Coming home to a dark apartment was not something Rory Thompson was looking forward to after an eight hour shift at Izzy's.
He lived on the fourth floor of a small apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina. The walls kept out the noise of his neighbors but failed to keep city life to a minimum.
He always knew to stay inside when he heard the police sirens late at night.
There was a notice on his door stating there was a power outage that would last for two days at the minimum.
Heaving a sigh, Rory cursed the obnoxiously cheap rent and utilities as he entered his home and started looking for candles. It wasn't that he was ungrateful for the amazing deal he was offered...he just hated the random things that happened on a daily basis.
If it weren't for this apartment, he'd still be living at home with abusive parents and trying to figure out how to pay their bills. It was honestly cheaper living alone in a seemingly crappy apartment.
If he had to live without electricity for a few days he wasn't going to complain. Not if it meant he could still escape his strange family.
At the age of twenty-three, Rory was fairly content with his life. He had gone "gray" early and was constantly asked about the silver streaks in his almost white blonde hair. His hazel eyes were what he considered "average." Brown at the center with green surrounding that while a darker ring surrounded that. He was barely six foot and had crazy pale skin despite how much he was outside.
All-in-all, Rory hadn't been able to put to use his English degree and gave up after a year of interviews, no call backs, and raging parents. When he landed the job at Izzy's, he had pretended to still be jobless in order to save up money to move out.
It took a while, but he finally managed after six months of working and searching for good deals.
That, for whatever reason, cost him his two year relationship with his ex, Amanda.
It had knocked him down a few pegs, but after a few months of reflecting on his past with her, he realized they weren't in a healthy relationship and was suddenly grateful that she ended things after a heated disagreement about having sex.
Amanda had yelled at Rory when he said he was too tired to even think let alone have sex.
The yelling turned into accusations which turned into fuck you which turned into Rory being single.
He had been single now for almost seven months and had no complaints. He did wonder from time to time if he would ever find that special someone.
He would always remind himself that he was still young and love wasn't always everything.
Rory Thompson let out a yawn when he finally found a candle and lit it.
He ignored his stomach's wishes of a warm meal and ate a cold piece of pizza before jumping in the shower.
The hot water still worked.
After thanking the universe, Rory finished his nightly routine before setting an alarm on his phone and falling into a deep sleep.
Rory woke to the annoying blare of his alarm before shutting it off and getting ready for work.
He had a short shift today.
He was coming in at 7:30 and finishing up by noon so he had the rest of the day to himself.
Perhaps he'd get to finishing that novel...
By the time he arrived at work, the morning rush had died down. Most of their regulars wouldn't show until ten which gave Rory plenty of time to finish the list his boss had left him.
Izzy's was a relatively popular café set on a busy street between two pizza restaurants. It was relatively big and could comfortably house thirty people without it being jam-packed. With muted caramel and warm brown as the dominate colors, the place could be considered homey.
About thirty minutes into Rory's shift, the bell on the front door jingled.
Rory glanced around his work space and let out a mental curse. He worked with three other people who were currently waiting on other customers.
It wasn't that he didn't want to work...but his list was obnoxiously long and he never seemed to have a spare moment.
Looking over the counter, Rory felt his eyes widen when he took in the tall businessman.
He stood at least five inches taller than Rory, had stunning deep blue eyes, gorgeous brown hair cut close to his head, and was sporting a natural tan. When he gave a polite smile to another customer, Rory could see straight white teeth.
Heaving a sigh, Rory put on a smile and greeted in a chirpy voice, "Good morning, sir. What can I get for you?"
Harsh blue eyes met energetic hazel and Rory felt his mood plummet.
"It is not a good morning, boy. Give me an iced mocha and a plain bagel. No cream."
The man's deep voice startled Rory into action as he hurriedly imputed the order. "That'll be $7.83, sir."
The man handed over a hundred dollar bill while saying, "Jude Bex. Keep the change."
Rory's eyes widened as he watched the man go stand by the waiting counter.
Quickly pocketing his unexpected tip, Rory quickly made up the man's order and got it to him in under ten minutes.
"You were supposed to say my name." Jude stated while taking a sip of his drink.
Rory stared at him for a second too long before saying in a quiet voice, "Jude Bex."
Jude smirked down at Rory before winking and leaving the café.
Just as Jude left, another businessman entered the café.
"Oh great...another one." Rory muttered while putting on his happy face.