Friday Fiction

100 Word Friday Fiction: Aftersun

It was too hot to work, flies buzzed round Joe’s head as he tried to keep the sweat out of his eyes with little success.
The job needed to be done, unfortunately for Joe it turned out to be the hottest day of the year and the sun burned down on to the top of Joe’s balding head.
There was once a time when his wife Josephine would’ve rubbed aftersun on that,
she would’ve put lotion on his blistered hands too where the axe handle had slipped from his grip.

Joe looked at Josephine and let his axe fall again.
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Friday Fiction: Noah

“Ladies and Gentleman, all your thoughts on the matter are of course appreciated, but we still haven’t talked about the elephant in the room…”
The members of the gathered associated press laughed as flash blubs illuminated the stage.

“Two elephants surely.” One of them called out, to further guffaws.

“Why yes dear boy. Two of everything.” Noah replied, holding aloft two fat fingers, causing more flash bulbs to splash light in his direction “Any further questions?”

“Noah, Bill Malcolm New York Times, How do you plan on stopping the animals from eating each other?”

“I’ve spoken to them of course” Noah replied with a twinkle in his eye. “No in all seriousness the Ark is the most sophisticated thing the human race has ever built, the holding pens for all the animals are state of the art as you’ll see from the booklet we have provided.”

“Did you build the Ark yourself?” a voice called out.

“No it’s 2015 and I’m no boat builder. No, better to think of me as the project lead.”

“It is true you had issues with finance for the project?” said another.

“Every start up has difficulty keeping afloat.” Noah smiled through the groans from the crowd this comment caused, a man very much in his element. “But Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Addias all have been very happy to be involved with the project and they have given us the capital to quite literally save the world.”

“What do you say to all the people who say this is just a publicity stunt from you and those sponsors? An ego trip or an attempt to ‘Break the internet’ if you will”

“The reality is,” Noah replied gazing towards the window to his left and beyond to a clear blue sky “that without the internet and social media, the sponsors or indeed you, the members of the press wouldn’t be here and the Ark wouldn’t have been built. This is not about me, it’s about the boat and the animals.”

“What do you say to Greenpeace and the millions of animal charities throughout the world who doubt your claims and level charges of animal cruelty?”

“I would say it’s far crueller to let all the animals drown. Again they are welcome to look around the Ark to see the wonderful facilities we have, an improvement for many animals over their natural habitats.” Noah said with a steely look in his eye.

“You say a voice from the sky told you to build this ‘Ark’ despite it being the driest year since records began. Do you understand that people may doubt your claims?”

“Of course, I doubted myself. I am a man with an open mind, but even I worried I was going nuts. The voice spoke to me a number of times and was pretty convincing. I have attempted to warn the world best I can, there are always gonna be people who doubt you”

“What if you are wrong?”

And then the rain began to fall.

Noahs Ark Animal3

Friday Fiction: Jolene

She was pleased she was no longer under the glare of the studio lights. It had been a long week to be a news anchor. Riots and civil unrest in her city, she grew weary of being the barer of bad news, there was only so much beautiful auburn hair and flawless smile could do to lighten the turmoil on the streets.

She was heading fast towards her dressing room, gliding across the floor with the grace of a dancer in a deep green dress suit. She opened her dressing room door and kicked off her heels with one seamless motion. She closed the door behind her and let out a deep sigh. Then she felt something hard press in the small of her back.

“Don’t you fucking move Jolene!” snarled a woman’s voice.
Jolene let out a small scream that was soon stifled by her assailant shoving the gun harder into her spine.
“One more sound and I swear to God. Sit down over there!” the woman hissed waving towards a nearby chair with her gunless hand.

Jolene stumbled toward the chair, head spinning. What the hell did this nut job want?

