It couldn’t be helped: she hadn’t shown up. Yet. That was the hope. That was all that kept Cas from crying. A single word and all the possibilities it possessed. ‘Yet’ meant that even as the tea was poured into a single cup, with shaky hands, that Cas might not be alone by the time the last drop had been drunk.
‘Yet’ meant that Cas might sit there for an hour or two, wondering, waiting, fighting back the urge to scream foul curses into the air, tainting the coffee-rich air with profanities from around the world. Cas enjoyed foreign swear words much more than seemed normal.
But then, Cas did not consider herself normal, and neither did her parents. While they made a point out of her preferences, she made a point out of her imagination.
Cas was having tea for one, but Nicky could be doing anything. Nicky could be running for her life from a stray dog, because she was afraid of them. Or she could be under a bus, having been about to text Cas. Before…
No. Not that. Cas didn’t want to imagine that. But she couldn’t help but think about it. What would Nicky be saying?
“I’m not going to make it. I just can’t. I can’t go through with this toxic relationship anymore.”
Cas thought about that. It wouldn’t be wrong. There were problems between them. Of course there were. Nicky wasn’t Out. It had been a cause for fighting from Day One. She almost blamed herself for everything.
But then, Nicky told her that, even after she had time to think things through, and talk to her parents, she wouldn’t want to get married. There was no way she could commit like that.
“I’m running late. Order me a coffee in a few minutes?”
Another possibility. Cas preferred it. It was a wonderful distraction from the thoughts plaguing her mind. She took a gulp of tea and allowed herself to calm down.
Nicky was always running late. She woke up too late. She missed every bus she planned to take by a mere thirty seconds. She overcooked every meal. She told Cas, when she was in college, she handed in every assignment late by twelve minutes precisely. Nicky was consistent in her lateness, but this was the first time Cas had arrived early.
Nicky was not here yet, and that word was troubling her with the possibility of false promises. Cas couldn’t still her hand, as she drank her tea for one. It couldn’t be helped.