As she walked towards the exit of her favorite coffee shop, she glanced down at her cup. “You’re beautiful” was written in place of her name. She glanced back, and their eyes met.
She’d been going to that exact coffee shop since the since the start of classes in September, but she had never noticed him until about a month ago. His name was Ethan and everyday he’d greet her with a smile that she never returned. She was distant towards him despite his best efforts to get her to smile. She remembered the one sided conversation he’d had with her yesterday.
“Hot chocolate with pumpkin spice and marshmallows for Sophie,” he called out.
She walked towards the counter struggling to balance the numerous books in her arms and grabbed the steamy cup.”
“Thank you,” she said as she noticed his irresistibly handsome smile.
“You’re welcome. I put extra marshmallows in there for you,” he added.
She looked at him blankly and replied, “Thank you.” She walked over to a table to sit. Her class didn’t start until another hour or so and she wanted to get some studying done.
Fifteen minutes into studying, he came over to her table and brought some napkins although there was a napkin dispenser on the table. She gave him a tight smile and resumed reading her chapter.
“You must really like hot chocolate,” he said gesturing towards her now empty cup.
“It keeps me warm and I don’t like coffee,” she replied not glancing up from her book.
“I think you’re the only person who doesn’t come here for coffee,” he said with a chuckle. She finally glanced up to see his grey eyes sparkle and instantly regretted it. They were beautiful. A strand of his messy brown hair fell on his face and she almost lifted her hand to brush it away. Almost. Back to her book she went.
He shifted his feet, unsure of what to say next. After a few more seconds he said, “So what are you studying?”
She wondered why he was wasting his time talking to her. Didn’t he have better things to do? Like make people’s coffee? But a quick glance around the shop indicated that today was a slow day. Besides her, there were only three other people present.
“I’m learning about dissociative identity disorder. I have a test coming up in my adult psychopathology class.”
“Oh, that seems really interesting. Is that the one where people have all those different personalities?”
She looked up from her book, surprised he knew what she was talking about and shook her head yes.
“I took a psychology class or two when I was in undergrad.”
She chose not to reply and he eventually got the hint.
“Well, I’ll leave you to it. Let me know if you need anything.”
A blaring horn brought her back to the frigid cold air surrounding her and she quickly walked across the street and got into her car. Those two words were stuck in her mind; you’re beautiful. Did that mean he liked her? Did she want him to like her? Well, it would only end badly for both of them. There was no point in encouraging him. She heavily sighed. Why was the universe so cruel? She started to feel stressed and thought about baking. It was her ultimate stress reliever. Plus, it was time to get into the holiday spirit. November had just ended and now the Christmas vibe was in the air. Once she made it home, she took off her snow covered boots at the door and hung her jacket up. She then took off her hat and shook the mass of curls that perfectly framed her small face. She decided to put on some music to take away the somber mood and instantly smiled once she heard Silver Bells. It was her favorite Christmas song. She remembered her parents playing it every Christmas and she and her sister would complain all the time. But now, looking back on those memories, she really missed the family gatherings and not being so alone. Her family was in Atlanta and she’d decided to go to the University of Chicago.
She shook off her thoughts and headed towards the kitchen. What would she be making tonight? A cheesecake? Muffins? Then she decided on chocolate chip cookies. With a smile she took out the flour, eggs, and brown sugar. She searched for the chocolate chips, but realized in frustration that she had run out. She and her best friend Simone had made some cookies for the church fundraiser last week and she’d never gone back to the store to buy more. Well, at least I can get something for dinner too, she thought to herself. She went back to the closet to put on her coat and gloves and slipped her boots back on. Once she made it to the store, she grabbed the chocolate chips from the baking aisle along with some hot pockets and a bag of chips. College life was hard on the pockets. She got in line and saw a familiar mass of hair in front of her. It couldn’t be. As soon as she had the thought, he turned around and smiled once he saw her.
“Hey! Sophie, right?”
“Yeah,” she replied slowly. “Hi.”
He moved his hair to the side and put some of his groceries on the conveyer belt to get rung up.
“Getting a late night snack,” he asked looking at her food selections.
“I was making cookies. Then I forgot that I ran out of chocolate chips.”
“So you like baking,” he asked placing the last of his items on the conveyer belt.
“It helps me when I’m stressed.”
He paid for his items and paused before walking away.
“I hope I didn’t offend you earlier, you know? With the cup.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. He thought she was offended? I really need to work on my body language, she thought to herself.
“No, it was sweet,” she started.
“But I’m just not trying to get into anything right now,” she said in the nicest way she could. “I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s okay,” he said with a hint of sadness. “But it doesn’t negate what I said though. You are beautiful.”
He then walked away and she felt an inkling of a smile creep on her face. He seemed like such a nice person. The type of guy a girl could be happy with, but there was just too much of a risk. She didn’t want to be the reason for everything going wrong. After she paid for her items, she once again went into the cold air and quickly walked to her car. She turned the ignition over and it stalled. She frowned in confusion and tried again, but it made the same noise. She didn’t know the first thing about how to fix a car or how to even recognize if something was wrong with it. She now regretted not paying attention to what her father tried to teach her when she lived at home with him.
Suddenly, bright lights lit up her car and she saw someone getting out of their car. She instantly reached for her pepper spray. Although she didn’t know anything about cars, she knew how to defend herself. A head peeked down by her window and she realized it was Ethan. She sighed in relief, but then wondered why he was still here since he had left before her. She rolled her window down and instantly regretted it. The snow was coming down a lot harder than it had when she’d entered the store.
“Is everything okay? It sounds like your car is giving you some trouble.”
