Chapter 1: High as a Mountain
It was just because of the fog, she reasoned. Also, because she had to take a terribly difficult biology test she did not study enough for later that day.
She was nothing like Hilda - the constantly grumpy lady that was to be found somehow almost always near the subway station, complaining to anyone ,at all times, about everything and anything.
She still had a reasonable amount of hair on her head, and her voice did totally not sound like she has smoked for her entire existence. She was probably with over two decades younger, also. Therefore, she was totally not doing that bad.
London’s glacial weather did not help alleviate her sour mood in the slightest on that Thursday morning. Wearing three pairs of socks, her feet were barely fitting in her worn out boots, one of her gloves was missing for over three days and she could no longer feel her face. That is how she entered “Love&Coffee”. That, and a deep scowl on her face, obviously.
“Fernleigh, does the sign not read open? If Giselle the death knell would see this, she’d be hauling your ass out of here.” she shouted right as she entered the coffee shop, and then halted, scared to check if by any chance Giselle, her awful boss, was nearby.
Seconds passed and she stayed glued to her spot, staring at the scratched tip of her left brown boot, quite sure she might lose her job. Damnit, when did that happen? How does she always manage to damage her footwear? It was disturbing.
The silence was soon interrupted by a loud scoff. ” Don’t fucking call me that. ” Leigh, her coworker, answered as he was struggling to arrange nicely the chocolate muffins on the counter, beyond frustrated.
“You do know that you’re supposed to wear gloves while you’re doing that, right?” she couldn’t help but comment, already obsessing over the health violation. She was so not going to eat any of those germ-contaminated muffins now.
Leigh rolled his eyes, also in a very bad mood.” You do know that you’re supposed to come to work on time and if not, fuck promptly off, right? ” he retailed, hissing in pain right two seconds after and sticking three fingers in his mouth.
“This is fucking painful, Mabel. Fucking painful. ” he whined, embittered, and Mabel had to stifle her laugh.
She sighed, dropping her heavy bag full of textbooks somewhere near the counter and dropped her ass on one of the stools.
" I need at least three cups of coffee before dealing with today. ” she left out a plaintive cry.
Leigh rounded the counter plopping his ass on the stool next to hers, seeming to be on the same page. ” I say let’s just fuck it and open the store at 9:00 a.m, ’ya know?” he suggested and Mabel smiled brightly, pleased with the suggestion.
" Go make me a cup of coffee, yeah? You know I can’t face my responsibilities before tasting caffeine. ” she urged him, and went straight to the minuscule room she always changes in.
Tugging almost all the layers of clothing off and getting rid of two pairs of socks, she tied her disgustingly colourful imprinted black apron and tied her hair in a ponytail.
She quickly wiped all the tables, arranging a ”Drink coffee gleefully" flyer-like sign on every single one of them, eyeing them with abhorrence, because whom the fuck says that?
They ended up opening the cosy cafe at 09:30, one hour and a half later than what is written on the schedule taped on the door, because they did not care and were quite lazy, so they tended to do this a lot.
Mabel did not enjoy the coffee Leigh has prepared but she drank it anyway, although it had no vanilla, and so they bickered and wiped the floors, Mabel heating up all the muffins, because Leigh was too scared of the microwave and Mabel was pretty much very annoyed, and she enjoys heating things up and potentially lighting shit on fire when she is pissed. (weird family trait, her aunt said - don’t even bother to ask)
The first customer entered the shop 2 minutes and 45 seconds after they turned the sign to “open” and they knew this because they counted the seconds out loud, like they often did, out of boredom.
Mabel was asking for the order and Leigh was preparing the coffee and they enjoyed their job, although complained the entire time, because they were both petty like that.
Mabel had 23 minutes left of her shift when a very hangover and weird looking guy entered the cafe, with what looked to be like two coats on, very skinny jeans, wet chelsea boots and a green beanie. His sunglasses were very weird looking and Mabel was starting to get annoyed with the number of hippies this cafe attracted. Hippies were quite awesome and quite annoying. And that is all she will ever comment on it.
"G’morning! ” he said right after taking his sunglasses off. He had a beautiful, pleasing voice.
She did not greet him back. Leigh was the one to do it, and then there followed a mumbled conversation that consisted of ”cool hair, mate" and ”thanks, I’m albino" and ”cool... are you also Irish? Cheers" and Mabel did not listen to the rest of it, because she was not interested in cheerful and hangover weird looking guys, and she already knew that Leigh was both albino and Irish. He was also lactose-intolerant and a bleeding idiot with a tendency to accidentally shatter crockery.
She was doing just fine, completely tuning out their conversation, lost in her own thoughts filled with dreadful and complicated biology terms.
“A cup of tea. Do you happen to have papaya and pineapple flavoured one?” and she could simply not ignore that question, because of course he wanted tea, and what the fuck did he just ask?
