Chapter Two- Men may know many things by seeing; but no prophet can see before the event, nor what end waits for him.
I was sitting in The Breakfast Club once again, pondering over a new hard drive update that I was considering. Talya had just started her break when I heard her footsteps stop at the door. She was silent for a long moment until I heard her start back inside. She eventually came to stop beside me. I shot a smile across the table where she sat down.
“ You’re always by yourself. Don’t you have anyone else, Mercedes?” She asked me.
I felt a small pang of…something at her words. Something sad, I think. Probably just indigestion. I smiled brightly at her simple, almost innocent question.
“Of course I do. I have my brother.”
She snorted, and I had to chuckle a little myself. Mercy was certainly not a people person.
“You know what I mean. Friends. People to just spend time with. People who don’t talk to you like you’re five and incapable of thoughts of your own.” Talya laughed lightly with that lovely voice she had.
It was a very insightful thing to say, really. Far more so than I had expected from her. It made me wonder what sort of career she had before working in this small little coffee shop. Sometimes I wondered what it would be like to not be a part of the Mortiferi. To be…somewhat normal. Sometimes, though I would never say it out loud, I wondered what it would be like to be able to see. To be like Mercy, and to experience things that everyone else took for granted every day. What would it be like to see a painting in the Louvre or the sunset over the ocean?
“Of course, I do. I have a cat. She doesn’t talk at all.”
The bell dinged merrily as two sets of footsteps bustled in out of the light drizzle. It always seemed to be raining in London.
“Hey, Talya! Are you on break already?”
I could almost feel Talya’s whole demeanor perk and I have to admit, it irked me somewhat. Merceilious was such an egoist that I wonder if he ever changed like that just from a person’s presence. I wonder if anyone would ever light up that way for me.
“Hey guys! Oh, Mercedes, this is Nathaniel and Shaun. Guys, this is Mercedes De Luca.” Talya said happily, not wanting to leave her new friend out of the conversation.
Shaun, I learned almost instantly, was the bigger of the two. Nathaniel was the smaller, more soft spoken one. I suddenly felt some displaced air that confused me.
“Put ‘er there! Any friend of Talya’s is a friend of mine.” Shaun said in his good old boy voice.
I half expected him to be wearing a cowboy hat and going around saying odd things like “partner” and “howdy”. I frowned, confused at his strange words.
“Put what where?”
There was an awkward pause before Talya took my hand and put it in what I assumed was Shaun’s own lightly. He shook my hand, his figure emanating confusion. I gave a small smile but it wasn’t a happy one. He stilled momentarily when he saw my eyes. Talya and Nathaniel started out the door, heading to the nearest convenience store for a fag. Apparently, Shaun found me interesting because he stayed behind, watching me over the table. Once the door shut, the bell signaling it’s closure, he addressed me.
“Hey, I apologize for that. You know…” He began, embarrassed.
I gave him a nod and an understanding grin.
“It’s okay. I’m used to it. It happens all the time.”
He seemed to give me a nod in return before realizing I couldn’t see it and humming.
“So…how do you know Talya?”
My hand found my suddenly vibrating Blackberry and the word-to-voice program announced that I had a message from my brother. I ignored it.
“I met her on her first day working here. This is my favorite shop, you see. I come here all the time.”
“And you don’t have any…designs on her?”
I couldn’t keep the look of surprise and shock off of my face. That was direct. Shaun was apparently a very blunt and direct person, but I was beginning to see that his heart was in the right place. He seemed very protective of Talya, but not in an obnoxious boyfriend way. More like in an older brother fashion.
“Er…no, I don’t have ‘designs’ on anyone.” What kind of a question was that to ask a perfect stranger? “She’s nice and I like Talya but I don’t fancy her. She’s not exactly my type.” I chuckled, starting to unfold my cane from where it lay in my bag next to me.
Shaun was pleased by this and it showed in his tone. His next words were interested, as if I were some sort of unique commodity. It was flattering that someone was taking interest in me, though embarassing.
“So do you come here often? I think I’ve seen you here a few times.”
“Pretty often. I like the quiet and Laurence is a good friend.” I told him, turning at the smell of Laurence’s evening cinnamon rolls.
He always made an extra batch in the afternoons for the children stopping by on their way home from school or those who were looking for a snack before heading out. In my opinion, his afternoon rolls were even better than the morning rolls. Wonderfully delicious. They were always a perfect blend of spicy cinnamon, piping hot soft bread and gooey icing all in one mouthwatering appetizer. He brought me one, already knowing I would want it. I ordered one every afternoon I was here. It was my favorite. I gave him a brilliant smile, taking a second for Shaun. I couldn’t eat in front of a guest, after all. I don’t know why I considered him my guest since we weren’t at my home. Maybe because he was one of the only people to ever stay behind to talk to me and didn’t make a single stupid comment about me.
“Thank you. Yeah, I stick around Talya a lot. You know, to keep creeps away. You never know in this place.” I got the distinct impression that there was more to the story than just “creeps”, “I’ll be here tomorrow too. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
I gave him a grin. Were this boys the sort of “friends” Talya had in mind for me? Perhaps he was just being polite. Isn’t that what people did? Being polite simply for the sake of it?
I could still feel his eyes on me as I slipped my roll into a napkin and made my way out of the shop, my cane making it’s ‘tap, tap’ noise as I walked.
