dogs on the pathways, wore posh, furred, trench coats and expensive, fancy hats. They rarely travelled to the East, even though it was the home of the sheer mountain which gave the town it’s unusual name. They felt no need for exploration or rubbing shoulders with the ‘peasants’ of the East and preferred to use their car anyway, even though the whole town was small, with around twenty-nine thousand inhabitants. Prudence was different though. She wanted to see the world in a less flawed and jaded light. She wanted to explore the world and learn new things, she wanted to meet new people and experience new things.

She finally mustered up the courage to enter her escapism store, taking out her keys to bring the ignition to a halt. After locking the car door shut with her keys, she strolled slowly through the small parking lot and entered the neglected, wooden shop. The shop was dark, mostly lit by floor lamps, it was painted copper brown, and the furniture was outdated. The smell of old dust accommodated a piquant whiff that was musty, and the aroma of old pages and coffee beans wafted up her nostrils. Finally, she started to feel some comfort.

The people of the East were not well-off people. All the books in the store had been donated by its customers which was a perk, it was exciting to read what the people of the other side read. Their stories contained plots and adventures, unimaginable to the people of the West. She traded in her own book each time. The books always stayed there, the customers couldn’t borrow or buy them but that was the special, extra added charm, it gave her an excuse to stay longer.

“Hey, Seth,” she greeted the barista behind the counter.

“Welcome, Prue! The same as usual?” he called back.

She nodded, noticing the store was unusually quiet that day. She fumbled through the small library of books they held in-store. It wasn’t a sizeable selection but the next was just as intriguing as the last. She decided on a deteriorating red covered book which promised a tale of mystery. Seth was already bringing her milky Americano over to her when she neatly situated herself down into her seat at the heavy, antiquated, wooden table.

“Not busy today?” She smiled politely, trying to spark a conversation.

“Must be the rain,” he replied courteously.

Prue, which everyone called her, laughed gently in response. It was always raining but she knew that Seth wasn’t the sort of person to make much conversation. After hovering near Prue’s table, Seth left to go back behind the counter, without saying a word.

Prue read the old book that she held in her hands intently until she was interrupted halfway through by the sound of a loud car engine revving at the back of the car lot. She thought it was odd considering she hardly heard or saw any cars around here and whenever she did, they usually followed with a noisy wailing from its bearings. She looked up from her book to check she was still where she came, at that moment she noticed a man she had never seen before sweeping the floor with a straw broom. They caught eye contact, and he walked over to her table, collecting the empty mug from in front of her.

“Would you like anything else?” He asked.

She gazed quickly at the name printed on his brown uniform, which matched the interior of the store. The name tag read ‘Sable’.

She opened her mouth to speak but before the words could escape her mouth she was interrupted. “Yeah, a flat white,” a voice came from behind the bookstore worker. Prue was surprised to see that she saw a familiar face standing behind him.

It was Jock. She wasn’t well acquainted with him, but they had studied at school together for some years. He stood tall, towering above the employee. He had his hands in his green, cashmere leather varsity jacket and wore a blue and white fitted cap backwards over his short mousy blonde hair. His cheekbones laid high and were chiselled and sculpted, his lips were thin in size and his nose slightly upturned. His blue eyes complimented the cheeky smirk on his face as he looked down at Prue.

“A what, sorry?” Sable questioned. Jock rolled his eyes and pushed past him, grabbing the seat in front of the now embarrassed girl.

“Just two Americanos please,” she replied with a sigh.

Jock guffawed from deep in his stomach as Sable retreated behind the counter to fulfil the new order.

“A coffee shop without flat whites?” He said to Prue, still chuckling from the thought.

She rolled her eyes again, a tutting noise escaping her mouth and explained that:

“They only serve Americanos here.”

He shrugged his shoulders, his hands still clenched tightly down into his varsity jacket.

“Why are you here?” muttered Prue.

Jock glanced around with a cheeky, aloof expression on his face. “Just in the area,” he told her quietly.

Prue wasn’t that fond of Jock; she hadn’t really agreed with anyone she had went to school with. She likened them to prides of hungry lions all competing to prove who was better. She wasn’t one to indulge in competitions but, she thought none of them were, not even herself. Much to her despair he had started rambling on about memories from school. She wasn’t really in the mood for nostalgia that day, especially after the argument she had earlier with her parents.

