More from Raven:
It was not stalking, Raven told himself.
A week had gone by after first finding his soulmate. She turned out to be young, much younger than he’d hoped for. He had followed her to her job as a waitress in a dodgy restaurant away from the busy boulevard. The only descent item on their menu turned out to be chili con carne. The diet of beans began to have its effects on his bowels. Each night he made plans to approach her but each morning they seemed not good enough. So he went on following her.
So he had gone to the nightclub, where she went dancing with her friends at the weekend. It had been loud and crowded but at least he had been able to enjoy the sight of seeing her dance. She really was a good dancer.
During the week, she had classes but what subject she was studying went beyond his investigative skills. Bromden’s School of Self Deployment. He had spent an amusing afternoon waiting for her classes to finish, imagining disciplines like robotics combined with crayon drawing. Mostly, however, he spent the anxious hours trying to come up with a believable story to tell her. He knew how incredible it must sound. He had not believed it himself for decades. Nor had his parents. In fact, he still struggled with the concept today. If it had not been for his uncle, he would never have known his dreams were more than dreams alone. He would have glossed over the difference he felt in himself, in his mother and his uncle. He would have dismissed the sign that had called out to him, on his day of resurrection. He offered a silent thanks to his uncle.
Lost in thought, he missed the ending of that day’s final class.
“Why are you following me?”
She stood accusingly at his table, blocking the light of the sun.
Raven blinked, taken aback. He was forced on the defensive.
“Surely, you don’t think I’m following you? A man is allowed his coffee on a sunny afternoon.”
He spread his arm wide, indicating his fellow coffee drinkers.
“We are all doing it.”
She frowned at him.
“But I saw you, at Vella’s. I served you more beans than I’d recommend to anyone.”
A pained expression appeared on Raven’s face.
“Ah yes, the beans.”
Knowing the game was up, he decided to be truthful.
“That dish was really the only edible one. I would suggest a change in menu.”
She stared at him. She looked back over her shoulder to the deserted school building. She glanced at her watch and briefly checked her cell phone. Then she shrugged and sat down.
“Why not. Cappuccino.”
Raven smiled broadly at her and ordered more coffee.
“You know what…” he bent closer and lowered his voice conspiringly.
“I never found out your name.”
He leaned back in expectation.
She gave him another suspicious look.
“Are you some kind of private investigator?”
He shook his head.
“A food critic?”
She threw her hands in the air.
“I give up. You are weird, mister. You are certainly weird.”
She sipped her coffee.
“I am Raven,” he offered.
She went on drinking.
Raven felt a bit deflated. Her interest in him seemed a little luke-warm.
He tried the direct approach.
“What is your name?”
“Hmm,” she wiped the froth from her lip. “I’m Branwen.”
Branwen. Her name sang to him.