Blaine Anderson had a set of five 24-hour coffee shops within the LA city limits. They weren't thriving or anything; it was hard to compete against Starbucks, but having been strategically placed near the theatre districts and the universities with free wireless internet for customers, his business was happily afloat thanks to the generous patronage of regulars.
Of the five, however, Blaine had a favorite.
The shop on 86th was neither the busiest nor the largest of all of the cafes, but it was close. Patrons came in a steady stream -- some to slip right back out, others to climb to the second floor for a quieter experience or the patio that overlooked the street. It wasn't his favorite because of the traffic (hefty) or the patio (beautiful and one of the best investments Blaine has ever made on a building renovation). He liked it for the traffic, but he'd be lying if he didn't have favorites out of his regular customers too.
Santana elbowed Blaine in the side with a strength that was entirely uncalled for, no matter the reason and especially because he was responsible for whether she got the raise she wanted, but even as he leveled a dirty look in her direction, she hissed: "He's here. Look sharp, boss."
Blaine's eyes darted to the entrance for the coffee shop and sure enough, there was Kurt, looking well-dressed as usual, lifting the strap of his messenger bag higher onto his shoulder while he made a frowning sort of expression at his phone and scooted toward the end of the line.
Oh. Oh, well that changed things then. He petted back the hair over his ears. "How do I look?"
"Gelled," she told him flatly as she set a cup on top of the coffee machine withchoc latte w soy and Terri written on it. "Are you going to actually talk to him today?"
"I don't know," Blaine sighed, admitting the sad truth to Santana and acknowledging to himself that he'd never worked up the nerve to call out anything other than Kurt's name so that the other man could pick up his coffee.
Blaine day dreamed through three orders just knowing that Kurt was here. There wasn't anything strange about that. Kurt was at this coffee shop at the same hour every single morning without fail. It was the reason why Blaine had usurped the barista that regularly ran the machine at this hour and had her restocking the snack bar after the morning rush.
Santana coughed. "Morning, Kurt!" she said. "What are you having today?"
"Grande nonfat mocha as usual," Kurt told her, smiling as he handed over a ten and picked up a cellophane wrapped cranberry muffin. "And this too."
"Comin' right up," Santana told him perkily and then handed over the marked up cup over to Blaine with a pointed look.
The order was the same thing that Kurt had been getting for weeks now, so Blaine had been setting up the order before Santana had even handed off the cup. He ignored Santana's look and watched Kurt instead as he jerked around levers and waited for the order to just make itself on autopilot.
Kurt was, as always, an interesting and beautiful person to observe. He was always done up impeccably in clothes of all kinds, sliding through the coffee shop like he was in a commercial with model moves, unhurried yet with a hint of impatience. Kurt stood off to the side while he waited for his order and Blaine looked down when he saw Kurt glancing up. Blaine busied himself with stirring and steaming the nonfat milk and adding everything together correctly so that he could pretend that he couldn't feel Kurt's gaze lightly resting upon his profile.
It might be stupid. No, it was totally stupid. Blaine was an entrepreneur. He built his tiny, budding franchise into something that could almost be counted as a coffee chain. He should be concerning himself with the bank statements and the shipment orders of needed inventory and hiring a new cook for the shop on Kings Street and the possibility of getting that building in the Historical District for the sixth coffee shop.
Instead, he was thinking about how Kurt looked stunning in the vivid blue he'd deigned to wear today and how the hat Kurt had pulled carefully over his hair went perfectly with the belt wrapped around his waist. Blaine was thinking about how his heart beat like a jack rabbit whenever Kurt pinched his sunglasses at the corner and pulled them off in a sweep while he tilted his chin up and watched Blaine approach the counter with his drink. It was a look that killed him every single time.
"Kurt?" Blaine breathed.
Kurt smiled just a little, lifting a couple fingers while he tucked his sunglasses in the v of his shirt. "That'd be me."
A chuckle escaped Blaine before he could stop it. That Kurt felt the need to verify something that seemed so plainly obvious to Blaine was kind of funny. When Kurt stepped toward the counter, though, Blaine stomach swooped upward into his chest and he said, "Grande nonfat mocha for the young man in the Tim Hamilton."
There was something that lit up Blaine's casual mention of designer names. It was in the eyes -- this sudden spark of attention that, when accompanied by the slight reddening of Kurt's cheeks, made Blaine want to grin because he felt so accomplished. He did grin, to himself, but he didn't want to seem like such a freak, flirting with customers. So it came out as this little quirk around his lips while Kurt reached to meet Blaine halfway over the counter for the coffee.
"Watch your hands," Blaine said, feeling stupid-brave and loving every moment of it. He guided Kurt's fingers to the cardboard wrap around the cup and covered them with his own for just a second -- just the one second. "It's still hot."
"Thanks," Kurt said, giving Blaine a curious look. He pulled back with his coffee and lifted it and his muffin at Blaine. "I'll just be --" he said, cutting himself off with a gesture to the side. Blaine knew that he was going to take his breakfast and leave the shop entirely, but instead, Kurt abruptly started scooting to one of the corner tables to eat.
