Chapter Two

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Three days was all it took for me to totally forget Holden.

Big loss, apparently.

On Monday morning, I rolled out of bed at seven in the morning; it was already terribly hot and humid, and the sun was calmly climbing up into the sky .My sweaty tank top was practically glued to my skin. Yummy.

Sighing, I yanked the article over my head and stumbled toward my closet. A pink collared shirt and a jean skirt. Red hair in a high ponytail. Contacts. Black-and-pink flip-flops (so unprofessional). Breakfast of a granola bar and a yogurt, and a yelled, "Bye Mom, Dad!"

"Wait, Mattie!" Mom hurried down the steps and frowned at me, "The bookshop doesn't open 'til ten, sweetie." She reminded.

As if I could forget. The hours and numbers were punched in mind perhaps permanently, never to be removed again. I looked up at her.

My mom had red hair, too, but hers was frizzy and lion-like in a girlishly beautiful way. Her oval face was forever young, studded with brilliant blue eyes and her lips in a curled, always-smiling look. Dad called her Anna, but I'd heard people around town call her Belle, a nickname for Annabelle.

"Morning, Mom." I answered, slinging my purse over my shoulder. I shuffled through it to make sure everything was in there. "I'm heading to Starbucks."

Mom sighed and wrapped her hair cleanly into a puffy ponytail. "You could make yourself breakfast here, Matt. And I'd really prefer it if you didn't drink so much caffeine."

I bit my lip; I could have stated that caffeine was a million times better than alcohol, but I let it go.

I didn't like coffee much, anyway, but if I said that, she'd wonder why I'd bother with Starbucks. If I stated that I liked it, she'd continue with the 'too much caffeine does this-and-this-and-this' lecture.

Truthfully, I liked Starbucks as an escape for my writing. It wasn't the blue walls of my room and it wasn't in the car with Katie and it wasn't Campton.

It was a memory and it was the future. It was giggly girls, free wifi, strawberry lemonade, Tony Martinez, and fingers on a keyboard. It was a one-way trip to the dream of getting out of this town. And suceeding.

I shrugged a backpack containing my laptop onto my shoulders and stated, "I go there to write, really. Get a glimpse of fresh air. Stalk other people's orders...normal stuff."

Mom shook her head and rolled her eyes, but she didn't bar me from walking out the door. "Be at the shop at ten." She warned.

"Sure." I stated, slipping out into the blazing sun, which seemed to serve one goal; murder Mattie's milk-white skin complexion. Tanning my skin was an impossibility; I was a fair-skinned child and always would be.

When I got to Starbucks, I was glad to see that Tony Martinez was at the counter. Tony was twenty-one, two years older than me, and attended a University in South Carolina. He was Italian, with dark hair and eyes with a charming personality to match. He was serving up two lattes when I walked in, and laughing with his customers. Typical Tony.

I waved a little, and Tony grinned back at me. "Matt!" He greeted cheerily. "What'll it be for you?"

"Strawberry lemonade."

Tony rang up the order and flashed me a white-toothed grin, "Forever Mattie." He teased.

"Variability isn't  my thing." I shot back as I pulled my computer out of my bag and sat down at the table in the corner. Across the street, Gaston was mopping the floor of his tiny cafe in a slow, rhymatic motion. He caught my eye and waved with a sad sort of smile. I raised my hand in response. He didn't want pity, but it was something I couldn't help but feel whenever I encountered Gaston.

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