"Why don't we remember our past lives? We do remember! The recognition of friends and familiar places, our particular interests, talents, convictions, and prejudices, are our soul's remembrance. Details of the past slip away, fortunately, as they do in this life. Platonists assure us, however, that through discipline and persistence we can develop our higher faculties and attain that 'mystical insight' that enables us to see what was and what will be. It is simply a matter of 'recollection'."

She scoffed. 'Yea right, tell me another one...' Pushing the wire frames up, she continued on, suffering to get through this book.

'The soul, then, as being immortal and having been born again many times and having seen all things that exist, whether in this world or in the world below, has knowledge of them all; and it is no wonder that she should be able to call to remembrance all that she ever knew about virtue, and about everything; for as all nature is akin, and the soul has learned all things, there is no difficulty in her eliciting or as men say learning, out of a single recollection all the rest, if a man is strenuous and does not faint; for all inquiry and all learning is but recollection.'—Plato"

She sighed and pulled the wire frames off her nose, rubbing the bridge. Why was it in these late nights when she tried to get ANY type of studying done, they seemed to weigh more?

Shaking her head, deep green checked the clock. She sighed. 'Hurry UP! I'm tired and I want to go home!'

It was only two minutes to eleven. The place was empty, the last customer having come and gone fifteen minutes ago. She was all alone. But that didn't matter except now she could get some reading done for class.

"Oh the pains of extra credit..." She mused, taking a few seconds to stretch and rub her elbows.

'Note to self, next time bring a chair from the back room. Plastic countertops do not sit well with bone for long periods of time.' Smiling, she looked around the empty place to give her eyes something to do and a small break.

The large glass windows, a mere twenty feet from the counter she stood behind, were pitch black beyond the painted letters that marked the business. She knew the words on those panes without looking and was able to read them backwards, having been here what seemed forever already.

A sudden breeze from the overhead fans brought a whiff of hazelnut to her nose and it scrunched up. Not that she didn't like the smell, but she'd smelled it for the past four hours and it was going to make her nauseous soon.

Vowing to ignore her surroundings and finish up the last hour, waiting until the manager came in to close up, those deep green eyes went back to the book. Even if it was something she didn't believe, she WOULD get it read and learned for her report coming up. She wanted those extra credit points!

Twenty minutes later on the dot, the door opened and the bell attached to it rang.

She smiled, barely glancing from her book. Setting the bookmark in it, she closed it with a low thwump and set it below the top counter.

"Hey Tommy. You want your usual again?"

"Sure K. Same as always? Tax and all?"

She smiled and nodded, already turning for the coffee machines.

"So where's Chester tonight? You leave him at the chess club again? Or was it the beach house?" She teased, adding a teaspoon of sugar to the cappuccino mix.

"Naw, the old wussie passed out after too much Jack so I left him at my place."

She turned around and took the money without telling the middle-aged man the price, already knowing it was correct.

Absently pressing the price and depositing everything in the register, she looked at aged hazel with a raised brow. "You left him at your place? That's odd...you two normally hang out at the chess club until ten. Did something happen?"

She received a caring, wrinkled smile and gentle pat on the hand. "You're a sweet thing to worry about an old fogy like me. Just wanted a change of pace I guess."

Her brow furrowed, wondering about his answer. That didn't seem like Tommy...but she didn't know the man that well as she thought she did from their friendly chatter, so she wasn't allowed to press.

"So what were you reading THIS time? You're a little bookworm, you know that?" Tommy teased, blowing on his drink.

She smiled and pulled out the book with a wrinkled nose. Remembering her reading glasses, she took them off and set them where the book was.

"It's extra credit for Western Civilization in my English class. My teacher gave us book reports to do. If we read the book and do an informative paper on it in front of the class, she'll give us thirty points." Deep green rolled. "I feel like I'm back in middle school. Does that woman really think she's going to scare us with the thought of reading in front of twenty-five people?"

A raspy chuckle sounded and she was given another pat on the hand. "You've got a sharp tongue on you missy. Don't let it get you into trouble."

She grinned and looked behind the man at another regular, loyal customer this time of night. "And here's Roger!"

"Hey K." Roger called, giving a wave.

She leaned on the counter, propping her head up, and batted her lashes at the man. "How's my favorite elder gentleman?"

