7 a.m. The alarm goes off. I don’t want to get up, but the sun… Ugh, why does the sun have to shine directly into my window through the curtains and into my eyes? It burns.
My side of the bed is so warm. Looking over to the other side, I see an empty, cold area with the blankets all ruffled up.
Nicholas is at work, like usual.
For the past four years, it’s been quite a repetitive routine. My fiancé, Nicholas, works long hours for an IT company—whatever it’s called—in town.
But I swear, ever since he was promoted to project manager, I hardly see him.
It used to be rare to see one of us without the other; we were always together. Our friends thought it was annoying and said we’d get sick of each other eventually. I miss it.
On the other hand, I wanted to be around my two favorite things in the world, books and coffee. So I got a part-time job at our local library and another at a cute little coffee shop within walking distance from our home.
I stare at the ceiling for a good two minutes before finally getting out of bed and heading to the bathroom for my morning routine.
Brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my makeup—which only consists of some concealer for my sleepy eyes and mascara—and take my morning vitamins.
I have one vitamin that contains all the essentials and another that was prescribed to me when I was a child. My parents always told me to never forget to take it, so Mom sends me a new bottle of them every month in the mail.
On the counter is a cute note that says, “I love you Emily, have a wonderful day today,” with a horribly drawn kissy-face.
I love Nicholas’s morning notes. They always make me feel good, even when we can’t be together all the time like we used to.
I pull my waist-length, wavy black hair into a high ponytail and throw on some ripped jeans and a green T-shirt. I don’t believe I’m perfect looking, but when I wear green I love how it makes my green eyes pop.
Now I’m ready for my shift at Morning Rise. Grabbing the little backpack that holds my wallet, sweater, and earbuds, I step outside and lock the door behind me.
It’s a clear sunny day with a breeze and feels like it’s in the seventies. You literally can’t beat this May weather.
One step into my walk and my phone beeps loudly. I hate that sound; it needs to be changed to something easier on the ears. Putting that on my mental to-do list, I take my phone from my back pocket.
It’s Sadie. Of course it is. My best friend. Come to think of it, she’s my only real friend. We’ve been friends for nine years, and she’s the only person I can tell absolutely everything to.
Sadie’s amazing, not to mention perfect looking. I mean, this girl has the most beautiful shoulder-length red hair, fair skin, and she stands at five eight with curves in all the right places.
Unlike myself. I’m petite with small—but still shapely—curves and stand at five three. I disappear next to her beauty, but I don’t care. I’d rather be hidden.
If you haven’t realized by now, Sadie is a very outgoing person. No filter at all, but it’s just another reason why I love her so much. She’s the complete opposite of me.
After walking for about ten minutes, I finally arrive at Morning Rise. The double doors are both propped open to let in the beautiful breezy weather. Did I mention how perfect the weather feels today?
The shop is adorned with local artwork—landscape paintings and abstract pieces.
Lux, dark-green sofas and small round wooden tables fill the front two corners of the shop, while three round wooden tables with two chairs each are scattered toward the back.
Right in the center stands a small coffee station, a register, and Mrs. Clark.
She and her husband opened this shop twenty-two years ago. It was her dream, but I can see she’s getting tired. I believe she turned seventy-eight last February.
Mrs. Clark has long, curly silver hair—she’s, like, a silver fox—and light-blue eyes. Sometimes, when the light shines into them, they almost look like some type of made-up see-through color. It’s unreal.
“Good morning, my dear Emily.” Mrs. Clark smiles her brightest smile.
“Good morning to you too, Mrs. Clark!” I say as I walk in. I put my bag in a cubby under the counter and give her a warm hug.
“How many years is it going to take for you to stop calling me Mrs. Clark and start calling me Fiona—or even Fi? You’re making me feel my age, you little young’un,” Mrs. Clark retorts.
“Okay, okay, Fionnnaa.” I giggle at her and grab a cup to fill it with a delicious caramel latte. “But I’m also not a young’un anymore. I turn twenty-three in two weeks!” I say, rolling my eyes.
“When you’re my age you will understand, you silly girl.” Fiona gives me a sweet wink and cleans the counter by the register.
I look up at the clock on the wall. 12:50. Wow, the time flew by today! It was busy this morning.
Eight to noon is usually really busy with people coming in for big orders to bring back to the office. We’re also a great walking distance from neighborhoods.
But now the hustle and bustle has slowed since everyone is back at work.
Fiona left to grab some lunch real quick and should be back any minute. Then I’ll clock out and head to the library.
As I’m cleaning up the coffee station, I hear footsteps at the front door and look up. Another customer! An extremely tall man with perfectly styled dark-brown hair walks in.
I feel my breath hitch. How can someone possibly be that tall?
He looks like a businessman. His dark-blue fitted suit hugs his body, showing off how well-built he is underneath. Suddenly I feel nervous, butterflies in my stomach—but why? Hundreds of people come in here every day.
Cut it out, Emily. You’re engaged to Nicholas—and being ridiculous, I think to myself.
Putting a big smile on my face, I say, “Hello, welcome to Morning Rise! What can I get you today?”
His eyes stay glued to his phone for what feels like a lifetime but is probably only thirty seconds. Nonetheless, it still makes me feel highly uncomfortable.
“Ahem.” I clear my throat, trying not to sound rude but hoping it gets his attention. Sure enough, it does.
When he looks at me, his face looks emotionless, but his stormy dark-blue eyes glare at me like he’s furious.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Please let me know when you’re ready to order,” I say to him as I turn to go back to cleaning.
“Coffee. Black. Large.”
His deep tone gives me a slight shiver up my spine.
“Yes, sir, that’s $1.75,” I reply, setting up the transaction for him so I can go prepare his coffee. I try not to make any eye contact.
When I turn around, I can almost feel his piercing glare, like he’s trying to burn a hole right into the back of my head.
What’s wrong with this guy? I think to myself.
Placing the coffee down, I hand him his receipt and give him a small smile. “Thank you and have a great day!”
He simply nods while keeping direct eye contact with me, making me feel like the air is suddenly being siphoned from my lungs.
What the hell? I need to get out of here, I think while I watch him turn around and leave.
As he walks out the door, he swiftly turns to the right by our front windows and turns his head to give me one last glare before he disappears.