Coffee, Tea? Or me?

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Cover me with kisses, baby
Cover me with love
Roll me in designer sheets
I’ll never get enough
Emotions come, I don’t know why
Cover up love’s alibi.


They agreed to meet at a secondary gate at Windsor Park; it was one of James’ favourite places due to its secluded location and the multiple hidden pathways to stroll around.
James checked his watch: he was a few minutes early. With his hands in his pockets, he instinctively looked around for hidden lenses but nothing suspicious caught his attention. This place was still his secret.
As was Lucy.
Just as he thought of her, the girl appeared from inside a dark Prius: auburn hair fiery under the sun, her delicate features partially covered by a pair of round black sunglasses. She adjusted her cotton body-con dress and threw a denim jacket on her shoulders, dropping her phone in a small cross-body bag.
Lucy looked around until she spotted James standing next to the white gate, she quickly walked towards him with a bright smile.
“Hey, how are you?” James greeted her with a quick peck on the chick. He inhaled her flowery perfume as his heart skipped a beat. The attraction he felt for her was something he couldn’t explain, a primordial instinct that drew him to her.
“I’m great thanks! Sorry for making you wait, hope it wasn’t long...” the girl said, blushing.
“No, just a few minutes. I was early anyway. Wanna go for a little walk?” He offered.
Lucy nodded following the man inside the gate and on a long paved road lined by tall trees casting a nice shade.
They walked in silence for a little bit, a mild embarrassment in the air as none of them knew exactly what to say. James had asked her out on impulse, out of inexplicable jealousy and had since been wondering if he had done something stupid. He had thought multiple times of cancelling the date and forget about her.
The more he had talked to her through messages though, the harder it had become to call the thing off. He enjoyed hearing from her, liked the natural way she treated him as any other average person, a quality he had noticed increasingly difficult to be found in the people around him.
“Would you like a walking coffee?” he asked to break the silence.
She nodded with a smile “Thanks”.
They approached a little stand on the side of the road and James bought a coffee for himself and a latte for Lucy, which he handed to her as they resumed their walk. He took a deep breath trying to absorb some of the calm she was now emanating.
“You look great”. He said tentatively, trying to make it sound as casual as possible.
She smiled in a way he couldn’t decipher, it resembled a smirk.
“Thank you. You look good yourself,” she replied.
Lucy took a sip of her latte and looked at him for a moment, almost studying him, as if trying to read inside his soul.
“Why am I here, James?” She asked eventually.
James was taken aback by the bluntness of the question.
“That’s how dates work...” he replied trying to cover his surprise with sarcasm.
“Do you do this often? Ask regular girls for coffee I mean...” she looked straight into his eyes and he felt grateful for his sunglasses.
James wanted to say that the reason she was there was that he believed she was anything but regular, but at the same time he was slightly offended by the implications of her question.
“Why are you here Lucy?” he asked instead.
She shifted her look and took a deep breath.
“I guess I was curious”.
James was once again surprised by her honesty and slightly hurt, a guttural laugh escaped his throat.
Lucy lifted her sunglasses over her head and looked straight at him again.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” she said with earnest eyes. “What I meant is...I enjoyed talking to you these past few days and I guess I wanted to see what the fuss is all about”. She smiled.
James relaxed; he was anticipating some kind of scepticism from her but hadn’t expected to touch this subject so early in their date, but now he appreciated her honesty.
“The fuss ah?”
She shrugged. “Rumor has it you’re quite the catch”.
The actor laughed at the term “Is it so?“.
They had been walking following the path he would usually take along a secondary road and had arrived at a small lake surrounded by a meadow with tall, leafy oaks.
“Do you want to seat for a while?” he asked.
They sat under a tree, James with his back against the trunk, his legs bent; Lucy sat in front of him, legs on the side trying to look ladylike in her dress.
“I have to be honest though,” she started, smoothing her skirt. “I haven’t been following you that much. I’ve seen only a couple of your films, great by the way, but that’s pretty much it”.
He removed his sunglasses and with a big smile said
“You have no idea how happy that makes me”.
After that the tension between the two was gone, they talked about their up brings, how Lucy was born and raised in London but had lived in New York for a few years as a child because of her father’s job, how James thought he was going to be a professional rugby player before falling in love with theatre and acting.
They discussed their taste in music and found out they liked pretty much the same genders and absolutely hated the same artists.
She would ask him interesting questions with a genuine fascination in all he had to say, prompting for more details as she passionately listened to his stories.
He was as much interested in her, her past, her present.
“What’s the thing you like the most about your job?” he asked.
Lucy thought for a moment “It might sound cheesy but... the fact that no matter what’s going on in the world, in my life, no matter how hard life is sometimes, above the clouds the sun always shines. Literally.”
He looked at her face, her dreamy eyes that were far away somewhere for a second, her freckles and her lips curved up in a smile that was just for herself and he felt the urge to kiss her.
But he didn’t.
He didn’t want to ruin the moment, he wanted to keep her talking forever.
“So when’s this new movie coming out?” she asked out of the blue, stealing James from his own daydream.
“Tomorrow actually. World Premiere in London”. He replied with a proud nod.
“Wow, exciting! And what are you doing here with me right now? Don’t you have to prepare?”
James chuckled at her concern.
“Nope, I pretty much just have to show up!”
“Well, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing!” she said with sincerity.
“It is pretty cool,” he admitted. “Maybe I’ll show you one day”.
Lucy smiled “I’ll take my chances on my own, just in case I hate it...”
James laughed “Promise you’ll lie to me if that’s the case!”
The brunette crossed her heart in promise, then checked her watch.
“Sorry James I really have to go now, need to prepare for my flight tomorrow”.
The actor nodded and started getting on his feet
“Going anywhere nice?” he asked.
“Cape Town. I will be serving out shrimp appetizers while you’ll be publicly praised in London”.
“I’m sure you’ll survive” he joked with a smirk.
The two made some small talk about Lucy’s flight and what was James going to wear on the red carpet as they walked back to the main gate. The sun was setting and only a few people were left in the park.
None of them had realised they had been talking for more than four hours. The world had just stopped.
Lucy checked her phone for the next service to London “Damn it, next train is in ten minutes! Hopefully, the Uber will make it in time!” She said as she frantically pressed icons on her screen.
James bit his lips then tentatively asked
“You said you live in London right?”
Lucy nodded.
“I’m going that way, I can give you a lift on my ride if you want....”
“Oh that’s very kind of you but...”
“It will save you so much time...”
Lucy checked the time on her phone again
“Well... thanks,” she smiled.
James asked her for her address and called an Uber on his phone “Should be a couple of minutes”
When he lifted his eyes Lucy was looking at him with a furtive smile.
“What?” he asked with suspicion.
“You travel by Uber...”
He kept looking at her confused “Yes?”
“That’s cute,” she said. “Thought you’d have a private driver or something”
James laughed licking his lower lip
“It’s just convenient sometimes...sorry to disappoint you”. He said throwing his hands up in defence.
Lucy shook her head “On the contrary...”
The car arrived and they both got on in silence, during the thirty minutes drive to London they did some more small talk between themselves and the driver until they reached a tall red brick building in Kensington.
“That’s me”. She said out loud to the driver.
“It was lovely,” she added softly looking at James. “Thank you for the lovely afternoon. And good luck for tomorrow” she the leaned forward and gave him a kiss on the cheek. A second later she was out f the car.
“No, thank you”. James said as she closed the door and waved him goodbye.

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