White, Black and Brown

She sat in her usual seat, by the railing on the first floor. It overlooked the floor below, and because of the shop's glass windows, she could even look on at the street, when distracted.
She fell in love with this place for this seat. And the metal railing. The heavy metal chairs, soft plushy cushions with the glass tables gave the place an oddly comforting feel.
She was looking out at the street. One hand supporting her chin, and the other mindlessly playing a tune on her glass. One ear phone plugged into her ear, and the other dangling. Some soft tune played into her ears. Apple juice and caramel custard - her signature order. She knew the place boasted many unique milkshakes, that they were famous for. But she always preferred ordering the apple juice which wasn't on the menu. Initially, the people at the shop always double checked her order, with a surprised look. As if to say, "why would she come to us for just a plain apple juice?!". Not any more. Now when she came, she was always greeted with a smile, and a  "Shall I bring up your regular, Zoe?". She smiled at that recollection. They had insisted on calling her madam for a very long time, till she finally became Zoe with everyone. She liked the familiarity of this place. It was like her place. Every time she had a mental block, this is where she came to. People always seemed to have stories to tell. Especially in places like these... cafe's, and juice shops. She didn't eavesdrop, just looked at their expressions and made up stories about them. Turned them into story book characters woven into the fabric of her tale, with the odd green shoe, or the ochre coloured bracelet with charms that she might have seen within this very shop.
She was aware that he had come in a while ago. And was sitting 2 tables away from her.  He wasn't exactly staring intently at her. But she felt his presence strong enough. They had been friends, once upon a December.  Not any more. Light years ago, they had taken long lazy strolls, and spoken about anything and everything. Now, they occasionally showed up in each others worlds. She wouldn't say his was a comforting presence. Just something she had learnt to live with, and occasionally even looked forward to. Especially those days, when she felt devoid of anything happening in her life. Today wasn't one of those days. Today was just ... a very relaxed day, and she was just looking for something to write about.
That something just walked through those glass doors down below. The bells above the doors chimed merrily, as did his laugh through his mobile phone. She smiled to herself. Crisp white shirts with blue jeans, the next guy who walked into her tale would definitely be wearing those. And a loud cheery laugh, and clear eyes. She couldn't really see the colour of his eyes from all the way up there. She realized she's been happily starring, very interestedly, when he looked right at her and winked. She hastily looked away, chastising herself for being careless. She never looked at her subjects very long. And always did so discretely. She preferred referring to them as subjects, gave her the third person objectivity.
Newly inspired, she cut another triangle of caramel custard, put it in her mouth quickly, and started typing in on her Net-book. She briefly considered naming the character Pete, to maybe acknowledge the man who would not leave from 2 table away, and was smiling to himself, when she had looked at him accidentally over a piece of custard. Thought the better of it. This guy she was writing about was nothing like him. Clear eyes, loud laugh - yeah right. Pete was... had been, she corrected herself, all about the mystery. You could never get a direct statement from him. He loved playing with words.That's what drew her to him in the first place. It had been exciting, to always wonder what he thought, or what he was saying. But then, 2 years and what had once been exciting became tiring. Sometimes, a girl just wanted direct answers or to just be comforted.
She shook her head to clear those thoughts, and went back to her story. Once she began writing, she was as good as part of the story she wrote. Jake entered her world, and she was right into it. White shirt, blue jeans and all. She momentarily paused to wonder what colour eyes she should give him. Her writing had been about the little details, smells, light ... Maybe a deep blue? She wondered, absently reaching for her glass. Suddenly startled to notice a hand next to it. Long fingers. Maybe Jake would have lo... her derailed thoughts refocused as she realized a man was was standing there. She looked up into the brown eyes of ...Jake?
"Is this seat taken?"
'Brown eyes, not murky waters brown, but clear, milk chocolate brown eyes' she was writing in her head, as she started at him blankly.
"I've been watching you , you know?"
She blinked a couple of times. And then a few more. Shook her head slightly, as she refocused.
He seemed to be smiling at her attempt to land back on Earth.
"Umm... No... this seat is not taken. But, do I know you?"
"Nope. Just finally found the guts to come over and say hi... so HI !"
"Hi" She said automatically. Finally completely in the present, she smiled.
He seemed like a welcome distraction. This was a safe enough place. "So you've been watching me?"
"Uh huh" He said as he laid his peach coloured milk shake on the table. And pulling a seat for himself. "You make a pretty picture, day dreaming, writing, drinking absently.. makes one wonder what goes on in your head"
"Okay, you've been watching me. That's not creepy at a~" He was laughing aloud with crinkles near his eyes even before she could finish that statement. She smiled too. "Have you considered that maybe I was just transcribing stuff? Get so bored of it, that I day dream, and drink, and go back to transcribing"
"Oh C'mon! Don't take the poetry of it away!" He seemed genuinely let down.
"Poetry!" She giggled.
"Anyway, I'm going pretend you were writing something more fun, or at least something interesting such as .. obituaries".
"That's your idea of interesting?"
"It is, isn't it? In a very sardonic way. But yeah, transcribing is okay too I guess. I tried my hand at it once. Medical by the way, and I used to pretend I'm the doctor with the weird accent, saying all those things to somebody. I always wondered how they would react. Anyway, what are you transcribing?"
"HA ! I knew it ! About something interesting?"
"Mmhmmm ... " He said, pretending to be talking to himself, as he shook his head "So I just played right into the hands of my creepy stalker, and am giving her first person material"
She couldn't help but laugh at that. "Oops, Guilty"
He seemed to have a way of looking at people and making them feel like they're the only one there right now. She knew very few people had that ability. It was more of a talent. She'd gone on a trip once, where the tour guide had been that way. No matter how much the agency had messed up, she hadn't made it an issue because of that. And now this guy here.
"So you write about people huh? This place makes sense."
And before she knew it, they were cooking up back stories about random people around them.
"What do you think about that lady over there? The one with the silver bag"
"9 cats back home?"
"Nah, too obvious. Rich husband died young, now pestering her nephew to marry her friend's daughter"
"Do you know her?!"
"No" she laughed.
"Okay, how about that guy in the black shirt there?"
"She looked at Pete" Caught him looking away. He looked slightly... irritated. It wasn't like Pete to be be irritated. He was always composed.
"Time up" he buzzed her back. "Lonely guy, who came to talk to a girl, but unlike me, didn't have the courage to?"

She raised one eyebrow at him. Smiling suspiciously. Pete placed his glass down with a loud clank. She raised her other eyebrow as well, this time.

"Oops, you think my staring might have offended him?"
"Nah, he probably gave up on her like you said, or is going to come over and pound on you" She laughed.
Noticing her slightly distracted, he just smiled and didn't say anything.
Though she happened to be in the same place as Pete once in every month or so, they had a comfortable distance between them. Today surprising, she wondered about him. About why he looked irritated. Irritation that was tamed back as quickly as it was shown. She had always wondered where he stored all his real emotions. Maybe there. She let it pass and she picked up her drink again.
Last sip.
She looked up and smiled at him. he was also nursing an empty cup.
"So..." she began.
"Want to go get some dinner?" He smoothly finished.
"I'd love to" She found that she actually was looking forward to it. He was refreshingly frank.

When he looked away, she quickly keyed in brown eyes, and shut her net-book.
As she got up and and packed her bag, and got ready to leave, he grinned, put out his hand and said;

"I'm Jacob by the way"


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