Multi-colored lights from the garland above the counter twinkled on the porcelain as Janet poured some of the fresh brew. From across the street, Target’s signature logo cast its red light into the diner, reminding her about the Christmas shopping she’d tackle tonight as soon as she clocked out. For months, she’d scrimped and saved, and $200 waited in her purse so her three kids could wake up to new toys from Santa under the tree. Things were finally looking up. A steady job, no sleaze-bag husband, and no more nights in crowded shelters or cramped in their tiny car.
She plated Table Five’s pie and brought his order to the table. He smiled warmly and picked up his coffee.
Janet put a hand in her apron pocket, fingers resting on her order pad, just in case. “Do you need anything else?”
“No, thank you.” He had a slight accent that she couldn’t place, but his soft, yet resonating tone reminded her of Bing Crosby, whose rendition of ‘White Christmas’ echoed from the diner’s radio.
Table Five sipped his coffee and scanned the room. He seemed to like watching people. Not in any creepy sort of way, but the way one might observe animals at a zoo or ducks in the city park. His dark eyes brightened, and his lips curved into a slight smile when new customers arrived.
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