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Cafe Latte

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“Coffee. With milk.”

“One cafe latte,” the barista bawls down the counter, and Aris frowns to himself. “What size will it be, sir?”

“The smallest.”

“Woulda thought a big guy like you would go for a venti, at least,” a smooth voice interrupts behind him. He turns to see a woman of average height and above-average bosom, all confined in a furry jacket. Her eyes are as blue as an equatorial sky, and he feels an inexplicable homesickness.

“Moderation is key in all things—” He pauses. If she catches on, she doesn’t show it, simply turns to the barista to order an unholy concoction of some sort with the familiarity of one who has made a habit of injecting copious amounts of sugar and stimulants into the body before breakfast.

“True. I like to be moderately doped up on caffeine and donuts before class.” He notices then the thick book in her hands: Koslun’s Tome. His heart skips a beat. “I’m Marian, by the way. Maybe we could share a table? This place is pretty full.”

“Do you always talk to strangers whose tables you wish to share?” he asks, looking at her askance as he picks up the sweet, strong cup of brew. It sits next to a plastic cup that’s more cream and sprinkles than actual coffee.

“Ehh, no. Only the cute ones.”