"Coffee?" the bartender repeated in a mocking manner. "This is a pub; not a coffee shop. I don't know how it is where yah come from, but us Britain don't serve coffee in a pub."
The American guy smiled before he calmly said, "You might not serve it often, but you do have it. For certain customers, perhaps?"
"Oh, but I'm willing to pay you enough. So I bet a bit of coffee for a new costumer like me wouldn't hurt."
The bartender was annoyed as hell, so after he grimaced and gave the boy a dirty look, he left the counter and entered the kitchen which wasn't too far from the bar.
Alexandra was eyeing the guy from the corner of her eyes. But as if the boy had felt her eyes on him, he turned his face around toward her, and so, before they could have an eye-contact, Alexandra looked away.
"Thank you." She muttered under her lips, fixing her glance on her hand, which were placed on the counter.
The next minutes passed in silence as the boy worked with his phone, until the bartender came back with two old cups of coffee in his corpulent hands, and then placed the cups before the two.
"Sugar?" The boy asked, taking the jar in his hands, and offering it to her.
Looking down at the sugar's jar, Alexandra smiled faintly and reached her hand out to take it from him; but in a split desperate moment, her eyes got locked with his, and then everything changed at once.
Her saliva turned dry in her throat and her heart started pounding and hammering mercilessly against her ribcage, as if trying to rip it open and run away the moment that she got a glint of the boy's eyes.
His pair of deep dark eyes melted passionately in love and kindness and shimmered under the dim light of the pub.
They say that love at first sight happens in a matter of seconds; but Alexandra was sure that in her case, she had fallen for those eyes before a second had barley passed.
True, she had no memories; but with the way her lips trembled and her heart beat, she knew that, that was how love felt. She knew that, that guy, whose voice was as silk as silver, was the one who could make her feel it all; the love, the passion, and the loneliness that hunted her down whenever he wasn't around.
"Hey! You still there?" By that, Alexandra was snapped out of her thoughts, turning back to reality when the boy said that in a concerned voice.
The boy chuckled at Alexandra's dazed state before saying, "Nothing. You were just... Staring."
"Oh... Creepy. I know. Um... Sorry." Alexandra smiled faintly in shame, biting her lower lip gently.
"Don't worry 'bout it." The black-headed boy shook his head in a reassuring way, still chuckling. "To be honest, my girlfriend's just the same; all creepy."
"G-girlfriend, did you say?" Alexandra asked, swallowing. Something about that truly made her heart sink.
"Yeah." The guy nodded proudly at the mention of his girlfriend. "In fact, she's the reason I'm here."
"It's a long story."
"And I'm all ears." Alexandra shrugged and faked an amused smile.
"Well, her and I- um... We graduated college last year; we were both law majors. While I didn't have any intentions of continuing my studies, she entered a law-school. And in the past few months, she's been spending her time here, for her first case; second, actually- but that's another story." The boy shook his head. "She's recently finished that case and won it, so I'm here to celebrate her victory. I wanted to surprise her... But that wasn't proven as a good idea."
"Well, it's just that, it's my first time that I've traveled to England. And she's not answering any of my calls–"
"–Aren't you worried about her? What if something had happened–?"
"–Oh, no. She had already warned me that where she stays frequently in Worcestershire doesn't have a good antenna. She's left California for two months now; yet I've only talked to her three times ever since. It's not reassuring, to be honest."
"What's her name?"
"Andrea." said the boy. "Andrea Brooke."
"What a beautiful name." Said Alexandra flatly, playing with her cup of coffee, which was turning cold pretty quick.
She then started repeating that name in her head, over and over again.
What was it about that name which made her shiver?
"Aren't you going to drink your coffee? It's turning cold, you know."
"Oh... Yeah." She took a sip.
"So what are you doing here? Are you a towny?"
"To be honest, I don't know what I am."
"Now, what's that supposed to mean?"
"I don't know that, either."
Alexandra's foot started tapping the ground underneath as she bit her tongue. For some weird reason, she felt like she could trust that stranger.
Perhaps that's what love does to you. Stranger or familiar. Love at first sight or not.
"I don't know why I'm telling you this but– but I'm pretty messed up right now. All I can think about is my memories. The memories which aren't there. They don't even exist in my mind!"
"I'm sorry... I'm not following–"
"–I've lost my memories. I don't even remember my own name– I mean, I do know my name... It's just that I don't remember anyone calling me that. Ever."
"Wow," was all the American stranger managed to say. No matter how big the coincidences were, he as well, for some odd reasons, felt like he was meant to believe whatever she was saying.
"And there's this problem; there's something I haven't caught the courage to tell anyone yet."
"I– I dreamt about something. It was a dream, but it didn't feel like one. It felt real; every second of it. I could even feel the horror."
"What did you dream about?"
"I was driving. Fast. Very fast. Something was following me; I'm sure of it. I was running away from something. Or someone. I don't know. All I know is that I was scared like hell, I was driving fast, it was raining heavily, and I saw something in the middle of the road, and the next thing I knew," Alexandra waited a second or two before she continued, "I lost control of the car and I screamed and then it all went black."
"And it felt real?"
Alexandra nodded. "And it felt real. All of it."
"Why are you telling me all these? You said you haven't got the courage to tell anyone you know... Why trust me?" The boy smiled, trying to save the tense atmosphere and mood filling the space between them.
By that, Alexandra finally looked up at the boy, locking her eyes with him again.
"I– I don't know." She muttered, suddenly feeling the urge to touch him surge within her; to run her fingertips against his cheeks and to caress his soft black hair.
"You're not the only one with issues, you know." The boy whispered, mostly to himself. "Anyway," he then grinned. "Don't you think that it's a bit weird that we tell each other our secrets, yet don't know one another's name?"
"Just a bit." Alexandra giggled.
"Well...? Do you remember your name or you've forgotten it again already?"
"Now, that was just cruel!" She laughed lightly before saying, "I'm Alexandra."
The black-headed boy smiled and raised his hand for her to shake before he said,
"Call me James."