Welcome to the Little Titan Café! Today's special: Levi
Eren glanced at the clock. 22:20. There wasn’t much going on at the Little Titan Café. Don’t ask him why it’s called that. His mother, the owner, thought it sounded cute. Eren thought it was weird, but patrons seemed to like it enough to come, so who was he to judge? On a weeknight like tonight, there weren’t many customers with exception to the occasional college student coming in to use their free Wi-Fi. And considering they were open until midnight most nights – with exception to Sundays—it was the perfect place for students to come and work on last minute homework, projects, what have you.
Unfortunately for him, he was usually stuck with the closing shift. You always sleep in anyway. Your classes aren’t until the afternoon and blah, blah, blah. It wasn’t that Eren hated the closing shift. He just hated how dreadfully boring it was. Weekends were typically the busiest so those nights went by fast. But weeknights? Not so much.
He fiddled with his iPhone. 22:25. The picture on the screen was of him and his two childhood friends huddled at one of the booths in this very café. Mikasa was looking bemused with her latte moustache while Eren and Armin laughed. He grinned at the memory and unlocked his phone to reply to their text messages.
Armin: Don’t forget you have a math exam tomorrow.
Shit. Not that they were in the same class – Armin was beyond something like College Algebra—but somehow he remembered when Eren had a test. That he had forgotten. Shit. Yeah, he was so screwed tomorrow. Not that he was an A+ student. Or a B. Maybe somewhere between a high D and low C. Who needed math anyway? It had nothing to do with his major.
Eren snorted. Mikasa’s blunt messages never ceased to amuse him. By the time he finished responding, it was 22:29 with a few seconds left in the minute. The jingle of the door being opened dragged Eren’s attention away from his phone. It was a short walk from the bar to the entrance, so when the cold, winter air rushed into the shop, Eren shivered from his position by the register.
He turned his head away from the chill of the air as he greeted the customer with a, “Welcome to the Little Titan Café.” If he wasn’t contractually obligated to – and if he wasn’t suspicious that his mother somehow knew whenever he didn’t say those words to a customer – Eren wouldn’t bother saying such a lame line. But after years of his mother instilling the phrase into his head, he was conditioned to spew them whenever he heard the jingle of the bell.
It was always obvious when a customer was new to their shop. They usually lingered by the entrance to look around, as if expecting to see something strange. Eren didn’t blame them. If he walked into a place called the Little Titan Café, he’d probably expect something stranger. But whether this man was a new or simply looking for a place to sit was hard to tell. His expression was firmly set in what Eren could only describe as apathy. Slanted, gray eyes scanned the cozy coffee shop, taking in the two women gossiping by the window, the college student tapping furiously away on his laptop, and another struggling to stay awake as she read a book.
There were a lot of things Eren Jaeger didn’t believe in. He didn’t believe in waking up before 11:00. He didn’t believe in needing breakfast. He didn’t believe in driving the speed limit because the speed limit was too damn slow. He didn’t believe in luck – you have to take what you want, not hope to have it handed to you. He didn’t believe in not fighting back. He didn’t believe in failure (let’s not mention the math exam he would be failing tomorrow, because he didn’t believe in the e-word either). He didn’t believe in pissing his mom off because boy was she scary when she was mad. He didn’t believe in romance or love at first sight or being swept off your feet. He was a boy, duh, so like hell he cared about that mushy stuff.
But then his eyes landed on the man with the apathetic face and thought he had to toss away all those non-beliefs. Okay, maybe not all of them. Just the love-at-first-sight part. Because Eren was starting to be a believer. It didn’t matter how cliché it sounded. There was just something about the slant of his eyes. Something about the downward tilt of his lips, the way the part in his bangs weren’t quite centered. Something about the way – though he was a few inches smaller than Eren – his shoulders were noticeably broad through the jacket of his suit; the way his very presence alone demanded attention and yeah, he had all of Eren’s.
It was no secret from anyone who knew him that he was gay. So very, very, verygay. And his gay little heart fluttered at the sight of the man, skipped a beat at the barely perceptible jump in a strong jaw, stopped when those gray eyes caught his. He thought his breath may have stopped, too, because he was starting to feel a little lightheaded and jittery. Or maybe it was just the butterflies in his stomach freaking out as the patron walked towards him. His hands fisted his green apron, willing said butterflies to chill the fuck out but goddamnit was Eren a nervous wreck because this good-looking man was coming closer and shit he wanted to hide.