Thankfully, Sable had returned to the table with two large, brown, ceramic mugs of piping coffee in each hand. He placed them on the table, and she smiled up at him, grateful he had saved her from the conversation that was boring her half to death.

“Thank you.” She spoke with a genuine tone.

He started to open his mouth to reply, however Jock had finally taken a hand from his pocket and ushered him away.

“Yeah, yeah,” Jock uttered.

Sable redacted back to the counter and Prue sunk back into the hard wooden chair like she had done in her car earlier. She wished she hadn’t ordered those coffees now.

“Anyway,” she started, trying to steer the conversation into a more tolerable direction. “What have you done since we’ve left university?” She asked him.

He removed the other hand from his pocket and rubbed them on his large and muscular thighs as he smiled nervously. She guessed he hadn’t been up to much. Another thing she hated about this town. No one wanted to get out, they preferred to live off the backs of their parents and then enjoy the sweet inheritance.

“Oh, you know, same as always. I haven’t lost contact with the people I grouped with at university,” he answered. “How about you?” He asked in return.

“I still work at my families business,” She answered.

He smiled, though Prue wasn’t pleased with herself, she didn’t want to stay here forever.

Jock had always liked Prudence. She wasn’t like the other girls he knew. She preferred to be by herself, and only spoke when she was called on by lecturers in class. She had a certain enigma surrounding her which only made her feminine allure more attractive.

He took a sip of his coffee, examining her hazel gold eyes, which were still stuck to the book in front of her on the table. Her complexion was fair, she had a full round mouth the colour of a dainty, pink rose, and a small button nose. She didn’t dress like the other girls Jock knew either, what she wore was expensive but not as flashy and show offish as the other people from the West. He choked on his coffee a little, covering his mouth with a balled fist.

“Burnt to hell,” he complained. Which finally made her smile.

They stayed talking for a while. Prue’s eyes awkwardly averting around the store. She kept hoping that Seth or Sable would come to collect their glasses, only so she could take a breather from the god-awful conversation. She assumed Jocks hostile behaviour had warned him off, which was understandable. After paying, he finally offered to drive her home. She thought he would have noticed her black Chevy in the parking lot, so she declined anyway. They hurried out together, Jocks hands in his pockets as always.

“Thank you. I hope you enjoy your day,” she said to Sable who was still behind the counter and in exchange he gave a weak smile back, already starting to make his way towards their table to clear their glasses.

Prue and Jock strolled at a leisurely pace to the car park. He glanced at her from the corner of his eyes and although he was usually confident in himself, he finally mustered up the courage to ask her:

“So, do you want to get a coffee together in the West next time?”

She looked at him, smiling politely and answered, “I’m sorry, I’m always so wrapped up with my parents store.”

He took a strained gulp and wondered if it was just an excuse. He decided it wasn’t.

He nodded as he finally reached his blue Porsche, parked right beside hers. They opened their doors simultaneously and said their goodbyes although, his car followed close behind her on their way back home to the West.

When Prudence made it back to her car, she noted how strange their meeting was.

Chapter Two

Prue felt a sense of déjà vu as she sat in the exact same place, she was a fortnight ago. She had yet another argument with her parents about her lack of desire to continue working for the family business. She was twenty-two but she felt that they still tried to control her as though she were eleven.

The rain repented against her grey, fur lined, padded parka as she entered the store. She began to greet Seth but realized it was the new employee she first met last time.

“Good morning,” he greeted quietly as she approached the counter. “What can I get you today?”

His accent was peculiar, he didn’t sound as though he resided in the East either. It was thick and heavy, but his voice had a soft, subtle tone to it.

His hair was dark, almost black, it looked like it hadn’t been cut in a while, but it suited the shape of his hair, flowing in waves like the ocean. His eyes were as dark as his hair, and you could tell from the creases underneath them that he was tired. He had light brown freckles dotted carefully around his cheekbones, and they suited the warm gold tone of his skin.

“An Americano please,” she answered as she recalled their last encounter with Jock. She added quickly, “and a muffin.”

The barista smiled down at her petite hands as he collected the payment from her. “I’ll bring it over as soon as it’s ready.”

