The Awakening/C5 Prophecies
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The Awakening/C5 Prophecies
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C5 Prophecies

The morning sun streams its way through the blinds, slowly creeping across the carpet until it remains on Sera's face like a spotlight. The light is a gentle reminder that it's time to wake up. Sera rolls over to face the wall and escape the sun, which is growing brighter and brighter by the minute. She finds herself unable to wake from this new dream. For months, the handsome stranger was just out of reach, and now she can feel him somewhere within the deepest parts of her. She refuses to let that go. Not soon after she rolls away from the impending morning does she begin to hear the raucous noise of the garbage truck hunkering its way down her dead-end street. Sera clamps her eyes shut. Tin garbage cans are thrown around and the truck screeches into her gravel drive before it turns around and putters away.

She's allowed a few blissful moments of silence before her alarm clock clicks on, blaring the news: "It's a gorgeous, brisk December morning in Angelica, the temperature at an all-time low like the county hasn't ever seen. Makes me wonder, Diane, if this is all going to catch up to us at some point." Sera sighs loudly, rolling onto her back to face the blank ceiling. "I sense a monster storm coming on. These quiet days are leading up to something, I can feel it."

"Alright, alright, I'm up already!" She slams her palm on the off button. Her feet drop to the floor, and she swings out of bed. Sera hates waking up in general, but this dream—it was just getting good.

Sera's white sedan idles in the parking spot in front of Jack's Coffee Bean. Her fingers tinker with the keys a few times, debating whether to go inside or not. Sera tends to avoid awkward situations and confrontation in general, so her knee jerk reaction is to flee. Finally, she reaches across the console for her purse, grabs the cell phone, and types out a message to Amanda. Should she play hard to get? Should she just act normal? Should she swoon? What the heck is the protocol anymore? The message is only a few sentences long but her finger pauses, hovering over the send button.

This is insane. Shaking her head, she tosses the phone back into her purse. I need to man up. I can do this, it's just Jack. The car door swings open with a gust of bravado. Sera briskly walks to the door, swings it open, and steps in before she can change her mind.

Once inside, she relaxes slightly, pausing to take in her surroundings. Something's strange. The shop is completely back to normal, not even a drop of water on the floor, the sprinklers have retracted, and there's no music playing. To add fuel to the weird fire, the store is completely vacant. According to her cell only moments ago, it was a few minutes after 8:30 a.m., prime-coffee-time. There's been mornings she had to wait in line twenty minutes for a cup of Jack's special coffee. That's not the case today. Sera uneasily makes her way to the counter, glancing back over her shoulder a few times almost expecting someone to enter soon. The shop is eerily silent; one could hear a pin drop. Anxiety bubbles inside her once more. She turns to leave, and Jack bursts through the double doors. They flap back and forth behind him as he pauses for a second with one hand on his hip and the other tangled in his curls. His face is blank when his eyes meet Sera's before a look of surprise and relief flood into his posture. Without a word, he walks over to her.

"Sera," he breathes like a silent thank you to the universe. "I didn't think you'd be back anytime soon." Sera revels in the fact that she is braver than they both thought.

She doesn't have the heart to tell him she almost wasn't. It might be the softness behind his eyes, or the way he appears just a little bit more vulnerable to her. The sexy Jack she idolized is no more. Now he's a china doll she feels will break with one wrong move. Sera doesn't like the feeling; there's something about that kind of power she feels uncomfortable having. "Well, after the excitement of that first date, it makes a girl wonder what could possibly happen next time..." She lets the sentence drift off between them. Jack's face brightens, but his hands are still hidden in the pockets of his apron. She turns her gaze down toward her shoes.

"Sera, I'm really sorry about last night. Never in a million years did I see our first date happening quite like that." His eyes barely meet hers when his hands slip out and clench at his sides. The silence between them thickens. Almost like a reflex, she reaches out to comfort him. Her fingers touch his bicep.

"Don't worry about it."

"No, I'm serious." His eyes meet hers, blue-green, and deep like the sea.

