Mending and Cynical Advices
Leah’s POV :
When I wake up this morning, my phone reminds of that New Year’s is only one day away as it buzzes with notification, half of which are invitations to parties from people at my school. From what I’ve noticed, the party is at Yana Hilcrest’s place and the whole school is going.
My ice queen self has already decided to go too, as she knows very well that the two people she doesn’t want to see will be there too. But she also knows that she has to show up to show people that she’s not as weak as they think her to be. She is physically ready to face them all with her stoic, ‘I couldn’t care less’ expressions but mentally, she still has to get hold of her emotions.
Neither of us understand that fucked up logic but oh well.
Tracy texts me, asking for the hundredth time if I was sure about attending that party which is tomorrow and for the hundredth time, I reply with a firm yes. She texts back saying she’ll be at my house two hours before the scheduled time so that we could get ready together and I agree, sighing in relief to have her by my side.
As I get up to go shower and get on with my daily routine which has become common in past two weeks, I think about my life in general.
People from school are still two faced, calling me a bitch behind my back yet inviting me to parties they host and praising me like a queen on the front. I’ve decided to not pay any heed to them but can’t say it doesn’t sting.
At home, things are well. Grant has finally come to the realization that I’ll confide in him when I feel comfortable enough to and not anytime before so he has stopped asking me about ‘what happened.’ Instead, he makes sure to provide good distractions and spend as much time as he could with me. Mom and Dad bring it up every once in a while but they still try their hardest to be subtle. It annoys me but I know they’re worried I’ll go spiraling into one of my heartbreak episodes again.
Since Tracy is busy with Kevin in her boyfriend search. Maggie and I get a lot of time to spend alone and we’ve gotten closer. I share my childhood times with her while she shares her sister Peggy’s condition with me. I have come to learn that she went unsound and insane after losing her first child and I wish no one has to ever go through that horror in life.
At the cafe, things have gone back to normal. Normal as in Axel has gone back to scowling at me and cafe has gone back to how quite it used to be with a few customers coming in every once in a while. When I went back there the morning after Christmas, I was under the impression that Axel and I would be a lot civil to each other. It didn’t surprise me, however, when he greeted me with his ever present scowl I had grown used to and handed me a cup of coffee that said ‘Not Welcomed.’ I had scoffed and smirked when Emilia had tackled me in a welcome back hug.
I can’t say I was disappointed though. It seemed like an everyday thing and it gave me a sense of normality which made me smile. It’s even harder to believe that it’s been barely two weeks since I’ve known them.
When I’m dressed in black tights and a knee length lavender colored sweater dress, I head downstairs to bid everyone goodbye before heading back to the one place that almost feels like home now. Mom looks at me like she wants to say something but Dad puts an arm around her shoulders and tells me to be safe.
I’m not stupid though. I know they don’t like how I spend most of my day at the cafe - going before breakfast and returning before dinner but they don’t understand that staying back here only makes me more worse. I can’t stay back home for my idle thoughts would surely drift back to Sean and Ronnie, what happened two months ago and what they are now. Being active on social media doesn’t help either. At the cafe, Emilia and Axel seem to distract me and even when they are not talking to be, I don’t even find myself thinking about bad things. It’s almost life the cafe doors protect me from the thoughts that hurt me.
At home, however, there are too many memories for me to not go back to thinking about old times. Times when Sean and I were still together, times when Ronnie and I were still best friends. There are too many memories stored in room in every form to remind me of them. Even the times Sean stole kisses from me in the living room or when Ronnie and I played here as kids start dancing in front of my eyes when I stay there too long. So in simple words, the cafe is my sanctuary.
Today, instead of riding my bike, I decide to walk to the cafe, my messenger bag holding my laptop, phone, wallet and books I plan on using today. It takes a little longer but I enjoy walking around. The old earthen wind chime rings when I push the door open and Axel looks up to see it’s only me. Without another word, he gets on to work with my usual coffee order.
“Wow, I didn’t even have to tell you to make my coffee today. What a good day it must be.” I tease and place my things on my usual table and walk towards the counter to save him the trip to my table.
He turns around and slides the cup towards me. “I’m in a good mood, Snob Princess. So don’t test me.”
I nod. “Okay cool, Mr. Scowls. But keep these coming every hour.”
He rolls his eyes. “Yeah yeah, whatever.”
I turn with the cup in my hand and my eyes drift down to see what art is painted across the canvas of my coffee today and smile when I see a resemblance of what I think is a lavender flower. I sit back down on the table and capture a picture of the coffee to post it on my Instagram before tasting it.
“Where’s Emilia, by the way?” I ask Axel and since the cafe is empty, he easily hears it.
“Visiting her grandmother with Julie.” He answers simply, and disappears into the kitchen.
I hear some noise from the inside but shrug. He probably knows what he’s doing. “So it’s just you today?”
“Today and the next two days. They’ll be back on the second. Henry might stop by though.” Comes his voice from inside.
“Oh, wow. Why didn’t you go with them?” I ask again as I type the password into my laptop. A shadow looms over me and I look up just as a place of sandwich is kept on the table. Axel returns back behind the counter.
“It’s her paternal grandmother and I’m not good with strangers.” He shrugs and goes back to scrolling on his phone.
I nod and decide not to ask further questions as he can anytime turn back to Mr. Scowls and I don’t have Emilia to take my side today. I get on with my work, a little part of me missing Emilia’s loud presence when the wind chime jingles and the door is pushed open. I look up to see Dave peeking in and when he sees me, he waves and smiles which I return.