She turned behind her to look at the book collection and noted that there weren’t many new options, and the store was still eerily quiet. She picked up the most appealing from the small selection she had and in place left the book she had just finished at home.

Sable was still finding his way to making the perfect cup of joe. He had worked at East Side Coffee store for around three weeks now and although at some point it had become painfully quiet it was a breath of fresh air to have something to do. He patiently waited for the coffee to filter through the paper cone and centred a blueberry muffin onto a plate. Once the coffee was ready, he delivered it to the Prue, who sat alone at the table.

“Quiet again today huh?” She stated.

He mimicked her smile and asked gently “Haven’t you seen the news?”

She looked quite taken aback and he worried it might have been an impolite question.

“Yes,” she stammered, “I haven’t seen anything relating to the East though.”

He smiled politely and told her “Enjoy your coffee.”

Sable, like Seth wasn’t much of a talker. He also found it strange to see a lady like that in the coffee store, she was clearly from the West and that was a rare and odd occurrence. He started walking back towards his station, but the woman continued talking.

“Excuse me, what did you see on the news?” She questioned.

He turned around to hold her eye contact and answered, “there are a lot of attacks and vandalism happening around the East. Most folk prefer to stay at home now, there’s not much to enjoy.”

Her expression turned shocked, almost embarrassed that she hadn’t known about it.

“I didn’t know, they don’t show the East much on my TV stations.”

Sable rolled his eyes. He didn’t even own a television; he would listen to the radio at night and on his days off. He was astonished to find out that such a small town would have different coverage. He said awkwardly, “Well now you know.”

“How long has it been like this?” She inquired.

He ran his hands through his hair, slightly jarred by having to resume a conversation with a girl he believed to be ignorant. “Just a couple weeks now,” he told her.

Her face seemed to contain genuine sadness for the situation, but he once again tried to head back towards the counter. In that moment he heard the bell jingling from the shop door opening. It was the same guy as the last time, Jock. Sable assumed they must have planned to meet.” An americano?” He asked kindly as the guy swaggered into the store.

Jock didn’t even look in his direction as he snapped back, “Yes.”

He moved right towards the table as Sable began fulfilling the new order, happy in ways that he didn’t have to do much more talking.

Prue witnessed Jock entering the store and the uncomfortable exchange between the two males. She wondered why he was always so impolite, though that was just part of the Western attitude. She was annoyed, she came to the coffee store to escape and now she was feeling trapped into a corner again.

He grinned and waved at her making his way to the table.

She smiled back and uttered “Hello, again.”

“How’s it going?” He said, dragging the seat from under the table and flopping uncomfortably into it so he was sat directly in front of her.

“Good thanks,” she responded quickly, reluctantly placing her book back down to the table. She began drinking her coffee, trying to avoid his eyes. Jock sensed her guarded attitude. He had watched her interaction with the store clerk before entering and it was as though he were sitting with an entirely different person. He asked himself if she had always been such a moody person but shrugged it off as he usually did. Sable sauntered over and placed Jock’s coffee down on the table. Jock finally looked up at Sable to squint at the name on his uniform. He thought Sable was a stupid name. Jock quickly averted his attention back to Prudence.

“Thank you,” she said to Sable as he turned away.

Jock scoffed and folded his arms on the table, leaning in towards her to eye her up and down. She was still watching Sable as he walked away.

“What are you doing here?” He asked her, trying to turn her attention onto him.

“I could ask you the same,” she replied.

He laughed and leaned back in his seat, “just in the area,” he said. Prue rolled her eyes and wondered what he could possibly be doing in the area.

“You’re not with the boys today?” She asked him.

“No, not today,” he could tell she sounded tense but he was overjoyed to be in her company so he couldn’t refrain himself from talking.

After finishing the cleaning, Sable observed the two sitting at the table. The guy was loud, wearing the same in his face green jacket he had worn last time. The girl had taken her coat off but looked ill at ease sitting there. Maybe they weren’t friends as he thought. There wasn’t much to do so he eavesdropped on their conversation. He decided the guy was awfully obnoxious and he couldn’t yet figure out the girl, she was soft spoken, so it was hard to hear her parts of the conversation. She certainly looked like she didn’t want to be a part of it though. He wondered if he should intervene but considering the standoffish energy of the male, he decided it was best to just leave it alone. They didn’t stay for much longer. He collected the small change for their coffees and said goodbye as they left. He was glad to see them go.

