Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Morning Pick-Me-Up

For June 9th's 5 Minute Love Affair prompt.

Lately, everything I write goes off in directions I didn't originally plan. While I don't always like that (I'm often convinced my original plan was better), I'm learning not to fight it.

Because, let's face it, sometimes you can mold a story and other times, the story will tell itself the way it wants to and there's not much you can do about it.

So, here we are, posted pretty much as written in my continuing effort to embrace first drafts as imperfect.

The end of the morning rush at The Rose found Michael yawning. He tried to disguise it as a customer-service smile as he handed off a half-caff, low fat latte with extra whipped cream to one of the regulars. 

Treat in hand, the woman dropped a crumpled bill in the tip-jar and headed for the door, murmuring a thank you to the man who stepped aside to let her out before he came in.

Spine pulling tall and tight, Michael straightened his milk spattered apron, because it was the end of the morning rush and the one had just stepped into the cafe, looking like he'd rolled straight of bed. Tall, with a wiry slimness, he wore a Led Zeppelin t-shirt and jeans with tears at the knee. His hair—a mass of riotous loops and whirls—looked like it was trying to escape from his head.

Michael would be lying if he said he didn’t consider what activities could give someone such epic bed hair…and then imagined himself doing them.

The man looked toward the counter and Michael fixed his gaze on the next customer before he got too wrapped up in one of his fantasies.  

But as he ground beans, steamed milk and handed back change, he stole glances at him and soaked in little details: the hint of a colorful tattoo beneath the left sleeve, the shadow of stubble along his jaw line, the dark freckle on his throat, just above his shirt collar.

And then they were face to face eyes were really blue. Michael opened his mouth to ask for his order but all that came out was a strangled noise, not unlike the cheep of a young bird.

"Hey, Michael!" Jane, damp haired, her apron haphazardly thrown on, breathing hard and ten minutes late, stood at his elbow. "You can take your break now."

"No. Nope. I'm good. Already had one, thanks Jane." He cleared his throat, tried his best to send a telepathic message to his coworker.

"But, when—" She looked at the customer, at Michael. "Oh. Oh, yeah,” she said, and wandered off to wipe the counters.

When Michael turned back to the customer, the man was smiling at him, brilliant and…knowing. “Ah. You wanted?”

“Black coffee.” His voice was soft, almost sleep rough. “Surprise me on the blend. With a dash of cinnamon, please, Michael. To go.”  

Michael filled a cup with his own special blend and gave it a liberal sprinkle of cinnamon.

Entering the order into the register with one hand, he held out the coffee with the other. Fingers closed around his, cool where he was warm, faintly calloused. As the man pulled the cup away, he drew his index finger over the length of Michael’s pinky.

“Thank you,” he said, dropping a folded bill into the tip jar. “See you around. Michael.”

As the door closed behind him, Jane came back over, slapped her rag on the counter. “Finally noticed Mr. Blue Eyes, did you? Was wondering how long it’d take you.”

“You’ve seen him before?”

“Oh, he was in here yesterday and the day before. Lunch rush. You've been too busy slinging croissants at people to notice. But, looks like he noticed you.”

Michael, face warm, snorted inelegantly "Just a morning pick-me-up."

"Really?" Jane asked, leaning over and plucking the five dollar bill from it’s resting place at the top of the tip jar. She unfolded it. Scrawled across the face of the bill was a name—Victor—and a phone number. 


L. M. Leffew said...

I loved it! Good job!

L. M. Leffew said...

Thank you.

L. M. Leffew said...

Yeah, I was originally wanted to do something a little more abstractly-sexual (if that makes sense). But this is what happened. So it goes. Thanks for dropping by. :)

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