Heather- Good morning to you sir. Busy day?
Rory- Yeah manic, just wanted to say hi. You?
Heather- Not bad, work until 4. It's too early to be up, I can't be a person at this hour
Rory- Aw, I'm just sat here with my feet up having my pre-work latte ;)
Heather- I hate you so much
She'd been playing games with herself all morning to kill the urge to clock watch. Name every single song of your favourite band in album order, see how many film scenes you can quote word for word, remember every bad joke you've been told in the last five years. Even so, every now and then her eyes would flick to the ticking face on her wrist. She was so close to going home she could practically taste the pillow she was going to collapse on later.
Luckily for her aching feet, it was starting to quiet down a bit. Not many people fancy visiting a museum cafe at 3 o'clock on a Tuesday mid September apparently. If they do they're probably just looking for toilets they don't have to pay to use. The eyes of the giant Easter Island poster in the foyer stared out over them menacingly, as if it was daring them to EDUCATE THEMSELVES!
For the second time that day she perched on the very edge of the counter, only creating the illusion that she was standing up. As she took a swig of her second "complimentary" cup of coffee of the day -sadly gone cold- her supervisor Phillip raised one perfectly plucked eyebrow, but didn't say anything. From the corner of the room came an obnoxiously loud burst of laugher. Two Chelsea girls, dressed in designer clothes that were supposed to look like they'd been found in a charity shop threw back their stupidly perfect hair and smiled with stupidly perfect teeth. One of the waiters couldn't take his eyes off of them, wiping his hands nervously on his apron. Whether this was because they were beautiful or because each of their earings cost what he made in a month was his own business. Probably both. In spite of herself, she reached up to smooth her own hair down. The steam from the caffetier and the heat from the panini press didn't exactly help the whole curl-situation. And she was pretty sure the Chelsea girls' purple silk scarves matched the shade of the bags under her eyes. Beautiful. 'I wonder if Rory's texted me back yet...no, stop. Ok, every DVD you own and their directors...'
"Heather can you help with cleaning tables, since its quiet at the tills?" Phillip threw a towel towards her, but not before he refilled her mug with coffee that was actually hot.
"Okay." She tightened the apron around her waist and wiped away any possible milk-moustache. She didn't even want to think about whether her deoderant had held out all day the way the can promised.
Choosing the tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows, she started to clean up while watching the streets of London move in front of her. There was a light drizzle, but the sun was shining through the grey, so overall the day was only depressing depending on your mood. The city looked the way any city does every day. Important people disapearing from view quickly in cabs, people who thought they were important walking so quickly to the point of being rude and whacking people in the shins with their briefcases. Sometimes they apologised. Of course the tourists, shrinking away from the hustle fearing some kind of extremely English reproach from the locals. Or completely oblivious to it, stopping in the middle of the pavement to look at maps or old buildings.
School children, mothers, bankers, creatives. Everyone blended in to the mass of movement that became a blur if you relaxed your eyes for long enough.
She thought about her phone sat in her bag just behind the counter...
The four months of knowing him felt like nothing at all. The seven hours of not talking to him felt like an age. But he was out there, somewhere in the mass. Busy being busy. That was enough.
Time was forgiving, and eventually four o'clock came around. As soon as Beth appeared to start her shift, pulling on her own apron, Heather felt the weight of the day lift. She hung around for a second, chatting to Beth while Phillip flicked through a museum programme, pointedly ignoring them.
"So..." Beth started, after the appropriate amount of small talk. "How's things?"
"If by things you mean the guy I'm talking to then yes, things are good. Thanks."
"Rory was it?"
At the mention of his name, she could have sworn she felt her phone twitch in her hand, waiting to be checked. "Yeah that's it."
"Are you actually ever going to meet him?"
"We already have." she said, indignantly. In fairness, it had been at a house party which she barely remembered. Even less how she came to talk to Rory or swap phone numbers with him. But lo and behold the next morning there he was, popping up in her phone mid-hangover.
"Properly. Yes, yes I know five minutes." Beth waved Phillip away, who was starting to look agitated. There was only so much he could ignore. Petticoat Government he called it. Even though he was at the top, he knew they would not go without their free drinks or their conversations.
"Soon. When our shedules match up." she lied. "We're doing a video chat again tonight anyway." Thinking about it, yes, her phone was definitely twitching. It was practically burning a hole in the palm of her hand.
"Use protection." Beth deadpanned.
In the corner, the Chelsea girls still laughed.
Rory- I just met a guy who is literally called Lincoln Park. And he's in his forties so he was named before the band even formed!!
Heather - That's amazing! He sounds like he should be the protagonist of a Jack Ryan book. Or the love interest in an american sitcom
Rory- Hah, I'll tell him you said that. Looking forward to going home?
Heather- My body is so ready for bed, and it's only four
Rory- That's such dirty talk ;)
Heather- Not unintentional ;)
Rory- Completely unrelated note, looking forward to our chat later?
Heather- You'll have to excuse my appearance
Rory- Only if you'll excuse mine. Don't worry, we'll be gross together