Khalia was writing names on coffee cups, humming along to the music. She noticed how busy the cafe was getting and she took a deep breathe. The noise of the music and people began to make her dizzy, her head was spinning and she dropped the pen she was using.
She had to get away, turning around on her heel, she rushed down to the offices when she saw Mitch rush to the male toilets. He frowned as it was too late and Khalia noticed his pants turn a dark brown. He was wearing the light blue jeans that were the cafe’s uniform.
Mitch met her eyes and he watched as they turned a light green. That was NOT a good sign. Despite he needed to change, getting her to stay in the present was more important.
“Khalia.” He said taking her arm and took her into his office. “Khalia, can you tell me where you are?”
Khalia said “Safe and Sound in Mitch’s office.” She shook.
Khalia had been caught in a cyclone and since then she had been having flashbacks as well as panic attacks. She made a noise of frustration and she asked “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Since the siege, I’ve had bowel issues but used to it.” Mitch sighed.
The siege. It was a topic neither of them had bought up.
Six months earlier
Mitch watched the lunch rush, it was the busiest of all the rushes. He noted that the Fish and Chips were the most ordered meal of the day. Kids chased each other around the cafe’s playground, and he noticed Khalia tapping her foot to the music as she gave the Chefs the orders that were coming in.
The sky was sunny and there was a lot of tourists, he looked outside to see the cafe ‘Lindt Cafe’ was as busy as them. Mitch turned to the front door, hearing the cling of the bell and frowned seeing the ex employee Julian. He had fired Julian the day before for stealing from other employee’s bags and the till.
Julian glanced at Mitch who said “What are you doing here? You are banned from this cafe.”
Mitch let out a gasp as Julian slammed a metal pole into his stomach. Khalia rushed to help Mitch but Julian pulled out a 4mm.
“Don’t think about it Khalia. You go and lock the doors, unless you want your Mitchy here to die.” Julian sneered.
Khalia looked at Mitch and he nodded towards the doors. She walked to the front doors and closed it, this alerted one of the Lindt Cafe’s employees who gave her a look of concern.
He mouthed SOS and she blinked at him, then he nodded. Khalia walked back to Mitch who was forced onto the ground. She looked at Julian who yelled at her “Sit next to him! You rejected me for him!” Khalia sat next to Mitch who looked at her stunned.
She had rejected Julian for him. Mitch reached for her hand and wrapped his fingers around hers. Julian forced Mitch onto his knees and Mitch felt the metal pole hit his back. Pain shot up his back and he felt sick in his stomach as Julian placed a hand onto his pants.
Everything went black as Julian knocked him out cold.
Back to present day
Mitch said “You rejected him for me. Why Khalia? Do you regret that decision? Now…”
“No, I love you..I love you Mitch. I have since the day…the day the cyclone happened. When you saved my life.” Khalia shrugged her shoulders.
She hated the memory, her ex husband Luka had locked her outside of their house just as the cyclone was coming. Mitch had rushed out of his house, which was across from hers and grabbed her as things began to fly around the place. Khalia looked at Mitch who changed and put some fresh pants on.
He locked eyes with her and said “Lia. I would do it again.” for the first time, using a nickname with her. Khalia moved closer to him and their lips met, Mitch pulled her closer deepening the kiss. He slipped his arm around her and played with her hair.
There was a knock at the door and they pulled apart.
“Come in.” Mitch called and one of the waiters walked in looking pale, Mitch was about to ask what was wrong when he saw Julian. The waiter rushed out as Julian shut the door and glared at Mitch.
“Khalia leave.” Mitch ordered and Khalia said “I’m not leaving you with him.”
“Please Khalia.” Mitch pleaded. “I’ll come and find you afterwards.”
Before Khalia could say anything, Julian grabbed her by her arm and chucked her out of the office. Khalia hit the ground hard and heard the lock turn. Fear pounded as she rushed to the phone in her own office and dialled 000. Tears welled up in her eyes. She was finally was with the guy and he was locked in a room with a psychopath. Time seemed to slow down before she heard sirens. Khalia paced her room when she heard unsteady footpaths coming towards her office and she turned to her door.
Looking around, she grabbed a cactus plant. The door opened and Khalia placed down the plant as an ambulance officer helped Mitch in.
“He had been very clear that he is not going to hospital without you ma-am.” The ambulance officer said. Mitch let out a half heartened laugh at her distaste of being called ma-am.
Two hours later
It hit Khalia what happened and Mitch reached for her hand.
“It’s going to be okay.” Khalia said thinking he wanted comfort as he pulled her into his arms.
“Lia, where are you?” Mitch asked and Khalia went to answer him. But she couldn’t, her mind was spinning. She played with her ruby necklace.
“I’m safe and sound with Mitch.” Khalia managed to say and Mitch held her close. He made eye contact with her and Khalia whispered “I didn’t want to leave you.”
“I could-” he let out a little grunt. “I didn’t want to see you hurt as well.”
His stomach was getting heavier and he squirmed slightly.
“Mitch, I have your emergency kit in the stuff I packed.” Khalia said. Mitch gave her a grateful look and he placed his head onto her shoulder, he was getting exhausted.
He closed his eyes falling asleep, holding onto Khalia but he couldn’t sleep. His stomach aches and not to mention his backside.