The barista gently waved off Suzanne’s words, “Don’t worry about it, hun. He was a bit of a weirdo anyway.”
Suzanne shuttered at the thought of somebody she never noticed memorizing her order.
“However,” the barista continued, leaning forward on the counter, “hopefully you’ll remember me the next time you come here.”
Suzanne’s eyes naturally followed the barista’s movement as she went to lean on the counter. Folded arms on the counter and a sly smile aimed at Suzanne, the barista gave a small wink at her customer. For Suzanne, she felt her cheeks quickly growing warm when she was able to see the top of the barista’s breasts from her tank top. Trying not to make things awkward, Suzanne shook her head and focused back on the barista’s face.
“O-One small tea and a bagel, please.”
“Sugar and milk for the tea, and cream cheese on the bagel?
Going back to doing her job, the barista sat back up and punched in Suzanne’s order on the register, “You got it. That’ll be just a dollar.”
Reaching into the front pocket on her oversized hoodie, Suzanne took out her wallet and opened up, coming to a sudden halt when she heard the total. “A dollar?”
“Yep. A dollar. Cash or card?”
“Isn’t it normally three twenty-five?”
The barista’s eyes widened when she heard Suzanne say the actual price. “Wow, Lil’ Georgie still charged you full-fucking-price even after saying he liked you? No wonder he didn’t get your number.”
Deciding not to try and push the mundane issue anymore, Suzanne handed a dollar to the barista to finish the transaction. As part of the standard protocol for the cafe, the barista politely asked Suzanne to wait by the pick-up area. The barista quickly went into the small kitchen behind the counter and began to prepare the order, running the plain bagel through a toaster while making a fresh cup of tea. Suzanne patiently waited for her order, curiously watching the barista put it all together in a rapid manner. Feeling her phone vibrate, Suzanne checked her phone, but it was nothing more than an advertisement from a free app she downloaded.
“Small tea and a bagel, ready to go.”
Knowing that it was her, Suzanne looked at the pick-up counter and saw the barista leaning on the counter again, this time holding a small paper bag. Suzanne tried her best not to look down when she reached for her breakfast.
The barista winked again and smiled, “No problem.”
With a small wave, Suzanne said thank you to the barista and headed for the exit of the cafe. Heading through the glass doors and turning the street corner, Suzanne stopped for a moment to take a deep breath and calm her nerves. Today was easily out of her normal routine, even if it was just getting something to eat. She surely never paid attention to the male barista that took her order, but now she may begin to focus more on people she interacted with. Hoping that a sip of tea would help, she opened her bag and took out the small cup. When she took it out, she instantly noticed the black writing around the cup. Alone, she read it out loud to herself.
“‘Rosemary. My number is…’”
Instead of her nerves relaxing and calming down, they went into overdrive and sent an uneasy feeling to her stomach, like butterflies when she gets extremely embarrassed. Wanting to deal with this later, Suzanne put the tea back in the bag and shook her head as she headed home.
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Copyright © 2021 by Luka Tatsujo