RYAN SHANLEY – NOVEL EXTRACT
SWIRLING STEAM, FROM BOZEMAN MT
The winter wind slammed open the door, Geneva snapped back to reality. Living in such a small Montana town, she recognised everyone who meandered through the entrance in need of caffeine. Everyone except him.
Strands of midnight hair fell from beneath the hood, drooping over the young man’s forehead. His eyes, pale and piercing, he made his towards the counter with light steps, began his order before he reached the counter.
Hey, can I get an Americano to take out, please? A southern accent. Whether it was Georgia or South Carolina, Geneva couldn’t tell, but his accent made him stand out. “For Scott.” he smirked. Resting his arms on the counter, Scott watched Geneva’s fingers fumble around the coffee cups before he spoke again. ‘Make that two.’
‘Caffeine addict?’ Geneva replied without turning away from the coffee machine.
Scott ran a hand through his hair and smiled again once Geneva brought the two takeaways to the counter. ‘You could say that.’
Geneva raised an eyebrow in response, and was about to reply, Scott cut her off. ‘But they’re not both for me, and before you ask, no. I’m not on a date.’
Scott slid the spare coffee across the counter to Geneva. ‘Looks like you need it, kiddo.’ He scratched at the light stubble on his cheek and smiled again. Fishing into his pocket for a few dollars, he placed the notes onto the counter and picked up his own coffee. ‘There’s enough there for both of them. Just buy me a drink on our date tonight.’
Geneva opened the cash register, threw the money inside and slammed it, ‘What date?’ Her reply paired with an arched brow. ‘I don’t finish until 10.’
‘I know. I said these Americanos were to take out, but I can wait.’
Geneva gestured to a sign by the counter, written in cursive ink.
‘Ah, no loitering.’ Scott took a seat and pulled out his phone.
As his attention was on the screen, Geneva rested her face in her hands and sighed. A voice behind her made Geneva jump out of her skin. ‘He’s cute.’ The voice was older, with a faint scent of cigarette smoke.
‘Damn it, Liz.’ Elizabeth was smaller than her, but carried the brute and brawn of a man twice her size. Wafting the air in front of her, Geneva rolled her eyes. ‘You shouldn’t be smoking on the job.’
Ryan is from Middlesbrough and is studying English and Creative Writing at Northumbria University.