Quick note before you begin reading: This chapter is going to be short. It’s really just an introduction to the story, and since this is more of a writing warm-up I would like to keep it rather brief in order to give myself time to write other things as well. Also, the title is yet to be determined, so until then I will just have the title of the chapter. Thank you for understanding, and I hope you enjoy chapter one!
All four entered the coffee shop at completely different times. Mia, the punctual one, was there first and five minutes earlier than the scheduled time. She was, after all, the one who had set up this meeting. Jack was second. He entered the door, the bell hanging from the very top chiming sweetly, right as the clock struck three o’clock. As soon as his eyes met Mia’s he knew exactly what was up. Even after 5 years, she hadn’t changed one bit.
Steven arrived shortly after jack. The cold had frosted up his glasses, and with his trademark scowl, he stopped right in front of the entrance until the warm coffee shop air cleared them up. When they did, his gaze was already set on the two waiting at the table just ahead of him. Even though his scowl remained, the two knew that he was glad to see them. But, instead of sitting down with them right away, he took his time pestering the barista with a long list of things he wanted in his chai tea latte.
While he continued to correct the barista, Vivian sauntered through the door with a nose bright red from the cold wind that blew outside. She wasn’t dressed at all for the weather. Even from a distance, they could see the goosebumps dotting her arms underneath her lace cardigan. It was just like her to throw away all common sense in the name of fashion.
Mia was already finished with half of her coffee by the time everyone got settled around the small, square table. It was just plain black coffee with at least twenty packets of sugar emptied into it. Unlike the other three, that was all she ever ordered from coffee shops. Some things she refused to change.
“You’re probably wondering why I have gathered you all here today,” Mia exclaimed, waving around her manicured hands with great flourish.
“Just cut to the chase,” Steven grumbled from across the table after taking a long sip from his latte.
“Yeah,” Vivian agreed. She glanced over at Steven, her cheeks flushed, while she continued to warm her hands with her hot chocolate. Her light makeup did nothing to hide the slight circles underneath her eyes.
Jack said nothing. Instead, he offered Mia an encouraging smile.
“Ok,” Mia was all smiles, “Remember that pact we made back in middle school?”
“Of course,” Steven scoffed, “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well,” Mia began, “I found this amazing apartment in the city, but I can’t afford it all on my own. That’s when I had an amazing idea to bring our group back together! It’ll just be like old times!”
“Why don’t you just ask your parents for help?” Vivian asked, “Aren’t they like, crazy rich or something?”
Mia let out an exaggerated sigh, “I’m tired of always relying on my parents. I want to become my own person.”
“Then why do you need us for this?” Steven asked impatiently.
“Because,” Mia pointed aimed her puppy-dog eyes at Steven and Vivian, “I already put the down payment on the apartment, but I don’t have enough to continue paying rent,” She took a long sip before adding, “But that isn’t why I asked you three to come with me. I asked you because I missed you guys and I figured you would want to ditch this small town with me.”
Jack smiled, “I’ll go. I’ve got nothing better to do.”
Steven rolled his eyes, “Seriously? You’re just going to go along with this idiotic plan of hers without even thinking about how crazy it is?”
Mia already knew that Steven wasn’t going to agree. That’s why she prepared a plan B for this exact scenario, “Steven,” She said with a sweet smile, “You know Tiger Lillian Publishing?”
Steven met her gaze, “Of course I have. They’re one of the best publishing companies in the world,” He frowned, “What does this have to do with anything?”
“Well,” She could see that his interested was piqued, “The apartment is just across the street from their headquarters. Isn’t that cool?”
He narrowed his eyes, “You’re lying.”
Mia shrugged, “You got me. The apartment is just in the same city, but either way, I just figured you would like to know.”
A pause settled in between the four, which was filled only by quiet sips and the quiet ambiance of the coffee shop. Outside the wind howled and grey clouds covered every inch of the once-blue sky. Eventually, the tapping of Vivian’s chewed nails joined the mix of background noise as everyone continued to exchange looks for another short moment.
“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to stay there for a bit,” Steven spoke hesitantly, “A little adventure might help with this writer’s block.”
Mia grinned, satisfied with the results. She knew Steven too well. He never ran out of ideas, but she knew better than to say it out loud, “That just leaves Vivian.”
All eyes were on her. Vivian’s eyes moved from Mia to Jack, and then lastly on Steven. In order to avoid having to give her answer just yet, she took a long sip from her disposable travel mug.
“There is a better fashion scene in the city,” She mumbled begrudgingly.
“Then it’s settled!” Mia exclaimed, “We leave tomorrow!”