“The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us.”
Adeline was about to open the door when someone caught her hand, grunting, “What are you doing here, Adeline Martinez?”
She almost stopped breathing and whipped around to see Ace himself and he wasn’t wearing his leather jacket- as Adeline remembered him from the worst night of her life- he wore just a dark pair of jeans, a black shirt, and same boots- which was definitely a shock, because his rather muscular arms were covered in the tattoos, that screamed bad boy all the way.
After seeing him after a long time, Adeline was angry, confused and there were many of the sentiments she felt at that point in time.
Yanking her hand from the tight hold, she glared at the person, and said, “You don't get to question me after five years, Ace!”
She lunged forward and opened the door, marching inside. Ace followed after her with a somewhat disgruntled look on his face, but the second he stepped over the threshold, Ace had to stop and stare around in amazement.
He had returned almost after a decade, and maybe there was not anything special about the place. Or maybe it was just because he never had time to look at the place before. Either way, it was enough to render him speechless.
The tables were worn and￼ a bit off-balance, there was one of those corkboards tacked up to the wall that had a ton of random pieces of paper decorating it, the entire place smelt like a ton of different coffee beans, and there was this space off to the side that had a couple of old easy chairs seated around a large coffee table that was positioned in front of a huge marble fire grate filled with large wooden logs￼.
The last thing about the place that made his jaw drop was the two threadbare tapestries hung up on the walls beside the fire grate that looked rich and intricately stitched and had to at least be over seventy years old.
While Ace was busy taking in his surroundings, Adeline, well you could say that she was a woman on a mission. She hadn't seen Ace since their rather unpleasant meeting five years ago, she thought they might meet again for the sake of the vague deal in between them, but no!
Talia Jonathan was on the call at the front counter when Adeline wrenched open the door to Victoria's Coffee House and stepped inside. It was just about empty, save for a haggard-looking woman in the corner beside the fireplace. At least there was a merrily crackling fire in the grate, so the place was quite warm.
“Adeline!” Talia said in surprise as Adeline approached the front counter. “I haven't seen you in a while!”
Adeline did her best to smile as she tossed back her jacket hood. “It's nice to see you again, Talia.”
Talia hasn't seen Ace till now before Adeline could say something, Talia’s phone rang, before picking it up, “Would you mind helping me in the back for a bit?” She asked, pushing back from the counter and standing up. “The dinner rush is about to start soon and since it's just you available today, I need some help manning the front counter.”
Adeline never worked on the counter as she always helped in cleaning and all, she stared up at Talia with a completely baffled look on her face. It took a moment or two for things to finally sink in and for her to realize what Talia had asked her.
“Uh, sure!” Adelaide blurted out, “But I haven't worked on the counter before.”
Talia grinned, “I know sweetie, there is nothing to spooning out bowls of soup or working a cash register. Later, we will have your favourite drink together.”
Gulping nervously, Adeline hoped Talia was right about that one.
Ten minutes later, Adeline was standing behind the front counter by the cash register, wearing a red apron similar to Talia’s that said “Victoria Coffee House!”
Her eyes searched for any sign of Ace, but she was not able to locate him. Roaming her eyes for ten seconds, she found him sitting in one of the farthest corners, where he was sitting and staring outside the Coffee house, he looked like he was in some deep thoughts.
Adeline had her own questions for him, but right now she was more than sort of freaking about doing this.
What if someone known walked in and saw her doing this job? After losing her grandfather, one thing was very clear in her mind that she had to keep a low profile and stay away from her attacker’s radar.
And by the time closing time at eight o'clock rolled around, Adeline realized that Talia had not been kidding about the dinner rush after five because the house got packed.
It took her a few tries to get the hang of using a cash register, an ancient thing that was a bit rusty. Adeline was surprised it even worked, and Talia used it daily without any complaint.
After some time, Adeline was mopping down the front counter with a wet rag while Talia was tossing the remainder of the pastries that had not been sold into the trash bin when the chimes above the front door rang, and a gust of cold air swept inside.
Adeline but back a squeak when she saw that it was Ace himself marching inside with his typical scowl in place, looking a bit exhausted. She didn't know when he left the place because of the evening rush at the coffee house.
“Martinez, are you done for tonight?” Ace asked in a flat voice, his distaste was not even hidden.
Meanwhile, Talia was checking out the cash register, but suddenly after Ace’s statement her movements, as well as her body, froze.
Before Adeline could answer him back, without even looking up at the person, Talia announced, “Leave.”
Adeline’s mouth was left open in confusion and shock at the same time, she then glanced over at Ace who was currently staring at Talia, his jaw set, his hands clenched into fists at his sides.
Great, so they know each other. Just what Adeline needed.
So obviously something was going through his mind at the moment that was making him less than happy, well, he was never happy, and Adeline was fairly certain that something was she.
She didn't want to go home to an empty apartment, well, a certain someone lived there but without any trace and she still needed to find out who?
Who was this stranger?
And, in addition, she did not want to leave them, either. And not only was she hungry, too but she wanted to figure out what was going on with Ace.
Did Talia and Ace know each other?
Why was Ace here?
Why didn't he meet Adeline in the last five years?