His voice was so calming and masculine. And those grey eyes still sparkled even though it was nighttime. She thought about if she should tell him what was going on. He was a stranger after all and she only knew him from the coffee shop. But then she looked past him and the still falling snow and decided to take her chances.
“I’m not sure what’s going on. Every time I try to turn the ignition, it makes this noise,” she said as she tried starting her car again.
“Pop your hood for me,” he said rubbing his hands together. He looked at the engine for a while and came back to her window.”
“Seems like you might have a problem with your starter,” he said. She looked at his flushed cheeks and felt bad for allowing him to stand out in the cold.
“Do you want to get in,” she asked.
He shrugged his shoulders and walked around to the passenger side. Once he got in she was mesmerized by his scent. She tried to remember what it was called because she had smelled it before and loved it.
“So your starter isn’t working. That’s why you’re hearing that weird noise.”
“She snapped back to their conversation and asked, “Is that something you can help me with? Like those cable things you hook up to another car?”
He chuckled and said, “No, those are called jumper cables and you only use those if your battery is dead.”
“Oh,” she said feeling silly. “So what am I going to do?”
“Well, it’s kind of late and I’m sure all the auto shops are closed. You may have to get it towed tomorrow to wherever you’re going to get it fixed.”
Sophie sighed in frustration and said, “All I wanted to do was make some cookies!”
Ethan looked a little uncomfortable for a second and then said, “I could give you a ride home if you like?”
“No, that’s okay. I’ll just call an Uber.”
“Are you sure? You might want to save your money for the tow and getting your car fixed. I’m a pretty decent guy. I’m not like a serial killer or anything,” he joked.
“Isn’t that what all the serial killers say,” she asked sarcastically.
“If I was a serial killer, I think I would have killed you by now. I mean, you are alone in the dark,” he said with a smile.
“Well, you have a point, Mr. Serial Killer,” she said laughing.
Ethan was surprised he had gotten her to laugh. She seemed so serious every time she came for her hot cocoa.
“I suppose I’ll take my chances and allow you to take me home. But just because I’m conceding doesn’t mean I’m not still keeping an eye on you,” she said with a smirk.
“Dully noted,” Ethan replied. “I’ll grab your bags for you,” he said reaching for them on the floor. She grabbed her keys and purse and followed him to his already heated car. She put on her seatbelt and he turned the radio on. Here As In Heaven by Elevation Worship began playing in the speakers and she was surprised.
“You listen to Elevation Worship?”
“Yeah, I love their music. Actually, our praise team at church sings a couple of their songs during services.”
So he went to church. That was interesting to know.
“How long have you been in church?” she asked.
“Pretty much all of my life. I grew up in church and then I had a bit of a falling out with my beliefs after graduating high school. I think it was part me trying to find myself apart from my relationship with God, but clearly it was a huge mistake,” he said reflecting on his past.
“Hey, how do I get to your house,” he asked as they neared the intersection.
“Oh, I’m literally only ten minutes away. Just turn right up here and keep going down until you reach Atlas St.”
“Okay,” he replied as he made the turn. “So what about you?”
“What about me?”
“Do you go to church?”
“Which one,” he said ignoring her evasiveness.
“Solid Rock UPC on Grayson St.”
“Oh really? Pastor Harper, right,” he asked.
“Yeah,” she replied slowly. How did you..”
“That’s where I used to go before my family moved on the east side. Now I go to Apostolic Faith Missionary Church.”
“I know of it. My family went there because of some convention that was taking place a while ago when I was young.”
“It’s crazy that we’re a part of the same denomination,” Ethan said in amazement. “I guess I should have known you were Apostolic since I see you wearing skirts and dresses all the time.”
Sophie raised her eyes in shock and he said, “You come into the coffee shop everyday, remember?”
She calmed down and inwardly scolded herself. Get it together girl. They were beginning to near her house and she felt an awkwardness take over.
“It’s the third one down on the right,” she said as they got closer. Once they arrived, he put the car in park and turned towards her.
“I’m really sorry about your car, but if you want, I know a few people who work on cars for a pretty decent price.”
“I appreciate that, but you can’t help me.”
He looked at her in confusion and asked, “Why?”
“Well, in order for me to utilize your help, I think I need your number.”
He was shocked at her sudden boldness, but reached for her phone in the cupholder. He saved his number and smiled at her.
“So how did I do for a serial killer,” he asked smugly.
“Well, I’m still alive, so that counts for something I guess.”
It was now really quiet with only sound being the wind carrying the snow around in flurries. He moved his hair out of his face and she quickly turned away. There was something about him that was intriguing. Something intriguing enough to make her second guess her decision to keep people out, to keep relationships far off of her radar. Was he worth it, or was this just a waste of time?
He suddenly took her hand, kissed it, and said, “Have a good night, Sophie.”
I hope you guys enjoyed this quick little story! I’m thinking of adding on to it some more. This was my first time using a writing prompt and I have some good ideas on what I should add to it. But I know you guys are ready to enter the GIVEAWAY so here’s the question:
*What do you think Sophie’s secret is? What’s holding her back from starting something new with Ethan? Answer in the comments below and don’t forget to follow the other rules of the contest:
1. You must be a follower of my blog via email or through WordPress
2. You must like the post that will be posted the day of the contest (Thursday)
3. There will be a question posed at the end of each post and you must answer in the comments to be considered and leave your email address.
4. Lastly, share my blog. At the end of each post, there’s a share button that can link to your social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter.
And that’s it! The winner will be selected on Saturday through email and the prize will be mailed out the same day 🙂 Good luck!