She changed her lunch spot from the grocery store because the same guy figured out her routine and began approaching her every day, no matter how often she told him she wasn’t interested. Apparently her appearance was encouragement enough.
So now, even though the selection of lunch items was limited to three pre-made and wrapped sandwiches and two soups, cream of mushroom and vegan vegetable, she spent her lunch hour at Bectie’s Tea and Coffee. It seemed the patrons of Bectie’s understood that someone with a book or working on their pads, were engaged and not interested in conversation.
She settled into the café chair, tuna salad and a slice of lemon cake beside her, Caramel Macchiato at hand, and opened her new book, Jania, Princess of Taria.
Janie yelled as the ship lurched. “Fire all weapons!”
The ship shuddered as all six guns blasted, the gyro’s barely able to stabilize the craft as the gunners complied.
“Princess!” Admiral Rayquil grabbed the back of her command chair. “The Peet fleet is too powerful – they outnumber our ships four to one.”
Jania slammed her fist onto the arm of the chair. He’s right. They’ve already destroyed half of my ships. “Order a retreat.” She could feel the slow burn of anger and shame but it was better to fall back and regroup than be destroyed.
“Fleet!” Admiral Rayquil shouted over the sparking and explosions of the bridge consoles. “Prepare to….”
She jerked with the shock of the enthusiastic greeting and the sound of metal chair legs dragging across the tile floor. She blinked as she dragged her consciousness across the galaxies to the reality of Bectie’s.
The guy, twenty-five at her guess, hipster hat on his head and a goatee that needed several more months to actually fill in, dropped into the chair opposite her and settled his clear plastic cup – a latte by the look of it – on the table. He stuck out his hand. “Brandon.”
She resisted her manners in politeness and stared at him. “Do I know you?”
His hand remained suspended over the table. She looked around. Every table had someone at it. All of the other customers were male. Of course. “Why are you here?”
Brandon’s grin fell away with his hand, which grabbed his cup and gave a little salute with it. “Best latte in town.” He glanced at her cup–opaque paper so no real way to tell what was in it. The look was his question as to what she was drinking but she was in no mood to satisfy his curiosity.
“I’m here to eat my lunch and read in peace.” She waved at the other tables. “You should make friends at another table.” She opened her book and stared at the pages, eyes skimming the ink on the page but no reading. Waiting.
He twisted out of the chair, legs scraping, and grabbed his latte. “Bitch.” He stomped out of the shop.
She sighed. She just wanted to read her book and eat her lunch. Was that so wrong? She took a bite of her sandwich—the joy of starting her new book spoiled.
“Don’t feel bad.” Bectie appeared at the table, wiping down the half where Brandon had sat. “Happens all the time.”
That did make her feel better. “Thanks.” She sipped her macchiato and took another bite.
Bectie gave her a wink and went back to the counter.
She reopened her book.
“Prepare to disengage.” The ship was hit with another volley from the Peet.
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