Desmond blinked and turned towards Carmen. She smiled at him from across the table, across the newspapers, and across the pint glasses of coffee and the ashtrays. Her tongue pressed against the back of her teeth and her red hair framed her cherub face and bright blue eyes. Desmond’s notebook was between them and beside it was a copy of Tender Is The Night. In front of her, she had a black binder, some loose paper, and a pink highlighter.
“What are you thinking?”
“Nothing really.” Desmond shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “Just looking I guess.”
“At what?” Carmen turned around and looked though the coffee shop’s large picture window. The streaming sun was caught in the cigarette smoke hanging around the ashtrays and tables.
“Nothing really. Admiring the alleyway, I guess.” Desmond raised his chin, indicating where he had been looking and noticed that the man in the plaid shirt was gone, had disappeared into the busy movement of Fourth street. “Although it’s not really an alleyway I suppose. That path or side street. Whatever that is.”
“But it’s always there.” Carmen flicked her hair playfully and snapped her eyes back towards him. “Silly.”
“Yeah. Yeah, it is. I don’t know. It sort of caught my eye today.” Desmond turned his head at an angle and squinted at the view. “Maybe, there was something about the light or the shadows or something.” He shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“You’re so cute.”
“What?” He feigned offence. “What precisely does that mean?”
Desmond narrowed his eyes in mock anger. “Well, you, young lady, can keep that smile to yourself.”
Carmen stuck her tongue out at him. “How much longer do you think you’re going to be?”
“I don’t know. I was kind of into something there but it didn’t work out.” Desmond tapped his notebook with the end of his pen. “I’ve got more reading to do. I could stay longer. How about you?”
“I have more work to do but I think I’m getting restless. I might go in a few minutes.” She reached for her pack of cigarettes “I might have one more before I go though.”
Desmond looked into the bottom of his pint glass. “I’ve only got a bit left. I might as well have a smoke with you and take off too.”
“I was kind of hoping you’d say that.” Carmen leaned forward conspiratorially. “I thought we might do some studying back at my place.” She showily winked at Desmond and then laughed.
He drew the smoke into his lungs and blew it out smiling. She was already thinking about sex and they had fucked before coming to the coffee shop, quick and hard. It hadn’t even been the first time of the day either.
Desmond was happy.
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