Shot Down

My life was pretty fucking normal -- well, in retrospect anyway -- but that was beside the point. I had my life and everyday went by smoothly, routinely and virtually undisturbed, that was however, until Harry Styles decided to forcefully make his way into it and turn everything to utter shit -- and bliss.

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1. Same Old, Same Old

I twisted the sign on the front door to read open before reaching down to unlock the glass door itself. The day had only begun; sun was streaming in through the windows, pooling out on the dark carpet. The cafe was in the perfect spot, that no matter what the time, it was always filled with a warm and welcoming light.

Opening up shop was my favorite. There was no one else around, it was quiet and peaceful -- almost serene. I busied myself with taking the chairs off of the tables and wiping down the tops with a wet rag -- removing any dust that may have accumulated over night. Even though the cafe had only opened, it wasn’t a surprise to hear the soft ding of a bell sound as a customer walked into the shop. Everyday at this exact time old Mrs. Bates would come into shop looking for her regular order; a cup of steaming hot coffee -- cream, no sugar -- and a blueberry muffin. I grinned brightly at the lady who I had become friendly with over the last year or so. “Good morning, my dear.” Mrs. Bates’ voice sang as she hobbled over to the counter. I replied in greeting as I stopped what I was doing to get the old women her order. “Louis still hasn’t learned to be on time?” She asked for the hundredth day in a row. Lou was never on time -- and I mean never. As long as I had worked here I had never seen the boy in at his scheduled time, and no matter how many times he was scolded by our manager he never learned.

“You sound surprised.” I chuckled lightly as I poured her coffee into the cup. In truth, if I had ever seen Louis in the shop on time I’d probably have a heart attack -- it was just something that had little chance of happening.

“I ‘spose you’re right. He’ll never learn.” She tutted, shaking her head. “When you see him, be a dear and tell him I was looking for him. I need to sort out this boys priorities.” She shifted her weight from one foot to the other as I placed the hot coffee in front of her. “Months! It’s been months since I’ve seen his face, if I didn’t know any better I’d say he was trying to avoid me!”

I let out a small laugh. “I will, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be that kick he needs in the ass to get here on time for once.” I pulled out a small paper bag and reached into the display pulling out a blueberry muffin before placing it on the counter next to the coffee and put her order into the register. Having ordered the same thing everyday for years now Mrs. Bates had her money ready. “Thank you.” I smiled as he took the money from her and placed it into it’s appropriate holder.

“For you.” Mrs. Bates said holding out a five dollar bill. “Take it.” I was used to her always trying to tip me in secret, always trying to get me to take the money, but policy was to put it into the tip jar, which was later to be split between all employees -- which was really quite unfortunate because I deserved it god dammit; or maybe that was a wee bit selfish of me, oops. I hadn’t even needed to say anything before she continued, “I don’t want none of those lazy shits to get this money, so you know damn well I’m not putting it in that tip jar -- take it.”

Mrs. Bates pushed the bill outward, her sudden outburst had me laughing. “You know the rules, it’s fine.” I shook my head with a grin upon my face, occupying my hands with her order as I held it out to her. Defeated, she put the money in her purse, but I knew well enough she’d try again to tomorrow.

“Fine, but I’m gonna have a talk with this manager tell him you need a raise or something.” She waved her hand before taking her order. “Thank you.” I walked around the counter and opened the front door for her. “Have a good day, I’ll see you tomorrow.” I waved goodbye to the little old lady as she shuffled to her vehicle. A slam of a door in the rear of the cafe brought the my attention back to the shop. I heard some loud noise and knew that Louis had finally decided to show up and only twenty minutes late -- not too bad.

“Mother fucking fucker.” I heard him mumble as a loud crash echoed through the cafe. I walked around the counter, busying myself with some foam cups that needed unwrapping. More bangs flew through the air before Louis finally managed to make it out of the back.

“Twenty minutes.” I said not looking at him as I stashed the cups into the cabinet before me. “That’s a new record.” I heard him grunt in reply as he took his apron off the hook and tied it around his waist. “Oh, Mrs. Bates was looking for you.” I told him, waiting for some sort of response as I crumbled up the empty cup bag and craned my neck around the cabinet.

And there he was -- his head was already on the counter and if I didn’t know better I would’ve assumed he was passed out. I tossed the the crumpled cup bag at his head and watched him wiggle in his seat a bit, completely unfazed. “Lou! Get up!” I yelled over at him. He mumbled something that sounded like ‘leave me the fuck alone’, but it was muffled. I jumped down from my stool, kicking it back under the counter.

“Get up.” I walked past him whacking him on the back of the head as people made their way across the street and towards the cafe.

“Oi!” He glared over at me, rubbing the back of his head.

“Like that hurt.” I teased, pulling the tea out of the fridge. He made a face and got behind the register, smoothing his bed head; it looked like he pulled himself right out of bed and walked to work, something that wasn’t far from the truth.

I watched as the customers began flooding in, and while the day started off as any other  would I would soon figure out that it was anything but.

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