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Hostile Takeover

"Excuse me, I was sitting here," the lady says with a rising inflection that betrays her irritation.

The couple look up.

The lady, happy to see the success of her vocal prod, suppresses a smile and continues, "I'd just nipped to the toilet."

"Oh, yeah, right, sorry, Didn't realise someone was sitting here," the boyfriend drawls, feigning sympathy. His girlfriend bites her lip as she rubs the sliver cross hanging around her long, thin neck.

The lady looks directly into the boyfriend's eyes, goes to speak, then pauses. The boyfriend's casual confidence wanes as he sees the steely intelligence in her eyes.

"Well, now you know, I suggest you move", the lady whispers with all the artful strength of a woman whose mother once helped the French Resistance.  

"We're not moving," the boyfriend snorts as his eyes hastily take in the Ikea art on the cafe wall.  The girlfriend squirms in her chair.  A blush smarts across her face.

The lady takes a step back to reassess the situation. She smiles. She's not beat. She's playing the long game.  She pulls up a chair to the table, sits down, and looks at the couple with curiosity.  Grabbing her half cup of latte she says, "I'm Peg, and you are...?"


Coffee shop in Islington, London

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