A Chapter by MM.P

“I AM SO LIVID!”    

“Oh, here we go,” I think.

Bursting through the door is the girl who makes my skin crawl and makes me question how important my job really is.

“Theeeeere’s Aubrey!” Jake says with a laugh that sounds more like a warning. Since Jake is working the front counter, he sees her come in first. I don’t think any of us doubted who just walked through the door.

“Why are you so livid, Aubrey?” Marissa says while rolling her eyes, her voice dripping with fake concern. Marissa likes Aubrey as much as I do.

“Kirkwood is supposed to send you a reimbursement check for your left over financial aid, and I only got $600 back when I was supposed to get over $3,000!” Aubrey’s tone reminds me a four-year-old throwing a tantrum because she didn’t get the pony she asked for.

            I swear I even saw her foot stomp as she said it.  

The other baristas around me try talking her down from the ledge of hysteria she undoubtedly is on, doing their best to defuse the situation in front of them. I retrude to my station to keep a safe distance from the fireball that is Aubrey.  My coworkers finish entertaining Aubrey’s meltdown and she storms to the back, putting on her required green apron, much like the rest of us, and returns showing no sign of her mood improving anytime soon. Great.

Soft jazz music starts to play over the speaker, creating a calm and comfortable atmosphere, clearing away the tension from the abrupt intrusion. The smell of coffee brewing and muffins being warmed fill the air with a pleasant aroma, reminding me that as much as I may not care for my coworker, I truly love working here. The familiar smells, and soothing music help to calm my anxiety, but all too soon I look up and see Jake.

Jake looks at me with a smile that never fails to weaken my knees. I am in so much trouble. Jake looks back to the customer he’s helping and I take a quick second to take in all that is Jake. He’s wearing black converse, loose fitting jeans, and a black long-sleeve shirt that hugs his arms and waist in all the right places. Even under his green apron I can see how much he works out, his muscles flex perfectly with the fabric as he moves. The thing most alluring about Jake, is that he doesn’t look like the type of guy you would find working at a coffee shop. See, under his perfectly tight black shirt are the most prepossessing tattoos I’ve ever seen. From shades of blues like the ocean, to the dark reds of blood, Jake’s tattoos tell a story I’ve yet to hear but one I feel I already know. His long and sturdy tattooed arms compliment is height at a striking 6’3, with chocolate brown hair always cut short, and a jaw line that could cut glass.

Jake was strong. Intimidating at first glance even, but I will never forget when I looked into his eyes for the first time. I felt like I was lost in a sea of blue and green, with embers of gold floating all around me. They were startlingly beautiful and had an enticing way of holding me hostage. There was a softness to his eyes though, the corners had a slight crinkle, with a hint sorrow. I had never seen eyes like Jake’s, and they are ones I won’t soon forget. But that smile. That smile could move mountains.

Jake looks up again, handing me the order he just placed, bringing me back to reality. The dark, heart wrenching reality. The reality where Jake is taken and I’m completely in love with him. Worst of all? He’s taken by Aubrey and I’m stuck having to watch their relationship from a not so far ledge. I sigh, taking a finished order over to Marissa who is working the drive thru.

Marissa, wearing her black boots and skinny jeans, with a cute black and white checkered fleece under her green apron, has been my best friend since birth. Our moms are best friends, so naturally we are too. The thing that I have always loved about Marissa is that she has no idea how beautiful she is. She’s the perfect height at 5’6, stronger than you’d ever think just by looking at her Barbie doll-like frame, and has perfectly straight, Amazon blessed, black hair. Guys would throw themselves at her and she would elegantly turn them down. Sometimes she would do it without them even realizing it was happening. She always knows how to make me laugh and I thank the Gods every day that she is my best friend.  

Marissa looks at me with a knowing smile. Naturally, she knows all about my Jake dilemma. “I can’t do this today” I say in a low whisper, knowing who is just a few feet away. Marissa gives me a hug and whispers back in my ear, “Yes you can. You’re the strongest person I know, and you will get through this.” After our embrace she holds me at arm’s length and looks right into my plain blue eyes, making sure I know how serious she is. See, the other thing I love about Marissa…everything she says, she means.

I nod and head back to my station, ready to brew the orders coming in. As I’m waiting for my triple shot to pour I look outside to see people sitting at the nearby tables. It’s a beautiful October day and I can’t wait until my shift is over so I can sit outside with my favorite book. I love getting lost in the newest romance novel, curled up with my favorite blanket and a hot cup of coffee. It’s like heaven to me.

