“Do you believe in fate?” I ask Mia while she’s making a coffee. Her head bobbing to the beat of the music that is playing through the old stereo on the wall.
The question has been running through my mind all day since I glanced at the example questions for my literature assignment this morning. It’s one of the questions that I didn’t get around to asking Ace and I’m intrigued by what his answer would have been.
I would like to think fate is real. Mainly because the thought of everything being a coincidence is a terrifying one. The belief that everything happens for a reason makes the terrible things in our lives a part of something greater.
“Have you been spending time with Brody? I swear if he’s trying to get crazy ideas into your head about his theories, you just have to be blunt with him,” she tells me, shaking her head.
I like Mia, she has grown on me and she is one of the very limited friends I have. She’s different and she doesn’t care what people think of her, which I find very refreshing. Especially when I’m the complete opposite.
I laugh and tell her, “It’s just a question for an assignment.”
I thought that I could get away with basing my assignment on all the generic stuff about Ace, like his favourite colour and band, everything that was easy to talk about. Everything that we have already talked about. That was until this morning, when the professor mentioned that it’s the last thing he wants to see. Well… sir, how about you try drawing blood out of a human stone that has mood swings.
But even so, I still have no intention of talking to Ace again, I will make things up about him if it comes down to it.
As if on cue, Brody steps out from the green door at the back. I still haven’t seen inside it and I’m not sure if I want to. It almost feels like an intrusion because he spends so much time there.
“Well, then…” Mia pauses and turns to Brody, “Brody, thoughts on fate? But please make it quick, we do have customers.”
Brody assesses Mia, he seems surprised by her question and I can see the spark in his eyes. It’s like he’s been waiting for her to ask him a question like this his whole life, he’s passionate about this stuff.
Mia mentioned before that she finds all this crazy and she’d rather go on with her life without the unrealistic theories. But I am somewhat intrigued, I always have been, and I can sense that Mia is just as interested as I am.
“Not everything is defined by fate and fate is almost, always cruel and unfair.”
Okay then. What had fate done to him?
With that, Brody throws his denim jacket over his shoulder and marches towards the door. That man always acts like he’s on a mission and I guess he is – his whole life is a mission by the looks of it.
I am about to ask Mia more about Brody but when I turn to face her, she is looking behind me and her eyes widen an indication that there’s a certain someone there. I don’t like the feeling. I slowly turn and pray that’s it’s not who I think it is.
Asher. Thank god.
His caramel locks compliment his blue eyes and he seems unpleasantly happy. Almost too happy. He takes out his keys from his pocket and places them on the counter.
“Hey Calla,” he says sitting down on the stool in front of me. He doesn’t seem to hide what we both know; he’s not here for his daily milkshake, he’s here to see me. I don’t mind as long as he knows that our relationship is purely platonic and I think I have made it crystal clear.
“Hey,” I say, before taking the coffees that Mia just made to a couple at the corner table. I can feel Asher’s eyes on me and when I return, he doesn’t waste an opportunity.
“I was thinking you know…” Asher begins and I’m trying to concentrate on what he is saying but the café door opens, and I can feel him before I see him. I can sense the atmosphere change and I don’t have to look up to know he is here.
It was easy to keep my distance from him over the weekend because he wasn’t at the house. It’s like he’s living two completely different lives, one during the week where he attends college and does normal things and then the other…well, I know he fights some weekends but that doesn’t explain his disappearance the rest of the time.
He walks in with Lexi and they trail behind Liv and Zach.
Of course, Lexi is all over Ace and it gives me an uncomfortable feeling. From the corner of my eye I notice Ace turn his head towards my direction. I don’t acknowledge him, but my heart doesn’t falter to skip a beat. How long will this stupid crush last for?
“Calla?” Asher calls my name.
“Hmm?” My attention snaps back to him and I have no idea what he’s been talking about.
“So, what do you say?” he says leaning closer to me and I lean back.
“The carnival…” he tells me, and I stare at him blankly. The carnival?
“Uh, yeah sure,” I say agreeing.
Asher smiles at me wholeheartedly and I’m unable to return his smile because all I can see is Lexi and Ace. I turn around and I see Mia looking at me wide-eyed. I told her all about Ace over my shifts on the weekend. It’s hard not to when she can see right through you and she didn’t stop asking me why I was so pissed off.
I sigh and walk over to collect some cups from the table behind Ace. Lexi sees me and instantly places her hand on his thigh, I grimace.
“Just stop, fuck,” I hear Ace say.
“Ace,” Lexi whines, “Why are you acting like this? Do I not turn you on anymore?”
I don’t want to hear the rest, I turn to make my way back to Mia but Liv calls me over. Shit.
“Hey, did you want to come to the carnival with us?” Liv asks.
“I would but I think I just agreed to go with Asher,” I say looking behind my shoulder at him. He’s still sitting behind the counter and he gives me a grin when he sees my eyes on him.
When I turn back to face Liv, I can feel Ace’s eyes on me. I don’t look at him, but I notice the way his hand curls around the side of the table so hard that his knuckles turn white.
“That’s cool, we can meet up in there,” she tells me, and I nod in agreement. It will be better to go as a group so Asher doesn’t get any funny ideas, “It will just me and Zach,” she adds.
“I am going,” Ace interrupts.
“But you just said you’re-,” Lexi wraps her hand around his arm, and I roll my eyes.
Ace shrugs her off and gives her a glare, “I’m going to the fucking carnival, Lexi.”
Of course, he is.