Eyes narrow as a masked person watches a female get out of the back of a dusty yet nice looking steam car. She waves to whoever else is inside then trots off in the rain towards a small café and apartments that sit on top. She pulls open a gate at the side of the café and walks into the dark alleyway, the gate creaking closed behind her. The masked person steps out from their hiding place in the alleyway across the street and hurries over to the café, entering inside to buy a cup of coffee and to get out of the bad weather. Steam mixed with the rich smells of coffee fills the little café as patrons sit around sipping their hot drinks and talking, also wanting to escape the cold dreariness of the outside world even for a moment.
After ordering, the person sits down, tapping long fingers in a black glove on the table in front of them as they waited for their hot coffee. The person glances upwards, their murky yellowish eyes staring at the ceiling as they listen for their name and listen to the maddening chatter around them. Once their drink is done, they head up to the counter, thank the woman behind the counter, and heads back outside with their coffee cup in a gloved hand. They retreat back to their hiding spot in the alleyway and waits for the woman to reappear, knowing that at this time she will go downstairs to the café, have a treat and coffee as she always did on Tuesdays, and then head back out for a quick errand run at the market not too far from here. The person had the detective lady’s routine down by heart now.
Just as predicted, the woman walks out of the alleyway wearing fresh clothes and walks into the café. She sits down a few moments later with a plate, fork, and some sort of pastry and a hot cup of coffee in front of the window, where she loves to sit and watch the people stroll by, though today it is more like a canter or run since it is raining. The person sips their coffee as they watch her, their eyes never leaving her face as she eats and drinks, their face crinkling under the mask in a grin. This one will be fun to toy with. This one will be a fun challenge and trophy to add to their collection.
In matters of minutes, the masked person is strolling through the streets of London, following the lady detective as she walks to the market to do a bit of food shopping. The person sips the last of their coffee then drops the cup on the street beside them, not carrying that they are littering since others do it as well. They disappear behind a few people when the detective lady suddenly stops and looks behind her, almost as if she had sensed that she is being followed. Not seeing the masked person, she shrugs her shoulders and turns back around, heading inside the market.
She takes out her list as she walks into the market, picking up a basket in order to place the items she needs inside so that she can carry them easier. She says hello to a few people that she knows, who also shop after work, and heads to the produce aisle. She stops to smell a few lemons before choosing a couple, always liking to have a squirt of fresh lemon in her tea while she reads or studies cases, and places them inside the basket before moving on to the lettuce. She continues to shop unaware of a man walking around, watching her and looking at the produce. He stops by the oranges and accidentally knocks one-off, the orange rolling and bumping the woman’s foot.
Elizabeth looks down when she feels something bump into her boot and glances down to see an orange roll a bit away from her heel then back into it. She bends down and scoops it up, looking around for its owner. She sees the smiling face of a man standing over the orange with his hand outstretched for it.
“Sorry about that. I guess the little bugger got away from me,” he chuckles as he accepts the orange back from her.
Elizabeth chuckles, “Not a problem. I am just glad that I caught the orange before it decided to roll any further away from you.”
They laugh and begin to chat over the lemons and oranges before they move on together to finish their shopping, enjoying their time together. The man introduces himself as Zane and tells her that he is a contractor for those who create the blimps that fly overhead. She tells him her name is Elizabeth and that she is a detective, just out shopping for some food for the next few weeks. He says that he is doing the same, holding up a basket almost full of fruits and vegetables.
“The only thing missing is some meats and beans and then my shopping will be done,” Zane tells her as they head for the butcher of the marketplace.
“I think I might need a little meat too,” Elizabeth staring down at her list for a moment. “Oh, yep here it is, I need some salted pork.”
They stop and ask the butcher for their cuts of meat then head to pay for their items at the front of the market. They pay for their items and step outside, still talking to one another, enjoying the small talk. Zane motions in the direction of the coffee shop while raising his eyebrows.
