tagRomanceAnother Cup of Coffee Ch. 02

Another Cup of Coffee Ch. 02


Copyright © February 2018 by CiaoSteve

CiaoSteve reserves the right to be identified as the author of this work.

This story cannot be published, as a whole or in part, without the express agreement of the author other than the use of brief extracts as part of a story review.

This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.

Author's Notes

Foreword #1 : All sexually active characters in this series are over 18

Foreword #2 : This is a story and intended as such.

Foreword #3 : There is no sex in this chapter. That is intentional so apologies if it does not meet your expectations.

Foreword #4 : This is part 2 of Another Cup of Coffee. Although there is a short recap at the start you may want to go back and read part one to understand the story so far.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kat Reynolds' life hadn't turned out quite the way that she had intended. A failed marriage behind her and a lost career, she now found herself rebuilding her life as a barista at a railway station coffee stand. Even though it was a disappointment, there were positives. She had quickly made friends and for sure the new life was so much better than the spiteful relationship that she had endured during her short marriage.

There were ups and downs, happy times and sad, but life went on and Kat had convinced herself that she was not in the market for another man. Christmas was just around the corner and boy how Kat loved everything about it; from the decorations turning everywhere into tinsel town through the scent of pine needles on the tree and finally the joy of giving and receiving presents. For Kat this should be the highlight of the year, but it just didn't feel the same this time around. For the first time she could remember, it was going to be a Christmas alone.

Kat had just wrapped up another day at the coffee stand and sat at home on the end of her bed reflecting on a folded piece of paper given to her by one of the regulars.

Fancy another cup of coffee?

I'll be at Maxim's on Saturday, 10:00

Love to have you join me

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

But what if he was just like all the others? Just after one thing, the thing that I really didn't feel like giving to anyone just now. That failed relationship was still raw in my mind and I sure didn't want to make the same mistake twice.

But I had to admit that I liked him. Mr Double French, god he didn't even have a name for fuck sake. He was no more than another cup of coffee, and not even one which remotely described him. He was tall, dark and handsome with a Mediterranean complexion yet here I was naming him after a short black coffee. I had to admit though that there was something about him. I couldn't quite put a finger on what it was, but our Double French had really caught my attention. What's more, now he had invited me out for coffee.

My mind was playing games, ping pong between what could be and what should be. The arguments were there, both sides fighting their own corner, unheard to the outside world but most definitely battling away inside my subconscious mind.

"Was there any harm in a simple cup of coffee?"

"You don't want another Kat, mark my words he'll be just like the all the rest."

"But, it's only a cup of coffee?"

"What starts as a cup of coffee could end up anywhere. Is that what you want?"

"I don't know. He is charming. Just a cup of coffee and I can always leave if I need to."

"Kat, my girl, remember the last one. Remember all the hurt you left behind."

With a torrent of confused emotions running through my mind, I did the only safe thing. A screwed up piece of paper flew across the bedroom, landing on the floor at the side of the waste paper bin. My conscience had won the battle and, decision made, I settled down for the night.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back at work it was like nothing had happened. Even Susie, my closest friend, never mentioned the note or the invitation to coffee from a tall dark stranger. It was helped in part by the fact that Double French didn't appear for his usual coffee. I had already pushed the invite to the back of my mind, once again having convinced myself that a life without ties was the right one for me. That was, until we shut up shop on the Friday evening and set off for home. Walking through a now almost desolate station, with Susie alongside,we reflected on our troubles in life, knowing that once we reached the end of the concourse we would go our separate ways. It was half way there when the conversation turned.

"So Kat, what are you gonna wear?"

"Eh?" I responded, a little taken aback by the sudden change in conversation.

"You know, for your hot date with Mr Darcy," Susie continued, teasing even more.

"It's not a date and he's not Mr Darcy," I scolded. "He's called Double French, oh fuck he doesn't even have a name, not that it matters as I'm not going."

"You're joking aren't you. He's totally delish and I can see it in your eyes. You like him my girl and here he is giving you a gilt edged opportunity to get to know you. Really are you going to throw it all away? Do you know how many others would jump at the chance?"

"You don't understand Susie. I'm just not ready for another . . ."

I never finished the sentence, my words suddenly coming from Susie's mouth.

". . . another cup of coffee. That's all it is, an offer of a cup of coffee. Mark my words, you'll regret it if you don't at least meet him."

"But Susie . . ."

"No buts my dear. Now get yourself down there and enjoy your coffee. I hear Maxim's is a truly exceptional cuppa. And if it really helps I'm passing by that way tomorrow so could always pop in and rescue you if he seems a bit heavy."

Susie smiled at her friend, a sweet reassuring smile. The last bit was a little white lie but she sure wasn't going to let Kat turn down what could be the opportunity of a lifetime. She'd seen what Kat had been like when she first joined the coffee stand and how she had rebuilt her life over the months they had worked together. All that was needed now was for a little lady luck to shine down and who knows, maybe this was it.

