Chapter three - The very emotional, slightly strange, quite awkward, seventh meeting.
A week came and went, and Oliver's behavior towards Percy hadn't changed at all. Percy felt quite relieved by that fact as it meant he wouldn't have to look for a new coffee shop. He rather liked this one. He had only been going there for three weeks, but he had grown quite fond of it. That was also one of the reasons why he was at the coffee shop with Penny at 8AM on a Saturday morning.
"Why don't you go and get us a seat? I'll get us our drinks. Do you still drink a cappuccino with two sugars?" Penny nodded at him and looked relieved for not having to stand in line. She quickly walked away and Percy followed her movements with his eyes. He could see the pain in the way she walked and he knew something was wrong, something was very wrong. He just didn't know how to confront Penny about his knowledge of her pain. Percy just took a deep breath and went to stand in line with everyone else awake at 8AM on a Saturday morning. He was just very glad there weren't that many people standing in front of him, only two men who appeared to be on their way to work. He almost felt sorry for them, almost.
The two businessmen in front of him had ordered quickly, which meant Percy was suddenly standing before Oliver. “Morning sir. Oh, hey Percy. One black coffee to take away?” Oliver smiled brightly at him and Percy gave a small smile himself.
“No, I’d like to drink it here. Oh, and I’d also like a cappuccino to drink here.” Percy took out his wallet and waited for Oliver to ring up the order. Percy quickly paid and went to stand at the pick-up place.
“Here with a friend this early on a Saturday morning? Or business meeting?” Oliver asked while making the two cups of coffee.
“The former. My best friend, Penny, wanted to meet me and I suggested we meet here. She wanted it to be this early because she has to be elsewhere later today. I’m not entirely sure what she wants to talk about, though.” Percy smiled even though deep down he was incredibly worried about Penny and whatever was wrong with her. Because there was no doubt that something was in fact wrong. Oliver gave him a small smile and handed him two cups filled with coffee.
“Well, I hope it’s nothing too terrible. Have a nice day, Percy.” Oliver’s smile became a bit brighter and Percy quickly thanked him. He already had a sense of what was coming and he had to focus on that, nothing else, even if that other thing was a cute barista named Oliver. Percy was so worried he didn’t even notice he had said the part about the cute barista out loud and he certainly didn’t notice Oliver’s eyes following him.
Penny smiled weakly at Percy when he gave her the cappuccino and two bags of sugar. Percy quickly took a seat across from Penny and waited for her to start talking. He had to wait for about two minutes before Penny sighed and seemed to take a big gulp of air. Percy smiled at her and just calmly waited.
“I have to tell you something and I already know you’re not going to like it. I just – I don’t know – how should I – I just don’t know how to tell you, Percy.” Penny seemed to search for words and Percy figured he should help at least a little.
“I know you’re in pain, Penny. Just tell me. Start at the beginning. If you really don’t know anymore, you can always write it down and send me an email or something. I can listen, Pen.” Percy reached across the table and held her hand in his for a second. He gave it a tiny squeeze before releasing it. Penny smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. Her eyes looked dead, like everything was lost and she couldn’t fight, couldn’t pretend, any longer.
Penny took a deep breath and she started telling him everything that had been going on with her.