The Coffee Shop

Kerry sat hunched forward. He held the Blackberry in both hands as he stared intently at the screen. While the company furnished one of these devices to all employees, Kerry found that he hardly ever used his. He had a computer at work and a computer at home. He always said that two places in his life were more than enough to remain in contact with the rest of the world and if he wasn't in either of those two places, he was busy elsewhere and didn't want to be disturbed. But, and it was an odd but, he still carried the device around with him. He hardly looked at email and seldom used the cell phone but he had discovered one curiosity in the device that had managed to pique his interest, a word spelling game.

It may have seemed strange for a man to not to be part of the usual group of golfers and poker players but Kerry had never in his life taken an interest in the usual. Maybe it was a question of shying away from competitive activities, maybe it was a question of not excelling in sports, or maybe it was just as he always said to anybody who inquired: Kerry was just not interested in games period. However he had always enjoyed Scrabble and this word game on the Blackberry did offer a similar intellectual challenge. It had not escaped him that if he didn't like competing against others, he did enjoy competing against himself.

Kerry held the device in his left hand while using his right index finger to touch the screen. He carefully examined the entire grid looking at the available letters while running through the various words he could possibly spell. He looked, reached out then hesitated. He examined the grid again. He began to punch out the letters and slowly spelled the word "positively". He touched the submit button. He looked startled. The screen showed a score of 92, the highest he had ever seen. Wow, now that was impressive. The screen cleared and waited for him to hit a button to proceed to the next level.

Pausing a moment, Kerry reached to the left and picked up his cup of coffee, an in-house china mug. He turned slightly as he brought the rim of the mug to his lips and as he sipped, his eyes focused on a pair of black high heel shoes. He paused then sipped again figuring his coffee sipping would hide what he was actually doing, that is, staring at the legs of the woman seated in the next chair.

Kerry held the mug to his lips as he stared downwards as if he was looking at the floor. He was actually studying the shoes. The colour was black, not shiny as some cheaper brands, but a well kept black leather. They were high heels but not too high, rather a stylish and subtly sexy heel which somehow evoked a certain classiness, a certain elegance. Kerry looked up to sweep his eyes over the room but really wanting to glance at the woman. She was reading, engrossed in her book and not paying the slightest bit of attention to what was going on in the coffee shop.

Setting down his mug, Kerry turned back to his Blackberry and touched the screen to start the next level of his word game. He took a moment to study the grid of letters working out the various words he could construct with the offered letters then punched in "t-a-x-e-s" and hit submit. Just as he saw the score appear on the screen, a movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He didn't move his head but flicked his eyes to his left. He saw the woman reaching out to her own china mug sitting on the same small table as Kerry's.

This was a more upscale coffee shop with comfortable armchairs in one section where one could lounge and read. Some people came in for just a coffee while some came in for either a snack or lunch armed with a book or a newspaper. All enjoyed the ambiance and even if the prices were a little higher than other places, it was relaxing spot away from home, a soothing break in a hectic day.

Kerry felt like he had needed a mid-afternoon pick me up and thought a coffee and a date square would go a long way to rejuvenate him and squash his peckishness. He didn't have a book and couldn't find a newspaper in the shop so he decided to play this computerized word game on his Blackberry. It wasn't the best use of his time but it gave him some intellectual challenge and mildly amused him. Besides, he now had a new aspect to the game: use his Blackberry as a means to camouflage his surreptitious checking out of the woman sitting next to him.

Leaning back in the armchair, Kerry put his elbows on each of the arm rests and held the Blackberry in front of him just below eye level. He looked at the screen for a moment then turned his eyes to the women. She was his age, attractive, and well dressed. There was a certain air about her, a certain class. This was somebody who was well educated, had worked for a living, and had a self-confidence that came from being independent. Kerry studied her face. The woman was intently reading a book and seemed totally oblivious to him.

The woman reached out for mug. Kerry quickly looked back at his Blackberry. In his peripheral vision, he was aware of the woman picking up her mug and taking a sip. She paused and looked around the room. Kerry was aware that she looked at him for a moment. He touched the screen of his Blackberry although his word game had timed out and was asking him to hit a button to play again. He didn't bother; he wanted to go back to looking at the woman. Kerry struggled to not glance at the woman but to wait until she went back to reading her book.

Finally out of the corner of his eye, Kerry saw the woman put down her mug and turn back to her book. He waited a moment then shifted his eyes without turning his head. Yes, the woman was back reading her book.