“Gosh, Camden, why can’t you get it together? You’re so slow!” Aubrey’s shrieking voice interrupts my thoughts, and I can’t help but notice her flirtatious tone. “Leave me alone, I’ve been up since 4:30, okay?” Camden replies with no hesitation. Camden is at the brewing station to my right and Aubrey is taking care of food orders at the opposite side of our work area. That means Jake is right in the middle, hearing everything they say. I want to scream, or throw up. Or both.

Thankfully, Jessica comes in to break the awkward tension that was causing me to become nauseous. Jessica is a good friend of mine and a regular at our store. Jake knows this, and offers to switch places with me so I can chat with her. I love the way Jessica dresses, not giving a care to what people might think. It may be a typical October day but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. “Hot or cold?” I say with my first genuine smile of the day. With her white tank top, multicolored shorts, and a winning smile to match, she tells me she wants her cold drink, and she’ll need two.

            “Where’s your mom today? Oh! And how’s the new puppy?” I say to her. The more I talk with Jessica the more I start to feel like myself, letting more cheer into my voice, and the nausea slowing fading. She looks over her shoulder, gesturing to the door, “They’re both outside actually! Mom said the day was too beautiful to sit inside, and that way Sophie could come too, she’s been great. I know you’ll love snuggling with her.”                   

Jake knows Jessica’s order by heart and has already started working on her drinks. I notice how much Jessica looks like her mom. They could be models, with legs that last for days, glowing skin, and blonde hair that never ceases to look perfect. Not to mention they’re perfectly round faces, with high cheek bones, plump lips, and green eyes that are alarmingly beautiful. I wish I looked like her.    

Jake calls out Jessica’s name, informing that her drinks are ready. She smiles at me and I notice a hint of blush form across her cheek as she thanks Jake for her coffee. Even she can’t resist his smile. I shake my head and laugh to myself as two teenage girls walk up to the counter. I look over to Jake, hoping he wants to switch back, but he shakes his head with a tight jaw and warning eyes. He hates teenage girls as much as I do. The thought makes me smile, until I look back to my awaiting customers. The two girls order Frappuccinos, naturally. I ring them up with the best smile I can muster, my good mood quickly fading as they head to a table to wait for their, non-coffee but I want to look cool, drinks.

Jake calls out when the orders are done. “Hannah?” she stands with a squeal, “Oh! That’s me!” Seriously, did she just do that? As I take orders from the next customer I notice the two girls sending a Snapchat of their coffee date. The first girl, Hannah, has straight brown hair and a sparkling blue headband. She opens her mouth like she is surprised there is a drink in front of her while her friend, with curly blonde hair that’s tied back in a pink bow, does the traditional, yet nauseating, duck face. Then they start to gossip about who kissed who, who likes who, and all the other things that high school girls talk about.

I must have made a face because when I look up, Jake is laughing at me and shaking his head. I can’t help but smile back as I hip check him away from my station. I’m done dealing with people today. I notice from the corner of my eye that Aubrey is staring at me, with a look that could challenge Medusa. Luckily, we stay busy and my interactions with her stay limited. This day might not be that bad after all.

Marissa stays busy with the the drive thru, Jake’s hustling drink orders to us from the front, and Camden and I are working to keep up with orders for the café and drive thru. The music is starting to get on my nerves as it seems to jump around from jazz to pop, to some sort of techno beat. It’s distracting and I wish this station would focus on one genre. We’re too busy for me to change the station in the back, so I hum some Bob Marley to keep me focused.

Of course, that doesn’t last for long. I can’t help but notice an incessant beeping coming from the oven. As it continues to beep, I look up to see Aubrey’s not at her station and I’m sure whatever’s in there is now burning. I look to my right and sure enough, there she is, flirting with Camden. “Aubrey!” I bark. She whips her head up and her smile turns to a glare. “The oven?” I say accusingly. Her look of realization overcomes her glare and she runs to the oven, pulling out the now smoking sandwich. Thankfully, the food orders start flying in and she stays busy. This keeps her away from Camden, and Jake.

            More importantly, she’s away from me.

I sneak a glance to Jake whose busy taking orders, but I think I see a glimmer of a smile hiding at the corner of his lips. It could be because of a customer, but I let myself think it’s because of me. I don’t know why, but Jake always seems to enjoy when I speak up to Aubrey. I hate that they are together, but I guess it’s my own fault they are.

