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Soul Mates

Addiction, home of the best coffee in town, was packed at 9am in the morning and Sarah and her best friend Rachel had to force their way throught the door and squeeze through the crowds of people.

“I’ll grab the coffee” Sarah yelled, “You find a seat!” Despite the crowd there were actually tables and chairs spare. Most people were after take-away. Sarsh pushed her way to the counter and grinned at the young barista she saw every morning.

“Sarah!” he smiled, handing the woman next to Sarah a large take-away cup and frothing milk with his free hand. “The usual?”

“Yeah.” Sarah nodded, “And a mocha with free sugars. Decaf.” Rachel like her coffee sweet and had just finished a 12-hour shift at the hospital, so she’d want to go to bed soon.

“Decaf? What’s even the point? Especially with all that sugar.”

Sarah turned to glare at the man behind her that had said the word ‘sugar; with such bitternes and venom. He was tall and handsome in that traditional, irritating kind of way. He had that cool, casual thing going in worn jeans, a t-shirt that read ‘kill the director’ and a battered jacket. He had longish dark hari and a mouth clamped around a cigarette. Sarah’s eyes zeroed in on the cigarette. “Smoking?” she retorted, “What’s even the point? It gives you cancer and makes you smell bad.” She wrinkled her nose to make her point.

The guy frowned, then chuckled in a smart-arse sort of way. “True perhaps. But at least they make me feel good.” He looked directly at Sarah’s favourite barista and ordered a double shot macchiato, coincidentally what Sarah always had.

Scowling, she grabbed her coffees and shoved her way to the table Rachel had snagged. She was slamming the coffees down, though careful not to spill any, when Rachel suddenly squealed “Oh my god! That’s Drew Adams buying coffee. Drew Adams!” She clutched Sarah’s arm so hard it hurt.

Sarah winced. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Rachel sighed. “You have got to get out more. Drew Adams? Like, the biggest movei star this century?”

Sarah shrugged and followed Rachel’s gaze. “You know I’m not much into…oh, him. That dickhead.” The tool with the smoke cloud and aversion to decaf. Of course.

“Dickhead? He’s a genius!”

“He’s an arsehole.”

“I thought you had no idea who he was.”

Sarah shrugged. “We’ve exchanged a few words.”

Rachel blinked. “You’ve…what?”

Sarah just shrugged again, hiding her smirk behind her coffee cup.

Rachel tried again. “You’ve…spoken to him?”

“Just then, buying coffee. He’s an arsehole.”

Rachel shook her head disbelievingly. “You’ve spoken to Drew Adams. And not realised it? Wait, Does he come here often? Do you have like a we-have-coffee-here-every-morning thing with him?” She stared as he left the cramped building. “Oh god he is so hot.”

Sarah burst out laughing. “You’re being ridiculous. This is the first time I’ve ever seen him. And he isn’t hot.”

Rachel rolled her eyes. “He is God’s version of perfection. Do you have any idea how many woman would…oh god. Do you think he’s staying here? I mean, like, in town? Maybe he’s filming something. Do you think he’ll come back here?”

Sarah laughed again. “Seriously Rachel. Priorities?”

 

Two months later and Sarah had all but forgotten about her coffee encounter with Drew Adams. Even Rachel had stopped mentioning it. Good thing, since she’d just started seeing a teacher who had no interest in movie stars.

Sarah was racing home from work one day, late for dinner with her father and with piles of work to do before the following day. The law. It sucked somtimes. She was turning into her street, keyes already in hand, when a tall dark-haired guy appeared out of nowhere and she barralled straight into him. Books and papers went flying out of her arms and some liquid instantly soaked her shirt.

“Shit!” Sarah cried, trying to catch a manilla folder filled with loose sheets and failing miserable. Papers swirled to the wet ground, water blurring the print.

Sarah turned to glare at the person who’d bumped into her. “Why don’t yuo watch where you’re going?” she demanded angrily. There was something disturbingly familiar about the man standing in front of her.

“I’m sorry,” he said, although it sounded completely insincere with that smirk.

“When walking you are supposed to watch where you’re going,” she muttered, bending to peel her papers off the ground. Surprisingly, he stopped to help her.

“Why on earth do you have so much paperwork?” There was something very smart-arse about his tone.

“I’m a lawyer,” Sarah said flatly as she started helplessly at the breif she was supposed to be working on tonight, now unreadable.

The man started to laugh. “A lawyer. I should have guessed. No normal person has that much anger.”

Giving up on the papers blowing around in the wind, Sarah narrowed her eyes. “What is that supposed to mean?”

He shrugged. “Every time I see you, you’re angry. It’s inferred.”

“I don’t know who you…” Sarah froze. All of a sudden she had a flash of realisation. Drew Adams. Fantastic. The movie star clearly thought she was some kind of freak. Not that she cared what he thought. He was an arsehole/dickhead/insert random insult here.

“Remember me now?”

Sarah decided to ignore him and keep walking. She was beyond late and her papers were unsalvagable.

Sadly, he followed her. “Why are you following me? I don’t have time to deal with you.”

