The Simple Life
Author: Isabel Rod

Chapter 2
Chance Meeting

Kendall's radio started blasting the day's forecast into the silent morning air. With a loud groan, the lump under the comforter of Ken's bed reached a very human hand out from under to click off the radio. Silence followed and the lump shifted into a sitting position. Kendall's hair stuck out from her head at odd angles, making her look like a lion of sorts. Yawning and stretcing her legs, she left the warm comfort of her bed and stepped onto the carpet that covered her bedroom floor. She stood and the blood rushed from her head, making her dizzy. Kendall stood still for a moment while her vision blurred with black spots dancing in front of her. When her vision cleared she walked to her dresser, her bare feet tickled by the fuzz of the carpet. Yawning again, Ken opened her drawer and slipped on a long-sleeved red shirt with a pair of black skinny jeans, then going into the bathroom to straighten her hair. As she turned on the flat iron, she went into the kitchen and turned on the coffee maker. It started to splutter and cough, spilling out the heavenly brown liquid. Waiting a few minutes, Kendall filled her favorite mug with coffee with a shot of caramel. Sipping it, she smiled lightly as the warm, tasty liquid slowly went through her body. Returning to the bathroom she smelled a burn, acrid scent and rushed into the room. A black mark had appeared on her wood bathroom counter. Picking up the flat iron quickly to get it off the burning wood, she realized a moment too late that she'd grabbed the hot part and dropped the scalding thing with a curse. Kendall's flat iron dropped to the floor and broke agains the tile floor. The plastic on the outside cover cracked off, and the plates sprung from the sides. Looking at her broken flat iron in dismay, she picked it up slowly and threw it away, though she made sure it had cooled down first. After disposing of the broken thing she ran a brush through her hair and used it to put her hair into a tight pony-tail. Applying a dash of blush across her cheeks, a thin line of eyeliner, and some mascara, Ken went to her coffee. She realized that she had much more time than usual, and when this happened, there was only one place she wanted to go.



***



A car ride, lots of stairs, with a full of caramel coffee later, and Kendall sat at the top of the Statue of Liberty, looking out on the world. Leaning back against the wall, she sighed contentedly and closed her eyes. A worn out notebook sat in her lap, a blank page open to her. A black ballpoint pen lay by her thigh, waiting to bleed its ink across the page. What words to make it bleed, though. Since she couldn't think of any lyrics, she turned to her old iPod and switched her music on. Parachute's "Kiss Me Slowly" was playing and she clicked it on, restarting it. Will Anderson's quiet and soothing voice sung into Kendall's ears.



Stay with me, baby stay with me,

Tonight dont leave me alone.




A cool breeze rolled through the empty space and she brought her knees to her chest, attempting to save body heat. The song had reached its chorus by now and Ken mouthed the words along with the singer.



Well I'm not sure what this is gonna be.

But with my eyes closed, all I see,

Is the skyline, through the window




As the song ended, she stood up, shutting down her iPod, and went to the elevator. She had time before work to get a coffee at the cafe before the morning rush started. Reaching the bottom of the statue, she walked to her car, her notebook tucked under her arm and her iPod in her pocket. She unlocked the car and threw her things in and stepped into the vehicle. She started it and pulled out of the lot. When she arrived at the cafe, she knew the doors would be open as Mrs. James always came in early to get everything in perfect order. That was just Mrs. James for you. Going through the glass doors into the warm cafe, Kendall called out, "Mrs. James, I'm here!"

From the back she heard a grunt of acknowledgment and grinned. Going to the employee coffee machine, she poured herself a cup of coffee, and then went to the front of the store to drizzle caramel into it. She brought the warm beverage to her lips, sipping it slowly. Burning her tongue was something Kendall hated, especially the after-effects. She read one of the newspapers, lazily scanning the comics. Five minutes passed and looked up at the clock to see that it was opening time. Going into the back room, she threw an apron over her head and went to stand behind the counter to wait for the first customers. Kendall was the best at morning rush because she could easily soothe a customer if need be. As the usual morning people came in, Kendall slipped into business mode, easily making the needed orders and giving them to the customers before any of them could get too fussy. A college boy with dark brown hair, tanned skin, and striking blue eyes winked at her and handed her a tip with his number on a napkin, the name Josh scrawled on its surface. Kendall smiled politely and put the number on the counter behind her, paying it no attention. The attractive guy had radiated "player" and Ken didn't feel like getting into a whole mess of unnecassary drama. Once the morning rush had ended and the cafe quieted down, Kendall sat down and watched life pass by outside. She saw a dove land on the sidewalk in front of the door, cooing quietly before a small child chased it away, squealing and shrieking like a banshee.

Kendall's thoughts trailed and she heard the door open to the cafe. A moment later, a sharp rapping of knuckles on the counter startled her out of her thoughts. Standing up, she moved behind the register and smiled at the customer. It was a man with dark hair and dark eyes. He looked very familiar. He was handsome, in a way. His clothes suggested that he was somewhat wealthy, but not overly so. Across his jaw was a light stubble. The next thing Kendall noticed was his mouth; it was twisted into a slight scowl. Looking him over again, something in her brain clicked and she resisted the urge to smack her forehead. This was the man who had been in the car accident...that Ken had caused. Yesterday.

She cleared her throat. It seemed loud in the awkward silence that followed her recognition of him. A moment passed before he smirked arrogantly.

"Aren't you supposed to take my order?" He asked, somewhat snidely. Kendall flushed in embarassment before she stuttered out.

"I'm sorry, sir." Putting on an overly bright, fake smile to cover her discomfort, she added politely in an only slightly strained voice, "Welcome to La Rouge Cafe, how may I help you today?"

"Just a medium roast coffee. Black." Dismissively, he handed her a few bills over the counter and turned away as she went to get his drink. She imagined she could feel his weighted gaze burning into the back of her skull, but every time she dared a peek, he was starting out the door looking cold and distant. When she got the coffee, she slid it across the counter.

"Thank you for stopping at La Rouge Cafe, come again!" She said before she turned to the counter behind her, wiping down the counter that was already spick and span thanks to Mrs. James. Kendall heard him cross the room before he opened the door and left. When the door closed behind him, she let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding and put down the washrag. Turning around and leaning her lower back against the counter, she looked around at the mostly empty cafe and said quietly, "Well...that was interesting."

 

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