The woman produced some rope and tied Jolene to the chair, almost the second she had sat down, she tied knots with skill that most boy scouts would die for. With a struggling Jolene secured the woman began to pace back and forth like a caged Lion. She went first to the dressing room door and locked it, then went so the emmy award winning news anchor could see the whites of her eyes.
“You stay the fuck away from my man you hear me?” she growled. “You see I had to have a little talk with you. I can’t just sit there and let you take him away.”

Jolene shook her head. She had no idea what the woman was talking about, she was no angel and in the past had had many a fling, and she could indeed proudly say that no man, or woman for that matter had ever turned down her advances, but she was too busy for an affair.
“No” she said softly . “I have no idea what you are talking about”
“Liar!” the woman bellowed into Jolene’s face, “You don’t know what he means to me, how dare you sit there and deny it.”
“I’m not seeing anyone at the moment” still calm, measured, how she delivered bad news to the camera. “Now if you’d stop waving the gun about, maybe we could talk this over.”
“You’d like that wouldn’t you? Talking. I heard him say he loves the way you talk.”
“I’m pretty sure, I’ve never met your husband. Tell me his name.”
“Tony Rogers.” said the woman growing twitchy.
“I can honestly say I’ve never met a Tony. Please put the gun down, I think you have made a terrible mistake.”
“Mistake? You fucking bitch,” the woman shouted nearly hitting Jolene with the butt of her pistol, but for some reason thinking better of it, maybe liking the reaction on Jolene’s face. “Scared you there didn’t I. Tony tells me you are so so brave.”
“Listen, I’ve never met Tony.” Jolene pleaded.
“Tony tells me, you are so beautiful and so brave. He never stops talking about you”
“I don’t know what else to say. I have never met, seen, or spoken to anyone named Tony”
“You lie,” the woman says, almost smiling, pleased with herself, “He says he meets up with you twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday”
“At 10pm?”
“Ah ha you whore, You admit it.”
Jolene laughed nervously “At 10pm Tuesday and Thursday I present my show.”
The woman looked at her blankly.
“Your husband,” Jolene continued “Watches my show. I said there was a stupid mistake.”
Then the shot was fired, that struck a helpless Jolene in the side of her head. Causing her to slump down in the chair.
“No-one calls me stupid.”

Friday Fiction: The Landing

Jessica O’Malley moved to the city five years ago, she drove a delivery truck. She was originally from Boston and as close to an Irish rose as you could be without being born on the emerald isle. She had long red hair, which on this gusty day was swept back into a pony tail and topped with a green woollen hat that the salesperson said brought out her eyes. Jess didn’t care, it kept her head warm. She had a body which like any 28 year old she wasn’t happy with. The guys at the delivery depot from which she was driving didn’t seem to notice any imperfections, but what did they know. Guys eh, she thought.

Guys, or rather, one particular guy was the reason she sat in New York City traffic. She’d moved to the city to be with him. They split after he had a string of illicit liaisons the last of which had been with her sister.

Mike was a jerk and Jess was glad to be rid of him. But she grew to love his city, so she stayed. She found a job and the guys there were fun to be around, no-one date worthy however. She loved her job and people she would meet but sometimes it got all too much so the cab of her truck gave her space and time to herself. An oasis amongst the people, traffic and the elements, a peaceful haven whenever she needed it. Usually.

A huge crash shattered her peace.

“Holy shit!” she exclaimed, not another accident. Her boss was gonna be pissed, but something was different. The impact seemed to push her cab down rather than the usual forward motion of a fender bender.
“Arrh” she heard coming from the back her truck. The traffic wasn’t going anywhere and people were looking strangely at her and the truck, pointing. So she killed the engine and clambered out to investigate.

A small crowd had gathered. Jess was confused, what the hell was going on? She pushed through the crowd slid up the rear door of the truck and peered inside, along with at least ten strangers.
“Look,” she said. “Back the fuck off, it’s just an accident. Stop being so goddamn nosey” Jess clambered up into the truck and slid the door down behind her, no-one was stealing anything from her truck!