Chapter Three

Sable ambled down the steep, wet mountain of Craggy. It was Saturday and his shift at East Side Coffee started in the next half an hour. He was wearing olive corduroy pants and a long thinning yellow raincoat which didn’t aid against the rough winds all that much. Sable didn’t usually mind the rainfall, though the weather had become much more belligerent, and he could feel the precipitation seeping through his woollen jumper and trousers. He kept his work uniform in a large, waterproof, black rucksack which he slung over one shoulder. Considering he would be in a place with aircon, where he could change into dry clothes soon, he concluded that he the awkward walk down was bearable. He lived at the half point of the mountain; he had immigrated to the peculiar town around a year ago from a city approximately five hundred miles away. He had lost his parents when he was fifteen and when he left their hometown, he didn’t take much with him apart from the clothes on his back. He had walked a long way upwards from the back of the mountains and on his way down he stumbled across an abandoned beaten down house which he thought was the perfect abode for him. No one resided there and although it was broken and unstable, he had the skills and vision to turn it into something beguiling. A year later and the humble, single floored shack had become a home. It was his home, and he was working a job, even though it wasn’t the best, he thought life could be good here.

He arrived at the coffee store fifteen minutes before his shift, like he usually did. He found Seth cleaning coffee cups with a rag behind the counter, and he gave a friendly greeting to the man he was becoming close friends with.

“Hey Sable,” Seth replied, his warm, kind, brown eyes manifesting crow’s feet as he began to smile. Seth was only in his mid-thirties, but the stresses of life had already started to take its toll on his appearance; his short, straight, dark brown hair had even started to develop faint grey ones in places, which glistened sometimes under the dim lighting of the store.

“Quiet again today,” Sable enunciated, and the smile slowly vanished from Seth’s face.

“Things still aren’t getting any better,” he replied sombrely.

Seth filtered two coffees for the pair, as Sable switched from his old, damp clothes to his work uniform and they spent some minutes sitting and drinking coffee. Within ten minutes they heard the heavy old wooden shop door creaking open. Concurrently they both looked over and started getting up onto their feet. Sable remembered the handful of customers that entered the shop since he had started working there and although he didn’t see her as often as the others, he recognized her as if she had just popped by yesterday. He began clearing the glasses from the table as Seth walked over to her.

“Welcome, Prue. I haven’t seen you here in a while,” he said.

She beamed at him; the way people did when they meet an old friend passing by on the street.

“Yes, I’ve stopped by once or twice, but I haven’t seen you here,” she responded. “How are you?” “I’m doing well thanks,” he answered.

Sable listened carefully to the conversation whilst making his way behind the counter. He made a mental note that her name was Prue whilst placing the used glasses in the sink and began making her coffee. She didn’t talk with Seth for long and after the exchange she gave a brisk canter up to the counter as Seth departed from the store.

“Can I get you anything else today?” Sable asked.

“The muffin was great last time; can I have the same again?” She ordered politely.

She turned away to search through the bookcases whilst Sable delivered her goods to her table. Retreating behind the counter he undertook the usual chores set for him. There wasn’t much to do and once he had finished his tasks he took a seat on the high raggedy bar stool, reading a book under the outdated, worn-out counter.

Mid read he gazed over at Prue, who too was wrapped up in her own book that was held in-between her small girlish hands.

He thought she was attractive, her hair was down that day and it covered her shoulders and sides like a soft, brown coat. She was wearing a grey turtleneck sweater and faded light blue jeans with small frays at the knees. He hadn’t been staring over at her for too long before she looked up and noticed him watching her. They both became flustered, and he quickly stared back down at the book under the table. He hoped she would brush it off however, she called out gently towards him.

“Care to sit for a coffee?”

The colour drained from his face, or perhaps it had added a new rosy tincture, he wasn’t sure, but his face felt hotter.

“I have to refuse, I’m at work,” he retorted.

“No one’s around,” she almost pleaded and her cheeks acclaimed a rosy hue to match his.

