Coffee, Tea? Or me?

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Part II

II

Lucy woke up in a bright hotel room in Cape Town, she had fallen asleep as soon she had arrived that morning after working all night. The sun was coming through the half-open curtains in a straight line pointing directly at her bed. She moved her hair from her face, rubbed her eyes and took a few seconds to understand where and when she was, which happened every time she woke up in a different hotel room.

The clock on the bedside table said it was two in the afternoon.

With a yawn, Lucy walked to the fridge and opened a bottle of water to quench her post-flight thirst, then sat on the bed a finally connected to the WiFi.

As usual, after a long flight, she was flooded with tens of messages from group chats, her mother with a new recipe, her best friend going on about some scandalous accident happened on her last trip and this time a message from James. They had talked the previous evening before she took off and he had to leave for his movie premiere; it was still all so surreal that she had to re-read their conversations.

The new messages were about his evening.

The premiere was a success, can’t wait to show you the movie and have your opinion. Going to the post screen party now. Hope you’re having a good time at work!

Another text a couple of hours later:

Having a smoke to take a break from people! I think you would have really enjoyed the party. Have been thinking about you... Can’t wait to see you again.

Lucy couldn’t help but smile to herself. She was sure it was a drunk text, but still....in vino veritas, right? She had really enjoyed their date, she was surprised at how easy going and down to hearth he was and had more fun than she expected. Neither of them had mentioned a second date in their texts, and now this.

She opened the search page on the Instagram app and almost immediately in the feed she found a picture of James the previous evening. He looked handsome in an all-black suit with matching shirt and tie, paired with white Converse, his smile his best accessory. The man surely knows how to pose, she thought.

In some of the pictures he had his arm around a beautiful woman, who Lucy recognize as Karen Mill, the Scottish actress who also played the female leading role in the movie; she opened the picture to inspect it a bit better: surely there was chemistry between them, the way they looked at each other... She closed the picture and cast away that thought, she really wasn’t in the position to be jealous.

Just stalked you on the ’Gram. You looked quite handsome, must admit. I’m happy the audience enjoyed the movie, I’m sure you are great in it! As for seeing me again...ask me when sober and I’ll think about it ;)

She then put on some clothes and headed to the gym to try and give some sense to the rest of her day.

***

James was once again smiling to himself like he had been doing a lot recently. He had woken up with a pressing headache from the drinking the night before and was still napping on the sofa with The Simpsons in the background when he received Lucy’s texts and his day had then improved.

He had been drunk while texting her the night before, but didn’t regret it at all; he wanted to see her again, wanted to spend time with her and get to know her. She had bewitched him when he first saw her at the airport and had continued teasing his imagination every day. He couldn’t stop thinking about their date: how beautiful she looked, her bright eyes and the sound of her voice and soft laugh. He loved how at ease he had been with her, how “normal” he had felt.

Fully sober now (Hangover counts as sober, right?). I’d love to see you again.

A couple of minutes later his phone illuminated with a new text.

Yes, hangover counts. I’d like to see you again too...

James replied:

It’s (another) date then! Now tell me everything about your flight.

Same old, Mr Blackwood. Dished out some starters, some champagne, some ice cream. Then everyone went to sleep and I spent the remaining 8 hours trying not to fall asleep. So glam, uh?

Well, no wine-related accidents this time. That’s a win :P. Any plans for today?

A new message arrived with a picture of a treadmill and some weights

This. Then pool and happy hour at five sharp. Will finally get to live the life.

They continued chatting for hours, sharing moments of their everyday life and talking about their ideas for the next date, and James couldn’t wait for it to be Tuesday so that he could hold her, breathe her perfume and make her laugh again.

***

James stepped into the cinema that, on a late summer Tuesday afternoon, was empty and quiet. He scanned the big room and, other than a bored employee behind the popcorn counter, no one was in sight.

“Hey there!” He heard Lucy’s voice coming from behind him.

He turned around and took in her radiance. She was casual in a pair of high waist boyfriend jeans and a The Doors t-shirt tucked inside. Her hair was pulled back by a red headband that gave her a distant 50′s look.

James leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Nice outfit,” she said, referring to his clothes. With a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, they were basically wearing the same thing.

“Genius minds...” He said tapping his temple. “Should we get the tickets? Don’t want to miss out on the good seats,” he added with sarcasm, heading at the empty room.

Lucy unlocked her phone and showed him a bar code on the screen

“Done that already, I get a discount through work”. She said with pride.

James whistled in approval.

“Well can I at least buy you a drink and popcorn?”

“Yes please!” said Lucy cheerfully.

They walked to the counter where the bored employee was playing with his phone. He stood up straight and greeted them with an unenthusiastic smile. They ordered two cokes and a big box of popcorn to share.

They walked into the screening room to find only another handful of people attending the movie, so they took a seat in the highest raw, far from the rest.

“Thank you for agreeing to this; Back to the Future is my favourite movie, couldn’t resist it when I found out they were doing a re-screen!”

“Oh it’s a pleasure, I love this movie too!”

“Is it weird to go to the cinema for you?” she asked sipping on her coke.

“Why? I love it in fact. Is it weird for you to be on a plane when you’re not working?”

“Touchè,” she replied. “Although, not advised on a night flight. Even if I’m not working my head can’t help but turning at every single Excuse me! or call bell that goes off. It’s a nightmare!” She said with drama in her voice.

James laughed “I bet. Although in fairness in my case I only watch my movies at the premiere, and never watch my own shows on TV. I’m not that lame. Yet...”

The lights went off and a cartoon on the screen asked to please switch off all mobile phones and to not disturb during the movie.

Lucy made sure the phone was on silent then reached for some popcorn at the same time as Jams and their hands touched.

“You first...” he said.

She took a handful and directed her attention back on the black screen where a clock ticking was now audible as the movie began.

James could tell that Lucy was really excited about it, she would silently enact all the catchphrases and lip-sync to the soundtrack as Marty McFly rushed to make it to school on time.

She turned around as she felt his eyes on her.

“What?” she asked with a smile.

James was silent for a second, looking in her eyes then gently grabbed the side of her face and leaned forward to kiss her.

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