Cara Riesling- 3 months later
“Three omelets, two shakes and a Panini!”
Cara weaved through the tables, smiling as she poured out another round of coffee.
Morning rush. Nothing like it.
The bell at the door jingled and she grabbed her notepad, walking towards the booth where the customer had settled.
“Hello sir, can I get your order?”
“Just coffee.” He muttered, the eyes behind his thick glasses fixated out the window.
Cara headed back towards the kitchen, a feeling of apprehension rising in her chest. There was something about him…not just how haggard he looked, despite being well-dressed…
“Raygo.” She hissed, filling the coffee pot, “Do you see that guy over there?”
An arm looped around her waist, the other holding a spatula.
“Was he ogling you?” Raygo asked, “I’ll throw him out before he knows what-”
“-No, no,” Cara whispered urgently, “Doesn’t he look…I don’t know…familiar?”
There was a moment of silence before he turned to her, eyes wide.
“That’s…the guy from the video. On the shuttle. Your dad?”
“Oh god…it is.” Cara replied, blanching, “What do we do?”
Raygo moved to flip an omelet, shrugging.
“I…don’t know. It’s your call.”
Cara chewed on her lip, uncertain.
“Should I call Valyria?”
“Wouldn’t she be halfway to Nebraska by now?”
Damn motorcycle gang.
“Yeah, there’s no point in forcing her to come all the way back…” Cara sighed, “I guess we’ll just have to play dumb.”
“Are you sure?” Raygo asked, “He’s…your dad.”
“What if he changed his mind about saving us?” Cara asked, “What if…he tells the Ark people where we are?”
Raygo put the omelet on a plate beside a toast, shrugging again.
“It’s a risk.”
Cara took the plate and the coffee pot, sighing.
“I won’t talk to him. I don’t see how he would recognize me, anyways.”
Her time under the summer sun had lightened her hair from dirty blonde to the colour of honey, and it had grown from just under her ears to her shoulders. Not to mention her tan.
“Be careful.” Raygo cautioned, stealing a kiss as she went back out to the dining area.
She set down the omelet at Table 6, taking her time filling mugs before being forced to walk towards…him.
Cara forced a smile as she poured his coffee, counting down the seconds before she could return to the kitchen. He looked up, suddenly, and seemed to be studying her.
As soon as his mug was full Cara moved, resisting the urge to bolt, but he grabbed her wrist and she froze.
Before she could process what was happening a steak knife was rapidly approaching her throat.
Instinct took over, and the blade bent before it could touch her skin. Cara swiftly disarmed him and pinned his arms behind his back, ignoring the sounds of alarm coming from the other customers.
“Should I call 9-1-1?” Betsy, a regular, asked, her phone at the ready.
“No,” Cara replied, “This man was just leaving.”
She forced him towards the door, opening it with her leg and walking him out.
“Don’t show your face around here again.” She said under her breath, pushing him towards the road.
“I’m sorry you had to see that, but I wasn’t going to hurt you.” He replied, turning around, “I had to make sure it was you-”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Cara shot back, “Get the hell out of here before I call the sheriff.”
“I had the extra escape pods routed to this town,” he insisted, “I saw the knife. Do you…have any idea how long I’ve been looking for you, hoping desperately-”
“You’ve got the wrong person.” She said firmly, “And I hate to break it to you, but you sound crazy.”
The door jingled and Raygo walked out into the sun, folding his arms.
“Everything okay out here?”
“Him! Raygo! He was another one of the experiments!” Adam exclaimed, “Where’s the third? Did she…oh God.”
He ran a hand over his face and Cara narrowed her eyes.
“Look, pal, we don’t know you, or what it is you’re going on about. Scram.”
“Cara, please.” Her father pleaded, tears in his eyes, “Don’t do this to me.”
She opened her mouth to say something but shut it again, sighing.
“What do you want?” she hissed, “A ‘number one dad’ award? We made it out alive, no thanks to you, and we’re trying to live quiet lives. Is that so hard to understand?”
Her father looked ashamed.
“I’m sorry, Cara. I just…I had to know.” He looked up and smiled a little before continuing, “You’re safe. You have a family now. A real one.”
He looked at his feet.
“You won’t have to see me again…Goodbye.”
He turned abruptly and stalked off, disappearing around the corner.
Cara hesitated a moment before running after him, turning the corner only to stop, confused.
He was gone.
She returned to the diner, picking up the bent steak knife and the untouched mug.
A napkin fell to the table and Cara put down the mug and picked it up, seeing the words scrawled onto it.
Her blood ran cold.
THE PROJECT HAS BEEN REOPENED.