(*Important Note Before You Read: This is the second installment of the Jamie Gabrielle Vinci story. The character Teng, including her attire and actions, except for the small talk with Jamie, belongs to ‘mystical_grasseater’ or “Michael” whose last name the author doesn’t know. J.Gi Federizo — moi — used the character with his permission. As I have no way to inform him and the first guy, Kevin Craig, everytime I post this and the first installment (the Yahoo! group folded up a long time ago), I’d rather mention them. I have no plans of earning from this so they can rest easy…Anyhoo, hope you like this one. I have done some tweaking to avoid certain problems that may or may not come up)
Grande Macchiato. What a lovely name. So Jamie decided to have some more of it and went back into the café.
She had earlier entered BrewsNook somewhat absent-mindedly and simply ordered the first words that caught her eye in the displayed list. She drank it outside just as absent-mindedly as her mind wandered off, dreaming of J. Gabrielle Vinci’s future glory days, and eventually letting out sighs of disappointment as her thoughts wandered more to her problem at hand.
Could have stayed that way if not for Mr. Pinkoe who stuck an itsy-bitsy pink note on the transparent window and woke her up. He could have stuck it on her face, in fact, but thankfully, he did not. One laughing-session-with-some-stranger after, she finished her drink and decided she liked it after all.
“Classic Macchiato, please,” Jamie ordered just as someone stood beside her.
The BrewsNook employee acknowledged the other person. “Your order, Miss?”
“Café Cubano, please, on ice,” came the reply.
Jamie took note of the accent. Asian, no mistake about it. Perhaps Chinese, or maybe Japanese. No matter. She loved Asians, especially since she was part-Asian herself.
Jamie stole a glance at the other woman who was fortunately looking somewhere else. Oh, it was she. Asian, alright. It was only Jamie’s third time in that certain BrewsNook branch and every time, the woman was there as well. Maybe she was a regular customer.
‘ Teng.’ That was probably her name. Jamie had overheard someone call the woman that the other day. She thought it was cute, like the sound typewriters made at the end – Teng! The previous days, Teng proceeded to the rear part of the café, sat, and shuffled her tarot cards on the table. Maybe she would sit there today, too.
Today, Teng had her red silk cape again. Blue jeans. Brown cowboy boots. Amber-tinted sunglasses. Fashionable? Maybe. Jamie admired people who took fashion into their own skin, however different, as long as it suited the wearer, and Teng’s attire suited her without question. Add flawless, glowing skin to the ensemble.
But it was not the attire or her behavior that made people aware of Teng. Somehow, she exuded an aura that was…not all together there, not entirely, but…there. There was just no word to fit, Jamie realized. And Jamie blushed profusely when she also realized she had stared too much for far too long, Teng was now looking at her. The eyes were hidden under glasses, but she knew they were eye-to-eye.
“Classic Macchiato, Café Cubano,” the employee had announced and Jamie took the opportunity to look away.
Didn’t your mother say it’s rude to stare at people?, she reprimanded herself as they each took their orders. Their eyes met again (Jamie could just tell), but this time, the woman smiled at her a bit, prompting her to smile back to make up for the staring. Teng turned around to leave. In an instant, she was back looking at Jamie who half-expected a scolding or something.
It was a something, at least. A weird something. “Do not let it trouble you. All things will fall into place. Perhaps not as soon as you think, but they will,” Teng said in such a mysterious way, Jamie’s heart skipped.
“Everything will be alright. Simply take it one step at a time.”
Oh, boy, this is weird. “What do you mean?”
To this, Teng’s brows furrowed as she cast her eyes down, as if she was wondering herself. “I don’t know. I just…know.” Having said this, Teng shrugged her shoulders, turned around again, and went to her usual table to shuffle cards that came wrapped in black silk.
Jamie stood dumbfounded. Holy–! Did Teng really know what she was talking about? She did say she had no idea, though. Jamie would’ve asked more about it, but decided against it when a man in corporate attire beat her to talking with Teng.
Jamie collected herself, sighed, and resigned. Nevermind, she’s probably just a fake psychic or whatever, she thought, going out to find the seat she abandoned still empty. She sighed again as she sat. Fake or not, Jamie wished Teng had sat near the window in front of her. It was weird that Teng somewhat guessed something about her and Teng didn’t seem anything near crazy at all. Jamie sighed again, realizing that sighing was becoming a bad habit.
It wasn’t long when…“Excuse me, Miss. May I please have this seat?” Jamie looked up to find a guy standing in front of her, hot coffee in one hand, an order of California Maki in the other, magazine tucked in between his arm and waist.
Jamie gave him one of her standard replies. “I’m sorry, but I’m busy,” she said, giving him a smile that was not to be construed as an invitation, rather, something one gave for polite purposes.
“Yeah, I know, but I won’t really bother you, Miss.”
Yeah, right. “Sorry, but I’m waiting for somebody.”
“There are more than two seats here. Maybe you could lend me one? Or I could stay and then leave when your friend arrives,” he insisted.
Oh, no, one of those who just would not go away that easily. Jamie decided to be blunt. “Mister, you really have to stop this.” He gave her a questioning look. Hmp. Playing innocent. “Okay. At the risk of being called rude, I have to tell you, I really have no time for you whatsoever. No conversations. I have a lot on my mind and I really wanna concentrate on them…So please, leave?”
