The 8:30am coffee run has become some sort of a ritual and the baristas know what to prepare for their regular customer by now. Having seen his gradual ascension to recognition, the folks behind the counter pride themselves as having known Jac Grey before he became a mini-celebrity. In return, Jac simply expects to be treated like a regular customer, trying his best to not be noticed. However, with Bishop’s Stortford enjoying a fairy tale run, and his face appearing on more blogs and social media channels, the double takes were getting slightly more frequent.
As always, Jac picked up his mug of Long Black and headed over to the seat that was tucked away from other people, close to the exit, and with a clear view of the in-house television. He’ve always had a preference for seats of this nature.
As he settled into the Starbucks’ sofa, a young lady walked up and took her place at the sofa across him.
“Excuse me Miss,” said Jac. Slightly annoyed at the interception with the pre-morning coffee grogginess making it more pronounced.
She smiled at Jac, ignored him and continued to make herself comfortable, putting down her bag, and draping her brown shawl over the armrest.
“Miss, if you don’t mind, I’ld prefer not to share. There’s another sofa seat at the other side if you like.”
The casually dressed lady simply smiled again at Jac. She then sat down, crossed her legs, and placed her arms on top of her navy blue pants.
“So, wow are you preparing for tomorrow’s Final Jac?” asked the stranger casually like a friend who hasn’t kept in touch in a while.
Slightly taken aback at the audacity of this young woman, Jac replied, “I’m good but I would really like some time alone to think about that Final. But if you like this seat, I can move if that helps.”
Jac would have snapped at the woman if not for the fact that she was quite the English beauty. He was starting to pick up his items to move to the other seat before the lady stopped him with her words.
“Well, I thought you would be a bit more welcoming to someone who helped you get to the Final.”
Stunned and unsure about what he just heard, Jac paused, and looked straight at the intruder.
“Come sit down Jac, let’s have a chat about your road to the Final.”
Jac wasn’t sure what he was hearing but his interest was piqued. It seems that this person is suggesting that she had helped him achieve success?
“I won’t be long. I’m just here on behalf of my boss. He is a great admirer of your determination and courage to innovate at a lower league club. Your independence and focus in making it here alone has also not gone unnoticed. As for me…I’m just here to ensure that you achieve success.”
The words coming from the fair lady sitting across him baffled Jac even further. He fumbled his words as he asked, “I don’t understand. What are you talking about? Who are you… and who is this boss of yours?”
Relaxed, she leaned back into the embrace of the sofa, and continued, “What do you make of Eastbourne Borough’s collapse at their home ground? Or the fact that Jon Nouble could score 4 goals at the second leg of the semi-final after missing so many sitters over the last few games?”
Jac paused, unsure of the appropriate reaction to her statements, and wondered, “What is she trying to say? That she had a part to play in those results?”
“Well, maybe it was a stroke of fate, or maybe I had something to do with it. You’ll never know. But I’m just here to deliver a message from my boss.” She started to pick up her bag and shawl again, preparing to leave.
“He wishes you well for the Finals. Someday I may have to visit you and ask for your assistance, but for now, you have his friendship. I’ve told him that you won’t need help to win tomorrow and I hope you prove me right.”
She stood up, put on her shades and patted her golden brown hair bun into shape.
“Told you I’ll be quick. I’m Olivia. See you soon. ” And with that, she made her way out of the cafe leaving Jac paralysed in shock and disbelief.
Second Half is a story about Jac Grey who lost everything in his life and tries to rebuild it all by travelling halfway across the world to take up a job that he was unqualified for – as a football manager. For the full story, visit Jac’s at shadowcatjac.wordpress.com. You can also get me on Twitter @shadowcatjac