Matthias Llywelyn - New Haven, Connecticut
With a satisfied sigh, Matthias closed Siege of Heaven and placed it on the table, mulling over the experience. A favourite, final stage, of reading historical novels for him was to read through the historical notes at the rear and then pursue the sources used. Of course, not all such fiction contained such a section but he spurned them; if the writer could not be bothered to list their research then obviously they had not done enough and might as well be placed into the fantasy section, for all the accuracy it purported to claim.
A glance at his watch, an old and simple thing with an analogue face which he had picked up from a small store in Salisbury just before starting sixth form, told him that it was already early afternoon. Quite without realising it, he had been drawn into the respectable and academic prose of Harper and lost much of his day. It was unusual for him to lose track in such a way but also a pleasant surprise. How long had it been since he had been so preoccupied with a tale?
A server wandered between the tables, collecting the leftovers of customers' visits. Clearly she spotted Matthias preparing to leave as he stood up, slipping the book into the large inside pocket of his coat, and so steered toward him. After a moment he recalled her name, having frequented the cafe often enough to know all of the staff to a reasonable extent, certainly to the point that he would be politely expected to know their names and exchange small talk.
"Good afternoon, Eve. I'm sorry, I got somewhat caught up in my book." He tapped the pocket his book was in. "You should have told me get another drink or kick me out." He smiled and she laughed politely at his poor joke, piling his crockery onto her tray.
"S'alright Matt. You know it's only just gone eleven though, right?"
Matt glanced again at his watch, wondering whether he had just misread it but the hands definitely declared it was past two in the afternoon. He tapped it, not really knowing why other than that he had seen those far more knowledgeable than himself on the inner workings of the device do so, and held it up to his ear but the cogs instead were audibly ticking and the hands both moving in response. After a quick check of his phone, to see if Eve was just pulling his leg, he saw a discrepancy with the digital side favouring the waitress.
"Strange, looks like my watch is out. In that case, good morning to you and goodbye. Are you in tomorrow?" She nodded as he moved past her toward the door. "I'll see you in the morning as usual then!" He waved, both to her and Brian behind the counter who returned the gesture, and headed outside into the much brisker weather. It was refreshing after the ever so slightly muggy warmth of the cafe, heated as it was by central heating, bodies and vaporising hot beverages, and he set off toward the campus.
As he began to walk he fiddled with his watch, turning the hands back carefully to match the display on his phone, automatically set to adjust to daylight savings and keep time perfectly with its ever present connection to the internet. The strange thing was he sure that the watch had been working earlier, certainly after the much earlier two o'clock in the morning. Assuming that he had knocked it, Matthias thought nothing more of it, his mind already turning back to the book and looking forward to poring over the historical notes and any suggested reading therein.