Alright, friends. Here is a little excerpt from a manuscript I finished last year and am working on editing this year. Enjoy:
On the agreed upon day, Owrin Carmichael, looking modish as usual in jeans and a t-shirt topped with an open collared shirt, was strolling down the necessary Halethorpe sidewalk to take him to the designated meeting place of Java Joe’s Café. Brisk smells of sweet and salty foods greeted his nose in the morning air as he pulled his long, dark mocha colored coat tighter around his strong shoulders. Then, pausing to glance around him, he saw the chosen coffee shop diagonally across the rather empty intersection ahead of him. Pulling a long, deep breath, he shoved his hands into his pockets and trudged in quick, short strides to the shiny glass doors. As he approached, an elderly gentleman exited, holding the door for him, allowing the sweet, coffee shop smell of Java Joe’s to swarm his senses on the wings of a warm gust of air. Side-stepping agilely into the shop, Owrin gave the man a smile and a nod of gratitude as he whispered his thanks under his breath.
As the door swung closed behind him, he pulled his sunglasses from his face and let his dark eyes roam the room a moment while tucking the glasses deftly into his coat pocket. Java Joe’s was a cozy café, not much bigger than twenty square feet. The cashier and serving counter was three quarters on the left hand wall as he walked in, with the remaining quarter bending to the back wall. The walls were painted a rich, chocolate brown from the floor to about three feet up. The remainder of the wall was the light golden brown color of coffee containing a whole lot of milk and creamer with swirls of the same dark color as below. To divide the two coloration sections from each other, a handsome medium green border ran along the entirety of the wall. The tables and chairs were black wrought iron and honey colored wood and a cocoa colored sofa that blended flawlessly into the wall sat off to one side, accented with pillows to match the trim. It was, he thought, cozier than he’d imagined, even from the invitingly tantalizing warmth and smell that had greeted him before he even made it to the door.
Moving away from the entrance, he glanced at his watch, which read five minutes earlier than the agreed upon rendezvous time. “Right on time,” he thought aloud to himself. Turning his eyes back to the small, jesting crowd near the cashier, Owrin watched a tall, gray-haired man clad in a purple argyle sweater move towards the door, exposing a slender, slightly shorter than average young woman who was adding a couple inches to that with her tennis shoes to round her out at about five foot five. Her dark, wavy hair was pulled back from her face, although the shorter hair that framed her face refused such restraints and continued to perform its framing duty anyway. She was smiling her thanks at the purple argyle man as she walked past, holding her beverage of choice in her hands. She was wearing light blue jeans and a form fitting bright green and white striped polo style shirt under a knee-length, black sweater.
She’s even prettier than her picture, he thought to himself as he watched her approach him. Blinking a couple times, he took a deep breath and stepped in front of her path. “Hello,” he said to her, thinking prayers of thanks that his voice didn’t crack as it seemed to do at the most inopportune moments possible.
She paused, blinking. “Hello,” she returned. Looking him over, she offered up a small, seemingly awkward smile. Her dark brown and green eyes shone warmly, oddly being a similar combination to the color scheme of the inside of Java Joe’s – the dark chocolate with the green trim framing the inside and outside of the rich brown.
Gesturing casually to himself, he ventured forward. “Owrin Carmichael. Busy day ahead?” he questioned, motioning to the fact she had already ordered something to drink.
“Umm…not so much,” she replied, smiling kindly at him. “You?”
“No, not really,” Owrin said.
She nodded. An odd silence filled the space between them. Do I know this guy? she thought to herself. I’m pretty sure I’d remember a face as nice as his if I’d met him before… He was tall and lean, but still muscular. He was clean-shaven and lightly tanned with a gorgeous smile from what she’d seen of it so far. His dark eyes, she found, were difficult for her to look away from. Surely, if they had met before, she would remember.
“You…uh…you look like you’re in a hurry,” he noted. Suddenly he was feeling a rush of awkwardness he had been concerned about.
“Umm…no…not a hurry, per se. Why?” she asked. Her smile tugged up a little at the corner and she tilted her head to better look up at him, curiosity twinkling in her eyes.
“Well…uh…I just…I thought we were…umm…” She stared at him as he fumbled over his words. I can’t be making a mistake, he reasoned. She looks like her picture… “Was there a…miscommunication of any kind…or…?”
“Umm…no…?” she returned slowly. Her brow was starting to wrinkle.
“So, there wasn’t a miscommunication?” he repeated his question. Taking a deep breath and feeling increasingly awkward, almost embarrassed – a feeling he was neither very well acquainted with nor at all fond of, he tried to determine why she was behaving this way.
Her lips breaking in an awkward smile, she shrugged and laughed awkwardly. “No, I…I can’t think of anything that may have been misunderstood…that I said anyway…”
“Was there something that I said that was confusing?” Owrin questioned. His eyes grew wide in disbelief.
“If you had wanted to cancel, you could have just told me. After all, you were the one making such a big deal about me coming out here. So, why do that if you weren’t really wanting to have coffee together?” Shifting his weight back and forth, he ran his hand back and forth over his hair, and scratched his strong jaw line with an unmistakable sense of discomfort billowing about him.
Tilting her head to the side, the brunette bit her lip and grimaced. “Do I know you?”
“Know me?! Well, not really, but I thought kind of… I mean, I could hardly get you to leave me alone over the messages and in person you act like you don’t even know who I am?! What? Is this your idea of a joke? April Fools was two weeks ago,” he said. His voice was a growl, his embarrassment level reaching higher than he had ever recalled it being before – even in high school.
“Wha-!” she started. She scowled, signifying a switch in her demeanor to a defensive stance. “What are you talking about?” she asked, lowering her tone. “Who are you? Who do you think I am?”
“Think you are?” He huffed. What did she mean think she was? Could he have somehow snagged a girl who looked remarkably like this Gumdrops girl online? After all, it’s not like he’d actually seen her in person before. His countenance suddenly fell quiet. “Oh sh- You are Elzie, right?”
“Elzie?” Her features softened. “Elzie who?”
He covered his mouth with his hand then let it drop to rest on his hip. “Gumdrops…? Elzie…?” She hadn’t given him a last name. His mouth twitched uncomfortably, his forwardness diminishing and his brain suffering from a strange kind of shock.
Her eyes widened as she took in a deep breath as though she was suddenly seeing some deeper meaning to his words. No…
The door opened then, and both looked to see a curly haired blond walk in, her eyes seemingly glued to the ground. She was average in weight and a small amount taller than the brunette Owrin had just spent almost ten minutes discoursing with. Her skin was a tone or two darker than fair, and her cheeks were a rosy, Christmassy hue. She looked up with a lovely set of bright blue eyes that seemed inset due to the natural chubbiness of her face and froze in mid step. With only an instant’s hesitation, she then whipped around and promptly exited the café. The brunette, placing her hand on Owrin’s arm, shoved her drink into his hand. “Please excuse me, and hold this? Don’t…uh…don’t go anywhere!” Then, she hurriedly vaulted out the door after the rosy-cheeked escapee.
Shifting his weight and blinking several times, Owrin heaved a sigh. “What the…?”
“Hey!” the barista called to him. “Name’s Joe! Drink’s on the house! What’ll you have?”
“Uh…” Owrin stammered, turning and realizing the crowd he’d just performed in front of. “Double shot latte…?”
“I understand,” Joe, a jolly, heavyset man nodded. “Therese!” he hollered towards the back. “We’ve got a double shot latte!” He glanced again at Owrin. “Make it a triple.”