“Oh, good. I thought I saw you sitting here from the window but I wasn’t sure as there’s a closed sign on the door. Still, I decided to check.” He says as he walk towards my table.
I frown and look towards the door and true to his words, the open sign is turned inside. How did I miss it? Before I could say anything, Axel strolls from behind the counter towards us.
“Hey man, we’re closed for today. And the next two days.” He says he he comes to stand directly in front of Dave who was just about to sit.
Dave chuckles. “Yeah, I figured that from the sign. I just saw Leah and came to check if she was really here.”
Axel narrows his eyes at him. “Yeah, and you did that already.”
I roll my eyes at him. Leave it up to him to start a fight with any person he meets. “Axel, be a good boy and get Dave a coffee.” He turns to glare at me before storming off back towards the counter.
Dave shakes his head and sits across from you. “So, how have you been?” He asks.
I push my laptop aside, knowing that work won’t be done as long as he’s there and it would also be rude to work when he would be talking. I nod in answer to his question and take a bite of my sandwich. “I’ve been good.”
Axel returns and slams a cup of black coffee in front of Dave and storms back to the counter.
Dave looks at him shocked for a second but recovers quickly and brings the cup up to his lips. “Good, good.”
“How about you? And your friend Pete?” I ask.
“He’s good too, enjoying now that his girlfriend’s parents have given him a green card.” He laughs.
I laugh along. “And what about your girlfriend’s parents?”
He chuckles and shakes his head. “No, no. I was just accompanying Pete on this double date his girlfriend set up to set me up with her best friend. It didn’t work out though.”
I tsk. “It sucks. But no other girl in town caught your eye?” Axel takes that moment to return to take back the empty dishes on the table.
Dave looks directly at me when he says, “Maybe I have.” Ignoring Axel completely.
I feel Axel stiffen but he soon relaxes and walks back into the kitchen to dump the two cups and one plate.
I laugh nervously. “Yeah? Good for you. How long are you planning on staying anyway? When do your classes start?” I change the topic.
“Next week. Grant, Pete and I plan on leaving together after New Year’s.” He tells me. I nod in acknowledgement of his statement but don’t say anything else.
He goes to say something, probably back to the topic I swiftly changed when his phone rings. He takes it out and sighs. “It’s Pete. I swear if he drags me another double date his girlfriend set up, I’m going to jump off into the river.”
I chuckle as he answers his phone and swears at whatever Pete said. After hanging up, he looks at me guiltily. “I’m sorry but I have to go. Pete needs me.”
I wave his apology off. “Oh, don’t mind at all. I have a lot school work to keep me occupied anyway.”
He gives me a cute smile and nods before rushing out to his friend. Axel, who had been hiding in the kitchen walks out immediately in long strides and marches towards the door, locking it from inside.
I frown at him when he starts walking back. “Why did you do that?”
“So that another customer doesn’t walk in when we’re closed.” He snaps. “That bastard didn’t even pay for his coffee.”
I roll my eyes. “Add it on my tab.” I shrug.
Axel makes a stop at my table and leans on his palms down to my height. “A word of advice here, princess, don’t go flirting with any guy you meet. You won’t get gentlemen each time.”
He walks back behind the counter and I stand up to follow him. “He’s not just another guy. He’s my brother’s friend and I know him.” I say instead of telling him that I wasn’t flirting.
He gives me a sardonic smile. “Doesn’t mean he wants anything different from girls than most boys.”
“Why do you care anyway? You don’t like me, remember?”
He scoffs. “I don’t care. I just don’t want anything to happen in or around my aunt’s cafe knowing you’re a regular customer and all.”
I bite down a smile, planning on to tease him. “Are you sure that’s the reason you care and not because you’re jealous that another guy was flirting with your girlfriend?” I ask reminding him of what Adira thought I was to him.
He gives me a mocking smile. “Did you forget that you’re not my real girlfriend?”
I shrug. “No, but seriously. Dave’s not like that. He’s friends with my brother, I know him. Grant would have warned me about him if he was a bad guy.” I say defensively.
Axel scoffs again. “Just because he’s friends with your brother doesn’t mean he is a good guy. The girl he was talking about - the one he was supposedly forced to go on a double date with - yeah, he fucked her and led her on. And now when she’s asking to meet or go on another date, he’s labeling her off as clingy and desperate - like he told you.”
I gasp. “Wait, really?”
I narrow my eyes in suspicion. “And how do you know about this?”
“The said girl you Dave went on date with is Abigail’s sister - the same Abigail you met on Christmas.” He tells me. “I even saw them once which led to Amara confessing about him to me so no, I’m not lying.”
I open and close my mouth like a fish, not knowing what to say. I didn’t think Dave would be like this. Internally, I sympathize and somehow relate to Amara.
When Axel realizes I’m speechless, he leans forward as if he’s about to reveal a big secret. “So take my advice on this one and stay away from him. Or better yet, stay away from the whole love, dating, flirting - everything as such itself. It can ruin you.”
I met his eyes, staring back at the equal intensity he was staring me at. A soft, painful smile graced my lips as I welcomes his words. “Maybe for the first time, I’m going to have to agree with you.”
He looks at me, unsure of what I mean as he tried to figure out a secret and nods slowly. “Good.”
I then shake my head and get rid of melancholic thoughts as I smile wider. “But just so you know - I wasn’t flirting with him. I was just as uncomfortable as you would have been.”
He suppresses a smile and nods. “I knew you weren’t that big of an idiot I thought you were.”
I slap his shoulder playfully. “Shut up, Mr. Scowls. Get on with my coffee.”
He laughs and turns to work on my order. “On it, Snob Princess.”
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