Chapter 8

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A/N: Do you like the image in the multimedia section (to the top of the chapter)? It's animated/moving, but if you can't see that, click on the link in the comments :)

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The drumming outside was what had woke me up today. Even before I'd pushed away the persiennes to look out the window, I'd known that it would be pouring down as if all the Angels in Heaven had chosen this day to lament their former comrades going mad and turning against God only to fall. I must have been still half asleep to think of such supernatural nonsense. There were no such things as Gods, or Angels, or Devils, or ghost, or vampires; in my opinion, you had the same chance to meet one of them as you had to shake hands with the Tooth Fairy.

Unfortunately, the heavy torrent had not ceased hours later, while I was getting ready for work. As a result, I'd called myself a cab. But even though I'd used an umbrella before and after getting out of the yellow vehicle, the dampness and the wind outside had managed to completely ruin my hair and that on a day as important as this one; the day I planned to ask Rhys out.

There was a chance he wouldn't even come. It was Tuesday but the weather outside had discouraged many from venturing to places they were not obligated to be; unless they had to go somewhere compulsory like at their a work place or school, the majority of people wouldn't step out of their homes. But if Rhys did come today, in these most horrid of conditions, then I would feel slightly more optimistic about him gracing me with a positive reply. My conversation with Keri the day before was what had made me build up the courage to take this step. Well, it was what had helped me build up some courage; I was still nervous as Hell.

"Rhys," I began silently practicing, picturing him sitting in front of me. "Want to go watch a movie?" No, that sounded too casual. I had to say date; I didn't want there to be any doubt that I was asking him out as more than a friend. I pulled on the hem of my long-sleeved shirt and tried again. "Rhys Flemings, would you go out on a date with me?" I imagined asking him, but I now sounded too formal. I definitely needed to rehearse more before he got to the Milk & Cream. "Rhys, wanna go out with me, watch a movie, have dinner and then sex and stuff?"

I groaned aloud and bent in two, slamming my forehead on the polished surface of the bar. Sex and stuff; that was just so romantic!

"Riley, are you okay?" A hand fell on my shoulder and I straitened up to look at him. Tim's face was the perfect picture of brotherly solicitude. Not that I would know much about that after the way my real brother had treated me.

"I'm just..." I sighed and rested my back on the wall behind me, letting his hand slip off my shoulder. "Tim, how did you ask Winnie out?"

"I didn't have to," he replied, leaning on the bar. "It happened about a week or two after she began working here," he started to narrate in his naturally deep voice. I'd always liked his timbre, it was very soothing. Even today, when my stomach was twisted with nerves, he managed to take a tad of the tension off me simply by speaking. "There was a client, sitting alone on that table," he pointed to one of the tables next to the windows. "He was one of those clients that always found something to complain about."

"Like John?" I suggested, remembering the few occasions I'd met with Winnie's brother-in-law and Tim gave me a nod.

"Like John. Winnie was serving him and he was giving her a hard time. Or at least he was trying to because you know how Winnie gets when someone treats her that way." He smiled, pride in his eyes, before he went on. "He started verbally assaulting her so I went to them, ready to step in, but before I got the chance to even open my mouth, Winnie opened hers. Not five minutes later, the guy was apologizing as if there was no tomorrow and left, giving her a hefty tip. She put the money in her pocket, turned to me, looked at me from head to toe and said: 'You were going to stand up for me and that's sweet; you let me handle myself and that means you have common sense. You can pick me up Friday at eight; I'll write you the address.' And that's how I started dating Winnie."

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