She looked up, there was a hole in the roof of the truck. beneath the hole, in amongst todays cargo, which happened to be mattresses was a balding fat guy, cradling his arm and moaning in pain.
“What the hell man!” Jess said. “How the fuck did you…”
“I fell.” the man stuttered.
“Where the hell from? There isn’t a overhanging branch in this city”
“That apartment block. My arm really hurts.”
“Fuck your arm, look at my truck. How do I know this wasn’t a dumass plan to rob me or something?”
“It wasn’t I promise you, I just slipped.”
“What the fuck are you doing up there anyway?” Jess said. “You ain’t Spiderman, you one of those meth heads tryna fly?”

The man looked at Jess. Took a deep breath and spoke slowly.

“You may not know it, but you just saved my life. My arm hurts like hell, but I don’t regret falling anymore. I have never loved anyone more..”

He passed out.

NY Street Scene

Late Friday Fiction: The Fall

Who knew?

Apparently it was true, your life does flash before your eyes before you die. I perhaps should have done more, but no regrets eh. Except maybe slipping, that was a major regret. But clumsiness leading to a inevitable fatal fall not the most glamorous way to go out. I had perhaps underestimated  the effects of the wind on the human body at 15 stories high, but I blame her entirely. Her smile, her eyes, her hair..

Why did she have to live on the top floor?

Why could she not have lived on the ground floor? Easy access and a easy route to enable a guy to make silly romantic gestures. A ground floor apartment would have eliminated the need for climbing and indeed falling entirely. A ground floor apartment would have made it much easier for a rotund gentleman such as myself. Mind you the surprise element on the ground floor would have been lost somewhat, hard to make a dramatic entrance through the front door! How mundane.

Why did I never pay attention in science class?

I would have been able to work out how fast I am falling. Even now I’m thinking this a strange thing to think about, with seconds left. Science and the absurdity of thought! Not my Mom and my Dad… well not my Dad, my “special” Uncle. My real Dad is an ass and living in Missouri with someone my Mum called a “brazen hussy” meaning the woman had bigger tits than her. Dad was always a “breast man” ironic really as last time I saw him his were bigger than any woman’s I’ve seen. Still he has the last laugh I guess cos he is safe with this moobs and his hussy and I am currently plummeting to my death.

Will I get into Heaven?

Maybe God will save me, or Spiderman. Who knows they are both figments of someones imagination but as the wind swooshes by I’d be happy if I dunno, Snap Crackle and/or Pop wanted to turn up and catch me. If heaven exists in my wildest dreams, the girl on the top floor should be there waiting for me on a four poster bed covered in maple syrup. Her not the bed cos that would be silly. I dunno religious types down here spend so long going on about how bad sex is, I guess all of it would be be banned in heaven. Hell then!

Will people understand?

I’m a very loving guy. I lived my life meaning no harm to anyone. The girl on the top floor is but the latest in a long line of my loves. Each one I have treated the same, I am very attentive whereas other guys they’d go off to ball games or to bars. Not me, always around. Always looking. Sometimes I’d get rewarded for my patience, a little flash here a little peak there.  They knew all about me, they did. They looked longingly into my eyes. The girl on the top floor, she had the most beautiful eyes. I’m sure she’d miss me, or even feel a little guilty that her silly court order had made me climb to her apartment to catch what I am certain now would be my last glimpse.

SOUTH ELEVATION, VIEW OF TOP STORIES, TAKEN FROM ROOF TOP ACROSS STREET, CLOSER VIEW - Palmetto Building, 1400 Main Street at Washington Street, Columbia, Richland County, SC HABS SC,40-COLUM,17-5


Apologies for the lateness of posting. Please visit the “worth stalking” Captivating Kitten and a man who’s retraining order was a “misunderstanding” The Resident Weeble for their excellent pieces

Friday Fiction: The Warzone

For this weeks Friday Fiction I got a start from Captivating Kitten. Her words are in purple. I rather bleakly finished it.


