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Gillie stood in the never-ending line at Starbucks. Shouts of "Half caf, Shot of Cinnamon, Whipped, No Froth, Ginseng sprinkles," burst forth from the yuppie caffeine junkies around her. The noise almost deafened her as each person shouted his or her order louder than the next.
"Why did Joe have to take a vacation?" she grumbled to herself.
A good cup of coffee, that was all she wanted and she usually went to a small shop around the corner from her new apartment to buy it. After moving to California from a quiet New England town, Joe’s had been the only place that she could find a piece of home in the middle of the L.A. scramble. Coffee, with two options-‘cream or sugar. Styrofoam cups were stacked in the back for those on the move; help yourself.
She didn’t move here with a burning desire to become an actress or anything remotely glamorous.
She could have picked anywhere else but here. But she’d heard enough about how great it was. How many opportunities she would have. She’d been hearing about it for years. So, L.A. it was, and a new life, she’d hoped.
Several months and many unopened packing boxes later, she wanted to run back to New England.
L.A. scared her, the people scared her, she treaded water in this city knowing she would soon tire and sink. Not an auspicious beginning for a gal on her own, and neither would missing the appointment with the landlord be whose small office she wanted to rent for the start of her massage business.
At last a frenzied employee set his wild eyes on her, "WhatcanIgetchoo?"
"A large regular, black."
She swore the place hushed. The employee grabbed a tall cup out of the dispenser, filling it with the steaming dark brew. For a second he stared at the cup as if he didn’t quite understand the concept of not altering the coffee in any way. Finally he slapped a lid on her order and placed it before her. Grabbing her coffee, Gillie tossed a few bills on the counter. Eyes down, lips to the opening on the lid of her cup, she hurried out to the sidewalk.
And because of this, she didn’t see the guy on his cell phone, but heard him yelling just before they crashed.
"No, she isn’t right. I don’t care. Find another-‘"
That’s when she collided with him, knocking them both to the sidewalk.
Several large men she assumed were his buddies assisted him to his feet, while a tightly wound, wiry little fellow buzzed around, exclaiming, "Was he burned? Is he okay?"
Almost crying over her spilt coffee, she pulled herself up. Chivalry is dead she thought, brushing her clothing off. She realized no one paid any attention to her except him. Good grief! I know I must be wearing half my coffee but still-. Shoulders sagging, she looked at the guy she knocked over and possibly scalded, and mustered up the courage to apologize.
Before she could utter a word, something in his expression made her freeze. He stared at her and whispered, "You."
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