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Chapter 2 : 2. Dreams and wishes?
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AN: No long announcements, just go for it and enjoy, maybe leave a review along the way :-)
All I needed to do was swallow my pride, abandon my dignity, and walk into the damned coffee shop.
I needed a job after all. So Liz had a friend who owed her a favor and I turned out to be that favor.
I sighed took a deep breath and walked in.
“You look like bloody murder.” A familiar voice announced. I turned around and just next to the door on a small round table sat John the barkeeper. I was surprised the likes of him even remembered me. It had been a week after all.
“I don’t.” But this time even I heard the threat in my voice.
“Aggressive behavior and denial. That sure isn’t healthy behavior you should consider therapy.”
“Charming. If you’d excuse me. I have business here.” I headed for the bar and he called after me. “Have a coffee with me when you’re done.” I didn’t pay him any more mind and walked up to the girl behind the counter. She looked like a cupcake. Everything about her screamed cute. From the petit frame, the bright red pigtails to the pug nose and the freckles. Even her voice was dripping sweet.
“Hello, how may I help you?”
“I’m Becky. I was told to ask for Greg.”
“Yes, just a moment please.” She vanished through the backdoor and soon reappeared with a grumpy looking man in his mid-thirties. He was starting to go bald and had a small and sturdy built. He was someone you rather pictured in a mafia gang rather than a coffee shop. They made a hideous sight.
I reached out my hand to greet him.” Hi, I’m Becky, Liz...”
“I know who you are. Sit down.” He nodded towards the nearest table and did as I was told. He sat down across from me and eyed me critically.
“Just to make sure. I am doing this for Liz, but this is no pity party. I need a pair of extra hands and you’ll have to work like everyone else. Is that understood?”
“Did you ever work as a waiter?”
“Yes, a couple of times during summer holidays.”
He grunted in acknowledgement. “Better change your attitude and wipe that look from your face. We serve the best coffee with friendly smiles.” I nodded and forced a smile on my face.
“It’s something.” he mumbled. “You’ll start Monday at six. Chrissie will show you everything and we’ll go from there.”
“Thank you Mr. …”
“Yeah.” He cut me off, got up again and vanished in the backroom.
Liz sure knew how to make friends with all sorts of people.
I got up to leave as someone pushed out a stool in front of me. I almost stumbled over it. Instead, I only rammed the backrest into my stomach.
“Very graceful. I believe you promised me coffee.”
“I promised you nothing.” I replied, but I sat down nevertheless still rubbing my stomach. A cup of fresh coffee stood in front of me.
“Is this one of your special happy go lucky recipies?”
“The very best, fresh, hot, coffee.” He added with a self-satisfied grin. I sniffed it suspiciously, but there was no hint of alcohol. I took a sip. It tasted normal.
“You look different than at the bar.”
“Sorry to disappoint.”
“Not at all. I like the natural look. Suites you much better.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
“So, you plan to work here.”
“None of your business, is it.”
“As this is the best coffee around here and I am a regular customer, I make it my business. It’s not half as much fun to analyze freckles over there, than to analyze you.”
I leaned closer. “Are you kind of stalking me?” I raised my eyebrows at him in question.
“Paranoia. You should definitely consider treatment. How lucky you found me?” he suggested.
“A half-educated psychologist? Thanks but no.”
“Are you always this dismissive?”
“Only towards sneaky barkeepers who want what’s in my pants, rather than my head.”
“Who’s to say I am not genuinely interested?” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and it looked surprisingly sexy.
“Are you?” I leaned even closer and stared him down. He chuckled and then settled for his dashing smile. I had never heard a chuckle this manly, deep and throaty, yet sexy. He was like chocolate. Something sweet and tasty for sure, but you’ll regret it afterwards.
“Why not?” I’d never been into that obvious chivalry. He had nothing on sweet and caring Aiden. Great, now I started to compare real life characters to fictional ones. Moreover, I also referred to them as characters. Maybe I seriously needed treatment. Like I had time for it.
“I need to go.” I already got up as he grabbed my arm.
“Come on, give me your number. One date can’t hurt you.”
“I don’t give my number to random weirdoes.”
“I do.” He snatched a pen and started writing on my arm in a weary handwriting.
