Their Forbidden Love

By: Vanessa Brown



“NO! It was .. Alex! She tripped me.” Britta sat down in a chair.

“That girl!” Loretta had prepared the breakfast on the table. “Somebody needs to teach her to behave more like a girl, and less like a boy.”

“She is fine, Ma!” Britta tried to defend her bestie.

“Well, you are late.” Edward took the eggs on his plate. “Get ready quickly after the breakfast and meet me at the cafe.”

“Yes, Dad!” Britta said taking her plate of eggs. Reggie made faces at her, making sure that their father was not looking. Britta tried to threaten him with her eyes, but he knew it was all a bluff. Britta quickly finished her breakfast, kissed her mother and went back to her room.

In the bathroom, she turned on the shower and the hot water fell over her smooth brown skin. The tingling she felt reminded her of last night, when her hand touched Jonas’.

“Are you okay?” his words echoed in her mind with his glowing smile.

Britta kept thinking about Jonas the whole time she reached her father’s cafe. Inside, she took off her jacket and wore an apron and a headscarf.

The Beans Cafe was a family business. Edward Page had got this from his father who bought it after working there for over 30 years of his life. For Edward, this was not just a cafe or a business, but a tradition that he wanted to pass on to his children. He wanted his children to embrace this cafe as a part of their identity, but he knew they were interested elsewhere.

Reggie was interested in computers and reading about machines while Britta was not interested in anything, really. Edward had seen her changing her hobbies like clothes. One day she would be into photography, and another day into gardening. She took dancing, sports and wrestling in school, but nothing was able to keep her interested for more than 2 months.

“Finish something in your life for a change!” Edward used to tell Britta, knowing that she would never be interested in taking the cafe from his hands. Reggie was too young to talk about it and so Edward was not sure what would happen to his cafe after him. The only person who shared his enthusiasm for this family tradition was his wife, Loretta. The woman would take care of the home and business, ensuring that everything ran smoothly.

“Henry could take the cafe!” she would say about his brother’s son, but Edward did not want it. He wanted his children to take this cafe not some kid whose father got rich trading used cars.

*****

Like all the other days, Edward was handling the first wave of customers in the cafe. Britta was helping him behind the counter.

“Dad, can I get out early today?” Britta asked reluctantly. Edward smiled at the customer, handing him his coffee and change. After making sure that the customer was out of the door and could not hear him, he turned to Britta.

“What is happening to you? You think I don’t know that you came home around 2 last night? I was awake.”

Britta knew she was pushing her luck and so she decided to just stay quiet. His frustration and anger were coming out through his words.

“When are you going to actually finish something in your life? What are you doing? I keep asking you to decide what you really want to do but all you care about is running away from your responsibilities.”

Britta had heard all this several times before on different occasions.

“I am sorry Dad,” she said just like a reflex, but this was not enough to calm Edward down.

“This is not going to work out well for you. I say all this because I am worried about you.”

Britta knew she had to listen to the whole lecture but then the door opened and Stephanie came in.

“Good morning Stephanie,” Edward abruptly stopped his monologue and changed his tone from dreary to cheerful.

“Good morning Mr Page.. Britta,” Stephanie tried to keep her folders together in her arms. “The usual please,” and placed a five dollar bill on the counter.

“Sure,” Edward turned to Britta with a smile and she quickly started making the coffee that Stephanie ordered every day.

“So, how is work?” Edward asked with the same cheerful voice.

“You know, same old. Same old.”

“Well, same here.”

Edward chuckled at his joke and Stephanie also showed some of her teeth to support him. Britta appeared with the coffee and presented it to Stephanie with a smile. She knew how much her dad valued smiling in front of the customer. Stephanie thanked the father-daughter and turned towards the door.

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