n i n e

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I handed the cup of coffee to the elderly man who sat nearby the classic section of the bookshelf. He grinned at me before turning his attention back to the newspaper.

Lucy called me on Wednesday after school offering me the job. She said I could work on the upcoming Saturday (which was today) and obviously, I accepted too eagerly. I was so excited though. I managed to cross two things off this week on my bucket list being: do something nice for a loved one (being dad and Mia) and get a job.

After dinner on Monday though, I hadn't really spoken to Daniel. He was there, being his grumpy self again. I tried saying hi to him once or twice, but he frowned as though he was confused why I was even speaking to him. I realised that thinking that he and I could be friends was too optimistic of me. The only reason why Daniel was talking to me, and when he did, was nice to me, because of the deal.

It was weird trying to uphold my side of the deal. During classes, it was easy not to talk to Kyle. I go back to my old ways by concentrating solely on the work where the world around me was blocked out and I couldn't hear a thing. But it was harder whenever I finished work early and there was nothing left to do but talk. I would often catch Daniel glaring at me whenever Kyle and I were talking. The intensity in his eyes continued to freak me out but was a little bit more annoyed than before.

Regardless, I would always try changing the topic with Kyle and somehow twist it back to something dull like school. When I couldn't, Daniel would jump in and interrupt. I felt bad. Especially when I noticed the change in Kyle's expression whenever it happened. Ignoring a person unintentionally was definitely different from ignoring a person intentionally.

I was glad the week was over though. I was ridden with guilt and I tried my absolute hardest not to bump or talk to Kyle unless I had no choice but to. Now that I was at the café, I was relieved. It was a good distraction from this week. Lucy taught me some of the basics around the café, like how to work the register and the coffee machine. She told me where to put the order when I wrote them down.

Lucy and I got on very well. She was like the grandmother I never had. I never really met my grandparents, so it was nice with Lucy. She told me about her oldest son who lives in Perth while her youngest daughter travelled around India.

When it reached closing time, I helped Lucy pack everything away. It was almost six o'clock and dad would be home very soon. Today was movie night and now that we got Foxtel, we had a long list of movies we wanted to go through.

While packing away the chairs, Lucy stopped halfway to rest on the only chair left standing. "So, who was that boy you were with a week ago?" Lucy asked.

I was so distracted I couldn't remember who she was referring to until it registered who she meant.

"Daniel?" I arched a brow.

"If that's his name, then yes." She wore a mischievous smile.

"He's just a friend." Not even. A partnership maybe?

I grabbed the broom from the storage closet and began sweeping the floor. Lucy watched as I pushed all the dirt on the ground to one corner.

"Well, he seems like a nice, young man," she said. I almost snorted. If only she knew. Daniel wasn't nice. I called him a wild boar. He was almost like a nuisance. Always jumping in and sticking his nose into places where it doesn't belong then suddenly disappears. He was only nice when he wanted something. Otherwise, he was an absolute jerk.

"So," she said, "do you have anyone special in your life?"

This felt weird. I never imagined this year would start off with me talking about boys with a woman I just met a week ago. Why was she so interested in my non-existent love life?

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