"So that's enough of this talk. Go out there and enjoy yourself, and make sure you tell me all about it on Monday morning."

We parted company and that was that. There was no way out of it. Turning up on Monday morning with a fairy story as to how coffee was great but the two of them just didn't gel would no longer hack it, especially with the knowledge that Susie was going to pass by anyway.

I would have no option but to meet Double French.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saturday seemed to take an eternity to arrive. Maybe it was nerves but I didn't sleep at all well the night before. All morning I felt a little out of sorts, my head awash trying to find answers to every possible outcome under the sun whilst at the same time my stomach was doing cartwheels. Breakfast had barely been touched before the door shut and the house was empty.

It was a fine winter's day and I had chosen to walk the half hour into town. The sun was low in the sky, just taking the edge off the December chill. It was a journey I made every day, well most of it given that I dropped into the station a few hundred metres from the town centre. I didn't mind the weather, hot, cold, dry or wet, all you needed was the right attire and a little positivity. This time of year I particularly enjoyed. A combination of woollen coat, warm red jumper, black knee length skirt and opaque black tights kept all but the most severe chill at bay. What I enjoyed most though were the twinkle of Christmas lights as you wandered through the streets. Even in daytime they seemed to have the ability to cheer you up. Glancing in and out of shop windows I eyed the Christmas displays, a warmth lighting up inside as I remembered happier years.

My brisk walk slowed as I neared my destination. Located, lower down the street on the other side, was Maxim's. I had slowed almost to a stop. Glancing down at my watch told me it was ten to ten. I needed to kill a few minutes, to be sure he would be there before me. I didn't know what I would do if I walked in and the place was empty, probably I would turn round and walk right back out. So, I would be exactly on time or maybe even just a few minutes late. I seemed to remember that it was quite fashionable for the woman to be just a few minutes late.

I jumped into one of the nearby shops. I had no intention to buy anything, but the position of the window gave a perfect view down the road. I'd chosen a bookshop which fitted perfectly as nobody would mind me picking up the odd novel, flicking it over and apparently reading the blurb on the back whilst in fact I was glancing down across the road at the coffee house. I had totally lost track of time and was only broken out of my trance by a young sales woman.

"I can thoroughly recommend that one," she said "it's a personal favourite and I do love a happy story."

I glanced down at my watch once more. It was already seven minutes past. Where time had gone I didn't know but I had better get my skates on or my lateness would be verging on the unfashionable.

"Oh, is that the time?" I announced pretending to be surprised as I placed the book back. "I've gotta rush, maybe next time."

With that, in a slightly flustered state, I dashed out of the bookshop, down the street and across the road. I stopped just outside the welcoming front door to Maxim's, admiring the smart decor both ouside and in. I adjusted my hair in the reflection on the glass then walked inside. This was a first. Working in a coffee stand I really didn't have any need to go out for drinks, and definitely not in anywhere as up market as Maxim's. Standing just inside the door, I scanned around the room looking for Double French but with no immediate luck. I was about to wander off inside when a voice called out to me.

"Excuse me Madame, would you have a reservation?"

I spun around. "Er . . . . Yes, for ten but I'm a little late. I was just trying to see if the person I am meeting is already here."

"Let me see. What name is the reservation in?"

"Double French," came an instant reply, folIowed by another a moment later. "Silly me, that's what he likes to drink. Actually I don't know his name, but you can't miss him. He's tall, dark haired and has a bit of a Mediterranean look about him."

"Yes Madame, now if you don't have a reservation then maybe I could suggest we make one for another day. We are full this morning, being almost Christmas and the like."

"Maybe, if I just take a look around I'll spot my Double French. Would that be OK?"

"I really don't think that would be . . ."

His sentence was interrupted by a voice from the side.

"Pierre, my friend, this is Kathryn the guest I mentioned to you. Do let her in, she looks perished."

I spun around and there at the side was Double French. Boy how I was glad to see a friendly face.

"Of course, Monsieur Federico, I hadn't realised."

"Come Kathryn, I asked Pierre to reserve my favourite table at the back near the log fire. You'll soon warm up."

There was a very European kiss on each cheek by way of a greeting and then I followed Double French, or was it Federico, towards the back of the coffee house. No wonder I couldn't see him before, the table was tucked away behind a pillar close to a roaring open wood fire.

"Please allow me," he said, holding his arms out for my coat.

I sat down and watched as my coat was passed to one of the waiters, a cloakroom token coming back in my direction. He had been right, the warmth of the fire had removed the chill from my skin. Finally Double French sat down on a seat opposite, smiling.

"I'm so glad you could come Kathryn," he started. "I'm sorry, that is rather forward of me. I hope you don't mind me calling you Kathryn."