She lifted her head and gazed dumbly at his surprisingly beautiful face.
He turned his gaze towards her and smiled wildly and sweetly and Mabel just wanted to grab her left scratched brown boot and hit him in the face with it. His eyes were pretty also, although bloodshot, and he had messy curls squeezed between his face and ridiculous beanie and she was struggling to keep her cool.
Leigh stared at him as well, equally as befuddled as Mabel and weakly replied “no...” because neither one of them has ever heard of papaya and pineapple flavoured tea and it was noon, on a Thursday, and Leigh generally hated his life. Mabel was having a biology test in less than two hours, and a very pretty boy was standing right in front of her, baked, most likely, asking for papaya and pineapple tea. And this cafe barely had two-three types of tea on the menu, because it was a bloody cafe, and you were supposed to order coffee in a cafe. To hell with tea-obsessed weird British people! Tea was absolutely disgusting. Unless it was iced.
“Oh...’s all right, then” the boy softly said and stared and the germ-contaminated chocolate muffins before lifting his head and meeting Mabel’s gaze.
“Heeeyyyy” he waved at the girl enthusiastically, his smile wide, face sweet, his head pounding and his feet freezing, because he had no socks on. He couldn’t find them that morning.
He was cute and hangover and Mabel could not believe this was truly happening on a Thursday morning.
The girl was not subtle at all when she asked: “Are you high? ”
Leigh rolled his eyes, because it was kind of obvious he was, and high people often entered that cafe, and the tall boy with the warm, happy and blood-shot eyes, smiled even more brightly ( it was apparently possible to smile wider) revealing two deep, adorable dimples. ” High on my feet, God bless your heart." he retorted and laughed, before snorting and adding ” Yes. As a mountain. ” in a more serious manner, nodding his head to himself and stumbling on his feet a little. As if his second answer was a bit more normal than the first one.
Mabel thought he was funny, though, and she even smiled a little.
“Would you prefer a mango flavoured tea instead of.. whatever you just asked for? It also has other fruits so it might help with your...” Mable stopped talking as soon as the pain erupted in her calf.
Yes, Leigh truly did just kick her in the shin. Because the dude they were serving was both hangover and high, and they have both noticed and she was definitely not supposed to mention it. It was a bit awkward and a bit offensive.
“Hangbellow” the boy completed her statement and laughed loudly, beyond amused with the word. Wow. What a sense of humour this guy had. What the hell was even happening?
“Hangover...” Leigh added, confused but very entertained, nonetheless.
For a few seconds, the three of them just stood still, Leigh thinking about his lunch break, Mabel thinking about her biology test in an attempt not to get distracted with the pretty customer and the boy thinking that he should have definitely looked for socks a little longer. His feet were freezing.
“Let’s switch, Leigh, I’ll make him the tea.” Mabel announced and hurried to quickly pour the happy dude a remedy for his hangover.
“She might spit in your cup, she’s not a nice person. I’m just letting ya know. ” Leigh announced the customer, receiving in return a kick in the shin as well from a pissed off Mabel.
The boy shrugged his shoulders as if he did not really care at all whether some of her salivae would end up in his tea or not.
After preparing the tea, she’d written on the cup ” Tea is disgusting & I promise I did not spit in it, High as A Mountain. " because she just couldn’t help it and British hippies loved this funny type of shit written on their stupid cups of tea.
Handing the cup to the boy, he smiled widely and gratefully, his big hands grabbing the hot cup of tea and taking a seat at one of the tables facing the window.
Leigh yelled with an irritating voice ”Drink your drink gleefully, live your life blithely! ” because they had to say this to every customer and Mabel hated it so she never did, but Leigh found it hilarious and he also enjoyed irritating Mabel so he always said it.
The boy laughed and Mable did not know whether he laughed because he was polite or because he was high as a kite. He probably laughed because he was both.
Mabel’s shift ended before the stoned cheerful guy finished his tea, and she hurried out of the cafe, obsessing over her biology test.
Passing by the subway station, she crossed paths with Hilda, and this time around she was complaining about her socks cutting her circulation and Mabel could relate to that on a spiritual level with the three pair of socks she had on.
Leigh’s shift was very boring after Mabel’s departure and he kept repeating in his head with a chirpy voice ”my life could be worse, it’s fine“, because his life could, in fact, be way worse, so it was fine.
The boy stared at the handwriting on his cup of tea and had a lovely chat about pot and the weirdly shaped flyer on his table with Leigh, and he came to the conclusion that the lad was lovely, and the pissed off blonde girl with the pouty mouth was adorable and charming. She was also wearing tight jeans, so he stared a little bit too much at her legs when she left. And she was the type of adorable he wouldn’t mind destroying in the sheets and he felt a bit disrespectful for thinking that, but he was high as a mountain and the girl has flat out written on his cup of tea that she was sort of not a spitter. So.
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Kisses. xx -Anastasia
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