The flicker of the lamp was starting to get irritating.  Crumpling up yet another piece of paper he stood up from the desk and threw it into the pile by the window.  It’s been ten days since he’d left the house, or at least that’s what the red crosses on the calendar said.

The crosses to him represented failure rather than passing of the time. A failure to escape and to write anything, to tell the world of his story. Not that the story of Malcolm Murphy would be of interest to anyone ordinarily but the world in which he now lived was anything but ordinary.
People said it was a blessing to be born just after the third war. No more bomb blasts and enough peace treaties to ensure peace for another one hundred years so the media said. What they never mentioned was fifty years of struggle, black outs and hunger, whilst the leaders of all four sides involved in the conflict lived in complete comfort.

A younger Malcolm had fought, against the power, but the “peace treaties” made it impossible for anyone to fight the system for too long and live. Aged 25 Malcolm grew tired of watching his friends die or disappear, so he decided to keep his head down and live best he could for himself. It was hard but at his lowest ebb Malcolm met Grace. Grace made Malcolm forget the struggle and he felt a sense of freedom whenever he was with her. Amongst the riots and the broken glass the two of them forged a love that was so strong that Malcolm looked forward to a day where all people could all experience the joy he felt there and then with Grace.

Grace would have helped him write.

With Grace still around there would be no need to write. But she was gone. It has only been a month. They took her away from him early before sun-rise, they had entered their apartment, without word of warning and stolen Grace, his wife of nearly 25 years. Malcolm had heard of this happening to other people, but not to him, no never. Not now. They couldn’t have taken Grace because of what he did all those years ago. Could they?

For the first few weeks Malcolm searched for Grace, but the curfew and misinformation made his search dangerous. People he had classed as friends even denied that Grace ever existed, so not as to get themselves “into trouble.” Malcolm cared not for the outside world and the struggle. He felt just as he had before he met Grace. Browbeaten and alone he reached for more paper. The world must know, he thought.

The wail of sirens broke through the nights stillness and Malcolm could see the flashing lights and the flames burning high in the streets below through his smeared window. Firecrackers went off as Police and the militant few hardy souls clashed. Malcolm began to write about the end of his life in the warzone. As the noose he’d prepared days before was illuminated by the fiery skies.
Power lines south of Pfungstadt in fiery sky

Friday Fiction: The Lift

“17th floor please.”
“Oh, in to the frying pan eh”
“Well I told them, I said there is no way that was going to work.”
“You got nothing to worry about then have you… Why does this lift take so long?”
“Maybe the hamster died!”
“Hamster?”
“Yeah the one in the wheel that powers all three lifts!”
“Finally! Movement, if you can call it that. When is your meeting? Do you have time?”
“I have about 10 minutes”
“Should just about make it then. You know he won’t let you in if you are late don’t you?”
“I heard that but I thought it was just a rumour”

Fifth Floor, doors closing lift going up

“Morning…”

Seventh Floor, doors opening.
Doors closing, going up.

