Only a few customers enjoyed the service of The Overhead Café on the blustery morning. The regulars who'd have their breakfasts and brunches no matter the weather sat at their tables, their hair and clothes in disarray, steaming plates of fried foods laid out in front of them and offered the promising reassurance of warmth. They shuddered as they clasped mugs of tea and coffee, and Oliver breathed in the familiar scent of freshly brewed Kenyan beans as he crossed the threshold. His board was stowed safely outside, and he'd dried the best he could before entering the establishment, not wanting to leave precarious puddles across the floor which would put the patrons at risk of injury. He swept his fingers through his dark hair, forcing the sodden tresses away from his face, finding it cold to the touch and coarse with salt water. The radio blasted out punk rock which harkened back to his teenage days, and the waitresses mouthed the lyrics as they bussed tables and bobbed their heads in time with the beat.
Of the two, Cassidy appeared the more vibrant. Abigail was certainly more alert than her hungover colleague, but there was a certain impatience in the way she went about her work – a frustration – which told Oliver that she wanted to be anywhere but the café during her last summer break before she started college in September, the precious two years of elective study before university called to her. Cassidy, on the other hand, wore a nostalgic smile and put as much energy as she had into greeting the customers and making Bill proud of her work ethic. There was no doubt in Oliver's mind that she was suffering for her night out; her skin was pale, there were bags beneath her eyes that she'd barely covered with makeup, and she moved with a slow, deliberate pace as if trying to hide any indication of her pounding head and churning stomach. Self-inflicted or not, he couldn't help but feel sorry for her.
'Ollie!' Abigail cried with glee when she noticed him.
She came running to hug him, but Oliver held out a hand to stop her. 'Sorry,' he said quickly, 'but you don't want to smell like sea water.'
The girl pouted, 'You never hug me anymore.'
Oliver didn't have the heart to tell her that the reason lay in the fact that she wasn't a child anymore. Hugging a girl who thought of him as a big brother had been cute when they were young. Now, with Abigail entering womanhood, he was wary of just how creepy he might seem if he kept hugging her. Finn had no problem with it – they were blood relatives, after all – but Oliver knew that it was important to maintain certain boundaries, so Abigail wouldn't get ideas and crushes that he could never hope to reciprocate.
'Sure, I do,' he dismissed the notion. 'I hugged you last time I saw you.'
'Time before that?'
'I don't remember,' Abigail admitted.
'Well, I probably did.' Oliver dropped a hand onto her head and ruffled her hair like she was five. 'Cassidy due a break, yet?'
The sound of the woman's name only served to intensify the sourness on Abigail's face. She folded her arms across her chest and complained, 'Why do people always come looking for her instead of me?'
YOU ARE READING
In the Seventeenth Summer of YouRomance
Cassidy thought she and Oliver would be together forever, but at the end of their sixteenth summer, one traumatic event tore them apart. After almost four years away from Whitstone Bay, the beachside town Cassidy called home, she's back to live with...