The first time it happened Steve could excuse it, because really, he worked at Starbucks. Of course people were going to be rude, it was a Starbucks, and more than that, he was working retail. People were rude, it was what it was. He didn’t let it get to him, though (no matter how much he wished to give some of his customers a piece of his mind) because when it came down to it, he liked his job. Good hours that fit in well with his busy college schedule, and well, some people were extremely kind.
Also, money. Minimum wage, but hell, anything that could make at least a dent in his college loans was more than welcome.
So yes, some people were very kind, leaving a generous tip in the jar and a bright smile, but others were, well.
A man, with a striking goatee and a suit that appeared far too classy to be worn inside a New York Starbucks, strode up to Steve’s register, phone (one that honestly looked like it was worth three months of Steve’s pay, at least) tucked between his cheek and shoulder as he dug around through his pockets.
“Yes, Pepper, I know I’m late, what’s a meeting without me being fashionably late? I mean-yes, yes I know I’m an hour late Pep, what do you think I meant when I said ‘fashionably’?”
He paused, as if just realizing it was his turn to order, looking up as brown eyes met Steve’s blues. He managed to keep his face pleasant, a reflex more than anything after several months of practice
“Yes, Pep I know, I know. Hey, do you want anything? I’m not trying to change the subject! I’m just...ugh, fine. An iced Americano, please, venti….what? Okay, fine, make that a grande. And uh….iced venti, two pumps of hazelnut, cream and sugar.”
Steve bit back an eye roll, as he asked, “Will that be all sir?”
“What? Yeah Pep, I’ll be there in like, ten minutes, tops. Or fifteen, but you know what I meant...huh? Oh yeah, that’s it,” he handed Steve a stack of cash, one that contained many more bills than necessary for the order, shoving his wallet back into his pocket. “But Pep, seriously….”
“Name?” Steve’s voice was all edged politeness now, fingers tapping at the side of the plastic cup, sharpie in hand.
At the question however, Tony actually stopped his conversation, cocking his head as vague annoyance washed over his face. “Uh, Tony?”
He scribbled the name onto the cup, hiding his confusion about why the name had come out like a question. Perhaps the man felt it should’ve been obvious, as if he was wearing a damn name tag. Jeeze. Some people.
“Alright, thank you. Next please, if you’re ready to order?”
With that, the man (Tony) walked off down the counter, still jabbering away to whoever Pepper (Pep?) was. Sure, people came up the register on their phone, but most had the common decency to actually pause when giving their order and paying. But very few were as bold with their rudeness as Tony was, and well. It was something.
So that day, Steve had let it pass because really, what else could he do? Complain about a customer who seemed to have more money than he knew what to do with? Tell him to his face to get off his phone? (Which, well, Steve had seen Bucky do just that when they were in high school and Bucky was working at Taco Bell, and due to the uh, language of it, that was probably why he was found on Steve’s couch the next morning, sipping a CapriSun, when he was usually at his morning weekend shift). So, no, he just had to take it, because he was a good employee, really, he was.
So the first time, it was just annoying. The second time, it made Steve just a bit angry.
But the second day, he also realized a very key detail about his rude patron.
He was chatting away on his overly expensive phone again (to someone named Obie this time, which was only a tad ridiculous), and ordered the same iced venti as he had the day before. Only this time, when he went to pay, Tony handed Steve a sleek credit card instead.
Anthony Stark, it read. Tony, Tony Stark.
He didn’t keep up with tabloids (nowhere near as much as Bucky and Clint did, or even Sam), but he sure as hell knew what Stark Industries was. Hell, the logo was plastered all over the finest, most expensive equipment at NYU-the stuff Steve was too afraid to go near. He always went for the older, more clunky tablets during his digital media class, too afraid to break those that were sleek and shiny and so clearly very new.
So, while the news that he was serving overpriced coffee to Tony Stark had fazed him a bit, it didn’t excuse the man for being rude.
So the first time, it was just annoying. The second time, it made Steve just a bit angry. But the third time, it was inexcusable.
And the fact that the man just so happened to be Tony Stark? Didn’t matter, not at all….