“God I hate him.”
“Watkinson, yeah. I saw you gazing at the floor”
“The guy is a idiot. Part of the reason it all failed, but will he get any flack?”
“No course not, he’ll get promoted.”
“I’d laugh but it’s all too true. Lets hope no-one gets in from nine!”
“Here he goes again with the totally unjustified hatred of the workers of floor nine”
“Unjustified it’s not unjustified.”
“Steve, if you choose to have sexual intercourse, no less, next to the photocopier and then get caught it’s hardly their fault.”
“Hmm. They got me suspended for…”
“9 months.. Yes I know, you’ve told me. At least once, maybe six hundred times”
“Yeah well it’s not like she was worth it.”
“You are only bitter cos you got toner dust on your bum”
“That stuff doesn’t come off… My wife noticed.”
“What did she say when you got suspended?”
“She didn’t stick around. All because of those bastards on nine.”
“Yes OK Steve. Whatever you say.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake.”
“I don’t like the sound of that.”
“Loud wasn’t it? These lifts are clunky but that was something else.”
“Now the lights.”
“Hang on I’ve got my lighter in here somewhere.”
“I thought you’d given up.”
“Anyone would think you wanted to stay in the dark. Here we go”
“Should I press the alarm button?”
“Now would be the very best time I would think.”
“Did you hear anything?”
“Nope. Try again.”
“Still nothing. For fucks sake”
“Don’t worry I’m sure someone will be along in a minute, Watkinson knows we are in here”
“Oh yes!…. Do you have any signal on your phone?”
“No.. I don’t think so..let me check.. Oh fuck that’s hot.”
“Oh well done Steve. The end with the flame is hot! Good luck finding it in the dark down there.”
“Move over I think you are stood on it.”
“I move, it creaks.”
“It’s only creaking, besides it’s not like you weigh anything”
“Ok but I’m scared.”
“I’m sure it will be fine, better when it’s not pitch black eh Suze”
“Ok ok, You found it?”
“Yep got it.”
“That’s better”
“Suze?”
“Yes Steve”
“Are you holding my hand?”
“I’m scared, I hate these lifts. I’m sorry I’ll let go if you like”
“No it’s ok. I kinda like it.”
“Good as long as it’s not weirding you out”
“No not at all….”
“…. Steve…”
“Yeah”
“I have often thought what it would have been like if it were me by the photocopier. With you I mean.”
“Wha… Wait it’s the doors, they’re opening.”

Ponderosa elevator


The beautiful Captivating Kitten has given me a lift this week by participating in #FridayFiction here with another dialogue only story which encouraged me to write this one. My earlier dialogue drama is here if you liked this one. The Resident Weeble has something good in the offing, but it’s not ready yet.

Friday Fiction: David and the Jacobies

My friend the Resident Weeble  is once again joining me in one of my crazy blogging schemes. Last week he wrote some fiction based upon my start. This week I return the favour. His start is in Purple


The beast slowly approached David as he lay prone on the grass. It seemed to know he couldn’t move. It took the time to sniff David’s feet before raising its mighty head to look him in the eye. Its mouth leisurely opened and its gaping yaw slavered over his incapacitated legs.

David tried once more to move, he felt nothing below his waist. His own fault for not listening to his supervisor, a rather rotund gentleman named Jim.
“Never fell the Ellsbury tree in daylight” Jim told him.
“It’ll root around you as soon as it touches the ground” Jim said.
“Blah blah bloody great beasts Ellsbury Jacobies will eat you blah blah” Jim said.
“If the Jacobies are going to eat you.” Jim continued in Davids head. “If you were stupid enough, to cut down the tree. Listen carefully. You must.. blah blah”

