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My eyes were stinging.  Were it not for the fact that I sat in that small, smoke filled cafe most days passing idle time, rivers would have been flowing from me.  Sadly my bloodshot eyes have been constantly abused by the smoke and were by then well adjusted to the atmosphere.  I was a regular for years.  The owner, Silvia, had been a friend of mine and confided in me when she had decided to buy the empty space.  It was I who suggested a coffee shop.  The place was a headache, just making enough to pay for itself and let Silvia lead a modest life.  She had lived in poverty somewhere in Europe before coming here, so the small studio above the cafe was a palace to her.  She never explained to me exactly where she was from, though her accent hinted she might be french, nor did she tell me how she acquired just enough enough to start her life and business here.  Never-the-less she would never charge me for my coffee, saying it was my payment as her "business partner."  I would never argue the point.



   Before my cup could be emptied Silvia, with her uncanny ability to sense when I was low, was refilling my stout little mug.  She grinned at me coyly, letting her hand linger on my shoulder a little too long before continuing her rounds.  Such was the game we played.  I would slink in during the busy hours of the evening, amidst the patrons winding down from their hectic days, lean against the coffee bar perhaps a little too far and Silvia, where ever she was, would excuse herself from whomever she was helping and mimic me on the other side of the bar.  I would press my lips to her ear, whispering things that would make others blush uncomfortably.  Back and forth our teasing was like a war.  Only once had it been too much for the both of us and one evening after closing I became very familiar with my dear friend and the many surfaces of her cafe.  That seemed to be enough to satisfy the both of us.  The teasing continued yet never escalated beyond since.



   This night was not unlikely many others.  There were many of the same faces, a sprinkle of unfamiliar faces as well.  Silvia's new lover of the moment was mingling about the tables.  He had been flirting the better part of the evening to which she would simply smile and continue cleaning the endless sea of dirty dish.  I pulled a cigarette from my jacket, followed by a lighter.  I contributed to the already foggy room, taking a deep drag, the tip flaming bright scarlet, then released the smoke once my lungs started to protest.  I held my cigarette next to my cup of coffee and watched the combination of smoke and steam rise in an elegant dance.  I admired how they would get lost in one another before disappearing into infinity.  It was all a bitter romance to me.  



   I sat there silently musing over this torrid affair, letting my cigarette burn away for fear of disrupting the waltz of stale smoke and heat I was so thoroughly enjoying.  I was so far submerged that I was unaware of the presence that approached just out of my immediate view.  All too late I heard the rhythmic thumping of winter heals and when I looked to my side I had to crane my neck back to get a view of my present company.  She was of average stature, I guessed a little shorter then I.  Her hair was also shorter then mine, reaching just to her shoulders where as mine, on the rare occasion it was down, would reach the middle of my back.  Before I could examine any farther she nodded down to my table and spoke in a low, melodic voice.



   "May I?" With a curt little grin she stood patiently, fingers picking absently at the frays of her jacket.



   "Yes please," I said after a moments pause, my voice sounding almost desperate, and perhaps I was.  I think she noticed this too and took a seat just to the right of the small square table, sliding it just slightly closer to my end.  Her knee stopped only a hairs breath from mine and I could almost feel the heat radiating between us.  With her so close to me I could now examine her features more closely.  I recognized her as someone I had seen in the cafe before, but only at a passing glance.  I always found her attractive enough, though not spectacular.  Having her so close to me now, I could see she in fact had a modest charm to her features.  The common beauty she possessed made her desirable in her own right.  The angles of her face had a softness to them, giving her a look of innocence, yet there didn't truly seem to be any trace of baby fat left on her lean figure that I could see.  Her unblemished skin seemed tan, being so far into the Autumn season as it was.  Though my own was slightly pale no matter the season, so it was hard to judge the norm.  The thing that captivated me though was her eyes.  They seemed to shift and swirl brown and green before my own.  I could easily see anyone being transfixed for hours.



   At that thought I realized I was already losing myself and averted my attention to something else.  I flicked the ashes from my nearly incinerated cigarette, though didn't bother taking another drag.  It gave me just enough time to compose myself and resume my natural state of casual suave.  