"Actually I prefer Kat, but how did you know my name?"

Double French laughed. Had I really asked such a stupid question, I wondered.

"Well, the giveaway is that name badge that you wear every time you serve me coffee. What does it say? Only the best, 100% organic and then underneath in gold letters KATHRYN."

Of course, it was a stupid question after all, but I was rather impressed by his eye for detail.

"I'm Federico," he continued "but I guess you knew that from the earlier conversation with Pierre. He's a good guy but a little stubborn when it comes to anything out of the ordinary. Now, before we go on any further, what would you like to drink?"

I studied the menu. There was every coffee under the sun, including some I'd never even heard of, and a whole host of teas.

"I'll go for a gingerbread latte," I replied.

"Garcon," called out Federico "I'll have another double espresso and a gingerbread latte for my friend. Oh, and a couple of slices of the finest cakes your chef has prepared for today."

He turned back to me and smiled once more.

"Well, I guess you're wondering who I am and why I invited you for drinks today."

I nodded.

"OK, so let's cut a long story short. I'm a businessman, but I guess you knew that from the suit, and I've recently relocated from Milan. Unfortunately I do tend to move around a bit in my line of work and as you can imagine moving and setting up home somewhere new isn't always the easiest thing."

"But what has that got to do with me?" I interrupted.

"That's simple," came the reply "At a time when I needed a friendly face you were always there with a double french and that cute smile."

As if on cue I smiled, almost a little embarrassed by his complement.

"So, I thought it only fair to say thank you."

"Really Federico, you didn't have to. I was only doing my job, serving another customer in the same way as any other." I felt awkward as something deep in my heart told me this was wrong and that Double French was not any other customer. "But, thank you. It is much appreciated."

For all my nerves and hesitation, the morning coffee was most enjoyable. Great coffee, even better cakes and all in the glow of a crackling fire. Oh, and the company wasn't bad either. Federico was as much a gentleman as you could ever imagine. He was suave and sophisticated yet at the same time considerate and sentimental. It was hard not to fall in love with a man who seemed to tick all the boxes. Still though, I really didn't know so much about my would be Double French. He was a business man, that much seemed clear, and he certainly exuded money, but what line of business was he in? The more I thought about it, the more he had seemed to evade answering. More to the point though, at the back of my mind, was a single question. Was this really just to say thank you for a coffee and a smile?

The waiter returned with my coat and I quickly put it on. After the warmth of the log fire it would feel bitterly cold outside. There were the pleasantries of a thank you followed by that very European kiss on each cheek and I turned to leave. I had barely made it to the next table when I was called back.

"Oh Kat," called out Federico almost apologetically "I was so much enjoying our conversation that I totally forgot to ask you."

I sat back down. "Ask me what?"

"Where I come from we celebrate Christmas Eve so I am looking to have a little party with a few friends. I wondered if you would be available."

I looked astonished. So this invite had just been a way to see if I could serve drinks at a party.

"I'm so sorry Federico, but we don't do private functions. The stand itself takes up all of our time."

There was a moment of silence as my response sank in. I looked on, an anxious expression on my face. I had almost been taken in, falling for his sophisticated charm, and at the end of the day I was simply another business arrangement. Anxious was becoming anger and all I wanted to do was up and leave when I noticed Federico begin to laugh.

"What!" I almost snapped at him "Did I say something funny? You ask me here just to see if I can serve at your party and you expect . . ."

She was cut off mid tirade.

"That is what is so funny. I asked you if you could come to my party, as you, not as someone to serve drinks."

I fell silent.

"I like you Kat. I find you very pleasant company and I would like you to be there at my party. It's nothing too formal, a few friends, some food and a little drink. Do say you'll come."

The anger had gone, replaced by a feeling of embarrassment at the way I had reacted. Was there anything left in life that I didn't doubt?

"I'm so sorry, I guess I'm not used to being invited to parties. I don't know though Federico. It is very kind of you to ask, but we barely know each other and I have to work on Christmas Eve."

"I understand, Christmas is a time for family and friends so it was a bit presumptuous of me to expect that you'd be free."

"Oh, it's not that. I don't have plans this year but after a long day at work, partying is not at the top of my list. And, after all, how would I get there. I don't even know where you live."

"I see," said Federico, a contemplative look on his face. "So, I'll have someone pick you up and take you back. How does six thirty sound?"

There was another silence.

"At least think about it. You can give me your answer on Monday along with another of your smiles and my usual double french. What do you say Kat?"

I smiled back.

"Yes, let me think about it."

With that, we both left in separate directions. I was already thinking about it, all the way home. About how charming he was, how entertaining he was, how perfect he was. Somewhere though, at the back of my mind, a whispered voice called out to me.

"Do remember last time. You thought he was the one and look how that turned out."

What was I to do?

To be continued...

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