Damn my short attention span thought David. As he felt the creatures warm breath on his face.
“Hi.” It said.
David thought he was hallucinating.
“Hello Mr Tree Cutter” the beast continued, it’s large round face wearing a puzzled look. “Anyone in there”
“Urm Hello.” Spluttered David.
“Thanks for cutting down my tree.”
“Erm well I’m sorry if’d I known it was your tree..”
“No, no” the beast interrupted “Thank you very much, the missus has been on about me doing it for ages, keeps sunlight out of our conservatory. You did me a huge favour”
David was now not only numb in his legs, but his head numbed too. This killer monster was apparently thanking him for improving the lighting in his house, he must be dreaming.
“Belinda noticed the light instantly. Mind you, “ the creature continued “Bit stupid doing it during the day though. Did you not hear what they say?”
That a Jacobie would eat you yes I heard that, thought David. He didn’t hear however that they would come out and talk to you first.
“I heard it.” David said quietly.
“But you decided to go ahead anyway. I like that spirit” The beast tossed his mane-topped head back and laughed a hearty laugh that allowed David to see all his razor sharp teeth. “I’m Brandon by the way”
“David.” David replied extending a hand towards the beast massive paw, twice the size of David’s head.
Brandon took his hand and shook it much more gently than David expected.
“You are in a bit of a bind there David.” Said Brandon, running his paw over the rough Ellsbury bark that wrapped round David’s legs. “I don’t think I can do anything to help you, the Ellsbury is a bugger when it takes hold.”
“You can’t help?” David felt the panic rising.
“Hang on I might have something in my garage, we don’t have long.” Brandon lumbered off as fast as his huge legs would carry him.
David lay back on the grass, still half-heartedly trying to wriggle free. He wondered what Brandon would find in his garage to help, or indeed why Brandon wanted to help at all. Was he a monster who liked to chase his prey? He seemed like a reasonable fellow maybe David could just ask him politely not to eat him.
David noticed the ground around him had become cast in a dark shadow. Great, rain he thought. All I need.
“Very sorry David. I really can’t help you. There is no time” Said an out of breath Brandon, sweat dripping off his tongue.
“You don’t have to help ok. Just don’t eat me.” Said David, hesitantly.
“What? Me, eat you?” Brandon once again looked puzzled. “I won’t eat you, I’m a vegetarian.”
“I’d heard that Jacobies ate those who cut down the Ellsbury tree.”
“Unfortunately you heard right. But I’m not a jacobie.” Brandon shouted. running towards his house, pointing above David’s head at what had cast the shadow on the ground. “That’s a jacobie. I’m sor…”

Willow


The Resident Weeble also did another Friday Fiction piece this week. Check it out here

Friday Fiction: A New Beginning

Today is the day. My time to shine, make my mark or whatever other snappy phrase you want to call it. Time for a new beginning.

To be fair I’ve been in my comfort zone now for too long and I’m itching to get out and get started. I’ve heard murmurs about great opportunities for me, but it is the great unknown out there and really it’s frightening to think about. But I have to get out of here, I’ve outgrown it really y’know. That must sound arrogant, I’m not really like that, at least I hope I’m not, I suppose we’ll find out in time.

Strange thing is, I have no real plans at the moment, other than my escape, my emergence from the darkness. Some might say this is foolhardy but I’m pretty sure, as daunting as the world outside is, I’m sure there will be people who look out for me. I’m not one to shun assistance, not to begin with anyway. No shame in getting a little help here and there until I’m standing on my own two feet.

I don’t know how I got stuck here anyway. I’ve acted instinctively for as long as I can remember, done what felt right. Moved around where I could in order to grow and develop. Yet I still find myself in the same place, doing the same things. I’m hoping my skills will stand me in good stead for life out-there in the future. Fingers and toes crossed eh!

As restless as I am, I will miss this old place, I have grown attached to it over my time here and it has been good to me. There is a great deal of security here, I know every lump and bump on the walls. Whilst all that has its benefits it can get real boring at times. Sometimes I get frustrated and kick out, but after a few seconds of movement and more murmurs nothing changes. All feels like wasted effort. That’s why I know it’s time to go.

I’ve prepared best I can, following those instincts once more I’ve made sure I am in the perfect position, don’t want to start fighting the good fight with one arm behind my back or anything like that. This will be a day to remember, a day the murmurs stop for good.

Its beginning I can feel it.

The walls around me moving, pushing me, forcing me to leave all that I have ever known behind. I feel cold cold air on the top of my head. This is definitely it. I’m going out into the big wide world, it’s so scary, so new. My ears are next to feel the cold, then my face. I open my eyes, it’s oh so bright.

Oh my, I want to go back! Forget all that I said.

My body sliding out , the murmured tones, are now clear voices. “One last push” I hear. Followed very closely by a piercing wail that seems to be coming from me.
Then excited voices continue “It’s a boy!”