"You only say that because he's in the room." Roger muttered, giving Tommy a slap on the back. "You charmer you."

She giggled when she received a wink and set about making straight black coffee with a teaspoon of creamer.

"So you old goat, how's life been treating you?"

"Same as always Roger. Didn't you ask me that two nights ago?"

"Yea but you never know what happens near the shores."

She smiled at their antics and handed over the coffee, taking the money seconds later. Another who was such a regular; he knew the price with tax without being told.

"Here you are, for my man of the night."

"That wasn't a black jab was it K?"

She giggled, holding a hand in front of her mouth, and blinked in innocence. "Why Roger I have no idea what you mean."

Roger's dark eyes twinkled with a sly grin. A wrinkled finger waved in her direction. "You're mischievous, you know that?"

She leaned against the counter as the two took their seats, Tommy still holding her book over reincarnation. "So how come you're late Roger? You, Tommy, and Chester normally come in about the same time."

"These old bones don't move as fast as you younguns' do. You know I always walk here." Dark eyes looked to the book. "What're you reading THIS time?"

She laughed. "Tommy said the exact same thing. You should've walked in with him...I wouldn't have to explain myself again."

"You believe in this stuff K?"

Her lips pursed and she sighed. "Not a bit. But then, I don't really believe in any of those gods I hear so much about in any religion, and that all comes with it I guess."

Both men tsked. "That's the problem with youth. You don't believe anything you can't see." Roger muttered, going for the book.

"Either of you believe in God, or whoever?" She asked, head tilting a little.

"Devote Catholic here." Roger said, smiling proudly.

"Happy Protestant and you won't convert me, so don't try." Tommy kidded, wagging a finger in Roger's face.

She smiled at the two gentlemen's playful ways. "It's not that I don't believe what's in front of me...but how can one person be someone else after they die? Do you know what that means - scientifically? There would be no new souls on this earth; everyone would just keep cycling into new lives after they die and this world would be comprised of nothing but the same people for thousands of years."

"This world is pretty big K. I highly doubt THAT could happen." Roger muttered, rubbing the white stubble on his chin.

"You think too much about topics you should just leave to faith kid." Tommy muttered, leaning forward to hand the book back.

She tossed her upper body on top of the counter and reached out to grab it. Sliding off, knowing she could only get away with that in front of such people at dead business hours, she went to the corner and put the book in her backpack.

'Might as well finish up my homework in History of Science class. There's still a few text questions I hadn't finished before I got here.'

Grabbing the notebook, everything marked where she left off, she left the two to their small talk and plopped the thick book down, flipping to the page to get back to where she left off. Hands fumbled for the reading glasses underneath.

She didn't have to worry about anyone else. Tommy, Roger, and Chester were the only ones who came in so late and they weren't anyone to keep an eye on. They were just elderly gentleman who liked a late night caffeine pick-up and a little conversation here and there.

She liked the three elder men. All three were past their sixties - Roger past his seventies - and were very kind and friendly. They always offered to walk her home after her manager closed the shop, since she biked it home.

Coffee Works was only seven blocks away, hardly anything to worry about in her opinion, but they kept saying she could get mugged or worse.

She knew they were worry-warts from seeing bad things happen. But in this time and age, when crime was down to almost nothing and there were hardly any national scuffles, what could happen?

Really, it was a rather peaceful time anymore...

Her head jerked up in surprise at hearing the bell ring. Knowing she was only allowed to do homework when there wasn't anyone around, three late-nighters aside, she slammed the book shut and shuffled it under the counter as quickly as possible.

Fingers fumbled for her glasses. She wasn't worried about her appearance, but the glasses were only for reading and writing, plus she had enough comments in high school about doing extra homework.

Deep green took in the figure of a young man. Teeth bit the inside of her lip as she fought not to give a girlish smile.

He was cute. HIGHLY cute!

Leaning on the counter with a pleasant smile, fingers clasped together. "Hello. What can I get you?"

She met incredibly dark eyes and blinked. Were those brown or black? She couldn't tell and didn't want to look closer for a better inspection.

Those eyes averted to the board above as an arm rested on the counter. Out of the corner of her eye, she took note of the toned condition it was in...along with the nice tan.