Elizabeth chuckles and shakes her head, patting her food in her bag, “I will have to take a rain check on that coffee. I already had one before I went shopping and I need to get these back to my crisper to keep them fresh. But thank you for the invite, Zane.”
Zane grins at her and nods, “Well then I will hold you to that rain check, Elizabeth.” He holds out his hand and flicks his wrist so that a keyboard pops up and she can enter her number for him.
Elizabeth giggles and leans forward, entering her number so that he can call her, “Then call me tomorrow and maybe we can get that coffee. I have tomorrow off.” She winks at him before she waves and walks off, heading home to put her things away. She glances over her shoulder to see that Zane is still watching her as she walks away. She smirks at herself, turning away just as Zane scratches his head before he too turns and heads away down the street in the opposite direction.
Once home, she unpacks her belongings, placing the fruit in a basket on her kitchen island and her vegetables in her crisper in her small fridge along with the meat in a separate crisper. She gets herself her book and sits down in bed, reading a bit though her mind doesn’t stay on the words in front of her. She can’t help but think about Zane, his cute dimple in his chin, and his sparkling eyes. She sighs heavily like a little schoolgirl, daydreaming about the cutest boy in class and if he will notice her.
She can’t wait for the next time she is with Janice so that she can tell her about Zane and how they met. She never has any girls on her team since she is always with Jarred, Simon, and Jock so having Janice join the group has been a huge deal for her. She finally gives up on reading for the night and puts the book down on the little table beside her bed, wondering what Zane is doing at that moment. She flips off the switch on her fire lamp, slides down under her warm covers, and closes her eyes. Her dreams mix of Zane and the case that she is working on, hoping that she can keep Zane safe from the murderer.
The next morning, Elizabeth gets up early so that she can get in her early morning walk before she hopefully gets a call from Zane for a coffee date. She puts her hair in an easy messy braid and puts in her boots, a golden-brown corset, jacket, leggings, and skirt. She heads out in the morning cold misty morning, slipping her hands into her pockets as she heads off down the street. She enjoys her morning walk, heading over the closest bridge and headed to the west of where she lives as she always did in the morning. Shivering a little because of the misty weather, she keeps her eyes darting here and there, a habit she has picked up since she had become a detective 7 years ago. And with the memory thief still on the loose in London murdering others, her senses have heightened.
Elizabeth finishes her walk and as she heads back towards her house, she feels her wrist vibrate a little. She pulls out her small phone and looks at the screen to see a number she didn’t know call. She takes in a sharp breath and squeals, hoping that it is Zane.
“Hello, this is Elizabeth,” she says quickly into her phone, stepping off of the path so that she doesn’t block the others out strolling along on the same path.
“Hi Elizabeth, it’s Janice. Jarred gave me your number and asked me to call you to ask if you can meet us at the warehouse to begin working on the case again in three days,” Janice’s voice quips in her ear to her disappointment.
Pushing away her disappointment so that Janice can’t hear it in her voice, she clears her throat, “Three days huh? Yea I think I can fit you all into my busy schedule.”
Janice laughs, “Great then please pencil us in and we will see you bright and early tomorrow at the office for other cases we apparently have to work on before we can get back to that one. Be ready to help take notes at the warehouse. This next step for my past jumping is going to be hard and tedious.” Janice sighs heavily and Elizabeth can hear the frustration in the sigh.
“Well I know this girl who can do the past jump and has already found out some pretty big information that no one, not even our fearless leader Jarred, has found out about the memory thief and what memories he or she has stolen,” Elizabeth tells Janice. She can hear Janice smiling on the other end of the phone, “And I know she has scored some big points with one of the members of the little group too during the past jumping. He and I have had a little talk about the newest member of our team and I have to say, he is really digging her. But I won’t say who…she will just have to figure that out on her own. See you tomorrow at the office.” She hangs up her phone, barely hearing Janice’s plea to not hang up and tell her.
