Spirit Hunger – Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

Adi didn’t want to let go of his large, warm hand but didn’t know how to hold it any longer without it becoming awkward. Needing her hand to open the door out of the building was a good excuse to let go. When she glanced over at him, he seemed disappointed for a split-second before his usual serene expression took over.

“I need a cup of tea. You?” she asked self-consciously.

Honi smiled weakly. “Yeah, lead the way.” They walked shoulder by shoulder the brief distance to the coffee shop. Their foot steps crunched in unison on the loose gravel and the occasional small rock got flung aside. The noises of spring were all around them. The conversational chatter of students hadn’t managed to scare away chipmunks and bluejays.

There was an odd tranquility over campus that belied Adi’s inner turmoil. She was grateful for the little breather it allowed her. The constant having to ignore what was plain for her to see was eating up her nervous energy. She was craving Honi’s state of mind, his calmness. He seemed incapable of being rattled and Adi was looking forward to learning how to achieve his zen. A feeling which lasted another ten minutes until Honi stumbled, dropping his books everywhere and hissing a curse in exasperation.

And there, for just a moment, Adi saw the wolf she had seen in her dream appear by his side. There was no doubt, Adi would have known the creature anywhere. The animal was massive. Walking next to the tall boy, its shoulder reached as high as Honi’s hips. The large paws gave away its youth but the sapphire blue eyes held a wisdom beyond its age. The vision only lasted for a second but the wolf looked straight at Adi and… smiled?

Adi returned the smile in reflex and before she could straighten her face, Honi said softly, “you see him?” For a moment Adi wanted to deny it, but then sighed and nodded. Holding her breath, she waited for the inevitable response, for the smirk, the pitying widening of his eyes. Instead Honi picked up his books, took her hand again and said, “You’re the only one who can, you know? Well, besides me, obviously.”

Adi was still slightly in shock when they arrived at the small two-story building with its red brick facade and green awning. The young man politely held the door for her and she slipped into the dark interior. The clattering background noise of coffee shops everywhere soothed her racing thoughts. Hushed murmuring, the sharp wet hiss of the cappuccino machine and the clinking of porcelain added to the soundscape. What a pity that she didn’t like coffee, she thought yet again. The smell, warm and deep, wrapped around her senses like tendrils of liquid comfort.

She walked to the front desk and ordered a cup of Orange Pekoe with a feeling of regret, of missing out on a big secret that most other people shared, but that she was excluded from. Then again, coffee tasted gross, she decided defiantly, lifting her head and meeting the barista’s judging look straight on. Honi added his order of chocolate frappe with a friendly smile and Adi couldn’t help noticing how much the amused expression in his face suited him. Still, she had a reputation to uphold so she said sharply, “I don’t like coffee, okay?”

Honi lifted his hands in mock surrender. Still smiling, he paid for both beverages despite Adi’s admittedly weak protest. They picked up their orders and Honi led the way to a wooden table in the back of the room. The terra-cotta feature wall was complemented by a chocolate brown soft sofa that was just the right level of squishiness to be supremely comfortable, yet firm enough to offer some support. Adi had snuggled into the sides of the leather three-seater many times and she quickly out-paced her companion to secure her favorite seat. Honi gave her a slightly irritated look and settled on the single leather chair instead.

“I haven’t been here a lot,” he admitted.

“I love the atmosphere in here. Particularly the way the coffee and spices smell,” Adi replied. She adored the freshly-baked scent of muffins mingling with the cinnamon and vanilla flavored coffees. It reminded her of her grandmother Oma-Adi back in Germany, about the stories she told of Scheherazade beguiling the Sultan with 1001 stories. Oma-Adi would sometimes sip her special chai tea, exuding the same fragrance of warming scents that to Adi encapsulated all the magic of the Orient. She sighed contentedly. Then she remembered why they were here and her mood changed quickly.

“So you can see them too?” She stopped herself and pulled up her shoulders. This was something she’s been spending most of her life denying, so saying it out loud felt daring and brash. Honi didn’t answer immediately. His long body sprawled in his chair, legs parted, thumb stuck in his front pocket. The large glass with its dark content topped with white cream covered the lower part of his face as he sucked thoughtfully, but his warm brown eyes were looking steadily at her. Adi twitched a little under the attention. People, men, didn’t usually look at her like that. Eventually, Honi put his glass down and sat forward. He continued holding her gaze with his intensity.

Link to Chapter 1

Link to Chapter 14 

Link to Chapter 16