Here is the third part of ‘The Coffee Wars’. A trilogy of short stories all set around an independent coffee shop. Each story is filled with numerous references from one of the two things that opened my mind to the world of creativity.
Lucas held Jade in his arms, he moved her hair and placed his hand on her face. He smiled at her and her smile beamed back. They both turned when they heard a tap on the window. A slim face squashed against the glass, as it pulled away it became clear who it was, a soaked Mr Daniels. As he approached the door, he looked down and could see that Mr Baker was eager to get inside as he tapped his foot and checked his phone. Mr Daniels took hold of the drenched umbrella and shook the rain off as Mr Baker stepped through the door.
“Hello Mr Baker, how are you doing today?”
“Very busy, very busy.”
Lucas watched him walk to his favourite table against the far wall, Mr Baker then opened his laptop and began to type with ferocity. As Mr Daniels placed the umbrella in the bucket near the counter, the door swung open, in walked George in his brown woolly jumper. Behind him was Mr Adder dressed in his black suit. Lucas wondered if he wore anything else, he looked out of the window to see if Mr Cornelius was behind him.
“Can somebody get this walking rug out of my way!”
George turned and growled something that Lucas couldn’t understand, Mr Adder did not flinch and he just sat down and stared out of the window. Jade walked from the counter and placed a fresh cup of coffee in front of George before she headed for the storage room. Lucas picked up his phone as it beeped, another message appeared on the screen.
‘Please, can we talk son.’
He hit delete and placed the phone into his pocket, then the phone behind the counter rang. Lucas ran to the storage room and pushed the door open.
“Jade, it’s for you.”
The phone was snatched from his hand, as he turned away from the door Mr Daniels called him over. He walked to the table.
“Can I help with anything, Mr Daniels.”
“Yes, please could we have two fresh cups of coffee?”
“Sure not a problem, how hard can it be to make a coffee.”
“The froth is strong in you.”
Mr Daniels began to laugh, even Mr Baker chuckled, but he didn’t do for long. Lucas couldn’t control himself and he busts out into a cackle.
“I’m sorry young Lucas, I couldn’t resist.”
“It was a brilliant, Mr Daniels, that will tickle me for days.”
“It will for me too. How are you doing?”
“I am good thanks. I have been meaning to ask, Mr Daniels, what do you and Mr Baker do for a living?”
“We both run a company called ILM. We assess businesses, sounds flash but it’s not it’s all binary really.”
“Sounds interesting, if you need anything else just give me a shout.”
“That we will. Thanks, Lucas.”
Lucas watched as Mr Baker on his laptop as he punched the keys with purpose. He heard Jade on the phone as she reappeared from the storage room, as the call ended she punched the air.
“Why you so happy?”
“We have an order of Java coming in at some point today.”
Lucas held the tray by his side and looked at Jade, she tilted her head at him and smiled.
“You don’t have to help out to impress me?”
“I know I don’t, but you were busy, I thought the retailers were out of stock.”
“Well, luck has it that they have been able to get hold of replacement blend of the Java we originally ordered.”
“That’s great news. Heard anything about your dad?”
“No, not yet.”
“You will. I can feel it.”
The doorbell rang and a man walked in with a plastic box under his arm, he walked directly over to the table occupied by, Mr Baker and Mr Daniels. Lucas and Jade looked at the man as he passed by them, his slight round figure wobbled with each step. In his plastic tub were what looked like muffins. Mr Daniels and Mr Baker greeted the muffin man with a handshake before he set next to them. Lucas watched them as they whispered and pointed to the laptops. Jade looked over towards Mr Adder, she picked up an order form and walked over to him.
“Mr Adder could I get you anything?”
“No that won’t be necessary, Mr Cornelius will be here shortly to give you the final offer, you hold the key to your father’s life.”
“Why? My Dad told you we won’t be selling…ever… isn’t that clear enough?”