Kerry looked down at the woman's shoes. He stared at the high heels feeling that typical reaction he imagined any man would feel when looking at high heels. He couldn't say why high heels had such a sexual connotation, but they certainly triggered some desire in the back of his brain. Was it part of the culture? Was it because of the advertising industry? Had anybody ever scientifically explained why high heels were so attractive? Kerry had wondered if you showed two pictures of a woman, exactly the same but in one picture she had flats and in the other she had high heels, would all men like Kerry choose the high heels because, well, just because? Heels added a certain je ne sais quoi.

Kerry smiled slightly thinking of the traditional view that men were always thinking about sex. Certainly Kerry was thinking about it. He let his eyes wander up the woman's nylon encased legs. She had them crossed and while her dress had a respectable hemline around the knee, there was a side slit which had opened a little because of how she was seated. Kerry's eyes stopped on the exposed bit of thigh he could just barely see from his vantage point. Yes, this woman was attractive. His mind was beginning to wander and he could feel those telltale biological signs that somewhere, some imaginative neurons in an autonomic response to high heels and nylon clad legs were telling whatever body parts to start releasing hormones into the blood stream. Was he like a dog demonstrating a Pavlovian response to a bell? Or in this case, could he make a homonymic joke by saying he was responding to a "belle"?

The woman coughed. Kerry looked away. He picked up his mug of coffee and finished it. The woman had stood up and was looking around. Kerry set down his mug as the woman started towards the cash register. He slipped his Blackberry into his pocket then stood up to follow her.

The cashier was just finishing up with another customer. The woman took up position behind this person to wait for her turn. Kerry came up and stood behind the woman. The cashier set down a small bag on the counter and announced, "That's one regular coffee and a bran muffin. Anything else?" The customer began hunting in his pockets for money.

Kerry waited patiently behind the woman. He looked at the back of her head. He absentmindedly stared at her hair. It was a soft red colour. He wasn't really thinking of anything in particular when he noticed a certain smell. Was it perfume? Kerry leaned forward slightly and quietly sniffed at the back of the woman s hair. Ah, that was it. He could smell something emanating from the woman. Was it perfume? Could it be shampoo? It was subtle but it was there. This seemed like another part of the Pavlovian sexual response. Ah, if only the ladies knew how we respond to them. Kerry smiled.

Kerry looked up. It took a moment to decipher what he was looking at. Behind the cashier, up on the wall, there was a mirror, a fairly substantial mirror hanging at an angle over the counter. Was that new? It reflected the back of the cashier, the counter in front of him and the customers standing in front waiting to pay. Suddenly Kerry realised the woman was looking up into the mirror. She was staring right at him. Kerry felt a little flush creep up his neck. She had witnessed him leaning in to smell her hair. Kerry had been caught red handed, or red nosed as it were. Kerry looked at the woman and for a brief moment their eyes locked. The woman looked at Kerry. Kerry looked at the woman. What was she thinking?

The other customer had picked up their coffee and muffin and left. The cashier looked towards the woman and smiled. "Mrs. Douglas, how are you today?"

The woman stepped up to the counter and smiled back at the cashier. "Good afternoon, Marty. I just had a tea."

The cashier punched something into the register then looked up towards Kerry. "Will you be paying for both today, Mr. Douglas?"

Kerry took a step forward already holding a few bills in one hand. "Yes, I had a regular coffee and a date square."

Marty punched a few more buttons then said, "That will be five twenty-three altogether."

Kerry handed the cashier the bills. Marty fiddled in the change drawer then went to hand some coins back only to find Kerry was holding up the coffee cup being used as a tip jar. Marty dropped the coins in the cup. "Thank you very much Mr. Douglas." Marty turned to the woman and nodded. "Have a good one, Mrs. Douglas."

Kerry smiled as he put the tip jar back in its place. Mr. Douglas took a step back and let Mrs. Douglas pass. He followed her as the two of them walked to the door. Kerry put one hand on the door and pushed it open so that his wife could exit the coffee shop.

The couple walked across the street to their parked car. Kerry gallantly held the door open and once his wife was properly seated, shut the door and walked around to the driver's door. He stood for a moment waiting for a break in the traffic. He looked up the street then down the street. Just a few more cars and he could see he'd have an opportunity to open the door and get in.

Kerry looked down through the windshield. He stared at his wife's legs. Yep, he was no better than one of Pavlov's dogs. Show him a bone and he starts to salivate. Of course, weren't all husbands supposed to be turned on by their wives? Kerry chuckled to himself.

The last car passed. Kerry opened the door, climbed into the driver's seat and pulled the door shut. He reached into his pocket and fished out the car keys. If he remembered correctly, both the kids were leaving for a friend's cottage after school today and that meant the house would be empty tonight. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for an intimate moment with his "belle".

 
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