Life Goes On
Around eight, Belle was cleaning things up, the coffee shop would be shifting to the night shift, New York is the “city that never sleeps” after all, so coffee is the way to keep that up.
She straightened the books out on one of the shelves putting them back in their place. Grabbing mugs off of tables.
The door chimed as someone walked in, “Welcome to Coff-a-holics, your coffee, your way, have a look at the board and I'll be with you in a moment.
” she echoed automatically, the phrase coming out anytime she heard the chime the door made.
“Okay, take your time.” a gravelly voice replied as Belle then heard the steps follow.
She took the mugs into the back, took a deep breath, plastered her “I’m dealing with a customer”smile on her face, then went back out front.
Before Belle could ask him if he had decided what he wanted, he commented to her “Wow, it's still got that same vibe in here! Is it still run by the Edwards?”
“Yep, has been since it opened in ‘94.
You know the Mum?” Belle asked, suddenly intrigued, but being careful about what she said, buyers come by here all the time to try and con the place out from under them.
“Yeah, she and I were old family friends of mine.” Belle looked at the man standing before her. He seemed to be in his late thirties or early forties.
Parts of his sideburns were starting to grey, on his dirty blonde hair, his eyes had a familiar feel to them.
She knew that she'd seen him before, maybe Mum had an old picture lying around, but she didn't want to tell him that until she knew where she knew him from for sure,
he might just have one of those faces. He wore thin blue frames in front of his eyes, with a business casual feeling to him. Belle looked at him and he looked intensely back.
Then down at her name tag “Hmm, Belle huh? That’s a cool name.”
“Yeah. It's a nickname, but even of those, it’s pretty cool. Have you decided what you want?”
“Oh, yeah. Cinnamon Cappuccino with a third shot please?”
“All right, anything else?”
“ Chocolate Pumpkin muffin,”
“Okay,” she begins to make his cappuccino, “Is there anything else I could get for you?”
“No that'll be all.”
“Can I get a name for the order?” she asks as she notices two other people walk through the door. “Welcome to Coff-a-holics, your coffee, your way” falls out of her mouth before she noticed.
“Daniel.” A smile came to Belle’s face as she thought about her father, hoping that whatever afterlife he was in, he was happy.
Belle goes through, takes the orders, makes the coffee and her mother comes out of the back room to help.
She picks up the cinnamon cappuccino along with the muffin in a bag and calls out for Daniel. The blue framed man approaches the counter to gather and pay for his things.
“Thank you Julia,”
Julia instantly recognized him. His warm brown eyes pulled her in, just like they had when she’d met him.
The memories came rushing back from that morning, Julia had come downstairs to see Belle spinning as she took chairs down. The soft music playing in the background.
Everything Belle did was so elegant, she had no idea where that elegance came from, both she and daniel were clumsy creatures, yet Belles grace came with ease.
Her warm brown eyes, so much like her fathers, met with Julia’s as she floated over to greet her before returning to setting the cafe up for opening.
His dirty blonde hair was darker now, not too surprising, when he’d left them over a decade ago.
He said he was never coming back, why was he here now? It wasn't right, he wasn't allowed to play these games with them. She’d told Belle that he was dead.
It was easier than having to tell a little kid that her father didn't want to be her father anymore so he was leaving.
This way Belle got to keep her memories, all the good ones with him that she’d made before times got hard. She didn't think he had even stayed in New York.
“We need to talk. My room. Five minutes.”
“Don't you mean our room?” He said with a cheeky grin.
“It was our until you left us. I mean MY room.”
Julia made and handed out the orders for the next few minutes. Once it slowed down a bit more, she realized that he was upstairs still, but she didn't know who he was anymore.
She knew that she was different now that she had the diagnosis, maybe having another parent in her life might be good for Belle.
She went over to Belle and asked if she would be okay for the next few minutes; she didn't expect this to take too long with Daniel. Belle of course replied that she'd be fine.
That was just Belle. So strong, always okay no matter what the circumstances were, she knew that she'd forgive her for lying if she did decide to let Daniel back into her life.
If that was even why he was here. Julia made her way back up stairs and into her room.
There was daniel lying on the bed with his clothes off in the “Paint me like one of your French girls pose.” Julia glared.
“You Zounderkite! You think I’m going to sleep with you after thirteen years? You walked out on us. You couldn't handle being a parent so you up and left us.
I knew I should never have married you!” Julia was throwing his clothes at him. “My parents were right about you. I shouldn't have even told you to come up here.
I should have just made you leave. This isn't fair. You can't just waltz in and out of our lives when you want to. She thinks you're dead.
You coming back here will just jeopardize the relationship she and I have. It was stupid to think that you would have changed.”
“Wait, JULIA! STOP.”
“I don't know what that means”
She sighed “you don't know what what means?”
“Zumba? Zoinks? Zounderkite! That’s the one.”
“Allow me to rephrase. You're an idiot. A fopdoodle. A moron. A selfish jerk. A prick. You- you're - -youre a douchebag, that's what you are.
To think that you could just come in and out of our lives as you pleased is ridiculous.”
“Wait, what?- I cannot believe you. You have the AUDACITY to just say yes , as if that's going to make me forgive you, when you haven’t even apologized yet. You are sorely mistaken”
He looks at her with tears in his eyes. “Jules. I wanted go come see you make my amends I guess. I know what I did was unforgivable. I know I shouldn’t have ever left.
I thought that this would be better for us. You had started drinking. We were always fighting. I just wasn't fair for Belle.
She shouldn’t have had to deal with an alcoholic mother and a deadbeat of a dad. So I left her with the alcoholic mother. I realize now that was a mistake. I loved both of you so much.
I still do. I should have tried to help you more. Done more. But I knew you. And I knew that if I told you that you needed to stop drinking that would have just made you drink more.
You were a little spiteful like that. So I left. I knew that you loved Belle as much as I did so I left her. Let you figure it out on your own. I've been watching.
I got a really good job after I left so I hired a P.I. to follow you two around. How did she learn to dance like that?”
“Frankly, that's none of your business. You left. It doesn't matter that you are trying to come back now. You can’t change the past. Nothing can be done about what you did. Who we became.
Or how she was raised. It's over, Daniel. You and I are no longer a couple. As far as she knows her father is dead. Business is going well. We have lots of regulars.
Keep watching if you want to watch. But the choice you made has turned out. She's nineteen. Let her live.
” Julia grabbed the last of his things that she had tucked away rather than throwing them out right after he left, handed him the box, and let the words fall from her lips. “Goodbye, Daniel.
Start a new family. Life goes on.”
That was that. It was the last thing she planned to ever say to him. She knew that what she was doing was best for Belle and for herself.
If she let herself fall back into his arms, things would get bad again. She refused to let that happen. Not for him.
She walked down stairs, pretended that nothing happened, and moved on with life. Belle asked who he was while they were eating dinner that night.
“Just an old friend. We caught up, and realized we just don't have anything in common these days, and that's alright. He'll just be someone I used to know.”