Donna Noble stepped out of the office building where she had been temping for the last two weeks with a heavy sigh. One more job that bit the dust. She should be used to this, she mused. This had been her life for more years than she’d like to admit to. She was a good temp, the fastest one in Chiswick, and yet it wasn’t enough. She wasn’t enough and she wondered if she ever would be.
Donna couldn’t put her finger on it, but something had changed in her life. Lately every day felt as if as if she’d woken up from a wonderful dream where she’d truly been happy, but by the time her eyes were fully opened it was almost forgotten. But it was more than that. She felt like she in mourning, even if she couldn’t say for what.
It didn’t make sense and gave her a headache when she thought about it too hard. Missing out on things was nothing new to her, but it seemed much worse the past several months. She felt like a piece of her was gone. Ever since that odd day where she’d woken up with her clothes on, like a bleeding kid, everything seemed to bring her down. Then there were the looks she’d see her mum and gramps exchange out of the corner of her eyes, even if they were evasive when question. No, she couldn’t explain it, but Donna knew she’d lost something.
Pushing aside those thoughts (what good would they do?), she rummaged through her pockets and pulled out a handful of coins. She really should just head home, but she figured she deserved a pick-me-up. A double caramel mocha latte sounded great.
Donna walked the three blocks to the closest Starbucks and stepped inside. It was crowded and she glanced around at the tables, wishing she was with somebody who could hold a table. Crossing her fingers that there would be an open table by the time she had her order, she got in line.
She had moved forward by one person when the door to the café opened and a feminine laughter filled the air.
“Did you see the look on his face when the penny dropped and he was caught? He thought he’d fooled us!”
“He thought he fooled you. I knew it from the beginning. But you figured it out on your own. Absolutely fantastic!”
Donna glanced over her shoulder at the newcomers the voices belonged to. One was a pretty girl she guessed to be in her late teens or early twenties and the other a downright handsome man in a leather jacket that appeared to at least twice the girl’s age. Donna might have thought they were father and daughter except for the fact she was leaning against his shoulder and their hands were firmly entwined together. That and he was beaming at her with rapt adoration.
“It’s really crowded in here,” the girl stated. “Wanna grab us a table?”
The guy looked down at their hands with a small frown, but after he took a look around he nodded at the girl and then proceeded to the nearest empty table and pulled out a newspaper.
Turning around fully, Donna smiled at the girl.
“Hmmm?” The girl’s forehead wrinkled.
“Your bloke.” Donna clarified.
The girl stole a glance over now newspaper reading guy. “Yeah, he is,” she agreed. “But we’re not together.”
“Really?” Donna arched an eyebrow, not believing it for a second.
“No. Everyone thinks that but we’re really just friends. Travelling companions.”
“But the way he looked at you…” Donna trailed off. The way you looked at him, she didn’t add. “I’d give anything for a guy to look at me like that.”
The girl shook her head with a wistful smile. “He doesn’t see me like that. He’s not my boyfriend, he’s better than that. My best mate who shows me the world.”
Donna decided to let matter drop. “You’re lucky either way. I’d love to travel, see the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, places like that.”
The girl smiled at her. “I hope you can someday. I never thought I would, then I met him.”
As the two of them reached the order counter, Donna turned away from the girl and looked up at the face of the cashier. He had warm chocolate eyes and his name tag read ‘Shaun.’
“How can I help you today?” Shaun smiled at her and unlike the plastic smiles of so many retail workers, this one seemed genuine.
“A double caramel mocha latte.”
“That’ll be £3.25. What’s the name?”
Two minutes later, Shaun handed Donna her latte. She grabbed the cup and saw a small piece of paper tucked into the lid. She took her latte to an empty table and pulled out the note.
I’m on break in 5 minutes. May I join you?
Donna looked up from the slip of paper. While Shaun was now helping the girl she’d been speaking to, he glanced over her way and she nodded at him. Perhaps today wouldn’t end up being such a bad day after all.