He knew she was right and although he knew he shouldn’t, he made his own cup of coffee and perched down in the seat at the table in front of her.

“How long have you worked here?” She asked him.

“A little over four months now,” he answered.

“Do you like it?” She continued in her questioning.

He moved back, his eyes averting down towards the floor. His hands were tightly placed around his mug and the coffee it contained was warming his palms and bringing the life back to his fingers.

“I can’t complain. I work with great people too.”

They conversed for a short time; the exchange flowed naturally as though they weren’t really strangers. They had already finished their coffee when a strong breeze entered inside the store, causing them to shiver, as the familiar jingle accompanied it.

They looked up towards the door and there they saw Jock making his way into the store, with a sour expression on his face. Sable got up and placed the empty cups onto the tray starting to walk back to the counter, not even thinking to end the conversation he was just wrapped up in a moment ago. Jock propelled past Sable, causing the glasses to fall off the tray with a loud smash following. Then with a bitter snarl he ordered in a husky voice.

“An Americano.”

Sable suspired heavily. He didn’t like conflict, and he really didn’t like this man either, yet Seth had taught him that ‘the customer was always right’ and especially when the store needed business.

Jock had already started his usual thunderous ‘conversation’ which Sable likened to a hyena screeching at its prey right before it sunk it’s teeth in. Prue looked the most agonized he had seen her and although he felt guilty, he too was just as intimidated by the situation.

After presenting the Americano, he cleaned the glass shards from the floor and looking up hesitantly towards Jock he noticed on his jacket bright red paint, which in areas had started fading and dripping into to a soft pale pink from the rainfall. Prue who had been looking down at Sable crouched on the floor, followed his curious gaze. The paint had stained his green coat and stuck out like a sore thumb.

“What is that?” She asked in a perplexed tone.

Jock looked down at his jacket and covered it with a large rough hand although he didn’t do a great job of masking it.

“Oh… Uh,” he stammered as he collected his thoughts for a moment. Then with confidence and a brash grin he finished; “I was paintballing with the boys earlier.”

Both Prue and Sable thought it was peculiar, especially considering there wasn’t a paintball range in the East. Prue couldn’t help but wonder what had made Jock chose to come to the coffee shop in the East if he had plans before in the West. She was too reluctant to be a part of the conversation to pry further and Sable felt a mutual feeling.

Prue didn’t stay much longer at the coffee bookstore, she begrudgingly left into the rainfall, close behind Jock to make her way home. She looked back at Sable and smiled, mouthing a goodbye with a small wave to accompany.

Chapter Four

It was Tuesday.

Prue made her fortnightly visit to the coffee store on a Saturday, which was her day off from working at her parents store. However today she had asked her parents for some extra time off. She made up an excuse that she wanted to catch up with university friends. Her parents had graciously accepted, although they wanted her to continue the business, they also agreed their daughter spent too much time in solitude.

The sound of the rain pattered onto her vehicle and created tranquil melodies as she drove cautiously through the streets, making her voyage towards the East. Despite the efforts of her wind screen wipers, the rain had created a thick glaze across her windows by the time she pulled into the familiar car park. She exited her car and pulled her dense hood from her coat onto her head as she ambled in the direction towards the store. The silence in the street was a stark contrast to what she had just left behind in the West. There were still signs of life there despite the recent harsh weather. All the stores were open, and the streets were dotted with expensive cars. She heard the store bell announce her entrance as she headed into the feebly lit store which was starting to smell awfully damp and faintly of mildew. Despite all of this she peered towards the counter and there she saw the main reason for her venture.

He was sat behind the counter, arched spine as he leaned in towards the book held in his hands, a coffee cup beside him. He looked up as he heard the bell ring and the arch from his back straightened and transformed upwards to his mouth.

“Hey Prue,” he said, taking the words from her mouth.

“Hey,” she replied.

To her delight he was the only occupant there, she strolled towards the desk feeling her palms going damp despite wondering if she could catch frost bite just a moment ago.

“A coffee please,” she requested. She cleared her throat feebly and she asked quietly, “and one for yourself?”

