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Chapter 6

We looked at each other and laughed. Then, we all looked simultaneously at the bar, but there was no one there. Only that waiter was a little further at a table, and he was taking an order. He didn’t seem to know anything.

“Hmm, some extra attention for you,” Emma said, smiling at me.

“We have been coming here for so long, and they didn’t offer us a single cookie. Not even to share one. And you at once! Is your first time here in the cafeteria and you already have had your treat,” Nancy said.

Emma and Nancy haven’t said this with malice or jealousy. They were teasing me. I was able to see it in their faces. They were smiling from the heart, and their faces were crystal clear of any negative feeling.

I was fooled in the past by Portia, but back then, I was young and naive and stupid and foolish and idiot and credulous and a lot more…

I thought, wrong, unfortunately, that Portia was a real friend. But I loved her! I didn’t suspect for a minute that she wanted to harm me. Like me, I would never act in bad faith to Portia. But I was fooled by her. And now, the suffering has become a lesson. Also, as the years passed, I have grown up. I have matured. Now I can realize two things about myself. I was no longer the naive little girl who didn’t believe that there was no evil in the world. I have come out of my pink bubble now, and second, I am a strong, independent woman who isn’t scared of anything.

“Do you have a pen?” I asked the girls looking at them when the one and when the other.

“I think I have one,” Emma said, searching in her bag.

“I found it!” She said triumphantly and lifted it as a trophy. She handed it over to me.

“What will you write?” She asked me curiously.

“Don’t think anything shocking! I will say thanks. I only want to be polite.”

“Yes, tell thank you,” Emma said, “And add: I will be waiting for you, in the corner,” Emma said in a whisper and in a fake sensual way to make them understand that she was joking.

We laughed. Her style, and generally the way she said it, was very comical.

“Oh, crazy girl, shame on you,” Nancy said. She was still laughing and blushed all over her face.

“Okay, then. Don’t write it,” Emma said, pretending to be offended.

She was playing a role. Very successful indeed!

She has already known that I could ever write such a thing, especially to an unknown person.

Finally, I wrote: “Thank you very much! The coffee was lovely!” WE left the bill with the money on the table and tips also. On the way to the office, we were teasing each other and laughing.

I had the most wonderful time during the lunch break I ever had.

    

{•••}

I had decided it, and nothing made me change my mind. After work, I went to the supermarket for that caramel coffee.

I arrived and parked below the supermarket. My heart was pounding so hard! Millions of butterflies flew in my stomach. I felt my throat getting dry. I grabbed my bottle of water and took a sip. I noticed that my hands were shaking slightly. Also, my handfuls were sweaty, and I wiped them on my pants.

I took my bag and got out of the car. I locked it and moved on. Oh! Is the earth trembling or my feet? I could not tell!

Nevertheless, I proceeded with almost steady steps. The heels I wore did not help the situation at all.

I reached the steps, looked inside, but no one was there. I went up and took a deep breath. I entered and walked down the corridor with the coffees. At that moment, I saw the blonde woman coming out of the aisle with cereals and other similar products.

“Hello! Welcome!” the woman told me with a broad smile.

“Hello, you too. How are you today?” I said, stunned. I didn’t expect such a warm welcome and didn’t know how to react.

“I am good! Thanks for asking. And you?” the woman replied with the smile always there.

“I am fine. Thanks.” I replied.

“What would you like? Can I help you?” The woman asked me.

“Yes. Do you have caramel coffee?”

“But of course, and we have. Let me show you.” She went ahead, and I snatched the opportunity to check the place. I pricked up my ears for some noise, but nothing. No one else seemed to be there. I was disappointed.

“Here is the place we keep caramel coffees. You can choose whichever you like. Take your time.” The woman told me and left hurriedly and went to the cash desk. I heard her pressing the buttons on the cordless phone and after just a whisper. I couldn’t understand what she was saying.

I read carefully at the labels on the coffees and chose the one I liked best. “I hope I like that one. I haven’t tried such a kind of coffee before.” I thought.

I headed to the cash desk and saw the woman hang up the phone hastily.

I gave her the coffee, and the woman passed it through the machine.

“5.65,” She told me, and I took out my wallet and gave her the exact amount. It was an opportunity to get rid of my coins.

“Would you like to make a bonus card? We have wonderful gifts,” The woman told me and began to explain to me what kind of gifts were. “Or else when you collect some points you will be able to buy products for 10 pounds or even 20 pounds. It depends on the number of points you will collect. Every pound is a point. And after all, you live somewhere around here, and you will come here often. Why don’t you take advantage? And it’s a good time now. There are no other customers to interrupt us. What do you think?”

I thought about it. Why not? “Okay. Let’s do it.”

“Very nice. You have to give me some of your personal information.”

“Yes, of course.”

“Let’s get started then. What is your full name?”

“Marianne Williams.”

The woman was listening to me and filling in the information on the computer.

“Can you tell me your phone number too? With the phone number, the computer system will find you every time you shop from here.”

“Okay. My number is 07581…”

The woman’s hands were running on the computer keyboard.

“Address?”

“Oh! I don’t know my address. Is it the address that important for the process?” 

“No. We can continue without it. Don’t worry.”

Marianne was looking at the woman’s fingers moving through the computer keyboard’s buttons so fast. It was impressive!

“That it! I finished. Your card will be ready in three to four days.”

“Thank you so much. I will wait. It is time to go now. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.”

I took the bag with the coffee and left.

{•••}

Eric was driving and thinking about her. Since last night, he was unable to get her out of his mind. At work, he made mistakes which had never made them before. Of course, his boss wasn’t happy with him.

The traffic light turned red and stopped at the line of cars.

Suddenly, he felt some eyes nailed at him and turned his head to look. He saw her behind the window, sitting over there. It was a pleasant surprise that upset him sweetly. She had stacked in his head, and now there she was, only a few steps away. So beautiful! He felt an invincible desire to go near her, but two things stopped him. Firstly, she was with her friends, and secondly, he had to catch up with the bank before it closed. His boss would not forgive him that mistake either.

At the bank, he stood in the queue and took the opportunity to call his mother.

“Yes, my boy.” He heard her talking to him in sweetness.

“Mrs. Sophie, I have a mission for you,” he said and heard her exhale nervously.

“I have told you a million times not to call me that. I AM YOUR MOTHER!”

“All right. Mother!”

“Now is better. Do you see it? It is not that difficult. What did you say you had for me?”

“A mission.”

“Oh, my Lord! Here we go again. I’m your mother and no James Bond.” She answered him, and Eric laughed.

“Calm down, mother. It is not skydiving.”

“Thank God. Tell me. What do you want me to do?”

“Okay, listen. Do you remember that red-haired girl who crashed on me yesterday afternoon? Who had carried all those bags and… »

“Yes! I remember now. That beautiful girl!? With a haircut up to the shoulder. Red-haired.”

“Yes. Her.”

“What should I do?”

“When she comes again to the supermarket, tell her about the bonus card we have. In that way, she will need to give you her personal information. I definitely want her name and phone number.”

“Okay, my boy. As you wish, goodbye now, customers have come in.”

“Goodbye, mother, and good luck.”

He hung up the phone and smiled.

In the afternoon, his mother was calling him. He answered immediately.

“Yes, mother.  Anything happened?”

“My boy?” She was whispering. “Just to know, she is here now.”

His mother’s words took his breath away. “The girl;”

“Yes”

“Fine. Do as we said, okay?”

“Okay, my boy. I will do my best.”

Only when he hung up, he realized that his heart was pounding in his chest.

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