Forcefully shaking her head, trying to keep from checking him out, she looked to his face again and took note of shaggy bangs sticking out of a backwards cap. She blinked.

Those bangs were bleached WHITE!

She looked to his eyebrows and found them black. What kind of person dyed their hair such an opposite color?

She had to admit though, even though it was white, he still looked nice. DAMN nice! His features were set in all the right places.

She took note of his eyes seeing a slant to them. He was orient? Nothing wrong with that - she found that slant rather attractive.

Suddenly, she was met with those indiscernible eyes again and tried not to flush when she received a charming smile.

"Didn't your parents teach you it's not polite to stare?"

She blinked wide eyes, feeling a little indignant, but bit her tongue. This was still a customer and drilled rules from the manager taught her to NEVER be rude to the customers unless necessary.

"I - I'm sorry sir -"

The words died when he sent a sly grin her way. "I was just kidding. I don't mind." She received a quick wink, off-setting her again as she dumbly registered his order.

It took a second before she whirled around and mechanically did as told. After giving the total, she handed over the Styrofoam cup and fought a smile as his fingers came into contact with hers.

After taking the change, she felt a little warmer than the normal hot temperatures and took a step back when he leaned on the counter.

"So...you live here?"

"Y - yes." She muttered, wondering what he was getting at. She wasn't much for flirting.

She got another charming grin as the man sipped his drink. "Good. I need to get some information around here."

She dumbly blinked again, probably more than normal. "You don't live here?"

"Nope, I'm mainland. But I needed a caffeine boost and a recommendation on a hotel while I checked the city out. Or whatever's good."

If she could've laughed, she would've.

A smile popped up and she stepped back to the counter. "Well, Miami is pretty busy and kinda expensive, but there are a lot of good hotels around here. The Hyatt for one..." She bit her lip to keep from adding what she wanted to say.

It would prove interesting if this man actually followed her little tourist bit, along with amusing.

"Thanks cutie." He pushed away from the counter and headed for the entrance. Just as he had the door open and was in the entrance way, the youth paused. "By the way, what's your name?"

She minutely startled as if pricked. He wanted to know her name? Why?? Well...

"People around here call me K." She gave a small nod.

He returned it with the same friendly smile. "Inaki. Thanks for the help K." With that, he gave a final wave and let the door shut behind him.

Her head propped up on the counter as she watched him through the large panes, eyes drawn to the way baggy jean shorts would sway low on his hips...even with the belt to hold them up. The way his arm muscles clenched and flowed when he lifted that cup to his mouth with that chiseled jaw of his...

An amusing clearing of throat gained her attention and she blushed, jumping from the counter.

Green blinked and met two pairs of highly amused eyes, crinkling with a knowing look.

"Like what you see K?"

"Don't look like that, I feel like a protective father who needs to go beat that boy for looking at you."

She flushed even more and looked to the tile floor with a sheepish smile. Hands went to her cheeks to hide a flush. "Cut it out you guys..." She muttered, getting chuckling in return.

There was no way to get back into her History of Science homework - not after seeing that cute guy Inaki. One question she had...was Inaki his first name, or last?

Oh she tried. She actually went back to her homework, trying to pick up where she left off and erase the long pencil mark that got put on when she tried to put everything away. It was just no use.

She kept seeing those eyes of his. Were they brown? Or were they black?

Whatever they were, the lead kept reminding her of his irises.

Her lips pursed as she gave up and put everything back in her bag. Five minutes till closing - she wasn't going to get anything else done. At least she had less than when she dragged the book out.

The remainder was spent closing the register and shutting off all coffee machines and such. By the time she finished, the manager and owner Charlie walked in, enticingly jangling his keys in the entranceway.

She smiled when she met him. The man was a little strict when it came to his business, as he owned Coffee Works, but he had a good heart deep down and that's what counted.

"I figured you would've had your bike out and your bag already slung over your shoulders by now." Charlie mused, giving an odd look.

"K's trying to get her pulse back to normal after meeting that Inaki boy." Tommy added, sending a sly grin across the counter.

She gave another sheepish smile and looked to Charlie. "It was nothing really...just a rare late-nighter in need of coffee."

Roger walked up and playfully elbowed Charlie in the arm. "She only says that because she doesn't wanna get in trouble. But you weren't here twenty minutes ago."

