Flash Fiction  – Burned Heart

i cheated again. I worked this month’s phot prompt into something I’d already written. 🙂 But… It’s the continuation of the story from last month’s photo prompt!  So if you haven’t read that, click here and read it first.


Chapter 2 – Burned Heart

I looked up from the overpriced coffee drink that I’m making and smiled at the customer who ordered it.  Tom was a regular and a particularly good tipper.  Even if he didn’t tip I’d be nice to him though because he was just a sweet guy.  I’d had a dream about him a week before which, of course, came true.  He’d gotten a big promotion at work that was going to send his career sailing in new directions.  He didn’t know about the prophetic dreams that all of the women in my family have but I had told him the morning of the meeting with his boss that things were going to go really well.  He shrugged it off as me being nice, but came back later that afternoon to tell me in person how great the meeting had gone.  We celebrated over shots of espresso and he told me all about how his job was changing.

I always love it when my dreams are about good things.  There’s nothing shittier than waking up and realizing that I suddenly know that someone’s grandma is going to die or they’re going to catch their husband cheating on them.  Those dreams really sucked.

My most recent dream about Tom showed that his already pretty awesome life was going to get that much better because a cheery blonde with gorgeous curly hair was about to walk into his life and they were going to fall madly in love.  I could tell that this morning was the right one because everything was just as it had been in my dream.  The music on the satellite radio was playing the right song, the customer’s throughout the shop were all sitting or standing where they should be, and I’d spilled caramel on my shirt resulting in a upside down heart shaped stain right above my left hip.

“So Tom, do you want whip?”  I knew he did because he did in the dream but I asked anyway.

“Eh…” he hesitated then shrugged, “Oh what the hell, it’s Friday.  Go for it.”

I smiled as I squirted the perfect spiral of whipped cream over his coffee.  “It’s going to be another good day for you, Tommy.”

“Oh yeah? As good as the last time you told me that?  I already got the big promotion, what else is there?”

I finished off his drink with a drizzle of caramel over the whipped, “I can’t tell you.  I don’t want to jinx it.”  There was nothing I could do that would jinx it.  I could have told him in great detail what was going to happen and it wouldn’t change a thing.  But I didn’t like to do it that way.  I liked to test fate and see if the dreams were always right.  They always had been, but I kept testing just in case.  I slid the drink across the counter to him and smiled, “Keep your eyes open and be a gentleman.”  Just as I finished my sentence I saw his dream woman walk by our shop window.  I knew that in just a few minutes as he walked to his office their paths would meet and they would start falling in love.  I gave him a wink, “I’ll see you Monday.”

He chuckled and grabbed his cup while stuffing a five in the tip jar.  “You’re so mysterious, Elle.  But you make a kick ass coffee, so I guess I’ll take it.”  He chuckled and waved, “See you Monday.”

I gave him a wave and moved on to my next drink.  A butterscotch latte that made me crave one of my own.  One of the perks of my oh-so-glamorous job as a coffee slinger was that I could drink the stuff all day for free if I wanted to.  It also gave me time to read books and write when things were slow and we ran out of work to do.

We were a small shop, privately owned by a rich hipster named Diamond, I swear that’s her real name, who hadn’t wanted to buy into a company that already had a regular following in Mid-Michigan.  Instead she created her own cute little shop with drinks that had fun names from old TV shows.  We had an English tea named Mr. Belvedere, and a hot chocolate called T.Hux which was short for Theo Huxtable.  Diamond was a classic hipster but the shop was all kinds of awesome and even if I hadn’t worked there I probably would have spent a lot of time sitting in the cushy chairs of the shop reading and writing while staying happily caffeinated.

I’d been working for Diamond for over a year and made my way up from part time coffee girl to full time assistant manager coffee girl.  It was fun, paid the bills, gave me a cool place to work, and free coffee.  I couldn’t complain too much.  Plus we were in a part of Lansing that was referred to as Old Town which was full of cool shops, restaurants, and old buildings renovated into apartments and condos.  It was a really neat place to be and made me love my job that much more, even if my family didn’t consider it a “real job” and bitched about it to me every chance they had.

