The HurricaneBy: R.J. Prescott
I FELT LIKE A TOTAL FUCKING CREEPER as I leant, with my hands in my pockets, against the lamp post, and stared at her through the cafe window from across the road. For weeks now, I’d found myself in the same spot, wondering when I was going to grow a pair of balls and talk to her. Man, this girl was fucking perfect. At least that was what I’d built her up to be. I wasn’t sure I could handle the disappointment if she was anything less.
I tilted my head to the left as she walked from the kitchen with a pot of coffee. I didn’t want to lose sight of her. Even in that shitty uniform, she was gorgeous. The first time I saw her, I thought she was hot. Then again, every girl I fucked was hot. But this girl was something else. She was beautiful, and there hadn’t ever been much of anything in my life you could call beautiful.
Her blonde hair was tied back in one of those messy knots that she always wore to work. Loose, I knew it was long, thick, and curly at the ends. I was getting hard as I imagined her straddling me, that hair cascading down as I fisted my hands into it. Jesus, now I was standing on a street corner at 6.30am with a hard-on. It was official. I was definitely a creeper.
Just then, Danny said something funny, and they shared a laugh. Danny was an old man, and I was still jealous. What I wouldn’t have given to have her smile like that for me. She blushed as she glanced around with those beautiful blue eyes, suddenly self-conscious that someone might have seen her laughing. She never did anything to draw attention to herself, which made her the complete opposite of pretty much every girl I’d ever met. Even from here, I could tell she didn’t have any makeup on, but she didn’t need it. Her skin was flawless, and her plump, pale, pink lips were edible. I was sure a good kiss would darken them up. If I had my way, I’d find out soon enough. Her cheekbones were a little hollow, which wasn’t surprising given how tiny she was. I had at least a foot, and over a hundred pounds on this girl, and I realised how uneasy my size might make her. She was nervous and skittish, so I was probably going to scare the shite out of her. There was fuck all I could do about it, though. It’s not like I could have made myself any smaller. Maybe if I waited until she left, then sat down before she came back, I wouldn’t seem so big. Despite her size, she had killer legs that went on for miles, and a little hourglass dip at her waist that made me want to wrap my hands around it as I kissed her.
I shifted my weight to the other foot, willing my erection back down before some arsehole walked by and got the wrong idea. To make matters worse, I was fucking freezing. I’d left my hoodie at the gym, thinking it would help my cause to show off my body. It was pretty much the only thing I had going for me. Instead, I just felt like a fucking eejit, knowing that it was too cold for anyone but a total poser to be walking round in a t-shirt. It was the sort of thing that Kier and I would take the piss over. He’d be laughing his arse off if he could see me now.
I whispered her name as I rolled it around on my tongue. I heard it yesterday when one of the other waitresses called out to her. It suited her. I thought once more about bottling it and heading back to the gym, when she turned and walked towards the kitchen. This was my chance to sit next to Danny before she came back.
Shoving my hands in my pockets, I headed across the street. I had no idea how much my life was going to change from the minute I sat down at that table.
OH, MY GOD, I AM SO LATE! I ran down the street, my heart pounding. The early morning commuters trying to make it into the office were oblivious to my plight as I dodged in and out of people. My thin summer shoes offered nearly no protection against the bitter bite of the frosty morning. By the time I opened the back door to Daisy’s Cafe, my teeth were chattering and my fingers were stiff with what I was sure was the onset of frostbite. I had no idea what I was going to do when winter really set in. I was barely scraping together enough money for rent and food, let alone having to worry about gloves and a winter coat.
“Mornin’, Em.” Mike, the owner, smiled as he turned the bacon over in the pan. For the last few weeks, I’d been pulling extra shifts at the cafe, and then studying when I got home. I thought I could handle it, but after waking up at my desk half an hour ago, I knew I was wrong. I wasn’t surprised that Mike didn’t seem mad. I’d never been late for a shift before, and more often than not, I was the last to leave. Daisy’s had heating, after all. Heating and company. Two of the things I was in need of most at the moment.