"Jack," Sera's voice breathlessly calls from somewhere in the room, but it didn't come out of her mouth. Jack doesn't appear to question where the voice came from, but his eyes search hers expectantly.

"Don't worry about it." Sera shrugs it off, trying to shake that chill again. Maybe the radio was right—there's a storm brewing. "Trouble seems to follow me wherever I go." That's the truth. Since she was little, Sera would drive her mother crazy. Walking around the mall, she would take in lost toddlers, and while playing in the street, stray animals would flock to her. It wasn't her fault they followed her. What was she supposed to do with them? There was also that time a hurricane blew through. Hurricanes in New York are rare, but it's not unheard of. Actually, the weather seems to be getting increasingly unpredictable.

Dark weather makes her uneasy as it is. The one memory that still haunts her is that time she spent during the hurricane. Young Sera got caught in this storm walking back from the bus stop. Her high school had a problem with closing unless there was a state of emergency. She still remembers how the winds whipped her hair around and stray garbage cans rolled past as the rain drenched her clothes. She made it to her street just as the storm peeked. A tree dropped in front of her, cutting her off halfway down the dead-end street. To this day, she can remember the way the Earth quaked under her feet and the crunch of glass when the tree slammed into her neighbor's Buick less than a foot away. The tree was huge, blocking her off from the safety of home. She turned to head back down the street to a neighbor's house when the second tree fell, missing her by inches. The air from the fall was fresh on her face as branches wound into her hair like snaky fingers. She curled up in the space between the two trees, trying to regain her composure. Sticks and branches scattered around her, trapping her legs between branches under the tree she rested, dry and silent until the storm passed. The branches cradled her close, almost protectively. It took twelve hours before they found her in the misty heat. The cops sawed the tree and pulled her out from between the branches. The town newspaper ran the headline: An Angelican Miracle: Girl Survives Outside During Hurricane. A miracle, that's what they called it. Seraphina Cross – the miracle child. No one could believe she had survived in the storm for as long as she did. Even with the proximity of the fallen trees, they said she was lucky she wasn't a pancake. Sera didn't feel lucky. She remembered the fear, the anxiety, and feeling fragile between the two trees. The time spent with no space to move, has made her a little self-conscious in enclosed spaces to this day. Goose bumps sprout along her arms whenever she remembers falling asleep to faint singing. She's not aware where it came from and wasn't even familiar with the song, but the melody still comes to her sometimes. When it does, it becomes stuck in her head until she can't help but hum it.

"You're not kidding," Jack mumbles. Her eyes blink toward him, standing across the counter. How long had she zoned out? "So, Sera, what can I get you today? I hear through the grapevine you had a bad date last night."

"Oh," she giggles, "I had a date like you wouldn't believe."

"That good, huh?"

"He wishes." The harsh sarcasm tumbles out before she can stop it.

"Ouch!" He pretends to stab his heart with an invisible knife. The laughter allows the awkwardness to dissipate between them, returning to their friendly, fun banter once again. "What can I do to help make this day better?"

"A cup of your world famous coffee should do it."

"Ah, you sure know how to make a guy blush." She stands back, admiring Jack making her latte in the sexy way only he can, while he turns every so often to shoot her a smile. His biceps bulge when he shifts the machine's handle down and up again, causing Sera to turn her head to hide the blush from her own face. When he places the cup on the counter between them he states, "It's on the house."

"No... Jack."

"You're money is no good here," he says with a shake of his head.

"I want to speak to the person in charge." Sera leans over pretending to look for a manager and taps her fingertips against the counter top. "You seem to be giving me a hard time."

"I'll relay the message." He leans close, "But I'm pretty sure he'll agree with me." Jack winks, the sweet smell of coffee beans radiating from him to Sera. "You can pay me back by letting me take you on a real first date."

Something unsettling anchors in her stomach. What is wrong with her? This is Jack, the same person she's been flirting with and daydreaming about for months. Only, the remnants of their date lay uneasy on her heart. If she didn't know any better it's as if he were keeping secrets from her.

