Hello guys, well nearly 400 of you guys read it and only one kind soul reviewed :( That makes this writer feel sad and unloved like a Christmas jumper in July...

Chapter 2 - An Intimate Venue

It had been an unfairly long week. Ashley had failed to gain the approval of her horrendous manager, Crawford and did not want a new week to be beginning already.

Crawford was a thirty-something, apparently married, slightly overweight man of no meaning. Nothing about him was definite, except that he was definitely the bane of Ashley's life. Since she had been with the company he done a complete 180, going from over friendly to hating on her very existence. It may have been something to do with the fact she was a walking rainbow flag. But like everything else to do with this man, she couldn't be sure. So she blamed her work and her attitude. Usually the two things that she was the most proud of.

She worked harder than anyone else at the company and had always had an edge over the others thanks to her ability to switch from bitch to kiss-ass almost instantly. You did not want to piss her off. When the frown lines appeared, the eyes squinted and the hand run through a bunch of curls to dump them on the other side of her hair - you knew you were in the shit. Mostly this was felt by anyone below her. Being constantly belittled by her superiors, Ashley would occasionally find herself regaining control and respect by verbally attacking the lazy receptionists and runners. She would always feel terrible when she returned home and replayed the interactions - but she'd never apologise, that's just too much weakness to show in this environment.

As her iPhone alarm sang out Avicii's obnoxiously catchy 'Wake Me Up', she lay in her delightfully comfortable, Egyptian cotton sheeted double bed, complete with 400 soft pillows and tried to think of any semi-reasonable excuse to not go to the office today.

Her weekend had consisted of more work. Listening to yet more new bands play at 'intimate venues', which was club speak for small, over-crowded and stinking of rancid feet. The bands hadn't even been worth all the effort, two out of the three squawked down the mic while gurning suggestively at the crowd and the third was so out of tune she had to leave in order to spare her sanity.

She had loved it once. When 'intimate venue' had meant small, candle lit tables, a first come first served ticketing system and the smell of beer filling the room. Music was her passion. She had making coffee songs, driving to school songs, heartbreak songs and gym songs, everyone had been good in its own way. All of them picked up before they became famous, because she loved to be the first to hear a band and spot the talent. But now it was her career and she felt old and disillusioned. To be fair, the standard of bands had dropped drastically over the years, last week's best of the bunch had actually sung about cheese.

"I could have tuberculosis...hmm maybe a bit Ye Olde English...a serious case of the flu, the kind that leave you in bed for days...no weeks!" She attempted a fake cough, "That won't do. A broken leg! Is it too much to fling yourself down the stairs? Maybe just a finger then, or a nail….no, not enough. Women's problems? Crawford, I'm PMS-ing so badly I think my ovaries are setting up their own civil war with the rest of my body...No. I would be fired on the grounds of extreme gross-ness. URGH!"

When Avicii finished singing, signalling she was about to stumble into "you dont have time for a shower" territory, the brunette reluctantly swung her legs out of the bed and forced her feet to guide her towards the bathroom.

"Fuck you life, you cruel bastard."

After a swift shower, throwing together an outfit that said "I'm pushing the boundaries of smart-casual", applying enough make-up to pass as decent in society and tieing her curly locks in a loose ponytail, Ashley legged it to her Lotus. Her pride and joy. Her baby.

Somehow, after all that, she had managed to miss the rush-hour traffic and found herself barely early for work. As the traffic light went red, she spied a small coffee shop boasting "The finest brew in LA - Probably". Liking their arrogance, she moved into the other lane and pulled into a space.

Inside it was warm and welcoming. The smell of coffee had always relaxed her, but this was something more. The fresh breakfast rolls, squeezed orange juice and gentle music from the radio made the entire experience enjoyable. This was what an intimate venue should be.

Adorning the walls were music posters featuring a variety of bands, some of which had made it big, others were just starting out but both shared the space with equality. Interspersed with these were photographs, some framed, others thrown up with blu-tac and drawing pins, of the bands in the posters playing live, of the cafe's customers sitting chatting on the battered sofa and some were just beautiful cityscapes. Every one was beautiful in its own way and Ashley was captivated.

After a moment stood staring, she turned her attention to the chalkboard of coffees and made her selection, before a lilting feminine voice dragged her back to the present.

Brown eyes clocked long blonde hair, that like hers, was in a messy high ponytail and a body that was the perfect specimen of the female form, even in her loose fitting jeans, t-shirt and apron. She had a kind smile that showed a row of perfect teeth and electric blue eyes that squinted slightly against the sunshine.

"Excuse me ma'am, I said can i get you anything?" She tried again as Ashley pulled herself together.

"Hey, yeah...urm...I'll just get a latte, with double shot..thanks." The girl smiled again and turned to make the order. Ashley watched as toned arms turned dials, pushed buttons and poured liquid. Then suddenly that arm was very close to her and a drink was placed down on the counter.

"You really do need that coffee hey?" She joked.


"I said, is that everything for you?"

"Oh," Ashley reached into her pockets and pulled out a bill, handing it to the beautiful barista, "sorry, yeah I'm urm...a bit spaced. Early morning ya know."

"No problem at all," she handed over the change and the brunette felt shivers as fingers brushed against her palm, "lets hope that perks you up some!"

The brunette blushed as the girls words made her giggle inside like 14 year old boy.

"Yeah, here's hoping. Thanks."

She walked out of the cafe and climbed into her car.

"Who the hell is that girl?!"

Please don't treat me like that poor, poor Holiday sweater. Show me some love...