Act IV, Scene I
The days until the wedding flew by, and Anna was happy that Bill agreed to come with her on a last-minute shopping trip to find a suitable dress. As opposed to their last meetings, the singer was now completely in his element – and it showed. From the moment he picked her up at the train station to when she tried on the first dresses, Bill had hardly kept quiet for half a minute. Although she normally enjoyed her calm and quiet, now she was almost glad for his chatterbox personality, for it meant that she had no time to think about the reason behind their shopping date. After four hours of intensive shopping, Anna had settled – with Bill’s expressive permission – on a blueish-grey dress with a modest neckline and an open back. To celebrate their victory, they had gone for lunch at what Anna had by now started to consider her very own coffee shop.
They arrived at the shop a little bit past one pm and Anna allowed Bill to take the bags – plural, obviously, for while she had only managed to find one dress, Bill had bought four shirts, three pairs of jeans, two leather jackets, and Heavens only knew what else – while she made her way to the counter to order them lunch. It wasn’t long before she returned to their table with one latte and one black coffee, and the announcement that their sandwiches would be brought to them in a couple of minutes.
Bill nodded, taking a sip from his caffeinated drink with much contentment, and stretched his long legs underneath the table. ‘This has been the most intense shopping I have done with another person since… well, ever. My brother never allows me more than five minutes in each shop.’
Anna laughed at that, ready to answer that she could understand where Tom was coming from – her feet were absolutely killing her! – when a shadow fell over their table. Glancing upwards, she found herself looking in the familiar face of Josh.
He looked ill at ease, shifting from one leg to the other as he shoved his free hand into a jean pocket. ‘So how have you been? I didn’t hear from you since…-’
‘Busy,’ she lied quickly, cutting him off before he could even bring up the completely awkward matter of her birthday card. She did not want to ever talk about that again, least of all with Bill sitting across from her at the table. Bill! Her cheeks reddened a bit, and Anna’s eyes briefly shifted over to the singer. He looked quite casual as he sat across from her, sipping from his coffee and quietly observing the interaction between her and the businessman. She returned her attention to Josh swiftly, but he had already noticed her gaze falling on the other man.
‘So is this your friend, Tom?’
‘His brother, actually. Twin brother. I’m Bill.’
‘You’re not from around here,’ Josh observed, and Anna was about ready to eat herself up. Despite both males being completely calm, she couldn’t help but feel like it was the calm before the storm.
Realisation took over Josh’s expression just as a barista arrived at their table, announcing ‘A tomato and cheese sandwich and a club sandwich.’
A moment of silence followed in which all three of them stared at the disappearing back of the young woman, then Josh whirled back to the table – and Anna noticed in dismay that his attention was now focused on her. ‘You are seeing rock stars?’
She shushed him with a deep frown on her face. ‘I am not seeing anyone. And could you be any louder – I think the old people at that table by the door haven’t heard you.’
He nodded, and a despondent expression overtook his face. ‘So I guess I don’t have to wonder why you didn’t respond to my messages anymore. Seems you have found something better.’
And then he left. And while she held no love for hurting anyone’s feelings, Anna was glad for it. Rubbing at her face tiredly, she sighed deeply as she made eye contact with Bill. ‘Men…’