By Megan McDonough
The morning sunlight gently filtered through the faux-wooden blinds of the coffee shop, putting a bright glare on Avery’s laptop screen. He scoffed as he adjusted the laptop again to accommodate for the movement of the sun, shoving his peppermint latte to the other side of the small table as he did so.
Across the cafe, behind the bar, two baristas watched him, intrigued with his combination of ingenuity and stupidity. The cafe was mostly empty, and they had no customers to attend to other than the few regulars that inhabited the overstuffed armchairs.
“Patrick, why on earth doesn’t he just sit somewhere else?” wondered one of the baristas as he wiped out a mug and set it down on the counter.
Patrick took the mug and filled it with milk and put it under the frother. “No idea. Maybe he just likes the spot?”
He gave Patrick a puzzled look as he began to clean another mug. “I mean, he comes in here almost every day, sits in the same spot, and battles with the sun every time. Why doesn’t he just close the blind, o-or move somewhere else!” He slammed the mug down on the counter, causing a loud noise to echo the quiet cafe.
The boy at the laptop glanced toward the counter, making the barista blush slightly and turn around to fiddle with the blenders.
Patrick smirked and lightly punched the barista’s arm. “Brendon, my friend. Have you been watching him?” He raised a single eyebrow. “Do you have a crush on the guy who gets peppermint lattes and sits in a stupid place every morning?”
Brendon coughed and turned to face Patrick. “No.” He muttered, but Patrick, being one of his dearest friends, could see right through his lies. “You sure about that, buddy? I mean, he is your type. Just look at that effeminate scarf, and the artsy stickers on his laptop case! I’m surprised you aren’t at his feet right now.” He spoke with a smirk.
“Shut up. Shut. Up. I don’t even- Pat. I don’t even know his name. God, I-I don’t know.” He sighed and leaned against the counter.
Patrick put a consoling hand on Brendon’s shoulder. “It’s okay, man. Chill out. He’s probably a college student, just like you. Maybe try having a chat with him one day and ask him about his major, I don’t know.”
The next morning came with brisk wind and thick clouds. Brendon smiled as he walked to work and thought about how the peppermint latte boy wouldn’t have to struggle with the sun this morning.
Then he thought back to what Patrick said to him. Did he really a crush on this boy? And if he did, what was he going to do about it? Brendon sighed and kicked a pebble out of his path. He hadn’t been in a real relationship since Pete Wentz way back in high school, and that didn’t last very long, for Pete kept urging Brendon to get tattoos and piercings. He still vaguely remember all the filtered MySpace selfies with his lip ring protruding from his thick bottom lip.
As he opened the back door to the little coffeehouse, Brendon was welcomed with a warm burst of steam that was perfumed with scents of coffee and chocolate. He breathed in happily, taking off his coat and feeling thankful to work in a warm place during this chilly fall.
“Good morning, Pat.” Brendon almost sang as his friend and fellow barista passed by him, a tub of ice in his hand.
“Hey.” Patrick threw over his shoulder as he walked into the bar. He took two steps into the room and then quickly turned around.
Brendon finished tying his apron and looked confusedly at his coworker. Patrick rolled his eyes and used his head to motion toward the seating area of the cafe.
Brendon peeked his head around the corner and gasped as he saw that same mysterious, beautiful boy just entering the cafe.
“Go! Oh, you idiot!” Patrick pushed him toward the register with his foot. “Take his order!” He hissed at him.
Brendon sputtered as he felt his face getting red, and he tried to take deep breaths before he approached him. He looked down at the screen and quickly typed in the password to unlock the ordering screen.
As soon as he pressed enter and looked up, the boy was right in his face. His slightly curly mouse brown hair fell over his eyes, accentuating them like curtains on a window with a beautiful view. Brendon felt lame for making such a poetic comparison, but it honestly just worked with this kid. He wore a paisley shirt with a corduroy vest over it, and used a scarf as a belt on his skinny jeans.
Brendon gulped and put on his best fake smile. “Welcome to Cape Cafe. What can I get you?”
The boy looked up at him, but he turned to the menu a split-second after that, and then avoided Brendon’s gaze as he glanced the menu over. His chocolate brown eyes scanned the various drinks and his cheeks – Brendon assumed they were pink because of the cold outside – moved as he furrowed his eyebrows together. “Uh, one medium, um, peppermint latte with extra whipped cream. And, also, uh…” His eyes shifted toward the pastry display and he toyed with a button on his vest. “A cinnamon roll.”
Brendon quickly typed in the order and grabbed a paper cup, happy with the clever plan he just formulated in his head as the boy was deciding.
“That’ll be $8.54. And your name, sir?”
The boy seemed startled and glanced up at Brendon. “I, uh, usually get it in the mug.”
Brendon stared him directly in the eyes. “Sorry, but we don’t have any mugs available right now.” He quickly hoped and prayed to the god or gods (that he didn’t even believe) in that there weren’t any mugs in sight.
The boy shrugged and started digging change out of his pocket. “Avery.”
Brendon’s eyes beamed as he wrote the name down, adding a little flourish on the end of the y.
“Ok, Avery.” He chirped as he took the boy’s cash. “It’ll be right out.”
