“Excuse me, ma’am?”
Rita shook her head, “I’m so sorry. It’s Rita.”
The young man behind the register at Three Bean Coffee gave her one more odd glance before handing her the receipt and her change. Coffee, a meeting, and a conference call. Those were her tasks today. Simple. Straightforward. Something she could normally do without thinking about it much at all.
Damn this cold and that noxious concoction.
Rita collected her coffee and set up shop at a table in the corner of the busy shop. As she flipped open her laptop, a flitting shadow caught her eye. Glancing up, her heart almost stopped. Then the man kept going. Jerking her attention back to her table, Rita knocked her coffee over. She snatched up her laptop cursing to herself.
“Let me help.”
“Laura. Thank the gods you’re here.”
“I can see this is not your morning.”
By this time Laura had the spilled java mopped up with several napkins, had rescued the paperwork from the doom of brown stain, and had her bag propped neatly in the spare chair across from Rita.
“That’s one way to put it,” Rita flopped back into her chair.
Laura returned in a few minutes with a new cup of coffee for Rita and a fancier drink Rita didn’t recognize for herself.
“Now, Rita. What’s got you so flustered? The conference call starts in ten minutes and we really need to be on this.”
“I know. Part of it is this stupid cold I just can’t seem to shake.”
“You dreamed again last night, didn’t you?”
“Rita! You know what happens!”
“Laura. I know. But what else could I do? That’s the only option I had to try to take care of this cold once and for all.”
“It didn’t work.”
The women were interrupted by Rita’s cell phone chirping. Their contact was calling. Time for business.