She glanced down at the empty cup beside him and the book which he had propped up onto the table when she entered. It was a thick leather-bound book in quite new condition though the pages had started to weather. She noticed the book was one she had brought in a couple months before they met. Her smile moved up to her eyes. Before he could answer her past question, she asked, “Are you enjoying the book?” Her voice barely containing her excitement.

“Oh, yes,” he replied, “have you read it?”

Prue grinned at Sable and nodded.

“So, about that coffee?” She revisited.

A flicker of guilt flushed through his face, and he broke their electric eye contact for a moment before swiftly reconnecting the sparks. He gulped and nodded, jumping up to his feet to make them.

Prue didn’t look through the bookcase that day to find a new read, by the looks of it there still wasn’t many new choices. She headed towards her usual table in the middle of the room, placed her striped, blue plastic tote bag onto the floor, pulled her jacket off and folded it onto the back of the seat. She waited for him patiently and traced the markings of the tabletop with a light finger in the meanwhile. Finally, he had arrived with two steaming mugs, the earthy savour of coffee filling her nostrils.

He timidly sat down in front of her, he too felt the dampness on his hands. “You’re here early,” he spoke in a slightly teasing tone.

She looked shocked for a second, it had just turned seven in the evening, and she would consider it to be late. As she finally wrapped her head around his meanings, she murmured; “yes,” and averted her eyes that time. “I had an extra day off this week and no plans… besides that, I like it quite a lot here,” She had said softly as she smiled up at him.

He smiled back and the newly acquainted feeling of heat rushed towards his cheeks. They sipped on their coffee for a short moment of time as they both thought of what to say next.

“What do you like to read?” He said finally breaking the congenial silence.

“I read anything and everything,” she replied, a childish look overtaking her face. “And yourself?”

“I suppose I’m the same,” he stated, “but mystery books peak my interests the most.”

She nodded and took a large gulp of her coffee. It was getting better not as bitter and harsh on her taste buds.

“Do you live in the West?” He asked, taking her cue. She bobbed her head gracefully once again.

“Yes, do you live nearby?” She asked him curiously.

He looked out the large windows of the store, the rain had glazed thickly over it, creating condensation.

“Not too far,” he answered.

“Have you been up the mountains?” She asked, the juvenile look on her face returning once again. He chuckled and ran a hand lightly through his hair, a fatalistic expression appearing on his face.

“Many times,” he replied.

She blushed up at him, leaning into the table towards him and in a hushed voiced, almost as though she wanted to keep it a secret from him too:

“Can you take me there?”

He looked astonished, the expression leaving his face and a nervous form took place instead.

“In this weather…” He started. He leaned away into his seat and looked to the floor, scrunching his face up in thought. He wanted to spend more time with her however he knew how ferociously the winds blew up there, and how the soaked rain left deep cavernous puddles which created an unstable foundation underneath the feet.

He thought for a moment longer as she stared fervently at his face. Catching her eye contact he couldn’t help but smile and make his decision.

“Okay, I’ll take you there. But when?” He agreed.

She grinned from ear to ear, leaning in even closer, as close as the table allowed her. Somehow the conversation made the room feel much smaller scale than it was. Even the sound of the rain seemed to drain away, it was possible the sun had returned without it’s cloudy baggage. The only noticeable sound was of their breathing and the light shuffles of movement they would make within their chairs. The cold thin breeze of air flowing through the store complimented the stark warmth of their skin, it felt as though they were the only two to exist in that exact moment.

“I’m off again on Saturday,” she offered hopefully.

He sighed and frowned, a defeated look refreezing the moment.

“I work on Saturday,” he told her.

She gasped lightly, feeling as though she had just suffered a light blow to her chest. He noticed the change in her demeanour and speedily advanced.

“However, I don’t work on Thursdays,” Sable offered as compromise.

She placed a hand to grasp the inner portion of her opposite elbow placing her eyes down to the floor.

“I suppose I can sort something for next week,” she spoke.

He nodded with a bright smile, trying to perk up her mood, it sufficed, and the morning rose glow returned to her skin.

They spoke for a while longer, sounds of intertwined voices and contemporaneous laughter filling the walls of the shop. Maybe two hours had passed, though it felt like only a quarter of it to them. Coming back to reality they both noticed that any light there was from the sky when she first entered, had come down with the rain and the moon had already started to take its place.

