Chapter 1

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I crossed my legs, getting more immersed into the book I was currently reading. I bit my lip trying to hold in the shriek that threatened to escape me. The poor escapee was about to be caught. I felt goosebumps raise on my skin as I was just about to turn the page, but was ripped out of my trance as a steaming cup of hot chocolate was slammed onto the table.

I looked up startled and saw Mrs.Walters giving me a sheepish smile. I felt my irritation at being interrupted fade as soon as it had appeared.
"You've been sitting there all day reading, so I thought I might bring you something to drink." She said, and I thanked her, offering her a small smile as I blew on the hot chocolate to rid it of the steam that rose from it.

"How's Cyrus?" I asked her, her husband a sweet elderly man, had recently been feeling very sick, he hated skipping out on work, but I hadn't seen him at the cafe in a while.

"He's getting better, slowly but surely and I'm fine Raine." She added as I frowned at her sympathetically. She was trying to look strong, but I knew how concerned she was for her husband. Maggie wouldn't look you in the eye if she was lying, and currently her grassy green eyes were darting all around the cafe, everywhere but me.

I reached out to straighten her name tag, Cyrus had new ones made for us very recently, they were outlined chocolate brown like the walls of the cafe, and were beige like all the furniture. He'd been so proud of them, initially he'd wanted ones that looked like little coffee mugs but Maggie wasn't on board with the idea. Apparently she was too cool for cute name tags. She gave me a grateful smile, but like all of her smiles lately, this one wasn't reaching her eyes.

I'd always envied her and Cyrus, the bond they shared was simply beautiful, I always hoped to have that one day. But then again looking at guys nowadays it was highly unlikely I would find someone. I always wanted a real gentleman, someone sweet and sincere, but guys nowadays were nothing like that so perhaps I would just adopt a few cats.

"Not that I mind you being here, but honey shouldn't you be out with friends? After all it is your birthday tomorrow, you're turning 21 and that's a big year." Maggie said to me.
"Maggie you know I don't like going out much. Sophie's been pestering me all month to allow her to throw me a big birthday bash. I'm not gonna do anything big for my birthday. Staying home in my pyjamas, watching movies and eating popcorn sounds like the perfect birthday to me." I said and she shook her head at me about to respond, when the little bell at the door rung signalling a customer had come in. She left to attend to the customer, and I got back to my reading.

I looked up from my book to see the cafe nearly empty, some customers had left their empty mugs loitered on the beige table tops, and some were careless enough to even throw their take away cups on the floors. Some days the dark hardwood floors looked as if our light blue take away cups were purposely put there as decorations, due to how many of them there were.

Glancing outside I was surprised to see it was pitch dark outside, there were so many lamps all over the cafe keeping it dimly lit, that I hadn't even noticed. I quickly gathered my stuff, getting ready to walk home. I set my empty ceramic mug on the countertop beside the trash can, where we had even put a sign asking customers to leave them here, but unfortunately the poor sign went quite ignored. I waved a quick bye to Maggie promising her she would see me tomorrow in time for my shift, before heading out the door into the cold. I'd long learned not to offer to help in the cafe when I wasn't scheduled. Cyrus and Maggie took offers like that more as a comment on how old they were, than a helpful gesture.

The cafe was adorable, but it wasn't located in the safest of areas, especially at night since it was completely isolated. Not that this town really had a high crime rate, but it wasn't smart to take chances. I walked quickly feeling my skin prickle with the feeling of being watched, that was one of the reasons I didn't like the dark. This certain paranoia that I was being watched was unavoidable. I started walking a bit faster once I heard the gravel crunching behind me, my heart rate picking up in fear. I walked at a brisk pace reaching my little apartment in a matter of minutes.

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