“I’d suggest kick-boxing. it helps with anger management.”

“I do not have a problem. You are an arsehole. You insult my coffee, ruin my work and stain my shirt. Of course I’m angry!”

To her surprise, Drew’s expression softened. “You’re right. I have been kind of a jerk. Let me make it up to you. Tomorrow I’ll buy you a new shirt and whatever coffee you like. I won’t even remind you that decaf isn’t actually coffee.”

“I have a job.”

“Tomorrow’s Saturday.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “I know in some professions you only expect to work 10 hours a week and spend the rest partying in New York…”

“Actually I worked 70 hours this week. It’s not that easy and we do work hard.”

“I work 70 hours every week. Forgive me if I lack sympathy.” They’d arrived at her door. Sarsh got out her key and turned away from him.

“You’ll need lunch.”

Sarah sighed. She threw up her hands in defeat. “Fine.”

He smirked. “It’s not a chore. I’ll see you at midday.” He held out a hand. “Drew Adams by the way.”

She shook it. “Duke, was it? Sarah Stone.”

He laughed confidently into the darkness as he walked away.

 

Sarah was wearing a red sundress when Drew arrvived the following day. He was in his ‘kill the director’ t-shirt and carrying a Sass&Bide bag. “I brought you a new shirt already. I really coulnd’t be bothered shopping today. Coffee?”

Sarah opened the bag to inspect the shirt. Tags still attached, right size, perfect style. Probably selected by his persoonal assistant. She dropped the bag casually on the floor and locked her door. “Coffee.”

“Hey, is that the first time you’ve agreed with me?”

“Don’t push your luck Duke.”

“How long are you going to continue with that joke?”

“What joke?”

A flicker of uncertainty corssed Drew’s face, and then he smirked and it was gone. “You know my name is Drew.”

“Oh, it is? I’m so sorry.” She smiled, showing her teeth.

Without any conscious thought or suggestion they’d both walked to Addiction. “I’ve got it,” said Drew, pulling out his wallet, “Mocha with three sugars, decaf.”

“Double macchiato actually.”  

“I turn you off decaf?”

“Never drank decaf in my life. I’m a lawyer. That coffee was for a friend.” Sarah paused then added, “I turn you off smoking?”

“Yes actually. Grab a seat, I’ll be right there.”

Sarah sat, her surprise at the influence she’d had flickering through her mind. She’d pushed it out by the time Drew returned with the coffee. For a few moments they didn’t speak, enjoying their drinks and a comfortable silence.

Drew broke it. “I always wanted to be a lawyer.”

“Can’t exactly say I always wanted to be an actor. Why aren’t you a lawyer then?”

“I couldn’t afford university. I needed money and I sort of fell into acting. I got popular and rich and now I can never go back.”

“Says who?”

“No judge would ever take me seriously.”

“You overestimate yourself. Judges are surprisingly self-involved.”

“Maybe it was a judge I wanted to be then…” At that they both laughed.

 

 For the next month and a half Sarah and Drew shared coffee at Addiction every morning. He was filming in town and she was in court. They spent two more Saturdays together. One laughing at animals in the zoo, the other watching old movies and eating hot jam donuts. They talked and smiled and had genuine fun but shared nothing physical. They were enjoying each other’s company too much to ruin anything.

 

It was a Tuesday morning when Drew announced he was flying back to L.A. Sarah was deeply shocked but kept her poker face.

“I’ll miss you,” she cofessed.

“I’ll call,” he promised.

They both knew he never would.

 

A year later and Drew Adams was a blip in Sarah’s memory. She was constantly busy with work and maintaining something resembling a social life. She dated guys for a short period of time and got bored. She partied until 3am and still got to work at 9, coffee in hand. She tried to see Rachel every week, but it was a struggle.

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and Sarah was rushing past a Flight Centre on her way to the office when she realised she hadn’t taken a day off in six years. She’d forgotton what a holiday felt like. Suddenly she stopped and let the world blur around her. She needed a break. She needed a holiday. Her father and rachel were always telling her she worked too hard and they were right.

Sarah had never been a particularly spontaneous person until that moment but she walked straight into the Flight Centre and booked a trip to L.A. The palm trees won her over.

 

L.A. was hot. Sarah swam at the beach, jogged on the sand, read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, watched Casablanca and Gone With the Wind, ate bagels and drank coffee. Two weeks into her holiday she received a screaming phone call from Rachel.

“I’m engaged!”

“I’m in L.A.” Sarah responded, wondering if she and Rachel had anything in common anymore.

 

It was week three in L.A. and Sarah felt relaxed and content, at least until she saw the magazine cover. ‘Drew Adams demands hospital release dying  mother!’ screamed the headline. Sarah bought a copy numbly, reading the article quickly as it brought tears to her unsentimental eyes. The magazine fell loosely as she ran to her rental car, breaking a dozen road rules (the only laws she’d ever broken) as she sped to the house pointed out on one of the Hollywood Homes tours she’d been on.

