A New Start

Noah followed the elderly lady through the shop and up the stairs. “You sell magic stuff here?” he said. He really should have asked more questions.

“There’s a mix,” Mrs Tuesday said. “There’s knickknacks for the tourists, basic stuff for those who like to pretend and a few bits of the good stuff for those who appreciate it.” She bustled along the corridor at the top of the stairs. “Your office is there, and this is your bedroom. She ushered him into a bright, clean space. “The bathroom’s through there and there’s a kitchen down the hall. Tea and coffee and that are included but if you want evening meals you need to tip up £10 every Friday.” She gave Noah an unnervingly long look. “And you look like you need feeding up. It’s cottage pie tonight.”

“That sounds nice,” Noah said weakly.

“It is,” Kadogan said, appearing suddenly. “You are Noah Pickering and are here to write internet things.”

“That’s right,” Noah said cautiously.

“You must write about candles,” Kadogan said.

“And coffee,” the stunningly beautiful woman behind him said. She pushed past Kadogan and smiled at Noah. “I am Lady Freydis and I require that you write a book about coffee.”

“What sort of book?” Noah asked bewildered.

Lady Freydis looked confused. “The sort of book that people read to learn about coffee,” she said. “I have some notes.” She pushed a large, pink gift box towards Noah. He dropped his bag on the bed and grabbed the box.

Noah looked helplessly at Mrs Tuesday. “What sort of timeline?”

“I wish to see progress before the winter solstice,” Lady Freydis said. “Last week was the spring equinox. You should work several days a week, but not Sundays.”

“And write about candles,” Kadogan added.

“Why don’t you leave Noah to unpack,” Mrs Tuesday said. “I’ll show him everything and he can make a start tomorrow morning.” She shooed the two powerful elfen away and then looked back at the stunned Noah. “They mean well.”

Noah opened the box. Inside was a drift of notes on random items. “This book on coffee?” he began, rummaging through the napkins and paper bags. “How technical does it need to be?” There were even tiny notes scrawled over a train ticket.

Mrs Tuesday patted his shoulder. “It should say that coffee is brown and hot,” she said. “Fiona will be able to talk to you tomorrow and she’s the sensible one. She’ll sort out time off, hours, what’s needed and all that.” She grinned. “And Kadogan said that you liked gin, so I’ve left you some in the cupboard.”

Noah watched her leave and then looked around. His accommodation may be a bedsit, but it was spacious, comfortable and welcoming. The crazy collection of coffee trivia looked daunting but it made him smile. And it sounded that he would get time off, a wage and even food. He took a deep breath. It was a new start. Perhaps he would have a chance to be happy.

You can read the story from the beginning here – Back at the White Hart

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