Elizabeth chuckles at her new friend as she puts her phone back in her pocket and heads back onto the trail, making her way back home. A nice hot cup of tea with some eggs and toast sounded like an amazing breakfast and her stomach grumbled in agreement. She steps out of the mist, ready to change into warm clothes and to get some food into her stomach.
As she changes her clothes out of the misty wet clothes, she sighs heavily as disappointment begins to settle in since he hasn’t called her yet. She enters her homey kitchen in her apartment and starts the fire under her stovetop so that she can boil her water for tea and so she gets her food cooked to perfection. She opens her small crisper and pulls out the small carton of eggs and bread.
Soon she is sitting at her small wooden round table, sipping on her green tea and picking up to bite into her toast with her sunny side up eggs on top. She enjoys the taste of the eggs squirting onto her tongue mixed with the toast and she chews thoughtfully. Her mind wanders to the memory thief case and she wonders if Zane is the memory thief. She shakes her head, pushing that silly idea out of her mind and she sips her tea just as her wrist vibrates. She glances at it before she picks up her phone that she had placed next to the plate, pushing a button to answer it.
“Hello, this is Elizabeth,” she answers.
“Are you ready?”
She blinks a few times, not recognizing the voice, “Excuse me? Who is this and ready for what?”
“Are you ready for a large cup of steamy hot black goodness from the gods?” the voice asks.
He chuckles into the phone, “Yep it’s me. So, are you ready?”
Elizabeth laughs as she leans back into her chair and crosses one leg over the other, “I don’t know, Zane. Your call was quite creepy.”
“I know…and it was fun too.” She can hear him shifting his weight as if he is standing. “So, say I meet you there in about half an hour? And then maybe we can go for a walk or go sit in the park or something like that?” Again, she hears him moving around, distinctly hearing what sounds like gravel shifting under a shoe.
Shaking off the strange feeling she is getting from hearing that sound, Elizabeth taps one heel of her boots against the ground as she sits silent, making him wait in agony, “Half an hour at the coffee shop and then a walk or go sitting at the park or something. I guess then I shall see you there.” She hangs up after she says goodbye, putting the phone down on the table and finishing her tea and food quickly.
In no time, her kitchen is clean, plates are washed and drying in a rack next to the sink, the stove is off, and she is ready to head downstairs. She puts on her blue jacket that matches the new outfit she had picked out for the day and quickly locks up before she jogs carefully down the stairs that leads down to the street. Elizabeth steps out into the street and looks around as the sun shines down over her and everyone else that is present around her.
A figure walks behind a slow-moving carriage, eyes staring over a face mask at her as she heads for the coffee shop. The figure steps out from behind it and crosses the busy street so that the figure doesn’t lose sight of the woman. Elizabeth stops walking and turns to look behind her, feeling as if she is being followed like she had last night when she was walking to the market.
Once again not seeing anyone, she shrugs and continues to the coffee shop, walking inside with her excitement trying to bubble out of her. Elizabeth looks around but doesn’t see Zane anywhere inside or outside. She chews on her lower lip, wondering if she is about to get stood up by the most handsome guy she has ever talked to in a long time. She sighs heavily but before she could think another thing, flowers slowly float down from above her until they stop in front of her. She gasps and turns to see Zane standing behind her with a huge grin on his face.
“For me?” she asks excitedly.
“For you,” he says as he places the bundle of cheddar pinks, one of her favorite flowers, into her hands.
She graciously takes them from him and holds them close to her chest, not having received flowers from a guy in two years. She had dated a guy who she had thought was the one, well she had dated several she had thought was the one, but he betrayed her by running off with some woman from another country. It left her devastated and she swore off men. But now she feels that she is ready to start a new relationship and her eyes have settled on Zane. He is mysterious, fun, different, and almost like the man of her dreams. He ushers her to the counter so that they can order their coffees and then head out into the late morning day to continue their chat from last night while walking to the nearby park. After they have their coffee, they head out and walk almost hand in hand down the street, sipping their hot drinks and picking up their conversations where they had left off last night.
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