Avery allowed a small smile and shuffled over to his seat in the corner, quickly opening his laptop and typing furiously into it.
Brendon looked to see if any more customers were entering, and then disappeared into the back room, looking for Patrick.
A huge smile stretched across his face, and he grabbed Patrick’s shoulders and whispered to him, “His name is-”
Brendon blinked and let his arms fall to his sides. How did Patrick already know?
Patrick saw the light leave his eyes and chuckled. “Yeah, man. I’ve been taking his order every day for months. Duh.” he almost droned as he turned around to shuffle some boxes.
Brendon was confused. “But-but why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I wanted you guys to meet face-to-face. Now he knows what you look like. That’s something, right?”
Brendon shrugged and bit the inside of his cheek.
“Ok.” Patrick began, a tinge of excitement evident in his tone, “That was step one. Now, on to the next step?”
Brendon rolled his eyes. Of course Patrick wanted to play matchmaker, that was practically his thing. Brendon wouldn’t be surprised if he had already picked out the flowers for their wedding.
“Hey, don’t give me that! This is good! And what’s the worst that can happen, he just never comes here to get coffee again?”
Brendon blinked and turned to look at Avery, sitting in that same corner battling with the sun’s rays. He smiled a little when he saw a ray illuminate his caramel brown eyes; Goddamn, was he beautiful.
By the time Brendon snapped out of his little fantasy, Patrick was at the counter serving a customer. Brendon took the cup and prepared the coffee drink while Patrick rang the lady up.
“Ok, you got me. Go on with your stupid little plan.” Brendon practically spit, but only because he didn’t want to seem too eager to make Patrick into a real-life Cupid.
Patrick shut the cash register with his hip sassily. “Well, for one, I don’t like your attitude, but it’s too early in the morning for me to actually care, so…”
As Brendon handed the coffee to the woman, Patrick gasped.
“Oh no, he’s throwing away his drink!”
Patrick nearly pushed Brendon out from the bar, but pulled him back in to whisper, “Go clean the tables, and make contact with him in some way.”
Brendon felt the heat rise in his cheeks as he grabbed a rag and stumbled on to the carpet of the seating area. He tried to think of ways to talk to Avery, but couldn’t think of anything besides a lame pick-up line or flat-out running into him.
He began wiping crumbs off a stool when he saw Avery grabbing his messenger bag and standing up from his chair. There was no time to waste.
Brendon was just about to break into a nervous sweat when he saw a piece of paper fall from the messenger bag.
“This is my chance!” he thought.
Stuffing the rag in his apron pocket, he walked over and picked up the paper. Another hand met his at the corner of what seemed to be a Psychology paper.
The owners of both hands struggled to grab the paper and stand upright at the same time, causing both their heads to ram together.
Avery and Brendon made eye contact with each other, then looked down to see that their hands were both on the paper, in the exact same spot.
Avery blushed and tugged the paper so he held it at his side, and shakily extended his other hand.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Are you alright? You got a little…” Avery gently reached up to pick a piece of napkin out of Brendon’s disheveled hair. Their faces came so close that Brendon could smell the sweet peppermint and bitter coffee in his breath. He swore that he had never smelled anything better.
After Avery removed his hand from Brendon’s hair, the pair stood there – somewhat awkwardly – for a few seconds.
They both blushed in embarrassment at speaking at the same time.
Brendon broke the embarrassment. “You go first.”
Avery cleared his throat and checked his posture. “I was wondering if you’d like to get a cup of cof-…err.” Avery remembered that Brendon worked in a coffee shop and thought that would be too cliche.
Brendon raised an eyebrow in expectation as Avery searched for his words.
“D-d-do you like vinyl? err… Records that is.”
Brendon smiled and nodded, “I have a kickass collection in my dorm.”
Avery’s eyes widened. He probably lived on the campus nearby, just as he did.
“Well, I know a good record store down the street. D’you maybe wanna check it out with me sometime?”
Brendon chuckled. He knew Third Rock Records like the back of his hand, but didn’t want to sound cocky. Plus, it was soooooo a date offering, and who would he be to turn that down?
“Sure! Right now?”
Avery sputtered. “I mean, I guess. I don’t know, my next class isn’t until two. Don’t you have a job to do?” He peered at the counter where Patrick was alone and trying to tackle the large line that was forming.
Brendon’s eyes widened and he ran a hand through his hair. “Oh, shit!” He turned and yelled to the other barista, “Pat, I’m sorry buddy! Just a sec!”
Patrick nodded and winked at Brendon as he wrote on a cup, causing his blush to deepen even further, if that was possible.
Brendon grabbed a Sharpie marker from behind his ear and grabbed Avery’s hand, holding it to where he could write his phone number on the back of the hand.
“Call me later, k?”
Avery looked down at the number, slightly in shock of how easily Brendon grabbed his hand and how submissive he was to his touch.
“Y-yeah, um, of course.” Avery turned and walked out the door, still in a slight haze, Psychology paper crumpled in his white knuckled hand.
Megan is a high school student discovering herself in the words she writes. Follow her on Instagram at @saintmegan to get updates on what she’s working on.