"Fuck," he gritted out at Santana in the next moment. "Santana, I can't do this. He's going to think I'm a creepy stalker. What am I doing anyway? I'm not a real barista. I'm just the owner! Also: what is he doing staying for breakfast today?"
Santana rolled her eyes at him while she cracked open a roll of quarters into the register. "Sometimes people eat here, Blaine."
"Yes yes, I know that," Blaine insisted. "But those people aren't Kurt. Kurt doesn't ever eat here. He never has."
"That was yesterday," she sniped right back as she shoved the cup of the next customer into his hands. "Today, he's eating here. You best take advantage of it in the next five minutes or I'm quitting."
"You can't quit," Blaine whined. "You're my most reliable girl! I mean sure, you go through suitors like I go through underwear --"
"Okay, A, that's gross," she interrupted holding up one finger between them while she snapped her other hand at a coworker. She plucked the empty cup that Blaine had clutched in his hands and handed it over to her coworker to use. "B, I do not! And C, I don't care if I'm your most reliable girl. I've been watching you pine for him for weeks now --"
"I'm not pining," Blaine protested.
"You made a playlist of songs that made you think of him, Blaine!" Santana hissed. "You have to talk to him and you have to talk to him now because you need to get either your heart broken or your mack on before I'm forced to change shifts with Quinn for the foreseeable future."
Blaine winced. Putting his hands on his hips, he looked up at her from under his lashes, brows creased with concern. "It's not really that bad, is it?"
She paused and shifted back on her feet like she was considering her next words for maximum impact. Blaine braced himself when her hand lifted, but she only patted his cheek.
"It's that bad," she informed him without remorse. "Now, you know that I love you. You're a great boss and you don't care if I talk smack to customers that are rude. So, you should know that I'm speaking from the heart that I'm telling you that you need to get laid."
There were a few chuckles from the customers waiting in line at the register. Blaine shot them a nasty glare out of the corner of his eye, but then realized that if they were paying attention, then it was also likely that --
"Yes," Santana said. "He's watching. He's got that freaky little smile going, so you've probably got a shot."
Blaine's knees quaked a bit. "Santana --"
"No." She dismissed him with the wave of her finger as she went back to the register. "When I turn around, you'd better be at his table."
Blaine cast a grateful look at Santana's back as he backed out from behind the bar and started taking off his apron. He was going to do this. He definitely was. That he was wearing a nice button-down and slacks was only a point in his favor. Sure, maybe they wouldn't be up to what was surely very critical taste on Kurt's part, but maybe Kurt gave others more leniency in fashion when it was obvious that no one could live up to the bar he'd set for himself. Either way, Blaine was nervous as hell as he chucked the apron under the counter and slipped toward Kurt's table with sweaty palms.
Santana had been telling him the truth; Kurt was watching -- unashamedly so. He was leaning over his coffee and holding onto the cup with long, delicate fingers. His eyes roved over Blaine completely as he approached, and Blaine couldn't help the way it made his nervousness ratchet that much higher.
"Hi," he started and felt sort of stupid because he couldn't think of anything else to say after that. Kurt smiled at him, cheeks reddening a little.
Blaine glanced back toward the counter, where Santana was glaring at him and making pointed expressions with her face. In fact, now that Blaine looked, everyone was paying attention. Even that sixteen year old gaming kid that took his three espresso latte and grilled pita into a corner and stayed there for hours without interacting with anyone -- he had his headphones dropped to his shoulders and was carefully seeming like he wasn't observing everything when it was so clear that he was, the little bastard.
Kurt was smothering a laugh with his fingers when Blaine looked back to him and Blaine wanted to crawl in a hole and die. He was awful at this kind of thing. Who was he kidding!
"I'm Blaine," he introduced himself at last and when Kurt shook his hand, still smiling and amused and blushing, Blaine thought his heart was going to stop. "And you're Kurt."
"That's true," Kurt replied.
"Oh my god," Santana groaned. "I'm calling Quinn!"
"You wanna get out of here?" Blaine blurted out desperately. "Please?"
Kurt looked down a little and then shyly peeked up at him as he stood and -- oh wow, that he was taller than Blaine became quite apparent this close together and that was... oh, quite nice actually.
"I do," said Kurt, "but before that, can I do something real quick? It'd be like a test run."
Blaine was nodding even as he echoed, "Test run?" in a tiny voice.
"Yeah," Kurt said.
Kurt's fingers touched along the line of Blaine's jaw, smoothing down the bone to the point of his chin, and Blaine found his face being angled up a bit while Kurt slanted their mouths together in a sweet, but quickly dirty kiss. Blaine couldn't breathe. He didn't even care because he could taste the coffee from Kurt's drink and feel his lips. He hadn't dared to hope of getting this so soon or at all, really, but now that he knew he could, want unfurled inside him with such a ferocity that, when Kurt drew back with a dark hum, Blaine actually whimpered.
"Holy shit," Santana whispered loudly.
Kurt smiled broadly. "My place?" he suggested as he plucked his coffee from the table and went to drop it in the trash.
Blaine trailed after him, dazed. "Any place," he replied.
Kurt's fingers tangled with his as he led them to the exit. "Good answer."