~ o ~
I found it a little strange when Mercy was late coming home that night. And then I could hear that stupid idiotic smile in his unusually cheerful voice. It was sickening and I’m sure I would have been much more annoyed if I wasn’t too busy thinking about my own encounter this afternoon. That and the new systems program I had ordered. I ignored him practically spewing rainbows from his butt and sulked my way up to my room. I wasn’t even sure myself why I was feeling so sulky, but I was. Mercy’s happiness was my annoyance. I could hear Helix’s bell from where she lay purring on my bed and I plopped down beside her. I knew from Anette that Helix was pure white. She was my sole companion most of the time, and I adored her. Merceillious despised her. Something about white cat hair all over my black clothes and such. My thoughts turned back to the outgoing Shaun.
I had to give him his props. He sure knew how to grab someone’s attention. He had a voice that was both pleasant and soothing, he kind that forced people to like him, regardless of what they wanted. It was the type of voice that made heads turn in a public place. Perhaps I was so irritable because I hadn’t had the opportunity to make friends in a very long time, no thanks to my protective brother. Sigh. What a waste. Maybe I would go and see the three of them tomorrow. Why not? I was a grown adult, I could make friends as I chose. I started to work on installing my new system but my mind was too full of the things I had missed out on and the potential friends I had made. I would go tomorrow and would not be tell Mercy.
Merceillious would mock me ruthlessly if he ever found out. No matter. It probably wouldn’t pan out anyways. Most people were a little disturbed by my eyes since I refused to wear sunglasses to cover them. They were mine. Why should I have to hide them just because they were different? No one could convince me to hide a part of myself from the world simply because the world didn’t like it. I had never wished to see before. Mercy had helped me realize very young that my blindness could be an advantage, and even though other people couldn’t understand that, that just made them the more blind of all of us. Not to mention there was that whole, “I help to kill people for a living because Fate told me so” thing. I imagine it was a little off putting for normal people. I tended to have visions randomly. I could explain them away in public as seizures but getting close to others was harder. The closer you got, the more friendly you became, the more those people would notice strange behavior. It would be like walking a very thin tight rope, being friends but remaining aloof as well. It was a challenge I was more than ready to attempt.
~ o ~
I walked into the Breakfast Club the next day, somewhat eager to meet them again. I wasn’t used to being around many strangers but I was glad to know that I was able to make friends finally. I’d always been somewhat awkward around others my age, especially since I was tutored at home with only Mercy and the other Mortiferi for company. I didn’t expect them to be there when I arrived but as soon as I stepped into the café, I heard Nathaniel call out my name from the little bar area by the cash register.
“Mercedes! So you made it after all.” Shaun’s voice was cheerful and happy-go-lucky and it brightened my mood further.
I grinned, giving him and offhanded shrug.
“I guess I just find you diverting enough to drag my bum out to Soho. And my brother has some business friends over today.” I laughed, thankful that he seemed just as amused by it as me.
“Well, I’m glad to be of service then.” He joked as I sat down and ordered a round of cinnamon buns and teas, “So where do you live? Is it far?”
The store sounded pretty dead. It was Tuesday after all. Our order came quickly, by way of a grinning Talya and within moments we were setting into our sticky buns.
“It isn’t too far. Hyde Park.”
He whistled long and low. Hyde Park was one of the wealthiest areas in London. It was no surprise that he was intrigued.
“So what about you? Where do you live?” I asked curiously.
He had such a mish mash of language that it made for an interesting question. I heard him hum alittle and Nathaniel cleared his throat somewhat awkwardly.
“Here and there. Wherever we want to really. I could sleep under the stars or in a tunnel and be perfectly happy as I would in a bed. I can go where I want and do what I want and it’s more freeing than any house or shelter could ever be.”
It sounded wonderful. I wonder what it would be like to have no restrictions on your wishes. To have the freedom to be whatever person you wanted to be, to have breathing space to grow as you pleased. I couldn’t help but feel envious of his descriptions. I hated being stuck under the foot of whatever guard or nanny Mercy decided to stick me under that day. It was annoying and stifling.
“Wow. That sounds great. I wish I could be like that.” I said, somewhat bitterly as I stabbed my tea bag viciously with my spoon.
I wanted independence. I wanted to not have to rely on anyone. Nathaniel patted my hand lightly, easing my ruthless attack on the poor bag.
“I know you will be one day. You just have to make them all see that you’re no more damaged than they are. I know you can do it.” He said, his voice serious for once.
I flushed lightly, embarrassed at his ardent belief in me. No one had ever said that to me before. Oh, Mercy had encouraged me in his own way, yes, but it was never really the same as actually hearing the words said. I smiled at him, brighter than I could even imagine as my chest swelled softly.
“Thank you…” I whispered with a bright smile creeping along my mouth.
I could hear his grin in his voice when he replied.
Shaun clapped me on the back happily before launching into a spiel about the loveliness of the parks on rainy days when they were empty and you had only yourself for company.
~ o ~
Shaun and I kept meeting inconspicuously over the next couple of weeks and each time I saw him, I grew even more fond of him. We developed an easy camaraderie, given our vastly different backgrounds. I came to see him as the best friend I’d always read about in books but never known. He was enlightening and engaging and so interested in the little things I created and programmed. We spent and entire afternoon with just me showing him my mini-laptop and everything on it. We didn’t always meet up at the café. Sometimes we would just wander, ending up over by Charing Cross or in the nearest terminal, just listening to the trains roll by and talking for hours. It was so much fun. I was in a better mood even at home and Mercy had started to eye me suspiciously whenever I went out now. I didn’t care. He could shove his curiosity. This was one thing that he couldn’t tell me I couldn’t do. He couldn’t make me take a babysitter and he couldn’t make me give up the only friend I’d ever had. Let him find out. I would have a few choice words for him if he told me no. I was an adult, and I was taking my life in my own hands for once!
- Providence-Part Three (thewritersbay.wordpress.com)
- Providence- Part Two (thewritersbay.wordpress.com)
- Providence (thewritersbay.wordpress.com)