Snippet Sunday – A New Venture
I think it’s appropriate that for my first Snippet Sunday post, I am writing about a man who is on the verge of trying something new, and even more, probably on the edge of a brand new life he’s been anxiously anticipating, maybe for so long, he’s unaware he’s been holding his breath, waiting for that proverbial shoe to drop.
MEET: Davison Malory and Ekko, a barista.
Snippet Sunday, Installement No. 1
With nothing else to interfere and stop him doing—well—anything he damn well pleased—Davison Malory was at a complete and utter loss. What did he do for fun? Marco could not be right. Davison had hobbies and interests. Of course he did. Everyone did.
He could read a book, for instance. Though he’d probably been an angsty teen the last time he’d read something that wasn’t a news article or trade magazine, and even back then, he’d been all about the glossy print, and not so much about anything as mundane as fiction.
Watching TV was out. He hated reality television—Survivor was so not his bag—and drama was, well, dramatic. Comedies, he mostly didn’t get the humour that other people thought was funny. To him, it often looked too much like bullying or humiliating someone to get a laugh, even if the someone was just a fictional character. To Davison, it just wasn’t funny.
He had gone to see that movie not so long ago. The superhero one about the frozen soldier. It hadn’t been terrible. When was that? A couple of months ago? He pulled out his phone to see if he could find the title, and found twelve email alerts.
“Seriously?” He’d only just put the thing in is pocket fifteen minutes ago, tops. That was almost an email a minute.
“You make yourself too available.” Mamma said, patting his hand where it lay on the bedspread next to her. “Take an afternoon off. Make them think for themselves. Make some decisions on their own. They’re grown men and women. They can live without you for one afternoon.”
“You’d be surprised, Mamma. Some of them are pretty helpless.”
“That doesn’t have to be your problem. You’re their landlord, not a babysitter. And anyway, you aren’t doing them any favours, always coming to their rescue like you do. They have to learn to be independent. Just like I always taught you.”
“Mamma, some of them barely speak English.”
“They need to figure their own shit out,” Marco had chimed in from his seat under the window. He had a book tilted to the light and his glasses perched on the end of his nose. He peered at Davison over their thin wire rims. He was barely a decade older than Davison, but in that moment, he might have been as old and wise as the woman he’d married almost twenty years ago. He was, truth be told, the closest thing to a father Davison knew.
“I am in charge of them while they’re here.”
“Listen to your mother, Davey.”
Davison flinched. No one called him that any more. Hadn’t in a very long time.
“Find something you enjoy. A hobby. Something that interests you and that’s it’s only value: that you find it interesting.”
“Please, baby. Just take the afternoon off.” Mamma squeezed his hand, bringing his attention back to her. “One afternoon. It’s all I ask. Go and do something fun. Something just for you.”
“I don’t ask you for much, Davison, do I?”
“No. Of course not.”
She never asked for anything at all. She’d managed a lifetime of congestive heart failure and brought him almost into his teen years all by herself before finally conceding that she needed help. He’d been eleven when Marco had come along, as his manny at first, though that hadn’t lasted more than six months before he and Mamma had fallen head over heels for one other.
Davison shook himself. “There will be time—”
“Today, Davison.” She all but threw his hand down, her face turning stern. “You know this. What have I always taught you?”
“There is no tomorrow.”
She glared at him. “Promise me. One afternoon. No phone calls. No emails.”
What could he have done? He’d nodded and made the promise. And here he was. Staring at his phone as two more emails chimed. But he’d promised, and you didn’t break a promise you made to your mother. Ever. Especially when she was staring down the barrel of no more tomorrows.
With a force of will, he unlocked the phone and hit the Safari app to open a window that bypassed email altogether, typed in “frozen soldier” and immediately recognized the character’s name, Captain America, and the movie, “Winter Soldier”.
“2014. Well shit.”
Three years? It had been that long since he’d tried to go on a date? That couldn’t be right. But he distinctly remembered the guy he’d gone with being stoked because it had been opening night. So yeah. Three years.
The date had been a disaster. The movie had not been so terrible. Maybe he could go to another movie. Good or bad, it would at least kill a few hours, and there could be Twizlers and a slushy, so there was that.
So okay. Who to go with? He punched the call icon and thought. Who could he call at—he glanced at his wrist-watch—twelve-forty in the afternoon to go to a movie with him? It was so sad. Every single person he knew was either at work, or was one of the spoiled, helpless tenants he had promised his mother he would avoid for one afternoon.
The one single person he could think of who would be free for the afternoon was the guy who made his coffee every morning at the shop on his corner. Ekko, the barista, who had been very clear, very often, that he started his shift at five AM, and so was off every weekday afternoon at one, and that he didn’t work weekends. Ever.
Ekko was adorable in a ginger, tom-cat sort of way, but far too pushy for Davison’s taste. He glanced at his watch again. He could always go to the theatre by himself.
Pocketing his phone, Davison started walking. The theatre was a couple of blocks from his apartment, and on the way. He’d be able to check and see if there was even anything he wanted to see on a Tuesday afternoon. The coffee shop was only a block further. If there was nothing to see at the theatre, he’d pick up the most extravagant coffee and baked treat he could find, then go back to his apartment. He could fold laundry and scan Netflix. Maybe play a computer game or—wonder of wonders—break out his PS4.
Wouldn’t that be a novelty?
As Ekko bent his head over the fancy coffee maker behind the counter, Davison had a few minutes to study him. He had the kind of broad shoulders and long arms that made Davison think swimmer, or rower. A pink, sequined elastic held his hair in a man-bun, and he had his lower lip between his teeth as he moved a metal pitcher around under the frothing arm of the machine. All Davison could see of his face was the freckled bridge of his nose and cheekbones, his ridiculously long, red-gold eyelashes, and that white crescent where he bit his lip.
The loud whoosh of the frother stopped abruptly and the voice of the girl in line in front of Davison carried through the shop.
“…told her to go fuck herself, you know? I don’t need that…shit.” She trailed off, face pink as she glanced around.
Ekko’s head came up, a grin on his face. “Totally, right?” He winked at her. “You don’t take shit, girl.”
She giggled, a painful sound and shrugged. “Yeah.” Her friend slipped an arm through hers and they put their heads together, talking more quietly.
It left a clear sight path from Ekko to Davison, and Ekko’s eyes got wide when he met Davison’s gaze. His commiserating smile widened into a full-on grin that lit up his golden eyes. “Davis! You lost, dude?”
“Davison,” Davison corrected instantly, and by reflex.
“Davis-on.” Ekko’s grin widened. “Hey. I’m almost done my shift. Don’t tell me you finally figured it out.”
Figured what out?
Davison blinked at Ekko in confusion. That only made Ekko grin so big lines, deepened along side his mouth, his teeth appeared, the little gap between the front two framed in a wreath of merriment. For just an instant, he reminded Davison very much of the Cheshire Cat.
Now that you’ve read the little snippet, remember it, bookmark it, do something to be able to come back to it, because after I post four of them (I hope no less than one every two weeks) I will be asking for readers to vote on which one they would like to see expanded. Stay tuned for that!