Graham stood up from his seat at a cafe, and walked up to the barista to grab his coffee.
“ Thanks, Sheila.” The Australian said with a wink, earning a small forced smile from the woman working at the counter.
Graham exited the small, cheery, probably family-owned business and took a seat at one of the outdoor tables. He sighed and took a sip of his coffee.
He curled back his lip in disgust after the first sip, ‘ too bitter.’ He thought with a sigh. Graham considered going back inside to ask for a remake, but the awkward encounter with the woman working stopped him, so he sucked it up and pushed the bitter drink down his throat.
One other thing that stopped him from going back inside was a reason that he tried to ignore. The barista looked like Carmen.
Not completely, but she looked Latina, and wore red lipstick with a red hat with the company’s logo on it. It’s not too much things in common, but it’s enough to trigger memories, good or bad.
He wondered what she was up to nowadays. Deeply inside there was a small voice in his head saying, “ you idiot, why didn’t you let Chief give her your number.” But that voice was silenced by much bigger, deeper reasoning.
Graham can’t meddle with her life, making things complicated is what he does best. She deserves to live a happy, simple life. And if that means it must be away from him than so be it. He mustn’t be selfish.
The wind ruffled his hair, pushing his bangs into his eyes. The Aussie ran his fingers through his hair and sighed.
“ She better be better off without me,” he muttered underneath his breath, “ I hope she’s in some tropical island enjoying her time.”
Suddenly, a picture of the elusive Carmen Sandiego dancing with some dumb Californian hunk at a beach party flashed into his mind, twisting his face into an ugly scowl.
His face turned red at the thought. She can do whatever she wants, why is he getting angry.
‘Stupid older brother instinct.’ He thought.
Why would he care about that? It’s not like he likes her in a special way. He’s her older brother.
Graham studied the Coffee label to attempt to distract him from his embarrassing thoughts.
Of all of the colors they had to pick red, huh?
Everywhere he looked there was red.
Busses, flyers, billboards, cars, t-shirts, it could make a man go mad-well, this man. It made his head spin.
Even though he re-wired the Crackle Rod so it couldn’t go past stun mode, it still hurt him a great deal, inside and out as he watched Evil Carmen attempt to kill him.
He still had horrible migraines that the doctors had no idea how to cure. After all, he was only discharged from the hospital 2 weeks ago, so who knows if he would get better or worse.
Graham’s head has been put though too much trauma within the past 3 years.
‘ I wonder if she knows I’m alive.’ He thought.
The Aussie quickly dismissed the thought. After all, the chief did say she was going to send his regards and nothing else.
A cold gust of wind sent a shiver running up his spine, causing graham to pull his jacket tighter up against his skin in an attempt to keep warm.
Young Black Sheep always kept her past a secret. Until the train, that is. Graham wondered if she has a family out there in the world. He deeply hoped she will find them, if she wanted to that is.
Flashes of being at V.I.L.E with young Carmen flickered in and out of his brain. The “simple” times. The times when he would wake up to a mischievous smile on Black Sheep’s face, and a scowling Sheena. Or shaking and vomiting at the infirmary, and Black Sheep being the only one to care, so she would visit him. Sheena, Jean Paul, and Antonio would tease him thinking he had a crush on her, which wasn’t true.......right? I mean, at first he didn’t! She was 16, and he was 18. But later on he probably, maybe, had a teenie weenie crush. But she was oblivious to it all, almost like she had grown up in isolation her whole life. Because it turns out she did. Graham was and is an orphan. He grew up in an orphanage, where not enough food and love goes around, he wasn’t in total isolation. He was surrounded by other children at least.
‘ Not even she wants me. Heck, I’m a wreck.’ He thought dimly.
Not anyone wants him it seems. The only person he deeply cared for was gone, off in the world talking to people far better and more important than him.
“What matters is that she’s happy.” He whispered into the wind
Graham had enough with his coffee. He stood up and walked back into the Cafè to throw away his drink.
“ Thanks for the drink, best I’ve ever had in a while!” He complimented the barista, with a sharp sarcastic edge that was almost undetectable.
He stuffed some leftover napkins into his pockets, listening to the conversation the two ladies on shift where having once they assumed he was out of earshot.
“ He is totally in to you!”
“ I don’t even know the guy, Brooke. Many guys come in just to flirt with the workers, it’s nothing new.”
“ Did you hear his accent though? He sounded British or something, no wait, Australian! Plus, he was so hot!”
Graham chuckled to himself.
“ Didn’t He come off a little perv-“
Graham walked past the counter as he exclaimed, “ have a good day ladies!”
He laughed eternally after leaving both girls opened mouthed in embarrassment, them knowing that he obviously could have heard some of their conversation, if not all of it.
Graham reached into his jean jacket pocket to find his phone, lightly jabbing the palm of his hand on a long, pointy object.