Maybe she can give Jack one more chance; last night wasn't completely his fault, right? Furthermore, what does she have to lose? "Well, I guess I gotta do what I gotta do to keep this place in business, seems like everything is falling apart around here as it is," Sera calls over her shoulder and retreats toward the door. Jack's laughter fades as she opens the shop door. The December morning air clears her head while she walks to her vehicle. She rounds the edge of her car and something tells her to glance back. Jack's eyes are still on her through the front window of the shop. His back tenses when their eyes meet, Sera shoots him a wave before climbing into the car.

Throughout the morning, Sera finds herself reminiscing about touching the handsome stranger from her dreams. Those eyes haunt her, piercing through her until she returns to admire them again. She doesn't think she will ever be able to forget them as long as she lives. There's something about them, almost like he is trying to tell her something. She's wondering what his voice would sound like when Amanda breaks up her private party.

"Okay—you don't stop by my desk all morning and you have a cup of coffee." She points to Sera's coffee cup sitting beside her on the desktop. "So, you did see him again." Her eyebrows rise with her tone, "I'm dying here! Are you going to tell me about the date, or do I have to pry it out of you?" She's sitting with her perfect legs on her desk once again, hands braced on the edge, knuckles white with anticipation. "Because I'm not above a tickle war, or beating it out of you—or I could tell Nancy, she'll get it out of you."

"No, no, not Nancy!" Sera's hands fly up dramatically announcing defeat. "I'll tell you, just keep Nosey Nancy out of my business."


Sera collects herself, trying to remember the date through her web of daydreaming about kissing the handsome stranger. Maybe her dream boyfriend is the reason her date with Jack felt odd. Her auburn hair falls from her bun from slightly shaking her head at the turn her thoughts have taken.

"That good, huh?" Amanda has started biting her nails now, impatiently waiting. Sera blinks, realizing she was staring for a few seconds longer than normal.

"Sorry, I just don't know where to start," she covers, trying to figure out a way to put things into words, well words Amanda would accept. "Um, you were right." She shoots a look that screams I-told-you-so. "He closed the shop early, there were holiday lights, and a table for two—"

Amanda begins cooing and kicking her desk in excitement causing Sera to pause. "Go on! I need more tea!"

"He made Panini's and coffee. He told me he's wanted to ask me out for a while—"

"I knew it!"

"Will you let me finish?" Sera scolds and Amanda pretends to slide an invisible zipper across her thin, perfect lips before her arm sends an invisible key flying over the cubicles. "Then weird things started to happen after that."

The mention of 'weird things' make Amanda's eyebrows quirk up, her interest peeked. "Weird how?"

"Pots and pans fell in the kitchen, the register kept chiming, then a fire broke out in the kitchen, and the fire alarm went off." An uncontrolled shiver escapes Sera again.

She takes a few seconds to collect herself, but Amanda breaks into hysterical giggles. Sera's eyes bore into her, but Amanda continues to slap her knee, bubbling over in laughter.

"Oh," Amanda says through more giggles, "Oh my—Sera, your first date in ages, and it's a total fail!" The laughter continues to rack through her. True, it's mildly ironic. Slowly, Sera breaks into laughter alongside her best friend. One giggle leads to another, until their boss Mrs. Valentine passes by shooting them a stern look. The girls shape up, pretending to talk about a patient's file.

"So, Mr. Green, we need to re-bill with a letter of medical necessity and..." When she is out of earshot again, both girls cover their mouths to hide the remaining snickers.

"But seriously," Amanda gets herself under control first, "I made an appointment with a psychic today at lunch, you should come with me."

"What? No, you know I don't like that kind of stuff. It's true; my parents raised me believing witchcraft is wrong. No one should know the future but God himself."

"Oh come on, just come with me, and check it out. I don't want to go alone."

"I don't know."

"Please." She gives Sera the doe eyes again. Damn it! How does she always manage to get her to cave to her whims?


"Yesss!" She slinks back to her desk in victory knowing if she stayed, Sera would end up changing her mind. Sera's eyes return to her computer screen. The codes swim before her because her mind once again retreats to the eyes of the handsome stranger from her dream.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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