Zavier tightened his helmet strap and put on his cycling gloves. He did a quick check for his keys and wallet then swung his leg over his pride and joy, his beloved cycle. Javier had only been in the U.K. for six months, he didn’t know may people and his bike helped him remember his home, he had cycled everywhere there and the first thing he did when arriving in the U.K. was search for a suitable bike to purchase.
It was 7.30am, early enough to call in for a coffee. Zavier set off for work weaving in and out of the traffic. He had been lucky and found a job he enjoyed almost straight away and he had fallen nicely into a routine. Half way between his flat and work was a lovely welcoming coffee shop, it was worth getting up a little earlier to have ten minutes of calm with a delicious cup of coffee and a pastry.
The number twelve bus juddered passed him full of commuters staring tiredly at their screens. The speed of the bus overtaking caused him to wobble slightly and have to correct. He reached the traffic lights, put his foot on the ground and took a deep breath and stretched his arms out, a short breather before moving on again. Round the tricky right turn and up to the zebra crossing, it was always busy at this time in the morning, children hurrying to school, people hurrying to the bus stop. He waited and waved to the crossing lady, she always had a cheery smile and a wave for him.
Reaching the coffee shop Zavier chained up his cycle, the smell of freshly ground coffee and the sound of clinking cutlery soothed him instantly.
“Good morning, can I please have a cappuccino and a Danish pastry?” Zavier smiled a contented smile to his usual server Katy. She smiled back warmly “Coming up”. Zavier watched as she busied herself making her coffee.
After a pleasant ten minute break, coffee and pastry finished Zavier returned to his bike. He stopped suddenly as he saw some blue card stuck to his handlebars. He peeled it off and read the handwritten note.
“In the plant pot orange and bright,
Search and look with all your might.”
Zavier studied the note with a confused look on his face, What did it mean? Who could it be from? Was it meant for me?
The thought kept him occupied all the way to work. He pulled up to the bicycle rack and glanced at the bright orange pot to the right at the front of the office building. Zavier looked around to see if there was anyone around watching him, there didn’t seem to be anyone out of the ordinary, just people going about their normal routine going into work. Zavier peered into the plant pot and immediately saw the blue paper. He reached in, picked it up and opened it, looking behind him once more. Another handwritten note:
I am inviting you for tea
At number 33”.
Zavier’s brows furrowed, number 33? There was no address. 6.03? That was a very precise time. He got into the lift, pressed floor four and absent mindedly tapped the blue paper against his arm. He normally got home around six, was number thirty three a flat in his block?
The day passed quickly and Zavier spent a lot of time wondering about whether he should go or not. Cycling home Zavier decided he had nothing to lose, he didn’t know many people, maybe he would meet a new friend. A single man of thirty two Zavier barely thought about friends or a girlfriend, he was just trying to get settled and earn some money.
Arriving at his flat, Zavier let himself in and had a quick, hot shower and put some fresh clothes on, it was ten passed six. Was he too late? Surely they didn’t expect him to arrive exactly 6.03 that would be weird. Zavier had second thoughts what if there was a violent psychopath waiting for him. “Now I’m being stupid” he thought. He walked briskly around his floor and soon located number thirty three. He stopped outside, it looked like any normal flat, he listened by the door, there were no sounds coming from in there. He knocked loudly on the black door, took a step backwards and self-consciously ran his fingers through his wet hair.
The door opened and a woman with an awkward smile stood looking at him.
“Hi” she said brightly “Do you want to come in?”
Zavier noticed her cheeks were red, she was blushing, she couldn’t quite look him in the eyes. He glanced over her; she had shoulder length brown hair and big green eyes. She was wearing jeans and a cream blouse, her jewelry was unusual. She looked sweet and quirky. He nodded and followed her in.
“I’m Rachel, I feel a bit embarrassed now, this seemed like a good idea at the time”. She dropped her gaze and gestured towards a comfy looking tartan sofa. “Zavier”. He put out his hand to shake hers.
“Do you want a drink?” she asked. He noticed that she already had a glass of chilled white wine on the coffee table in front of her. “Yes please.” Zavier answered looking curiously around the flat, it was homely. Although his flat was the same dimension and age, hers looked warm and welcoming whereas his was sparse and cold.
Rachel chatted easily to him about her life, she was a writer but it didn’t pay the bills so she worked in a call center near his office. She took the number twelve bus to work every morning and had watched him for weeks expertly weaving in and out of traffic. She had worked late one day two weeks ago and had noticed him walking into the building and decided it must be fate, but being too shy to approach him had decided to use her writing skills instead hoping he would be intrigued enough to meet her.
Javier was a quiet man and although he made polite conversation Rachel didn’t feel like she was winning him over. Just to keep the conversation going Rachel had mentioned that she loved cycling and had no one to cycle with on weekends. Javier’s face lit up, he excitedly told her how much he also loved cycling and how he would love some company on weekends for long cycles to get to know his new country. He suggested a nice long ride out on Sunday with a picnic lunch.
Rachel felt the excitement bubble inside her, Zavier was gorgeous, every bit as handsome close up and he was asking her out for a picnic on Sunday. Her plan had worked perfectly. Now all she had to do was buy some cycling clothing, buy a bike and find someone to teach her to ride it by Sunday.