The next day seems brighter despite the fact that I woke up without another presence of a body beside me.
It’s scary how my body is now tuned in with his warmness being my morning clock only for it to be disappointed by his lack of presence.
I prepare myself for the day, continuing with my usual routine of showering first, packing my waitress uniform as I dress casually in skinny dark jeans and allowing myself to sneak one of Jeremy’s t-shirt that is slightly baggy but still fit.
The only reason I put it on is so that I can have his smell on me the whole day.
Jeremy is so right; I have it so bad for him. I think as make my way down the stairs.
Mrs Brown greets me with her famous breakfast consisting of French bread, bacon and pancakes.
She greets me warmly, but soon leaves me to ravish her food, telling me how she will be busy today as the cleaners were coming in.
I take my leave afterwards biding her adieu as I exit the house to meet Mitch in the car. My happiness seems to be infectious as he smiles back at me.
Once insides he soon drives me to Millie’s cafe where I am greeted with a foul mouthed Hilly whom I hear has recently broken up with her boyfriend, Marcus.
The man old enough to be her father.
“He lied to Hilly; he never was getting a divorce.” Julie fills me in.
“What? Really?” I stare worryingly at Hilly who is currently scowling at her customer.
“But she loved him right?” I ask.
“Of course she did. It was a shock for everyone. The wife found out, she is divorcing him now, but Hilly refuses to put up with him. She might be in love with him, but she knows that his infidelity was wrong.”
“Good for her. I wish I had her strength.”
“Yeah…she is a tough one.”
I smile secretly at her as I move away to serve a new customer.
The café isn’t as busy on Mondays and so I spend most of my time messaging Jeremy and grinning recklessly at everything that comes my way.
“You know I still don’t get why you are working here.” Julie catches up with me behind the counter where I am secretly relishing Jeremy’s face.
“I want to.” I explain.
“I see that. I can only imagine his disagreement for you to be here. I bet he wants you to become a housewife or something.” She laughs at her comment.
I frown at what she says. Housewife?
“Julie, I’ve been with him for merely two weeks or so, marriage talk is very soon.”
“But you love him right?”
I smile secretly staring back at his picture.
“Yes, I do love him.”
“I can tell and does he love you too?”
I sigh. “I don’t know. I haven’t told him yet that I do. I don’t think he does.”
She looks at me incredulously. “Ley, are you serious? The way he looks at you, no one will doubt he doesn’t.”
I smile shyly at her. “You only seen him once with me though and that was almost two weeks ago.”
“Yeah but he had his eyes on you only, I don’t think he even glanced at anyone else.”
I grin, her words making me feel warm and gooey inside.
Then I remember how she had been yesterday.
I wrinkle my eyebrows. “So what happened with Matthew when I left?”
I immediately catch her blush but the furrow of her eyebrows tells me something else. She shakes her head.
“What?” I press.
“Nothing happened that’s what?”
“He’s attractive that’s for sure, but I don’t think he even noticed me.”
I frown. What exactly had Matthew meant when he’d said, “I have a muffin to finish?”
I had immediately assumed that he wanted to see Julie again.
“He didn’t talk to you?”
“Um…he did, he just came back inside, finished his muffin and came to me to pay. The only conversation we had was regarding the pay. That’s it.” She tells me.
“Hmm…I don’t know what you mean by him not noticing you. I think he might just like you. I mean he sought you out for the pay, didn’t he? He might have chosen to just leave the money on the table.” I reassure her.
What am I doing?
I know I wanted Matthew to shed whatever feelings he had for me, but I shouldn’t assume things, let alone encourage Julie only for her to be disappointedly crushed afterwards.
“If you say so.” She says skeptically.
“I know so.”
Stop. I command myself.
“Okay… now get your butt up and serve the new customer.” Julie the commander is back. She slightly pushes me off the chair to the front entrance for me to greet whomever is coming in.
My jaw drops at who I see.
“Well, well… we meet again?” Sav thrills, wearing a somewhat similar outfit from yesterday.
Today she’s alone.
“Hi.” I greet her giving a small smile.
She smirks. “I didn’t know you worked here…well good for you. So what do you have here that’s good to eat?” She rambles on moving to a vacant booth, not giving me a chance to respond.
“Here’s the menu.” I hand her the menu brochure.
She takes it fervently and scans it.
“Mmmh all of this sounds good… So how have you been Leyla? Wow you guys do double chocolate fudge pancakes? I’ll have that then.” She babbles again, leaving me confused whether I should answer her request about my well-being or to take her order.
I choose the latter.
“Do you want any hot drink with that?”
“Sure…” She scans the brochure again. “Which do you think goes perfectly?” She asks.
“I’ll recommend hot chocolate.” I smile slightly and take my leave quickly before she pulls me in to an unwanted conversation.
“Isn’t that the same woman from yesterday?” Julie asks me as I place her order in the kitchen.
I nod and she frowns at me. “You know her?”
Her frown deepens.
“What?” I ask, confused by her frown.
