"This place seems popular in your Earth culture," Xavin said. She casually glanced across the coffee shop, tilting her head to study the mural on the wall done in shades of orange and brown.
"Oh, that's right, you haven't been to Starbucks, have you? I'm kind of surprised they haven't got branches in your home world, to be honest. They're kind of everywhere," Karolina said.
"It that a mural of your world's battle victories? That is a strange looking weapon," Xavin said, motioning towards the mural. There was a guy with a saxophone and a giant coffee steaming in the background, like it was plotting world domination.
"No, that's an hipster painting," Karolina said.
"Hipster?" Xavin asked. "I do not recognize this 'Hipster'. Are they a species of alien I have not encountered yet?"
"...actually, that's a very good explanation of them," Karolina said. She pointed to a hipster in the corner, who was ironically listening to music you'd never heard of.
"They must be good warriors, that one is wearing the pelt of a beast it caught itself," Xavin said. The hipster in question was a skinny guy with a scraggly beard, and had on a fox pelt, because nothing said irony like wearing a knit-cap and fur pelt in L.A. weather.
"No, they're mostly ironic. I wonder how many thrift shops he had to visit to find something that bad?"
"You do your hunting at these 'thrift shops'? Fascinating," Xavin said.
"Deal hunting, anyways."
"Obviously the holofoil information on your world needs to be updated," Xavin said. "None of them prepared me for this."
It wasn't that weird, but then some intergalactic spaceship would be right at home for Xavin, and totally weird for Karolina.
"It's not so weird once you get used to it," Karolina said.
They made their way to the line, only to have this girl cut right in front of them.
"Hey, we were in line," Karolina said.
"Deal with it, hippie."
If Teenage Angst had a dictionary entry, this girl would be the picture for it. She wore black lace and mesh number which Nico would've redone to be less Hot Topic and more Hipster Goth With A Sewing Machine. The girl sneered, and Xavin stiffened beside her. She stepped in front of Karolina, her hand clenched so hard that it had begun to tremble.
"Xavin, remember that little talk we had?"
"Your honor has been challenged, love," Xavin said. Her jaw was set. "I cannot just stand by and allow them to do that."
"I mean, it's sweet when you do things like chase down the car which nearly hit me and toss it across the freeway, I guess, but we're laying low, and we can't stay hidden if you keep declaring war on random citizens for being rude to me," Karolina said in an undertone.
"All right, love. As you wish," Xavin said. She was still taut with anger, like an arrow poised to fire. Karolina reached out and rested her hand on Xavin's shoulder, and Xavin relaxed.
"Your world's ways are odd," Xavin said. "If any Skrull warrior dared show my fiancee such dishonor, I'd beat the apology out of them until they learned some respect."
"Just be glad we aren't in New York," Karolina said with a smile.
Karolina ordered two caramel macchiatos and a package of amaretto, and headed to a booth underneath the hipster painting. She set them out, and Xavin reached out right for them, brusque as always.
"Oh, watch out, it's hot," Karolina said. She removed the cap and blew on the brown liquid. A rich smell wafted up.
"There, it should be cool enough now," Karolina said. She snapped the cap back on and pushed it to Xavin.
At first sip, Xavin's eyes widened and then she took another drink. And another. Karolina giggled. "I take it you're a coffee fan?"
"Is venti the word for delicious in your language?" Xavin said.
"No, I'm actually not sure what it means. Something about size, I guess."
Karolina opened up the amaretto and put a stick in her coffee. If Gert would've been there, she would've rolled her eyes for making sweet coffee even sweeter, but Karolina always put amaretto sticks in her coffee, even when it should've technically made it taste a weird mix of flavors. It always made the coffee taste better to her.
"If it is as delicious as this is, then a thousand times yes," Xavin said.
"It'll make it taste interesting. Chase says I'm weird for liking amaretto sticks in all my coffee, even if it's already super sweet, but then we can be weird together," Karolina said.
"I would gladly be weird with you, love. I would wear my weirdness like a badge of honor," Xavin said, her hand at her heart as if she was saying a pledge.
Xavin took a drink, and pulled an amaretto stick, then pulled it out and devoured it in two gigantic bites.
"I guess you do like it after all. You're supposed to suck it, like this–"
Karolina put one of the sticks in her mouth and slowly sucked on it, pulling it out inch by inch.
Xavin had been staring at her intently all the while, but she was still caught unprepared by the kiss. Xavin's hands were cupping here chin, and she could taste amaretto and caramel macchiato on her tongue.
"You taste sweet, love," Xavin said.
Karolina smiled, but couldn't think of anything to say. Xavin had the effect of making her speechless with little gestures and kisses that came out of nowhere, yet were filled with such sincerity.
Somehow, Xavin had managed to not knock over the coffee. Xavin took another sip, and seemed to contemplate the taste as she did.
"When we finally get a chance to get married, I will introduce your and my people to this "amaretto" and "caramel macchiato" and they will surely be inclined to think more kindly to Earth, and each other," Xavin said. She had this fire in her eyes, and Karolina didn't think it was just the caffeine rush.
Karolina giggled. "World peace via coffee? Now there's something I can get behind."
Xavin laid her hand over Karolina's. "I think it will work, love. The power of our love and this 'caramel macchiato' is just that strong."
Karolina laughed, and overturned her palm so she could grip Xavin's strong hand in her own.
Even just a year ago, Karolina wouldn't have dared to be so open about herself. Back then, holding hands and kissing in a starbucks, pretty much saying hey, I'm a lesbian! to the entire world was too much to deal with. She'd been a mess, trying to hide from herself, but she was getting better. With Xavin around, she felt she could do it, like maybe she wasn't such a freak after all.
Besides, if anyone heckled her for being a lesbian, Xavin might just chuck at car at them. Just the thought of Xavin in a protective rage picking up the car or other piece of heavy machinery and throwing it at the homophobic creeps made her feel nice and warm inside.
"What are you thinking about, love?"
"You punching people in the face because they were jerks to me," Karolina said.
"I would gladly punch a thousand people in the face for you, love. All you need to do is ask."
Karolina leaned in to kiss Xavin, secure in the knowledge that if anyone said a single word, against them, Xavin would kick all their collective asses from here to the next galaxy.