I took a sip of my cooling coffee and watched the other patrons of the café. I didn’t know any of them and they didn’t know me. Or so I thought.
I was on holiday. I didn’t want to know anyone. I didn’t want to be disturbed. I wanted a little peace and quiet for a while. So in my office last week I put a map of the world up on the wall, closed my eyes, threw a dart and where it landed was where I was going.
So, here I was. Drinking a flavorful cup of Joe, feeling the tension between my shoulder blades finally dissipating. Through half closed eyes of contentment, I watched a young mother and her tow headed young charge laugh at the antics of a small puppy at their feet through the large picture window that faced the outside patio.
My chair leaned against the wall behind me as I took in the calm scene. Old habits die-hard, my back was always against a wall, in my business ingrained habits might just save your life.
I nodded at the waitress and held my coffee cup up for another refill. I was enjoying the quiet of the little café. Smiling to myself I thought I should have taken a holiday months ago. The waitress wandered over and poured me another steaming cup of black gold, gave me a small nod and walked away.
I heard the tinkle of the bell over the café door and casually glanced over. A tall thin man stood just inside the door. I felt a small fissure along my skin, telling me this man was here for me. I get those feelings sometimes. I don’t question them anymore. I watched him slowly glance around the half empty café till his eyes landed on me.
I stayed in my relaxed position, waiting for him to do whatever he was going to do. I couldn’t see his face yet, as it was shaded by a round derby hat and the sunlight behind him afforded him the anonymity of shadow. Through my half closed eyes I watched him walk slowly towards me. I put my cup down on the small round table in front of me and rested my hands next to it. The man stopped in front of my table.
“Hello are you Charly Cumberstoke? Better known as CC?”
I almost said a flat-out no, but my damned curiosity came into play. One of these times that same curiosity is going to get me killed.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
He gestured toward the empty chair and asked, “May I?”
I nodded. I was still cautious, it pays to be in my line of work.
He sat and pulled off his cap. I took a long hard look at his face. Narrow, with a long nose, long chin, and unusually pretty eyes for a man. Wide, steel grey with long black lashes framing them. I knew several women that would have been jealous of eyes like that. His black curly hair just brushed his forehead. I didn’t know the face, and I remembered faces. His was not one most would forget. I wanted to ask how he found me, but figured he’d get around to telling me soon enough.
“I’ve been looking for you.”
His voice was soft, cultured is how I would describe it. Wasn’t New Briton, Oz Land maybe. High end either way. What I could see of his hands clasped in front of him, they were soft, non-callused. His eyes stayed steady on mine, calm from what I could tell. One cool, long-legged man.
“I have a job for you.”
“I’m on holidays.”
“You’re a hard person to track down. I had to employ rather nefarious means to find you.”
“I’m still on holidays.”
I tensed as he reached inside his coat pocket. His hand stopped for a second then slowly pulled an envelope from it. He put it on the table and pushed it to me. I glanced at it and saw my name written in a bold hand across the rather pristine front.
I looked at him and raised an eyebrow in question.
“I don’t know what the letter says Ms. CC. I just do as my master tells me.”
“And who would your master be?”
“I’m sure the letter will explain everything, if you would be so kind as to read it.”
I picked it up and stared at it. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t want to open it. Cowardly of me, which is usually not my problem. I guess the only way I would get answers is to read the damn thing.
“I believe I shall see if this establishment has anything of a decent tea to drink. I will leave you to your reading Ms. CC.”
With that, he got up and walked to the counter to order his tea. I looked at the letter again and with a reluctant sigh tore it open and pulled out a single piece of white vellum. As I read my heart stopped for a moment and then I felt my anger stir. Of all the damned nerve!
I slowly, with my anger burning deep, put the letter back into the envelope. I waited for the stranger to sit back down.
“I had to explain to the waitress how to make a decent cup of tea. It’s amazing that she didn’t know how!”
“Never mind about the damned tea. Who are you?”
“My name is Michaels. I am Mr. Cumberstokes manservant.”
“I don’t know how my no good father put you up to this, but it’s not funny.”
“No jokes Ms. CC. Your father needs your help.”
“My father hasn’t needed me since he walked out when I was a kid.”
“I’m sure it’s something he regrets.”
I just laughed at the absurdity of the whole thing. Something stirred in my mind. Old forgotten memories. Ah, shit, I was going to go meet my father, who I haven’t seen in over 25 years. This should be interesting…………
This story was done for the Daily Post’s daily prompt, Greetings, Stranger. I have also brought back my favorite character CC whom I have written about in previous stories. To read the first one, please go here. Thanks for stopping in and giving my story a read. Hope you enjoyed it!