“Everybody has a price, Miss Kessell. Everything is happening as it has been foreseen.”
“We’ll never join you!”
“Search your feelings you know this is the only choice.”
“Why you… womp rat!”
Lucas stepped passed Jade as she stormed away, he could see she was hiding the anger and tears. She grabbed his hand and stopped him, her grip tightened. He watches as the emotionless face of Mr Adder returned to the window and the world as it passed by. The phone rang and Jade answered the phone, Lucas watched her face light up.
“Is your dad on his way?”
“He has been released and cleared of all charges. He is a few minutes away.”
They both looked, at Mr Adder as he opened his jacket and removed his phone. A look of panic filled his face, Jade smiled along with Lucas. In the corner, another phone rang and Mr Daniels reached across the table and answered the call, as Mr Baker carried on a conversation with the muffin man.
Lucas watched, Mr Adder as he stood and walked to the front of the shop, just as a car pulled up. He opened the door for the arrival of Evan Cornelius. He carried a briefcase as he was escorted to the table Mr Adder had occupied. Mr Cornelius opened the briefcase and placed it on the table, along with a pen.
The door swung open to the storage room and out walked Bob. He gave Jade a hug, a peck on the cheek, then winked at her. She had a confused look on her face.
“What’s going on dad?”
“I have just made a deal that will keep Empire Coffee Store out of here forever.”
“I am confused, dad.”
“I will explain.”
Lucas stood by the counter and watched it all unfold. Everybody gathered around the table in the centre of the shop, except George who stayed in his seat. Bob sat down and faced the confident looking Evan Cornelius.
“Mr Kessell over the years I have been bringing shops into the fold of the Empire brand, you will no different. Everybody has a price.”
“I think I am going to say no thanks, Mr Cornelius.”
“Your thoughts betray you. Search your feelings. If you join the circle will be complete.”
“The answer is still no.”
Bob stood up and walked away from the table but paused when he Mr Adder stood in front of him. Mr Cornelius placed his flat cap on his head and fastened his jacket.
“Please think about the deal, Mr Kessell, it would be a mistake to walk away.”
“I think you will find that it is you who are mistaken..about a number of things.”
“This is the only deal available to you.”
“No, it’s not, there is another. You have my decision and that’s final, now please will both leave my coffee stop.”
Lucas could see the anger in Mr Adder and Mr Cornelius as they exited the shop. Before they left, Mr Cornelius turned and tipped his hat.
“Don’t underestimate the power of the Empire brand.”
As the door closed Bob turned and saw Jade stood confused. He smiled at her and held his arms open. Jade hugged her father and looked up at him.
“Who have you made a deal with?”
“My new silent partner.”
As Lucas and Jade turned, Ben stepped out from the storage room with a smile on his face. Mr Kessell shook Ben’s hand again.
“Thanks again, Ben.”
“One more thing, can I introduce Mani Boffin, of Mani Boffin Muffins.”
Lucas turned and saw the round figure of Mani step from behind Mr Daniels and Mr Baker. He had a big smile across his face as he approached Bob.
“Nice to finally meet you, your shop is cosy and friendly, I am looking forward to our alliance. Only if you want to Mr Kessell.”
“This deal will help you both. Join forces and fight against the franchise of the Empire.”
Bob and Mani looked at each other and then shook hands. Jade grabbed the hand of Lucas and walked him outside the store. The rain had turned to drizzle now but it was cool on the skin. Jade turned to Lucas and pulled him close and kissed him, they held each other. A white van pulled up beside them. Jade looked at the side of the van, in a large black font it said, T16 Trading, she turned to Lucas.
“Jade, what is it?”
Then the window lowered and a voice called out.
“I have a delivery, will I be ok parking here?”
“Yeah, I will just go and get my father. Lucas do you mind giving him a hand.”
As the driver exited the van Lucas saw that he had a false right hand.
To be continued……..(Maybe)