(~bhm, ~ffa, romance) Hourglass by Catalin Part 1 Caroline drummed her fingertips on the counter top in front of her absentmindedly, her hands remembering all the old rhythms that her brain had long since forgotten. She smiled to herself, thinking of how nice it'd be to get behind a drumset again. Her smile quickly evaporated, however. She wasn't in college anymore- she didn't have time for such things. "Uh, did you get that?" A low, cool voice jolted her back to her present setting. She looked up to inspect the thing that had interrupted her daydream. It was a pair of dark green eyes, accompanied by a mop of messy black hair, strong cheekbones, and a soft jawline. The eyes were questioning, but not unkind. She hadn't even noticed that someone had approached her station. Suddenly embarrassed to have not been paying attention, she lowered her eyes from his face. Her gaze settled instead on a wide round stomach encased in a smart button-down shirt. That wasn't any better. Staring down at her own hands on the counter instead, she mumbled, "no, sorry, could you repeat that?" What was wrong with her? Sure, he was a big guy, but that was no reason to be so intimidated. She had a job to do. Recollecting her composure, she looks back up at him and listened attentively as he ordered his coffee for the second time. His attention shifted to the cafe's glass pastry display next to her station. "I know that I probably shouldn't, but I have to ask- are those éclairs any good?" He inquired. She had to suppress a bubble of laughter; he had a look in his eyes akin to that of a child about to get into something they shouldn't. "Yeah, actually, they're sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Definitely worth every penny," she admitted, smiling. "Well, you're not exactly doing a very good job of convincing me not to," he said, matching her smile, " I'll take one to go." "Sure thing!" She rushed off to fetch him his drink and his pastry, and she sighed as she watched him exit with his order. She couldn't afford to let her manager catch her not paying attention like that. The rest of her shift passed without incident. The clock struck 4' o clock and get coworker walked in to take over her shift. Caroline grabbed her bag and rushed home. --- She didn't gave much time- she started work at the local grocery store at 4:30. It had become her daily ritual to arrive home, change uniforms, check in on her mother, and then be back out the door. She'd graduated from the University of Miami two years ago with a degree in mechanical engineering. Immediately after graduation she had been excited and optimistic about employment prospects in her field. It had been around that time that she'd received news of her mother's multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Caroline's two older brothers had already been deeply invested in their careers at that point and were not in positions to give everything up to support their mother. Caroline made the decision to put her professional life on hold and move back to her small hometown on the coast of Florida to look after her. It was a nice enough town, and Caroline had plenty of friends there leftover from highschool, but there was simply no demand for a mechanical engineer there. So she took work wherever she could get it in an attempt to cover her mother's medical bills, which left her in the situation she was currently in, slipping out of her bland café uniform into her equally mundane grocery store outfit. She'd so much rather be in an engineering lab somewhere, designing something meaningful. Creating. But she didn't have a choice. She stuck her head into her mother's room to find her fast asleep. It occurred to her how much easier things would be if her father were around. The thought only lasted a moment, however. She'd made it this far without him, she didn't need him now either. She scooped up her bag again and was about ready to head out when the phone rang. It was the grocer. Or- it was his voice, at least. Caroline was having a hard time associating his person with the things he was saying to her. He was sorry. He hadn't wanted to. He just couldn't afford to keep her on anymore. She put the phone down. There were tears in her eyes. She walked up to the closet in her room and pulled out a box of her old college things. Inside was a drum pad and an assortment of drumsticks. She dragged them out onto her bed and began to drum. She let her hands play without getting her mind too much involved; her heart was wanting for somewhere else. She dreamt that night of big green eyes.