…featured fav…

…I’ll change this up when the mood strikes…old stories and photos that may have gotten lost in the shuffle…like this one:

Welcome back Aldo Coffee Co., we’ve missed you!

The general crew who sat the day away at Aldo Coffee Co. varied from tiny Acer netbooks to those all fancy cool kid Macbooks- From people taking meetings to kids being tutored. Actually, today was the first time that she’d ever seen people being tutored at the Mt. Lebanon coffee shop.  Shouldn’t these kids being tutored be in school? It was 2:00pm when the thought came to her and it made her eyebrows furrow together. Seemed a bit backwards if you asked her.

Jenna Malone sat with her Dell notebook and gazed out onto Washington Road. Her thoughts drifted to the man hesitating outside of the door on the phone. Wondering if the balding tall man was talking to his wife on the phone or maybe it was his mistress, she shook herself from her morbid reverie (who wants to think about people cheating anyways?), and looked back at her screen.  She was on a deadline and really needed to get the article for the Trib done and emailed by 5.  Rubbing her hands together, she flipped her long bronze hair like a commercial model for a well known “P” shampoo and got to work.

Jenna, the typical late twenty-something (31), was a bit of an anomaly to her very typical parents. Their daughter was “beautiful, an excellent cook, willing-to-please and smart.” Note that “smart” came last. Not that she’s less smart than those other attributes, just that’s how her traditional parents tended to rank them.  The anomaly came from the fact that she didn’t have children yet. The fact that she wasn’t yet married was blasphemous, and should have been completed “almost ten years ago Jenna dear.”   They were “what do you young people say Jenna? Oh yes, ‘over it’” and now they were onto the other milestone of life, children.

Half listening to the frustrated tutor behind, Jenna smiled and continued writing her article on the hot topic of the week: The Haiti Crisis and the orphanage kids being brought over. She briefly wondered what it’d take to adopt a child, and what adopted kids must feel like.  If raising a hormonal teenager of your own was difficult, imagine the hormones and words that must be spewed by kids who are adopted.  She took a sip of her latte and shrugged to herself. Well, I’ll never know, will I? she thought.

It’s not that she didn’t want to marry and have children. She’d just never felt that, that, moment with a guy. The moment that your hormones and endorphins take over and tell your brain it’s okay to want to be with him for the rest of your life, that they want to too.

Sure there was lust. And she’d had that. She also knew that there was more to the end of your life as an “I” and the beginning of it as a “we”, and she knew that it didn’t start with the letter “s”. That dreadful word that no one wants to hear applied to them, the one that invariably raises dirty bile from the pit of their stomach while their eyesight is slowly tinged with enraged red.  Yes, that word. Settle.

A new book came out recently all about settling and Jenna was loathe to admit that she was a little bit curious about it.  What single late twenty-something (31) year old, wasn’t a bit confused about whether the S word applied to them and what the logic was behind it? Logic, more sound than the idea that “your biological clock is ticking Jenna. Tick-tock-tick -tock” while having her belly tapped at each tick and every tock.  But these thoughts didn’t completely enter her head, if they did, she’d have switched up her locale and claimed a seat at Molly Brannigan’s pub for a stiff drink.  As it was, the pressing in her bladder did enter her head and she decided to make a trip to the restroom.  Standing up, she left her coat and closed her laptop, leaving them cautiously on her chair and darting to the always drafty restroom.

Grant Whitcombe strode purposefully up to the Aldo Coffee shop and cursed his ill luck on having to work at a coffee shop versus home. For some inexplicable reason (to him), his wireless was down, and after 2 hours of impatiently waiting for Vonnage to kick it back into gear, he donned his coat and threw his laptop into his bag, slamming his door shut on the way out. What he didn’t realize is that he’d accidentally switched off the power button with his foot while he was stretching. Thus Vonnage was switched off and his computer had been draining power for at least two hours.  Not being the most observant man when his mind was preoccupied, he completely disregarded the little battery in the corner showing him less than half a life of work time remaining.