Vector



Happy Birthday Jay

Friday Fiction: Morning Coffee

Hi Dear Reader,

This is the first in a series aimed at forcing me to write at least once a week. Every Friday I will make every attempt to write something fictional for you to endureenjoy. This is something a little different.


The 90’s has a lot to answer for Luke thought as he fumbled for £3.50 in change to pay for his daily coffee. The shop was strangely empty for a Tuesday morning, in fact as he continued to fumble in his pocket hopping towards the till like some demented antelope on ice, he noticed that he, Luke Russell, was the only customer. His train of thought stopped dead when she spoke.
“Hello Sir.” She said “What can I get you?”
Luke froze, hand still in his pocket. He opened his mouth to reply but no words could be found. She was quite stunning, he thought. She had long dark hair, blue eyes that had Luke mesmerised. He fell in love easily and with alarming regularity. It was happening again.
“Sir?” she repeated, “Are you OK?”
Luke looked down at his pocketed hand, and withdrew it faster than a catholic on honeymoon. He felt his face redden and he was suddenly glad for the apparent decline in Starbucks business.
“I wasn’t…” he began. “….My change.”
She smiled a wide perfect smile which caused Luke to fall in Love all over again.
“What can I get you?”
“Medium Americano” he said amazed finally managed to order.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“…Luke” he said, pausing before remembering why she asked. For the cup.
“Sugar Luke?”
“No. You are sweet enough.” The very moment he felt the words leave his mouth he tried to reach out to stop them, now he was sure his face was crimson with embarrassment, if the floor wasn’t kind enough to open and swallow him he would take his coffee and sit far away, preferably outside. In fact he would never visit the store again yes….. She laughed ending his torment.
“Thank you Luke.” She said brushing a stray strand of hair away from her face. “Sugar for your coffee?”
“No thank you.”
“Take a seat, I’ll bring it over.”

Luke scurried away a corner table. He sat down and watched his coffee being prepared. The shop was still empty and very quiet. Aside from the grind of coffee beans and the gentle pan-pipe musak nothing was to be heard. The beautiful barista delivered Luke’s coffee as promised.
“Thanks.” He said. “Why is it so quiet today?”
“No idea. But it’s good for me. It’s my first day.”
“Oh, I thought I hadn’t seen you before. I come here most days. I’m Luke.”
She laughed again.
“I know I wrote on your cup. I’m Aubrey.”
Luke laughed.
“Pleased to meet you.” He said, extending his hand. “Feel free to sit down with me. I would offer to buy you coffee but..”
“You are silly.” She said as she pulled out a chair and sat down. “But that’s a good thing.” She added noticing the wounded look on Luke’s face.
He took a sip of coffee, remembering too late that, as the lid of his cup warned, contents were indeed hot. The Americano took the consistency of broken glass in his mouth. He felt it burn all the way down. Yet another stupid move, but one he felt he got away with.
“Hot?” she said.
He hadn’t.

“Than holy hell.” He replied with a pained smile.
“96 degrees. Just how they showed me.” She said, again pushing another stray strand of hair away from her face. “But my Mother told me when I was tiny to wait for drinks to cool down before drinking.”
“Smart woman. But then she will have never experienced the thrill and searing pain.”
“True.” Aubrey said and smiled. “Is it always this quiet here?”
“No, never seen it like this before. Usually full of suits with laptops.”
“Looking busy.”
“Yes exactly. “Luke replied, nodding and moving his hand tentatively towards his coffee. “Maybe they are all working from home or something”
“I’d love to do that, you could never be late then.”
Luke nodded and risked another try at drinking his coffee, a sudden dawn of realisation crept over his face.
“Late! Oh crap” he exclaimed and stood up from his chair. “Thank you so much for the coffee, but I am late for a meeting. Will I see you again?”
“Depends if you want coffee. Or if they fire me.”

He was about to reply, but his morning alarm went off in his ear. 6:30am, way too early but plenty of time for morning coffee.

Coffe time