I served the butterscotch latte, also known as a McKidd named after Kevin McKidd from Grey’s Anatomy, and thanked the customer for stopping by.  He wasn’t a regular and didn’t seem at all like someone who was from Lansing.  Not that I could explain exactly what that meant.  He was probably someone traveling with whatever team our minor league baseball team, the Lansing Lugnuts, were playing this week.

I was making myself a McKidd when the bells over the door jingled and another customer stepped inside.  Diamond small talked with him as he decided on his order.  Just as I finished making my drink and took a sip, Diamond yelled down the bar to me that guy had ordered a double tall Screetch.  They continued to talk and when the coffee was ready I called it out, “Double tall Screetch, ready at the end of the bar.”

I turned to work on refilling the coffee dispensers that were self-serve.  I poured fresh decaf into one of the dispensers and was putting the top on when I heard someone behind me.  It must have been the guy who’d ordered the Screetch finally picking up his drink, “Thanks for this…”

I picked up the coffee dispenser and turned, “You’re…”  I stopped in my tracks.  The man across the counter from me was the man I’d been dreaming about for the past ten years.  The same man who loved me and most likely died from some weird explosion at the hospital just down the street.  The man who called me by my last name and had the prettiest blue eyes I’d ever seen.  He was taller than I expected.  His hair was a medium golden brown and styled in that messy but perfect sort of way.

I lost my hold on the coffee dispenser and instead of grabbing it the way I was supposed to, I somehow managed to flip the handle over the top which then dispensed freshly brewed coffee all over my left hand.

“Son of a monkey!” I yelled out as I put the coffee down on the counter as quickly as I could, all the while being streamed with near boiling coffee.  “Holy shit… Ow, ow, ow…”  I immediately stuck my hand in the sink at the end of the bar where we rinsed things off.  I turned the cold water on and stuck my hand under it with a whimper then put the stopper in the sink to keep the water in.

Diamond was quickly at my side, “What happened?”

I shook my head, “I don’t know… I almost dropped it and the handle got stuck or something.”

“Keep it in the water, I’ll get you some ice…” she said and dashed over to the built in cooler where we kept the ice for cold drinks.

The guy, on the other hand, was leaning over the counter to look at my hand, “Let me take a look at it.  I’m a doctor.”

Yeah, a doctor who was going to get blown up…  I shook my head to clear my thoughts and pulled my hand out of the stream of ice cold water.  As soon as the water was gone, my hand felt like it was on fire.  He shook his head, “That’s a bad burn.  You’re going to need to have it looked at.”

I was looking in his blue eyes.  “You said you were a doctor, doesn’t that count?”

He smiled a great big smile that lit up his whole face.  It was the smile I never got to see in my dream. He had the most amazing dimples I’d ever seen. “If we were at the hospital, sure.  But considering I don’t have any supplies on me… no.  You should go to the Urgent Care across the street.  They’ll get you in a lot faster than going to the ER.” I was relieved that he suggested the Urgent Care and not the ER down the road.  I already had a burnt hand, I didn’t want today to be the day I was involved in some major disaster too.

I liked that he was holding my hand, but it hurt so much I took it back from him and put it back into the water.  Diamond returned and dumped a scoop of ice for the largest frozen drink that we made into the sink.  The ice definitely helped at making the water colder and therefore numbing the pain a little, but I was starting to think the good doctor was right and I needed medical attention.

I leaned down with my forehead on my arm as my hand dangled in the icy water.  I wasn’t one to cry but I was damn close.  My hand felt like if I said “flame on” it would surely light up.  Or maybe I just read too many comic books growing up.

I heard Dr. Pretty Eyes telling Diamond that I needed to see a doctor and she agreed.  I lifted my head and looked at her, “I’ll be okay.  I don’t want to leave you all alone.  Mikey will be here soon.  I’ll go when he gets here.”

“Nope.  I ‘m your boss and this is a workplace injury.  You’re going to Urgent Care now.”

I sighed but conceded, “Can you make me an ice pack to go?”

She smiled and made me an ice pack out of a Ziploc wrapped in a hand towel.  She also grabbed my purse from my cubby in her office.  “You want me to walk you over?”

I rolled my eyes, “No.  I’ll be okay.  I’ll be back once they figure out what to do with me.”

Dr. Pretty Eyes grabbed his coffee and looked at me, “I’ll go over with you.”