She heaved a sigh and stared at the ceiling, fighting that same blush. Roger and Tommy were good men, but slightly perverted, as old men tended to be.

"Anyways...let's head out. It's now midnight and this place is going to open up in eight hours." Charlie sidetracked, jangling the keys again.

"Hey at least it won't be ME opening." She playfully called, standing and gripping the weighted bag. With a small grunt, she got the bulk situated and headed to the back room.

Even though there were bike racks around the city - and one only half a block away from the corner, she wasn't taking chances. This was the only transportation she had, being a poor college student, she wouldn't be able to get anything else for a while.

Charlie's example of good heart was allowing her to store the expensive mountain bike in the back room near storage, as long as she road it through the back door when she arrived.

Charlie knew how much that bike cost her, and how much sentimental value it had...

Lightly gripping the handlebars, she wheeled it around the front counter and out the front door that Roger graciously held open for her. She smiled in thanks and straddled the seat, waiting as Charlie locked up.

After the final click of the second deadbolt, Charlie turned and shooed the three from the front window. "Go on you three. Go home and get some sleep! K you've got classes tomorrow and you don't need to be falling behind. Roger, you'd better get home before some cop thinks you're a wandering drunk. Tommy...you'd better go find Chester and get him out of trouble, unless you PUT him in it."

The three smiled as Roger grumbled over Charlie's comment and headed up the walk, Charlie for his car out front.

She walked the bike in pace with the two, letting comfortable silence and the sounds of night envelope them.

The three would normally walk her out of the downtown district before going their separate ways. That was only three blocks, but it was still nearly half her trip.

She was always grateful to know such nice people, even if they were three times her age.

After the third block, promising she'd hurry right home and not stop to talk to strangers, she pedaled away with loud goodbyes. The ride was swift, as she didn't like strangers much anyway, and it didn't take long to get home.

A leg swung around the bike and she walked it to the small backyard, chaining it to the pillar on the porch. That done, she headed inside the back door as normal, locking the deadbolt behind her.

Clicking a light on gave her the scare of a lifetime.

Stifling a small scream, not wanting to alert or worry the whole neighborhood, a hand went to her heart. She heaved a deep breath, glaring at the dining room table.

"What're you doing with the lights off?? You SCARED the CRAP outa me!"

"As showed. You want some ice cream with me?"

A dark brow rose as she looked at her roommate and friend oddly. "At midnight?? I for one would like to go to bed. It's been a long day and I smell like coffee."

A quiet sniff rent the air. "Yup. Hazelnut and," Another sniff, "Irish cream. Nice." A full spoon wobbled in the air. "You sure? It's French vanilla. Your favorite."

Teeth grit as she stared at the ceiling. Damn the woman! "You had to bring up my secret vice..."

"Of course I did. Now grab a spoon from the drawer and join me. It's too damn hot, even at night."

Her brow furrowed again as she obeyed and grabbed an ice cream spoon from the drawer. "I thought you had the air conditioning on seventy-five again?"

"Are you kidding? Do you KNOW what the temperature got up to today? One hundred and SIX! And that's WITH humidity! I had that baby jacked down to sixty-eight!"

She groaned and dipped the spoon in. "Do you know how bad that is on the a.c.? Not to mention the energy bills??"

"Hey, you were at school with your extra credit, in a place that you don't have to WORRY about paying the bill for! I, on the other hand, was stuck here from two to four thirty. This place was roasting...even in the basement!"

"Yea, yea...you always gripe like this, you know that?"

"Well it IS hot outside!"

"This coming from someone whose ancestry came from Cuba."

"Hey, that's only PART of it."

"You can't use that excuse forever." She grinned and went to put the spoon in the dishwasher.

After shutting the door with a click, she stretched. "I'm turning in. Please don't down that again. That's all I've had out of that container since we bought it. I'd like to have some more, or you're buying me another container."

"Who do you think bought the LAST one?"

She smirked. "And why was that?"

"Hey...it was Sunday and that was the last of the carton. Sue me."

Dark brown shook in amusement as her eyes drooped. She covered a yawn and reached down to give a brief pat on her friend's shoulder. "Whatever you say..." She mumbled, a hand waving.

"Night K."

"Night Sammy."