“Oh no, what’s the time?” She muttered quietly to herself. She reached down into her bag and fumbled through searching for her phone. The screen read twenty-two thirty-six. It was way later than she had imagined, it had been around five hours since she had entered the store.

“I have to go back home,” she announced.

He nodded in agreement; the store was supposed to close an hour and thirty-six minutes ago. Luckily due to the lack of customers there wasn’t much to do before he was able to lock up and make his way back home. Though the unambiguous pitch darkness of the night would make it much harder to reach his home in safety.

He picked their coffee cups off the table as she collected her bag and coat, rushing hurriedly as the thoughts of what her parents would say about her late return fogged her brain. He was already behind the counter once she had collected herself and she rushed towards the door, turning back as her pace finally hastened to loudly declare, “see you next Thursday.”

Chapter Five

The sky was pitch black and endless by the time Jock had arrived at the meeting point with his best friend, Logan. The full illuminating moon shone down brightly at them, casting the streets with a dingy glow. The rain still fell with a heavy flutter and the beads had started to hit sharp as knives on the tops of their foreheads and shoulder blades of their matching jackets. They walked sure-footed with their heads held high, unfazed by the weather which was beginning to settle into heavy hail. Clenched between their hands were baseball bats as they sauntered away from Jocks blue car. They were in the East, south of the forest which lay at the foot of the mountains, and they were ready to stir up mischief in the dead of the night. They called out like rabid wolves, howling up at the moon as they searched hungrily for their next project of destruction.

“Where to next?” Logan guffawed over at Jock.

Jock laughed crazily back and answered, “wherever the wind takes us.”

And so, their feet followed quickly in its direction.

They hadn’t walked much further when they arrived at a small row of bolted closed shops. East Side Coffee Shop resided at the side furthest from the group. They started at the first, barely examining it before the swung their bats back and hurled them forward, a home run as the glass shattered and flew inside the store. Screeching like maniacs they entered, looking round, and sizing up the pathetic store before pulling out a spray can from the inside of their pockets, spraying it’s red vapor round like smoke from flames until they gasped for air as the carbon entered their lungs. Stumbling outside and choking on its contents they placed their hands on their knees trying to gain composure.

“Onto the next?” Logan exasperated.

Jock raised a hand with the other still firmly on his knees.

“Just a second,” he ushered, adrenaline and acetones pumping through his veins.

After catching his breath, they grabbed their bats from their pockets, twirling it in their hands as they walked besides each other onto the next.

They repeated their earlier actions on not one but two shops until they had finally reached East Side Coffee Shop. Jock placed an arm firmly across Logan’s chest and demanded, “not this one.”

Logan backtracked the words from his best friend. He laughed unsurely as he wondered what the sentimental connection was with the store. He voiced his thoughts asking quizzically, “why not this one?”

Jock moved his arm away, gulping and biting down gently on his lip. He wasn’t sure how he could explain that he had visited the store not once or twice but three times, without appearing like a traitor.

He glanced from side to side trying to think of an excuse. If he destroyed the store, he wasn’t sure how he could spend time with Prudence. He wondered if it would be for the better anyway. The she would stop spending time with the pitiful peasant that worked there. He had no idea at all how she could prefer spending time with something like that over him. On the weekdays he would spend time with Logan, often with the rest of their friends on the basketball team they played for at university.

On Saturdays he would spend time in his car outside Prue’s house, waiting like an eagle until she appeared outside to climb into her own. She had been visiting this coffee store for a while now, maybe a couple of months but he had only recently plucked up the courage to finally get out of his car and stand in front of her, so that he could smell the fruity, feminine scent of her perfume cascading into his nose from where she had placed it onto her neck.

“It’s enough for the night,” he stuttered, “if we continue, we’ll have nothing left for another night.”

Logan opened his mouth to start talking but closed it, the tone of Jocks voice had been unconvincing. He had known his friend for many years, way before university and he knew when he was lying. Though what Jock said did make sense and Jock was always the one that made the plans, so Logan decided not to contradict.

“Let’s head home then,” Logan agreed, already twisting on his heels to head back to the direction of Jocks car.

Jock followed close behind, tilting his head to the side to look at the coffee store one more time.

Part Two