“I hope this washed off.” I said as I eyed his piece of art.
“Call me if it does.” He winked at me.
“Very witty.” He only grinned a smug smile as I walked away.
I didn’t have to wait long for the next humiliation. As I finally left the coffee shop, I stumbled right into the next old familiar. He had always been queer, but the St. Mungo’s work clothes in combination of the necklace with the big pendant of an eagle and a lion kissing, he rather looked like one, escaped from the mental department. To top it off he wore neon green sneakers that clashed horrible with the vanilla colored hospital robes. He looked weird enough like that in a Muggle alley. Without the blond hair being tied to loose pigtails.
Somehow, he still managed to look handsome in a way.
“Hey. Aren’t you Rebecca Dean? Didn’t we take History of Magic and Ancient Runes together?” He exclaimed. Loudly. In a muggle alley.
I shushed him. “Yes, Reginald Finkle, wasn’t it?” I replied in a low voice.
He beamed at me happily. “How’ve you been?”
“Uhm good. I am actually a bit in a hurry.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. Maybe we grab a coffee another time? You come here often? It’s my favorite coffee shop around work.” He babbled on and on. He had always been bright but horribly dense.
I found his suggestion rather horrifying. Another person I needed to face from behind that counter. What was it about this coffee shop and wizards? “Maybe another time.” I mumbled. “People are waiting for me.” It wasn’t a complete lie.
I forced a smile and waved as I walked past him. “Another time.” He repeated. He seemed happy enough with that.
I didn’t want to take chances in running into others as well, so I had apparated home as soon as I found a secure place. I threw off my bag and shoes and set down in front of my desk.
>I had sworn that love would come second. That war would be my first priority, but the vow wasn’t as easily kept as said. It’s also for her own protection. I am a member of the order. He reminded himself.
It didn’t quite convince him. It never did. It was the sun glowing in her locks. The smile to warm a thousand years of snow. The sound of her laughter. It were all the little things that drew him closer, that made him push her away.
But, what if I died tomorrow? The feel of her in his arms would only be a faint memory. It was the same each evening. The same wondering and worrying, if both of them would live to see the next day. The same excitement, the same fear.<
I had read that last paragraph at least a hundred times. Polished it to my best liking and ability, but the real problem waited beyond it.
What was supposed to happen next? He wouldn’t break that promise. He held her to dear to do anything to put her in danger. And then? War, war, love, war, kiss, grief, grief, war, war, war, war. It was all the same.
And in the end. War, big war, huge war, victory, peace. Love.
Books were easy. No matter how original, somehow they were all the same. And for most people, it was the better the more similar. People didn’t like to be taken out of their comfort zone.
And that made life in books utterly easy and predictable, once you understood the big picture. Wish I could figure out my own bigger picture without drifting off too deep into the gooey lands of cheap romance.
That was the problem. The book used to be something to take her mind off of other things. Now there was nowhere to turn. I had always relaxed by writing. Once you start a story, you practically lived in that world.
That was another problem. I lived in his world and his alone.
If only life could be as easy as books. Books had a purpose, a direction. In the end, there was always something to justify, why we fought through hard ships.
And what was left of those people after their big story? The life of Harry Potter might just as easily be some piece of grandiose fiction and then it ended. What happens in the lala-land once all evil is defied?
Thinking about it, he had looked awfully tired. Happy for sure, I had seen his family and went to school with his kids. He looked loved.
However, isn’t it possible that after all that happened, a part of him will never have enough, unless he felt the fear and thrill of war? It’s longing for different times. And longing can exhaust us terribly. Though my whole book revolved around him as much as any main character simply because it was his war, I had thought remarkably little about him. I had never considered what kind of person he had been then.
The pure thinking of it all exhausted me myself. How could I ever finish a book like this?
The next thing I knew, was the taste of cold air on my lips. It felt damp and cold. The underground was nothing like the soft cushion of parchments on my desk. It felt damp, but hard. When I sat up it wasn’t pieces of parchment I picked off my cheek, but mud.
This most definitely wasn’t my apartment.
I looked around and waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark. I was in a park, but none that I knew. It was dark, damp, and cold and I had no idea how I got here and how to get away.
This has to be a dream.