I stumbled over my words, “Oh you don’t… I mean… I can just…”  I sighed and decided not to fight it.  Whoever this guy was, he was going to be in my life and I needed to just deal with it. Okay.”

He smiled and placed his hand on the small on my back guiding me toward the door.  His hand fit perfectly and filled me with a mixture of curious happiness and dread. Outside we both looked for traffic and found none so we crossed the street jaywalking and hoping no cops were nearby watching.  I always thought that giving a ticket for jaywalking was stupid.  We walked into the clinic and there were a handful of people in the waiting room.  He walked me up to the reception desk and smiled at the small red haired nurse behind the desk, “Hey, Jamie…”

She grinned from ear to ear, obviously flirting, “Dr. Everhart.  What can I do for you?”

I wanted to laugh at her horrible flirting but I covered it with a cough instead.  I think the doctor caught on too because he shot me a small grin.  “We’ve got a pretty bad coffee burn here,” he said motioning to me.  He looked at me and smiled shyly, “I didn’t get your name… I’m sorry.”

“Uh… Elle Jensen.”

He nodded and put his hand on my shoulder shooting another wave of awareness through my body, “Josh Everhart.”  He then looked back at Nurse Jaimie, “Elle has a burn that needs to be looked at right away.  I can do it myself if everyone is busy.”

“I think everyone is tied up, but you can use Room 2.  If you need any help, just let me know…” More flirting.

He thanked her without encouraging the flirting and led me to Room 2.  I sat on the exam table and kept my rapidly melting bag of ice on my hand.

After a quick evaluation, he determined that I had second and third degree burns on my hand.  He prescribed an antibiotic cream that also had pain numbing stuff in it as well as some heavy duty pain killers to take for a while.  Then he wrapped my hand up with this amazingly awesome patch covering my burn that felt like it was made out of cold Jello.  He told me what it was called but I soon forgot and just called it the Jello patch.

Josh had Jamie check me out and give me all of the required check out paperwork that I would then take back across the street to Diamond.  He once again led me to the door with a hand on the small of my back and we stepped outside.  I looked up at him and smiled, “Thank you.  For everything.  I’m sure I’d still be sitting in there waiting in misery if you hadn’t been with me.”

“Oh I can guarantee it.  I used to have to work weekends here sometimes and they were the slowest staff ever.  Good people, just really, really slow.”

I smiled, “So you don’t work there anymore?”

“I still work for the hospital, but I’m over at the children’s wing now.”  I knew that.  I also knew what it looked like when he was bleeding out from what I assumed was a fatal injury.

“Cool…” I nodded.

He pulled a thin metal case from the back pocket of his jeans, Inside were his business cards, one of which he handed to me, “Call me if you have any trouble.  It’s going to hurt for a while but if it starts getting worse, definitely call me.  Texts are good too, my phone is almost always on me.  Or you can go to the ER.”

I looked at his business card.  Dr. Joshua Everhart, DO.  “Hopefully with all those painkillers I’ll be knocked out cold tonight.  But thank you, if anything changes I’ll let you know.”

He asked me, again, if I needed anything and I told him, again, no.  He then bid me farewell, reminded me to call him, and began walking toward the hospital.  He stopped and turned around and smiled at me, “Nice to meet you, Jensen.”

I smiled and gave him a little wave. I watched him a little longer before crossing the street to get back to work. As I pushed the door open I noticed a small piece of paper on the floor. I scooped it up and felt like I’d been punched in the gut when I realized it was the shape of a heart and the edges were burned.

In the dreams that the women in our family had, there were a lot of symbols that told the future.   Pregnancy for example sometimes meant a new project rather than an actual upcoming child, rain usually represented sadness and tears. A heart, though, always meant love no matter what.  It was part of the reason why I hadn’t mined that I’d stained my shirt with caramel earlier.  The condition of the heart was what told the story though, and a heart with burned edges was never a good thing.

My future with Josh was going to end up in heartache.


Chapter 3 – Walk in the Grass

Feedback is always accepted!  Leave a comment below and don’t forget to check out what the other girls thought up for this month’s photo!

Bronwyn | Kayleigh | Kris | Jess | Jessica | Paige | Jenny | Gwen

13 responses to “Flash Fiction  – Burned Heart

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