“Sorry I’m late,” I mumbled to Mike. I avoided making eye contact and raced to hang up my coat and tie my apron. Tapping down the pocket, I made sure I had my pad and pencil, and quickly scraped my hair back with one of the elastics kept permanently around my wrist. Wrestling it into a messy bun, I weaved through the kitchen and grabbed a pot of coffee. I passed Rhona who’d been at Daisy’s since the doors first opened.
“Slow down, love,” she said with a warm smile. “You just need to do the refills and take the order for table two.”
She breezed into the kitchen without waiting for a reply. Daisy’s was one of the only cafes around that offered unlimited tea and coffee refills with a meal, which meant the place was usually packed for breakfast. After running around topping up coffees, I said hello to Danny as he sat down at his usual table. We chatted for a bit and, promising him a fresh pot, I headed to the kitchen to pass Mike the order for table two. As I walked back out, I froze. Sitting next to Danny, and glancing at me over the menu, was hands down the hottest guy I had ever seen. His nose had a slight crook in it, which made me think it was once broken, but that was the only flaw in his otherwise perfect face. Razor-sharp cheekbones, tanned skin, and dark hair added to the beauty that seemed completely at odds with his stature. If it weren’t for the broken nose, he could be a model, but I knew that whatever this man did was dangerous, because everything about him exuded violence. I had no idea who he was, and the fact that he was sitting with Danny should have eased me, but it didn’t. My internal alarm was going off big time. From the set of his shoulders, to the sheer size of him, he looked like nothing but trouble. Whoever he was, it looked like Danny was raking him over the coals about something.
Danny was a small, wiry man, who couldn’t have been much younger than seventy-five. The deep grooves in his face and leathery skin spoke of hard living, but he was no frail pensioner. Mike was twice the size of Danny, but even he was a little bit scared of him. From my very first shift at Daisy’s, he’d strolled through the door a few minutes past opening, plonked himself in an empty booth in my section, and beckoned me over – which soon became our morning ritual. But that first day was different; I’d been absolutely petrified of everything and everyone. Most regulars had gravitated toward the other girls’ sections, wary of the new girl messing up their order. Danny had no such compunctions, though. He’d sat straight down and called out, “Hey, sunshine, come and get me a cuppa coffee. I don’t bite.”
Shaking like a leaf, I filled his cup, and by sheer force of will, avoided spilling the scalding liquid all over his lap. If he noticed my nerves, he’d never said anything. He rattled off his order then unfolded a crisp, clean newspaper, and read silently until I brought out his breakfast. When he was finished, I removed his plate and refilled his coffee.
“Thank you, sunshine,” he said, without smiling and without looking up from his paper.
Things went on that way for a few weeks, and when I finally stopped shaking, he spoke to me. It was never anything too personal, just remarks about the weather, questions about school, and what I thought of my professors. In the beginning, I did my best to find one-word answers, but just over a year later, Danny was the closest thing I had to a friend. I wanted to run and hide in the kitchen. But hiding wouldn’t do me any good, it never did. Ten horrific years of my stepfather, Frank, knocking me around had taught me not to speak unless spoken to and not to make eye contact. Whenever I felt threatened, those were the rules I fell back on.
Moving quickly through the tables, I wiped down a couple, gathered up a few dirty dishes, and after dropping them off at the kitchen, I could procrastinate no further and headed to Danny’s table.
“Two full fried breakfasts please, sunshine,” Danny croaked, with his usual scowl. If he ever did smile at me, I was a little worried that his weather-beaten face might crack. Lowering my eyes, I gave him a small nod but didn’t reply. It was our usual routine, and he was familiar with it. Without asking him, I filled up his coffee cup, and my hands trembled. It had been months since that happened, and I knew if I had to ask Danny’s companion if he’d like coffee, my voice would crack. I turned toward him with the coffeepot in my hand, and my eye caught on the sleeve of his white t-shirt. The biggest bicep that I’d ever seen strained the seams, and beneath, the edge of a tattoo was visible. It looked like a series of intricately woven Celtic designs. From what I could see, the artwork was beautiful.
“O’Connell, do you want coffee or not?” Danny snapped at him. I flinched at the sharpness of his tone, but he did, at least, save me from speaking.