July 17, 2002
Espresso Surge

A new short story, I think... mostly some random ramblings that began tripping off my pen today, and we'll see where they go. And it was interesting... I started typing the title, and it sort of typed itself. Hopefully this is a good sign!!

[This started the other day, and I've added more tonight... should I continue? Click More to read it...]

One part coffee, two parts chocolate. The coffee was thick and black, dark and bitter. The chocolate was dark and sweet. No milk or cream.

Jane was too impatient to wait for it to cool, sipping at it as soon as it mixed, and feeling the burn against her tongue. She swirled it in her mouth, letting the heat disapate against the tender skin before swallowing it. There, one mouthful, then two. Soon the caffeine would be sliding into her system, making her eyes pop open, her fingers jitter. A strange feeling, as her body was taken over by odd nerves, but oh so welcome, this morning.

"How the hell long have you *been* here already?"

"Huh?" Jane looked up and then smiled to see Justin standing over her. His blue eyes were shaded by brows furrowed with concern. Then she covered her mouth as she tried to stifle a yawn. "Too long," she finally answered his question. "I kept waking up last night, so I finally decided to jack in and see if I could get some work done, and when I did I saw all these damned alarms going off. So I got dressed and came in. I've been here for about 4 hours already."

Justin looked at the steaming cup of mocha cradled in her hands, then back to her pale and drawn face. "Is that why you look like shit, or is it something else?"

It took her a moment to decide how to reply. Justin was a friend, of sorts, if anyone at work could be called that. They went out for drinks sometimes, but that was about it. Justin had a girlfriend back on Long Island that he spent most of his free weekend time with, so it was rare they saw each other outside of the office. But it wasn't like she had anyone else around actually asking...

"I haven't been sleeping," she admitted. She stopped then, looking down at the coffee and sipping at it, feeling it burn her tongue on the way down again. Hot... so very hot. It was the sensation that drew at her. The feeling and the wait for the surge. "So I'm running on empty."

"Yow." Justin pulled up a spare chair, spinning it around and sitting on it backwards, his arm across the back of the chair. "Why not? What's wrong?"

Jane shrugged, a wry smile quirking at the corner of her mouth. "I'm not sure. I keep waking up. Sometimes..."

She stopped then, uncertain how much she dared say to Justin, sitting there in the office. The mug slipped from her hands, landing with a clunk on the desk, the liquid sloshing a bit. Her fingers sought out a pen, twirling it, twisting it... discovering that the plastic bent when stressed. Bent when stressed... she repeated the words beneath her breath, and unheard by anyone else they tasted right.

Justin's hand was on her arm, and she looked at it, surprised that it had appeared there without her seeing it happen. "Sometimes... what?" he asked softly.

Jane looked away again, looking at the pen twisted in her hand. "Sometimes... I wake up because I hear things. Like the door has opened and someone stands there, breathing, at the foot of my bed. Or footsteps in the hallway. Or murmurs as a hand brushes my shoulder, then forehead." She glanced up, half-knowing what he was going to say. "My cat is asleep on my bed, curled up against my hip like she always is. I don't have any other pets. Nor a boyfriend right now. Its just me, and the cat, and that's it."

Posted by Deb Atwood at July 17, 2002 09:53 PM
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