“How did you meet?” She asks me. Looking from me to her and I can tell she’s trying to figure out how a girl like me knows someone looking as trashy as Sav judging by her clothing.
“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you one day.”
“You better, because there’s something off about her, something I don’t trust at all.”
I only smile reassuring at her before taking Sav’s food and reluctantly going to her booth to serve her.
“That looks delicious,” she comments before digging in.
“So, how are you Leyla?” She asks again.
“I’m fine.” I tell her, frowning slightly but she has her attention sorely on her plate. “How have you been…and Monica?” I add just for pleasantry’ s sake.
Sav stops eating and looks up at me a grave tension in her eyes. “Monica’s dead, but I have been good.” She gives me a fake smile.
My blood runs cold. Monica is dead? She had been the only person that had shown me some concern at that time. She and Sav had looked to be good friends.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” I tell her awkwardly.
I had never been good at comforting; it’d been alien to me since no one ever comforted me in my own misery, before Jeremy.
For a brief moment I wonder how she died.
Sav shrugs and stabs her fork on the pancakes.
“Drug overdose…if you’re wondering. Of course it wasn’t in the news, no, she wasn’t as important to make it to the news.” She shrugs again and eats.
I shift in my feet, uncomfortably. At this moment I want to make a break for it.
What she is saying, it’s too familiar. Only I’ve witnessed this sort of occurrences during my dark days.
I’ve always managed to block those dreadful images of seeing people out on the streets dealing, children my age, getting so wasted that all that had been left of them had just been thin bodies on the side of the pavement. I had left that part of the streets soon after realising where I was. I headed straight to charity stores.
Sav is bringing those images back again.She only smiles at me again, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. However, the grave look is gone off her face. “I have Devon taking care of me now. Everything is great.”
For a moment I feel an ounce of pity for her, just an ounce.
“Weren’t you the one that told me I should be afraid him?”
Thinking about it I couldn’t believe it has only been two weeks since that day. It feels like a lifetime ago.
She frowns at her food for a moment but then she giggles coldly, “Yeah I actually did, didn’t I?”
She shakes her head, as she stares at me. “He’s good to me. He’ll take care of me. He promised.”
Just as she says this, I catch a glimpse of fragility and uncertainty about her eyes.
“But, I am not here to talk about that am I?”
I frown. What does she mean?
“You, how have you been Leyla? You seem so…so alive since I last saw you.” She smiled.
“I have been better.”
She smirks at me as if she knows something I don’t. “So … Jeremy Lawson er, you know I swore I recognised that face printed next to him on the newspaper.”
I smile at her wearily, not fully getting what she is entailing.
“Oh…come on, you are like famous now. I can’t believe how mistaken I was yesterday to assume that man had been the one that chose you instead of us…only for Devon to later show me a picture of you with none other but, the richest man in this city.”
I shift in my feet, robbed of any response to give to her.
“So what’s it like to sleep with the rich man and to have him buy you luxury in return?” She asks, a snide smirk on her face.
My blood chills and I frown at her. I am ready to counter her comment with a reprimand but then again what business does she have to know my relationship with Jeremy.
Instead of replying her as she expects me to do, I instead ask, “Are you done?” Referring to her now empty plate.
She purses her lips but only nods.
And taking this as a chance of an escape, I retrieve her plate and trudge away from her booth to the kitchen.
Julies notices my slight anxiety. “What happened?”
I shake my head at her and reluctantly head to Sav’s booth for her payment.
She grins at me as she pays the right amount. “I notice you didn’t answer my question but I take it that it is indeed fabulous to be treated with wealth.”
“Sav, I am sorry but my relationship is none of your business.” I hiss my nonchalant posture gone.
“So you are his whore then?” She smirks coldly.
My eyes flashes warningly at her and I have to refrain the itch on my fingers to slap her.
“I am certainly not. I was never a whore in the first place.”
She hides her mirth, “But, sweetie, he met you just the same way I make my living. You can’t ignore that.” She puts on her faux sweet tone.
I glower at her.
“Leyla, I’m looking out for the best for you. I’m only warning that you shouldn’t get too comfortable, believe me I know how it’s like. But soon or later they just get rid of you like you’re an old rusty car.” She frowns at that. Her expression turning to a vague distant graveness.
I want to laugh at her audacity.
“Thanks for the concern, Sav. But as I said it isn’t any of your business and you shouldn’t judge with just misguided information. You have no idea of what my relationship with Jeremy is like.”
She only sneers at me. “Haven’t I? Then why does is seem to me that the paparazzi haven’t a clue of how corrupt you are? What would they do or even say once they figure out exactly how you met Jeremy Lawson. I bet they’ll pay me an equivalent amount just for me to spill the story.”
I gasp. Where is she going with this?
“I am sure you know how when one is in desperate need of cash, one will do absolutely anything.” She presses her lips.
My resolve wanes as realisation dawns “Sav–”
“They will pay me what I need unless you don’t want the story out.”
✍️To be continued ✍️