When I first saw Zachary, he was reading a book on Egyptian Mythology.  I knew it was a book on Egyptian Mythology, because of the pictures on the front was an Egyptian in a loincloth with a dogs head.  Maybe it wasn’t a loin cloth as such, but it wasn’t trousers or shorts or anything like that.


Zachary was sitting at a table in the café where I worked.  He had walked in with a girl and they had chosen to sit at a table near the window.  She had talked to him for at least ten minutes non stop.  Then she stood up abruptly and walked out.  I knew that they hadn’t had an argument because I had been closely watching the pair for those whole ten minutes.  She talked and he opened the book.  She talked and he read.  She talked and he seemingly ignored her.  Then she stood and stormed out and he didn’t appear to have noticed her leave.


I watched as this whole scene played out from behind the counter of the Mocha Arms.  At that point, I didn’t know if he was going to leave and follow her or what he was going to do.  Suddenly, Zachary looked up as if he was looking for the girl.  He turned his head this way and that before he noticed me watching him.


I smiled at him and he smiled back.  That was when I decided that I should do my job and see if he needed anything.  I straightened my shoulders, picked up my order pad and pen and headed towards his table.


“Good morning,” I asked brightly.  “Can I help you?”  That was when I noticed Zachary’s amazing eyes.  I had never seen anyone with eyes that shade of blue.  Granted, I don’t often go around looking at everyone’s eyes, but there was something about his eyes and the way he looked at me.


“Yes,” he started, “Did you see the girl I came in with?  Is she in the bathroom, do you think?”  Obviously Zachary had no idea that she had stormed out and left him alone in the café.


“I think she left,” I nodded towards the door.  “She didn’t look very happy.”


“Oh.” Zachary replied as if he was confused.


“Yeah.” I didn’t know what else to say to him.  I expected Zachary to get up and leave to find her.


“Well, can I have a hot chocolate please?” he asked as he closed the book and rested his hands upon it.


“You don’t want to go and find your girlfriend?”  I thought that maybe he needed a bit of permission to leave and find her.  “She might want you to chase after her.  Girls like that.”  I tried to sound like I knew what I was talking about because I’d seen it on the telly.


“She isn’t my girlfriend, she’s my sister.”  He rolled his eyes. “Girls can be so…” he made some sort of strange flicking hand movement as he tried to find a word to finish off that sentence.


“Yeah, I know what you mean,” I agreed, grinning. 


“My name is Zach by the way, but everyone calls me Zachary,” he held out a hand to introduce himself. 


I reached out and took his hand shaking it, “I’m Mark, but everyone calls me Mark.” 


Zachary smiled and nodded before asking, “Can I get marshmallows in that hot chocolate, Mark?”


“Yeah, sure,” I noted it down and out of the corner of my eye I could see Zachary grinning at me.  Looking back up, I asked, “Anything else?”


“Um, yeah,” I could swear that the tips of his ears had turned pink.  Maybe they had been pink all along and I hadn’t noticed.  Slowly a flush went across Zachary’s cheeks and he bit his lip. “Wouldyouliketogooutwithmesometime?”  His question came out in a rush and I had to stop and decipher it to understand what he was asking.


“Sorry… What?”  I asked at the non-sequitor.   


“I was asking you out.  On a date.  Maybe to the pub, or the movies.  You know, out.”  All the while he spoke, the pink in his cheeks spread across his whole face.


I stood stunned.  It was the last thing I had expected him to say and I must have been standing there with my mouth open. 


“Well, if you don’t want to, that’s okay.”  Zachary gathered the book in his hand and I knew he was about to leave if I didn’t say something.


“Yes.”  I said before clarifying. “Yes I would really like that.” 


“Great.” He relaxed into his seat. 


“Great,” I repeated.  I must have been grinning like a loon.


“Ummm,” he interrupted my thoughts, “Mark, can you make my order ‘two hot chocolates’ please?” 


“Two?  Sure.  Are you thirsty?” I teased as I changed the number one into a number two on my order pad.


“The other one is for my sister.”  He stood and waved through the window.  To my astonishment, the girl who had stormed out a little while ago, sheepishly walked back in and stood besides Zachary.  “Mark, this is Jan.  Jan, meet Mark” he politely motioned to each of us in turn. 


I must have looked confused and my question came out a little rougher than I had planned.  “What the hell is going on here?”  I was starting to worry that they were playing a joke on me.  And it wasn’t funny at all. 


“Please don’t be mad at Zachary, Mark” Jan started to plead, “This was all my idea.”  She visibly took a deep breath before continuing.   “I knew that Zach had seen you a few times, when he came in here, but he was too nervous to say anything.  I made a deal with him, that I would only come in here today if he talked to you.”


I ran a hand through my hair.  I wasn’t sure what to say next.  “Well, he didn’t just only talk to me, Jan.  Your brother asked me out of a date.”


“Really?”  Jan grinned.  Right at that moment, the look on her face reminded me of a cartoon drawing I had seen of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland.  “I just thought he wanted to say hello to you, not ask you out on a date.  I had no idea!” She continued on and I wasn’t sure if she had taken another breath.


“I really don’t think Zachary is as shy as you make out.”  I retorted crossing my arms. 


“Mark, if you don’t want to go out with me after this, it’s okay.” Zachary interjected.


Zachary’s statement took some of the fight out of me and I turned my thoughts back onto him.  I really did want to get to know him better, but I also was thinking that he must have been hurt badly in the past if he needed his sister to give him courage.  I mentally noted that it was the second time that he had expected me to reject him. “Zach, I still want to go out with you, okay?”  I tried to smile to reassure him.  “Just not with your sister too.”


“Definitely without my sister.”  he agreed.


“Hey!” Jan pretended to sound offended as she tried to elbow Zachary in the ribs.


“No offence meant.”  I smirked at her as best I could.


“All offences taken.” She smirked back.


“Okay.  You two sit down and I will get you your drinks,” I walked around the table and stood next to Zachary.  I lowered my voice so that he was the only one who could hear me. “I finish in an hour.  How about you meet me back here and we decide where we’ll go for our date.”  He nodded in agreement before sitting next to his sister.


That was the first time I saw Zachary.  The second time I saw him was when he was waiting out the front of the Mocha Arms as I was finishing my shift for the day. 


Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that we have only been together for thirteen years.  It feels somehow that we have been together forever.  But every time I look into Zachary’s amazing blue eyes, it feels like the first time all over again.



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