I thought, as it’s almost Valentine’s Day I’d share a romantic extract from Another Cup of Coffee with you today!
…Amy was nervous, more nervous than when she’d caught up with Rob on her arrival in London.
Paul was late. She examined the inside of the intricate medieval stone work opposite her. The doorway to St Martins-in-the-Fields wasn’t easy to spot, Amy had walked past it by mistake before she’d come in, and she’d been here before. Maybe the British Museum would have been a better place to meet, or the Victoria and Albert? Amy glanced at the entrance for the tenth time in as many minutes. Paul might not even recognise her; after all, it had been a long time since they’d seen each other.
Her drink was already half gone. Amy checked her phone again. No messages. Giving up, she dug into her bag, bringing out the ever present novel.
Paul had spotted Amy as soon as he’d manoeuvred his six-foot-two frame through the low stone doorway. He’d been confident she would be in the café’s furthest corner, and sure enough, there she was. Amy had always adopted a position where she could hide. As he watched her, Paul wondered if it was even something she was conscious of.
There was a coffee cup by Amy already, and the book her nose was stuck into was a paperback of the more ponderous variety of classic. Most of the girls he met these days wouldn’t even have considered picking it up.
She was definitely a bit slimmer than he remembered, and her hair was sleeker, tethered back into two shoulder-length bunches that made her look younger than she was. Amy hadn’t managed to get them level, and one bunch was noticeably higher than the other. Paul found he was dying to straighten them out for her.
Her clothes were the same as in the old days, though; knowing Amy, Paul thought with a grin, they might well be exactly the same. Jeans and a stripy blue jumper, probably with a T-shirt beneath, very probably a black one. The only really noticeable difference between now and then was that she was wearing knee-length boots with a wedge heel rather than trainers.
Rob was right. Essentially, Amy Crane hadn’t changed a bit.
Suddenly aware that she was being observed, Amy looked up from her book.
Her face broke into a welcoming beam. ‘I thought you might have got lost.’ She stood up and found herself smothered in a massive bear hug. Paul smelt nice; all warm and clean without the overpowering scent of the male perfumes Amy so despised.
‘Tube delays. I couldn’t get a signal down there to let you know.’ Paul felt awkward, not quite sure what to say next, having held her slightly longer than perhaps was normal for a couple of friends. He’d engineered this opportunity to get her alone, and now he was here, he was tongue-tied.
Amy unwittingly came to his rescue. ‘You getting a coffee then?’
‘Yes, sure. You want a top-up? Black I assume?’
Amy watched Paul flirt with the Polish girl behind the counter as he placed his request. He was taller than she remembered. His black hair was still cropped very short, but it wasn’t as severe as the shaved style he’d favoured as a student. His jeans were blue rather than black, and his shirt, although crumpled, was smarter than the off-white T-shirts she’d always associated with him. Smarter. He was definitely smarter. A huge brown overcoat, which probably weighed a ton, covered the back view of him almost completely, the heels of his Doc Martens only just visible below the hem.
How come she hadn’t noticed how attractive he was back then? Amy felt taken aback at the alien notion, and abruptly pushed the idea away. Yet that hug …
Amy reined in and dismissed her wild flight of fancy as Paul returned with their refreshments. After they’d covered a wide range of comfortable reminiscences and laughed heartily at their past selves, Amy brought the conversation back up-to-date.
‘So, is anyone special waiting for you back on site?’
Paul pushed his cup aside. ‘No. No one’s twiddling their trowel and pining for my return.’
‘That’s not like you.’
Paul regarded Amy as if she was nuts. ‘I’m not stuck in a timewarp, Amy. I’m thirty-four. That pretty much makes me the father figure. I’m the oldest guy on site by at least five years. It’s the twenty-something’s that have the trowel-twiddlers waiting for them these days.’
‘But surely …’ Amy was genuinely shocked. She was so sure that things would have been just as she’d left them. ‘You must meet heaps of nice people.’
‘Sure I do. I have many friends, both male and female, right across the world.’
Amy wasn’t quite sure why she pushed further, ‘But no one special?’
‘Not since uni.’ Paul sighed, not sure if he was ready to go where this conversation might take them.
‘Uni?’ Amy couldn’t believe it. This was Paul. The guy every girl had wanted to date back then. Well, every girl bar her. Yet none of the string of young women he’d dated had ever lasted more than a fortnight, and for the life of her, Amy couldn’t remember if Paul had especially liked any of them. ‘Who was that then? You never said at the time.’
Paul hesitated, before taking the easy way out, ‘You never met her. Let’s go and explore. Gallery, museum, or a walk in the park?’ …..
If you fancy finding what finds out next, or how much had to happened before Amy and Paul caught up with each other after years of being apart, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an e-book or a paperback from…
Happy almost Valentine’s Day,