“Iced venti caramel machiatto, no whip. You sure you don’t want any, Pep? Yeah yeah, fine whatever, shouldn’t stop by for coffee when I’m late but really Pep, did you forget it’s me you’re talking to? What? Pep you wouldn’t dare, I’ll be there in five minutes, tops! Really I will, Pep, I-”
He handed his card to Steve, who swiped it quickly. Once he handed it back, however Tony began walking towards the pickup counter
“Name?” Steve called to him, eyes wide, with a pleasant grin slapped across his face. Tony paused and turned to him with a raised eyebrow, expression positively and beautifully annoyed. Steve’s grin widened.
“Uh, Tony? Seriously, you’d think….no Pepper, I wasn’t talking to you, I was….”
Nearly smirking now, Steve scrawled a T-O-N-I onto the cup, and handed it off to Clint, who gave Steve a look. “Are you asking for a death wish? Because you have got to know by now that that’s Stark, and I’m sure there’s some very expensive, very painful way he can disembowel you.”
Steve only shrugged, fluttering his lashes as he gave Clint his most innocent, blank grin. “I have no idea what on Earth you’re talking about.”
Clint merely snorted, turning around to the coffee machines. “Alright, Rogers, but when you’re dead do I get your comic books?”
“No, I told Sam he could have everything, I like him best.” As Clint whined, Steve turned to the customer walking up, all business once more.
That is, until a very angry man wearing a very expensive suite with very expensive sunglasses was shoving a very expensive cup of coffee into his face.
“What the hell? Do I look like a girl to you...Steve?!” Tony asked, nearly fuming as he eyed the nametag pinned to Steve’s apron.
“Oh!” he exclaimed, feigning shock. “My apologies, Mr. Stark, it won’t happen again.”
His eyes lingered on Steve, still hot with anger, until he finally gave an indignant huff, and turned away.
“You’re lucky you’re cute, Steve, or else I’d buy your ass and send you off to work and Dunkin.”
At that, Steve merely chuckled.
Again and again it would happen, almost like clockwork. Tony would waltz into the place, yapping at someone (usually Pepper, sometimes Rhodey or Obie), and Tony would order some unnecessarily complicated drink-and again, Steve would as for his name. Despite Tony’s very incessant ‘T-O-N-Y, dammit!’, Steve would always scribble down something along the likes of T-O-N-N-I or T-A-W-N-I or T-O-W-N-E-Y. Tony, of course, would then rush up to Steve, nearly spilling his venti-two-pumps-macchiato-whatever, and bitch him out. But Steve, of course, would only offer tight smiles and overdone innocence, leaving Tony to sputter something indigent, and storm off in a huff.
About two weeks into their little misspelled fiasco, Tony, amazingly, came into the Starbucks with his phone completely tucked away. He looked wary, almost nervous, as if the concept of talking to a barista while not on your phone was completely alien; like that was the rude thing to do.
He walked up to Steve, and Steve, tried as he might, could not contain his gleeful smirk. “Hi, what can I get for you today?”
Tony raised an eyebrow, a small frown wavering on his face, but he spoke nonetheless. “Uh, iced venti, two pumps of hazelnut, cream and sugar.”
“Will that be all, sir?”
“Yeah, uh, sure. Yeah.”
“Your name, please?” Again, Tony eyed him, a suspicious glint shimmering in his eye. “Tony.”
“Thank you, sir, that’ll be five-thirteen.”
Tony handed Steve his card, not taking his eyes off Steve’s face he swiped it, and handed it back. “Thank you, sir, have a good day!”
It wasn’t until Tony had walked off towards the pick up counter that Steve scribbled his cell number onto the cup, right under where he’d written T-O-N-Y. Clint took the cup, eyeing it, then eyed Steve, then eyed the cup again. “You’re a fucking dumbass, you know that?”
Steve just shrugged, grinning as he turned back to the register.
His shit eating grin was only amplified when only moments later, his ears caught the unmistakable sound of an oversized cup of coffee splattering against the floor.
Much to Steve’s utter glee, it was when he got back to his shared apartment after his shift, that his phone buzzed.
You better fucking spell my name right in your phone, you piece of shit.
Dinner tomorrow at six, you said? Great!