We all get into a comfortable flow as the shop stays busy. I guess it’s one of those days that everyone needs their afternoon pick-me-up. I hear Jake’s infectious laugh and look up to see him talking with Mr. Mason. Mr. Mason is another regular and the sweetest old man. He always comes in sporting mint condition New Balance tennis shoes, khaki’s, and a bright colored collared shirt. You can’t help but love him with his salt and pepper hair, and smile lines around his eyes and at the edges of his mouth. He always looks like he just heard the best joke, with rosy cheeks and a little bit of perspiration on his forehead.

I get started on his drink, a decaf venti three pump caramel latte split into two tall cups. One for him and one for his wife Gerta, who I’m sure is in the car talking to a church friend on the phone. At least that’s what Mr. Mason always tells us.

Jake and Mr. Mason finish up there conversation right as I call out his name. He walks over to our pick-up counter and gives me a smile with a wink. I can’t help but notice that his eyes are still as blue as the sky, like they will never lose their color. Mr. Mason points over to Jake but says to me, “Now you keep that boy over there in line, ya hear?” His voice comes out like smooth silk and as deep as a baritone. I nod at the same time Jake says, “She always does Mr. Mason, don’t you worry.” These men always put a smile on my face, but what they can’t see is the ache it causes in my heart.

Our shift lead, Mark, comes from the back room, “Sam. Break time.” Talk about perfect timing. I finish up the drink order on my station, then head to the back to hang up my green apron and grab my phone. I start to walk out, but stop when I notice my reflection. Missy, one of the other shift leads, insisted we put up a full-length mirror to make sure we all looked presentable. I take a quick second to glance at my appearance. I’m wearing my bootcut black jeans over my white converse with a plain white sweater that hangs to my hips making sure to show no signs of my unwelcomed form.

 I’m a boring 5’3, with lifeless brown hair tied up in a ponytail, bland blue eyes, and absolutely nothing striking or unique about me. I touch my round cheeks, wishing they were thinner like Jessica’s. I touch my thin and undefined lips, thinking about how no one would ever want to kiss them. Lastly, I put my hands over my stomach, wishing my waist was as thin as Marissa’s instead of having the pudge that shows just over my jeans. One final look and then I close my eyes, and take in a long breath. Enough of the pity party.

I head back out and don’t stop until I’m outside. Luckily there is an open table, and I take full advantage. I sit down, close my eyes, and breath in the fresh, crisp air. I finally feel like I can breathe. When I open my eyes, I’m startled by Jake standing in front of my table, holding a coffee cup and blueberry muffin. He laughs as he sets them down in front of me, “I figured you could use a caffeine boost and I’m pretty sure you haven’t eaten today, so here.” His voice sends shivers down my spine, but in the best way possible. Which is also the worst. I look down at my coffee, hoping he doesn’t see the blush coming across my face or the goosebumps on my arms.

“I hope that’s okay?”

His voice sounds unsure and a little disappointed. I quickly jump in to rectify my response. “No, of course it is. Thank you, really. You were right, I haven’t eaten and blueberry muffins are my favorite so this really helps, and you know me and coffee…” I realize I’m rambling and shut my mouth quick, trying to recover with a smile that hopefully doesn’t look as awkward as it feels. He laughs, and I can see the little dimple he has on his left cheek, the one that only comes out when he’s really laughing, which in turn makes me laugh too. “Good!” He says, that beautiful smile still on his face, “Now you have food, coffee, and I’ve made you smile. My work here is done.” He starts to walk back in and I’m sure I have a look of shock and disbelief on my face. What did he mean by that? He wanted to make me smile, or was he just being polite?

As I try to wrap my head around what just happened, Marissa comes bursting through the doors, eyes wide, and her smile reaching up to her eyes. “Marissa, what are…” I start, but she cuts me off with words I never expected to hear, “Jake broke up with Aubrey.” And in that moment, my entire world changed.


© 2018 MM.P

Author's Note

Let me know what you think! I would love to hear feed back about all aspects of the chapter. I'm not new to writing, but this is the first time I've started a book.

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I on the other hand i am extremely new to writing! But I really enjoyed it! I feel like you described the characters just enough, the dialogue flowed in a very believeable way, and your leading lady is hilarious. I don’t know enough to be able to criticize. Sorry! Only positive feedback from me :) I think it’s great!

Posted 1 Week Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


I on the other hand i am extremely new to writing! But I really enjoyed it! I feel like you described the characters just enough, the dialogue flowed in a very believeable way, and your leading lady is hilarious. I don’t know enough to be able to criticize. Sorry! Only positive feedback from me :) I think it’s great!

Posted 1 Week Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on March 9, 2018
Last Updated on March 9, 2018
Tags: #romance #coffee #chapter #love



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