I pinched myself. It didn’t work. I was still sitting on the muddy ground. I went for it again this time harder. I grimaced at the pain, but I was still far from home. It didn’t even feel like a dream, but the last one hadn’t either.
I finally got up and cleaned myself off as best as I could. I didn’t even have my wand on me. Moreover, to top that off I didn’t even wear shoes. I still wore the two mismatched socks, the only clean ones I could find this morning.
I had once lost their twins, but liked them too much to throw them out. Now I had one blue sock with teddy bears and a bright purple one with pink stripes. But right now, they were both muddy brown.
I looked around the park, but recognized nothing. It was too dark to see much anyway.
I decided I didn’t care to hide to apparate. Nobody was around anyways. A popping sound announced my departure. I felt an uncomfortable pressure, but as I reopend my eyes, I was still in the same bloody park. I had moved a few inches though. This had to be a dream. I was good at apparition. I never failed. I managed a successful apparition at my fifth try, during my first lesson. I never failed. But no facts changed the fact that I definitely wasn’t in my apartment. I finally went to explore my undesired destination. It was a small park and looked slightly neglected, but it seemed to have no unlucky visitors or inhabitants by night. Apart from me. In the middle was a small dried up fountain and a few benches.
“St. Francis Park.” I read the engraving on the fountain. I did live on St. Francis Street, but there was no park in sight. I finally stumbled towards the road. My toes felt frozen already to the point of walking being painful. Were dreams supposed to be so full of pain? Thinking back my dreams had never been very vivid and not the least bit logical or stable. Not until that last one. Not like this. I walked down the street. I felt horribly misplaced here, but something also seemed familiar.
Of course, this was familiar. We didn’t dream of made up places and people, but of assemblings of places, people, and things we met in some point of our lives. Consciously or not.
I did however realize that the street was more than just an occasional sight, but indeed my home street. Some houses looked slightly different. The shabby old abondend apartment complex at the end of the road had lights shining from its windows. Planks didn’t bar the door. It’s windows weren’t shattered. My neighbor house seemed to be in a lot better shape as I had last seen it as well. There was no graffiti on the opposite house. Everything was different, yet the same.
Only, when I looked at the place where my flat was supposed to be, there was nothing else but the damned park.
I pinched myself again. Not that it had ever been funny, but this dream definitely wasn’t funny anymore. I wanted to wake up, change my socks, take a warm bath to warm up.
Somehow, my feet brought me back to the park. Something was off about it. About the whole area. There was not a single soul in sight. I couldn’t even see a single lighted window. Usually there was always someone on the streets or at least awake, no matter what time. Suddenly I heard a familiar crack.
I instantly hid behind the next tree. It was a dream, no need to be afraid. But I wasn’t fully convinced.
Then there was another crack and another. I peeked carefully and spied three hooded figures in the dark.
I pressed against the tree. Nice and good wizards didn’t meet in shady places in the middle of the night. It was only a dream, yet still my heart pounded so heavy, I feared they might hear it.
“They said it would be here.” A deep throaty voice said
“There’s nothing and no one’s here, but us.” A younger guy, by the sound of it.
“The dark lord won’t be pleased by this.” A third voice stated in a harsh tone.
“Then search!” The first voice commanded. I could hear them moving through the park.
I also had definitely heard one of them mention the dark lord. But Voldemord was long dead and I was sure no new dark lords were on the rise. I robbed towards the next bush to get a better hideout, should they come to my direction. I eyed them from my save place. Three tall men; An old one, a younger guy in his mid-twenties and a guy in his forties. They didn’t look any more evil than any other random man I’ve ever seen, besides the death eater robes.
What could they look for anyway in a muggle area? Sure, my apartment block was only for magical folks, but the way I saw it, it was still a few years from being built.
Maybe a short story about these dreams would help me get over my writers block. Suddenly the youngest of the three moved dangerously close to my little hideout. They turned every stone. Then I got a clear look of his face. There was no way it couldn’t be him. The piercing green almond shaped eyes, that would always look sad. The messy black locks and a surprisingly handsome face.
I had imagined him, dreamed up his character and he was spot on, yet somehow still so different. Though him no doubt.
I didn’t need to write a book about these dreams.
I already did.
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