Her mornings begin the same way each day. She leaves her apartment at almost exactly six-thirty and walks the five blocks to the Starbucks on 34th. She orders the same thing; a Venti pumpkin spice latte with skim milk and an extra pump of cinnamon and an egg bite. Because it’s early, she often gets the same table in the corner of the café, and faces the small park entrance on Drexel’s campus across the street. Her predictability provides a constant to this chaotic world, like a loyal dog or a favorite blanket. She’s comfortable.
She spends a few moments people-watching, smiling at the strangers toting their children along to daycare and the early morning runners blazing their way down the street. I see her longing when a couple walks by, hand-in-hand, snuggling into one another’s arms. It’s clear she wants something like this for herself. Me too.
She laces her long fingers around her coffee cup and brings it to her nose. Taking a deep breath, she allows the aromas to swarm her sense of smell as a soft smile spreads to the corners of her eyes. The steam dances around her thick black hair, adding a sense of magic and wonder to her already breathtaking appearance. As she gently presses the cup into her strawberry-stained lips, I close my eyes and imagine what it might be like to feel those lips against mine. To have those long fingers wrapped around the back of my neck. This is the best part of my morning.
She perches her Macbook on the table and scrolls through the morning news before diving into her emails. She sets her coffee down, and begins typing furiously on her keyboard, a scowl creasing the soft patch of skin between her eyebrows. Her clients seem so needy, so demanding of her time. I don’t know why a woman like her chose to be an attorney, why she didn’t choose something simpler like a nurse or a teacher. Oh my, could you imagine her in one of those little nursing outfits? My body temperature rises as my blood rushes to my member. I really gotta control these daydreams.
Sabine – not Sabrina as the barista once stupidly wrote – abruptly stands, shuffling her papers quickly into her bag. Her deep green eyes dart around the table to ensure she hasn’t left anything behind. Studying the frown lines on her face, I suddenly feel scared for her. What’s happened? I quickly collect my things, too, taking note of the time on my phone. Nine o’clock! This is the third time this week she’ll be late.
Time with her flows by effortlessly. It’s as though her presence both stops and accelerates time until time becomes nothing more than a maddening concept – just another thing that’s been in our way, until today. Today, our time has finally arrived.
Lunch is a welcome reprieve from the stacks of litigation paperwork piling on my desk. I should keep going, but it will have to wait. I have more pressing things to worry about today.
I leave my office at precisely noon, if not a minute or two over. Consistency is key in these situations. If I leave too soon, he may not have arrived yet and therefore wouldn’t be able to follow me to the café. Not that he wouldn’t be able to find me there. As I said, consistency is key.
He stays behind me today, keeping a safe distance as I make my way to the counter to order a fresh bowl of tomato soup. This, undoubtedly, comforts him. I glance back towards the door, catching a light smile on his lips as I gloss over his face to stare past him.
Oh yes, today will be the day. He has no choice.
Though the crisp September air is beginning to settle in over the city, I decide to make my way to a table outside. It’s my first break from routine in weeks, but it’s my only insurance policy. The Autumnal Equinox Harvest Ceremony demands that each of the Crescent Coven sisters prepare a sacrifice or be stripped of our magic forever. We each have our ways of drawing them to their end, and mine relies on their relentless curiosity and indomitable need for control. Though only a minuscule break from routine, taking a seat outside will amplify his desperation, and his need to keep me close will intensify.
The crisp air bites at his nose as he steps outside the café, a warning he can neither sense nor understand. He takes the table across from mine, taking the seat on the far side so he can face me. He draws a Stephen King novel from his messenger bag, a farce to cover up his incessant staring. The irony is not lost on me.
I take my time with my soup, gently sucking the end of the spoon each time I take a bite. I offer a rogue moan or two to pique his interest that much more.
“Mmmmm,” I moan seductively. “This soup is to die for.”
It’s not a lie, I suppose.
I flash a flirtatious smile before rising to return my bowl and spoon inside the café. When I step back out into the street, he’s gone. At least that’s what he wants me to think. I make a show of looking up and down the street, as if I am disappointed he is no longer there, then begin my journey to the Harvest. Though the rest of my day will violently deviate from routine, he will still follow.
They always do.