She wasn’t even sure if he’d let her in but she had to try. She knew how close he’d been to his mum and how this must be hurting him. An only child, he’d told her how his father had left when he was a baby and his mother was everything he’d ever had. She’d been his best friend and hi life support and she still was.

Sarah was surprised when she was buzzed straight through the tall gates. She ‘d been expecting an argument. Planned for it even.

Drew was standing at his door in pajamas and looking dazed and drained. They didn’t speak. She hugged and he cried and they both regretted their lack of contact.

 

Drew’s mother died three days later and Sarah helped organise the funeral. He was distraught and devestated. She was organised and efficient.

When it was all over he sat slumped in front of the blank TV. Sarah handed him a pack of cigarettes and let him smoke the lot. Then she told him to get his arse off the couch, they were going to Disneyland.

“You’re crazy,” he said, “I’m grieving. I just want to sit here and…”

“What? Whine about how pathetic your life is? She wouldn’t want that. And don’t even think about touching another cigarette.”

“Then why did you let me smoke a whole pack?”

“You were grieving.”

He looked fustrated, but that was better than upset.

Disneyland turned out to be one of the better days of both of their lives. Between fairy floss and mickey mouse and Space Mountain, Drew was smiling by the end of it. That was all she needed to see.

Sarah drove him home and told him she was leaving. “I’ve been gone a month. I need to get back. I have work and…everything.”

He nodded, even though he didn’t want her to leave. “I was wrong not to call you. You were the only one that came.”

She shrugged. “I didn’t call you either.”

 

A month later Drew moved to Sarah’s home twon. “The coffee’s better” he said by way of explanation. That, at least, was true.

 

They went back to their regular routine of coffee every morning.

“I can’t believe Rachel’s getting married,” Sarah confessed, then added, “I can’t believe hoe excited she it.”

“Marriage is the holy grail for some people,” Drew pointed out. “It’s their goal in life.”

Sarah shuddered. “Not me.”

“No, not me either. Maybe it’s because we both only grew up with one parent.”

“Maybe we refuse to believe we need another person to complete us.”

 

“You and Drew Adams! Oh my god Sarah I can’t believe it. You will have such beautiful children.”

Sarah rolled her eyes at Rachel. Her friend’s voice had been considerably higher and louder since her engagement. “We’re just friends,” Sarah said, feeling bored already, “We are not sleeping together and we are certainly not havig kids.”

Rachel sighed. “Come on Sarah. The man is one of the hottest on the planet. What more could you want?”

“Because looks are so the most important thing in a man.”

“You know that’s not what I mean. It’s just…when are you going to settle down? You’re not going to be satisfied with the high-power career forever you know. You need people around you.”

Sarah doubted Rachel would ever understand. “I have other people Rachel. I’m just not going to man because society thinks I should. I mean maybe later in life I’ll want to…”

“Sarah you don’t give anyone a chance! There’s something wrong with everyone you date. You never stick it out. You don’t want to find the one.”

Sarah shrugged. “So what if I don’t?”

Rachel just stared at her and then looked into her cup of chai tea. “I’m asking Janet to be my maid of honour. You don’t mind do you Sarah?”

Sarah shook her head. She didn’t understand Rachel either.

 

Later that night Sarah sat in the light of a candle fingering a photo of her mother. It occured to her that her mother had been younger than she was now when she’d been born. She’d died a year later. Sarah’s father had never remarried. Every Christmas a new woman sat beside him at the table. Sarah didn’t blame him for the lack of love in her life. Her older brother was happily married. She didn’t believe in marriage. She’s put her heart and soul into the law. It told her true love didn’t exist.

 

Fifteen years passed.

Rachel married her teacher and had five kids. Sarah saw her once a year and didn’t know two of the children’s names.

Drew became the new James Bond. He married a young model and moved to London. Sarah was baffled and angry. Six months later they divorced. When she said she was sorry Sarah meant it.

Drew got married twice more. It didn’t work out.

Sarah became a Supreme Court judge, then the Chief Justice. Her relationships didn’t last longer than eight dates.

Drew won an oscar playing a defence lawyer.

Drew gave up on love. Sarah naver gave love a chance.

 

It was a hot summer’s day and Sarah and Drew sat on the edge of Drew’s pool, feet dipped into the water.

“I’m retiring and moving to the Gold Coast,” she announced.

“I’m coming too.”

Sarah looked at Drew in surprise. “What?”

He shrugged. “I hate living alone.”

Sarah frowned. “Isn’t that weird though? A man and a woman of a certain age living together who aren’t…” she searched for the right word, “…life partners?”

Drew kaughed. “Sarah, babe, you don’t need to have sex and wear rings to be life partners. You’re my soul mate.”

“Kindres spirits.” Sarah had known this for a long time. He was the first person she thought of when she woke up and the  last she thought of before she went to sleep. She was the one he called. He’d told her first when he’d been nominated for the oscar, before his wife. She’d told him first when her father had died. They’d always been soul mates.

Drew grinned. “It’s because we both get how useless decaf coffee is.”

“Pointless,” Sarah agreed.

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