The guy first looked at her, confused, and then, as if suddenly gifted with the power to comprehend, he gave a little mocking smile. “Oh, I see, I see…You’re right…” he said, nodding his head a little, “You are rude.”
This time, Jamie was the one confused. “Excuse me?”
“Excuse you? Right after you insulted me? God! What an ego! Get off your high horse, will you? I mean, didn’t it even occur to you that maybe, I really was just looking for a seat? Maybe I wasn’t trying to hit on you? Maybe you’re not even my type?” He shook his head again. “You know what? Forget it.” Having given her his own piece of mind, he turned and left the table.
Stunned, Jamie watched him leave and stand a distance away, surveying his surroundings. It was true that he needed a seat, she realized. The place was full again today and there was no available chair for him outside anymore. He was telling the truth after all. Jamie felt a pang of guilt. What was she thinking? He was right. What an ego she had. A big, fat ego. She watched as he turned to enter the café to look for a seat.
Suddenly, Jamie stood up. “Hey, Mister!” she called out to him. The guy turned to look at her. “You can have this seat.”
He was confused again yet annoyed. Probably thinking that she flipped her lid. “What?”
“You can have this seat.” To this, he gave a more confused look and asked why as he went nearer. An apology was in order. “Look, you’re right. I’m sorry I was rude to you. Guess, it’s just that my days have not been going great lately…Have a seat?”
He did take the seat opposite hers, put his coffee and food down, flipped through the magazine, started reading, and completely ignored her. Jamie bit her lip. Well, she did have it coming. So she just concentrated on her drink, spooning up all of the criss-crossed splash of caramel meticulously with her straw before drinking the rest. Once, she glanced at the guy and found him watching her, an amused expression on his face. But then he looked away and back to the magazine, pretending to be engrossed in it. Jamie could not help but smile to herself .
Just then, Jamie’s face contorted a little and before she knew it,… “Achoo.” Oops…She would have apologized if he didn’t start snickering, his shoulders shaking as he tried not to, still pretending that he was reading. “Heeeeyyyy…” she said, good-naturedly. So he abandoned all efforts to stop snickering altogether and laughed away. Jamie let him. She owed him that.
When he finally mellowed down, it was to say, “Bless you.”
“Was that a real…I mean…Did you really sneeze?”
“Yeah, I know, I get that all the time. They say I sneeze like a kitty cat.”
“A kitty cat! Yes, that’s right! I was wondering how I would describe it…” he was smiling broadly now. Nice smile. Jamie was a sucker for nice smiles. He had the kindest eyes, too, now that he wasn’t mad anymore. In fact, when he was mad, he still looked kind. Straight dark hair that reached the nape, complementing the brown eyes. “By the way,…I’m sorry, too, for what I said to you. My day has not been going great as well.”
“I understand. Troubles make people cranky at times…You better take your coffee now or it’ll turn cold.”
“Oh.” He did and took a sip. “But I see you have a nice way of drinking yours as well. I feel like ordering a cold one myself. But anyway,…Oh, hey, sorry, I’m bothering you now.”
“No, no, that’s alright. I’m really in need of a little chat right now. I was just cranky because these guys kept coming up to me and hitting on me and, well, you know, it could get so annoying.”
“Now, I understand what happened! Don’t worry, I wasn’t hitting on you. I was just a guy trying to find the nicest way to enjoy his coffee.”
“And you like to read, too, I see. What magazine is that?” He showed her the cover. “In A Nutshell. That’s a magazine title? Never heard of it.”
“That’s ‘cause they’re relatively new. Their office is a floor above the office where I work, which is also owned by the owners of the publication. In fact, the whole building is theirs.”
A publication? This got Jamie’s interest. “Really. Do you happen to know if they’re in need of more writers? Maybe they’ll have room for me.”
“Oh, so you’re a writer? Great! Well, I’m not sure if they need more people, but I can find out when I get back to New York.”
“Yup. That’s where I work. I’m just here for some research. I work as art director for their ad agency.”
“I love New York! Maybe I’ll go check the magazine myself and see if they can accommodate me.”
“Oh, well, then, here,” he searched through his pockets, produced a piece of business card and handed it to her. “Here’s my card. So you’ll know where to find the Nutshell. I know you can very well Google ’em, but in case you need my help…”
Jamie finally learned his name. “Isaac Matlin.”
“Call me Zach.”
“Hello, Zach,” Jamie said as they shook hands. “Gabrielle Vinci.”
“Gabrielle,” he repeated.
“Call me Jamie.”
He gave her another one of his confused looks again before smiling and said, “Okay, hello, Jamie.”
Jamie nodded. Yup. Today, she felt like Jamie. Not Gabrielle, the worldly, sophisticated chick she often pretended to be. Just Jamie, the young, fun-loving dreamer.
Zach looked at her, studying her. “Hey, for someone who was so feisty earlier, you actually seem kinda nice.”
Jamie scowled. “Kinda?”
“Alright. Nice. Kinda funny, too.”
Jamie smiled for the nth time, contorted her face a little, and gave him the most unexpected reply. “Achoo.”
Hmnn. Maybe Teng was right after all. All things would fall into place.
Copyright © J.Gi Federizo
For more of Jamie’s ongoing story, visit THE JAMIE TALES page.