He really was generally a fairly focused man, except that on this day, he’d just heard his high school sweetheart, and his best friend, were getting married. “You know Grant, I’m so sorry honey, I ran into Tricia’s mom at Giant Eagle in the Italian section” and the just of it was that his girlfriend (well, ex-girlfriend) of 10 years was now marrying his best friend of 20 years, and he’d heard the news from his mother. They’d broken up a number of years ago, but since then, Grant hadn’t felt any spark between himself and another woman. Heck, he wasn’t even sure he had felt a spark with Tricia it was so long ago. But the news that they were to be married still hit him hard.  The day couldn’t have gotten any worse except for the internet going down and well, there it was.  And here he was walking up Washington Road when he’d rather have been crawling into a hole.

When he reached the shop he groaned out loud- it was chock full of people.  This will never work he thought, how am I going to get ANYTHING done? He paced in front of the door (somewhat looking like a mad man) trying to decide what to do. In his musings, he almost knocked over an elderly woman who was trying to get into the shop.  She gave him a delightfully dirty look (one which only age perfects) and he apologized, holding the door open for her. Two seconds later, he pushed his glasses up his nose and walked in after her.

He settled down with his expertly made cappuccino and flipped open his laptop. Taking a sip while the comp booted up, he thought of the latest code he had to write.  He was a gamer. He also happened to own his own company: Night World Studios.  Right now they landed a commission from a big company to make a game for the Dragon Lance series of books.  He was stuck on what one of the main characters should look like, that her hair color wasn’t turning out right.  When his eyes focused back on the screen he nearly dropped his coffee. Only a quarter battery life was left. Not a problem, he did some heavy breathing yoga master techniques to lower the speed of his pounding heart.  Let’s just plug it in, he thought, but that proved harder than he’d imagined as there were no outlets to be found around his table. Not to mention any around any open tables on this side of the shop.  He spotted a seemingly empty table across the room and thanked the stars that there was an outlet there.

She was totally and utterly confused.   What on Earth? Where’d my stuff go? Jenna looked around, scanning the faces to see where hers should have fit. Yes. The tutor was still there, and yes, the older lady was still chatting away…she should be right between them, right where that dark haired guy was sitting. Taking cautious steps towards the table, she saw that her stuff was indeed still there.  Was this guy blind? She cleared her throat once, and then once more when he proved unresponsive. Still nothing. Her eyebrows furrowed and she thought that he was deliberately ignoring her. Well, she’d fix that.

“Excuse me.” She knocked on the table next to his laptop. He turned his head up to her with a startled expression. Reaching for his headphones, he plucked the right one out and blinked at her a few times, feeling like he was blinded by a flash of bright light.  His first impression was holy crap, that’s the hair I’ve been looking for.  His second impression was that she was beautiful.

Clearing his throat he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t order anything else.” His deep voice rang through Jenna’s ears and moved straight to the pit of her stomach. Her blood was electrified and she seemed stuck admiring his full mouth and the stubble on his cheek accenting his prominent cheekbones. Grant’s eyebrows raised and his mouth quirked up into a half smile as he watched her take him in.  It was that smile that brought Jenna back, and raised color in her cheeks.

“Oh I know you didn’t, it’s just that you’re sitting at my table.” She pointed to her laptop and coat on the chair.  Embarrassment welled through him. How could I be so blind? Grant stood as quickly as he could, “I’m so sorry. I just needed the outlet.” Although he really didn’t see the clothes on the chair, he would have felt like a bigger moron if he had tried to correct the statement. She reached out and laid a hand on his arm, there was an electric spark of awareness and she replied, “Oh it’s okay as long as you don’t mind sharing.” And then, and then she smiled at him.

Her smile was one which eased old aches in his heart. It sent every endorphin flying through his brain. It calmed and sped up his blood at the same time. In short, it was the end of his life as “I” and hopefully the start of his life as “we”.  He smiled back and she felt the same way.

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