   "I don't believe we've met." Stating the obvious seemed to be my only way of starting a conversation in this rather particular situation.



   "No.  We haven't had the pleasure," She replied just above the noise of the room.  There was a hint of nervousness to her voice that sparked my curiosity.  I gave her a coy smile, extending a lazy hand in her direction.



   "I'm Sarah."  I had to be careful not to let the distaste for my horribly common name ruin my otherwise pleasant mood.



   "Josie," came her response, a little less timid then before.  The hand that gripped mine was warm and inviting.  I amused myself with the thought of kissing the back of her sleeve clad hand.  I wasn't much for cliches though.



   I opened my mouth to farther investigate her intrusion, but before I could inquire Silvia was at out table placing a rather intoxicating herbal tea in front of Josie.



   "Here you are Love," with a wink and an all too dramatic turn she was away  back to her own duties.  As I suspected, my companion had a faint flush about her cheeks as she sipped her tea.



   "So you're 'familiar' with Silvia?" I wasn't certain if she understood what I meant by the question, but the was she flustered about it confirmed she did.



   "Well no, not really..." she trailed off.  In Silvia's world that meant she was a tease, not yet up to taking home with her.  I liked her already.



   With an understanding nod I took a sip of my coffee.  An awkward silence hung in the air.  She seemed unsure of what she was doing, like she really didn't know why she had ventured to my table.  



   "I wasn't sure if you minded company.  I don't really see you here with anyone."  Interesting to know she must have been watching me for some time.



   "It's a little hard to find interesting company these days.  You seem to have no trouble though."  I threw a glance in the direction she came from where a group of what I assume were her friends were giggling as they watched us.  "Was this a dare?"  It didn't matter to me either way.  



   "Not exactly," and she looked over to her abandoned friends smiling sweetly.  It made her eyes light up and I found myself enjoying the sight.  "They're encouraging me really."



   "Oh?  I hope I'm not intimidating."



   "Only a little.  But that will happen when a duckling swoons over a swan."  How bold she was.  I couldn't suppress my laughter.  



   "Dear, I think you have me confused with someone else.  I'm no swan."



   "We'll see," I almost didn't hear her, her voice becoming so low and sensual.  Her hand slipped over my own and I shivered at the feeling of skin and cotton.  She took my long forgotten cigarette and inhaled deeply, putting the poor thing out of it's misery as she crushed it in the chipped ashtray in front of me.  The smoke she exhaled seemed to frame her face in elegant curls.  I noticed for the first time the freckles that lightly powdered the bridge of her nose.  Her beauty was growing on me.  As if on cue she cleared her throat softly and stood.



   "I need to be going," she said in a satisfied tone.  I must have looked as bewildered as I felt, for she smiled sweetly at me.  "We'll see each other again," and I had no doubt we would.  There was a slight bounce to her step as she rejoined the heard she had come with as they filed out the door.  I watched her go, taking in every detail.  I put it all to memory, chuckling softly to myself.  My coffee had grown cold, but out of respect I finished my cup hurriedly, else it be filled again.  After a few words to Silvia I collected myself to return home.



   My own apartment was across town, which really only amounted to five blocks.  I walked to and from for the most part, my car being nothing more then a large, rusty ornament at the back of the ancient building.  The owner of my building was kind enough to let me leave it there until I had it "up and running" again.  It's been three years.
This is a short story sort of thing I had written some time ago. I recently found it and tweaked it a bit.

I really can't think of a title for it at the moment. I'll change it at some point when I come up with something.

No stealing plis.


Feedback is encouraged.
:iconfroggiebuu:
Froggiebuu Featured By Owner May 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
very detailed, will there be more?

also *"I wasn't sure if minded company.* might be missing a *you*
near the end.
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:iconaluminumcandy:
aluminumcandy Featured By Owner May 4, 2011
lol yea there are probably a few mistakes. I should go through it again. Thanks for finding that though. I'll fix it.

And no I didn't plan to continue this one. It is just a short story. I'm working on other stories both long and short, as well as some script stuff, but I probably won't post those. We'll see what ends up here.
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