He was reminded that he was the only one working as the man occupied one of the bar stools, setting a black, leather messenger bag on to the bar. Eren’s heart hammered loudly in his throat, or no, in his ears, no he could even feel it in his stomach. What the hell was wrong with him? All the man’s done so far was stand, stare, walk, sit, and now he was shrugging off his jacket and yeah his shoulders were broad in that white-collared shirt and were some of those buttons loose because there was some collarbone and – Eren gulped. His mouth felt unbearably dry.
He was feeling ridiculous and strange and was convinced he was coming down with something.
“W-wel—“ Eren had to clear his throat. His voice sounded pathetic even to his own ears. He took in a deep breath and willed himself to calm down and treat this man like any other person. He put on the best grin he could muster. “Welcome to the Little Titan Café. Is this your first time here?”
“Yeah.” He folded his jacket over the empty barstool next to him. “Why is this place called that?”
Eren relaxed at the question, his earlier jitters slowly but surely retreating. “My mom thought the name would make people curious enough to come in. Seems to have worked on you, didn’t it?”
“That’s true. Your mother owns this place?”
Eren nodded. Now that they were closer, he was all too painfully aware of the flush on the man’s cheeks, no doubt from walking outside in the cold. It was starting to fade, though. “Is there anything I can get you? Or did you need a moment to look over the menu?”
“I’ll just have a caffè latte,” he said as he opened his messenger bag and pulled out a laptop.
“One latte coming right up,” Eren said, his hands falling away from his apron. If there was one thing he could do it was make a mean latte. A couple of minutes later, he was setting a freshly made latte in front of the handsome patron – hey, he didn’t know his name so how else was Eren supposed to refer to him? “Here you go, sir.”
“Thanks,” he glanced at the nametag on Eren’s apron, “Eren.” Had his attention not been diverted to the latte set before him, he would have noticed the way the barista flushed at his name being said. That flush disappeared, thankfully, when the man noticed the leaf Eren had designed with the milk, his embarrassment giving way to pride. “You did this? Impressive.”
He shrugged, his smile smug. “Oh, that’s nothing.”
He regarded Eren for a moment before deadpanning, “You know, when someone gives you a compliment, you’re supposed to feign modesty and say thanks. Brat.”
Eren rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well, if I’m good at something why bother to pretend I’m not? It’d be stupid.”
“Maybe people don’t like cocky little shits.”
“Hey, I would watch who you called little.”
The temperature in the room suddenly dropped below zero. Just a disclaimer: Eren had the tendency to say things before thinking them through. He knew he touched on a rather touchy subject when the man’s expression darkened considerably. “Why exactly is that?”
“Um,” Eren’s gaze flittered around nervously, trying to find a distraction, hoping a new customer would come in or maybe one of the current customers would start having a heart attack. But none of them looked old enough to have one. Damn it. “Er. No reason.”
He had to bite back the you started this retort. Something told him that, counter between them or not, the man would reach over and strangle him. It made Eren question his earlier feelings, or whatever the hell that had been. A momentary lapse in sanity, perhaps? Now that he was realizing the violent tendencies that no doubt hid beneath layers of apathy, Eren was starting to come to his senses. There was no such thing as love at first sight, after all. He was merely appreciating the man’s good looks, the no-doubt nice body beneath that suit, the way his collar hung loosely around a thick neck, the way he could see the pale flesh of his collar bone, the way—.
His thoughts were distracted when the man picked up his cup, lifted it to his lips, and took a sip from his latte. And just as Eren predicted, a frothy moustache was left behind.
He couldn’t help it. Eren wrapped his arms around his sides and laughed.
The man paused, eyes narrowing. “The hell is so funny?”
“N-nothing,” Eren gasped, reigning in his laughter to smirk, “sir.”
Eren blinked. “Huh?”
“Oh.” Eren blinked again. And again. The jittery feeling was returning to his stomach. “Levi.”
There was a flash in gray eyes, a look that made Eren’s stomach burn, but it bubbled over again with laughter when his gaze returned to the latte moustache. The frown on Levi’s face was positively fierce. “You will tell me what is so goddamn funny—“ He glanced at the dark screen of his laptop, scowling when his reflection scowled right back. Levi tore a napkin from the dispenser with a growl. “You little shit.”
“Sorry?” The grin on Eren’s face was the least bit apologetic.
Needless to say, that night at the Little Titan Café was a little less boring for a certain barista.