"Pooch! Wanna help me?"
"The Pooch wants nothing to do with this."
"Oh, come on! It's not that bad, I promise."
"Nope. I know how your experiments go, man. I have enough after the last time."
"...okay, fine. Give me the cup."
"You're the best!"
Jensen handed him the cup, smiling brightly, and Pooch shook his head, exhaled slowly, and licked his lips, staring at the cup. He glanced at his best friend briefly before he took a sip from the bright yellow cup.
As soon as the sweet, rich taste of the coffee hit his tongue Pooch moaned quietly. He lowered the cup and looked at the dark brown liquid, clearly surprised. Jensen tried not to feel insulted at the blatant lack of trust in his coffee-making skills. "...so?"
"Damn, that is surprisingly good."
“Ha! I knew it! I’m the best!”
Pooch just snorted and kept sipping the coffee, while Jensen, still smiling, put away the caramel and raspberry syrups away before grabbing his phone to write down the recipe he had worked on for the last few days. Awesome. Maybe this time it would work like Jensen planned.
“So, how do you even know if he likes caramel and raspberry?” Pooch asked as Jensen wiped the counter with one hand, and adjusting his glasses with the other. When he decided the counter was clean, he unlocked his phone, and after a few seconds he found what he was looking for.
“Aha!” He raised the phone so that Pooch could see the picture Jensen had taken a week earlier.
“You know, he doesn’t look like a guy who likes it when people take pictures of him without his permission,” Pooch glanced at him, frowning and Jensen winced slightly at the statement, because yes, he was aware of that, thank you very much, but it was a spur of the moment thing. He did it without thinking, and he meant to delete the picture soon after he had taken it, but it was such a good picture.
“I know, I do, but look at it. He’s eating a raspberry cupcake, okay? That has to mean he doesn’t mind raspberries,” Jensen said, putting his phone away. “And he never said he doesn’t like caramel, so…”
“You’re hopeless, man,” Pooch shook his head, sighing, and tied his apron around his waist before he went to open the coffee shop for the day, while Jensen put away the cup of coffee he had prepared.
Carlos, because that was the name of the guy that had came into Jensen’s and Pooch’s coffee shop about a month earlier for the first time, was one of the hottest people Jensen had ever seen. He was quiet, always wore a cowboy hat, he kept ordering simple black coffee, and Jensen had made it his mission to convince the man to, for once, order something other than the simplest, the most unimaginative drink ever. After each time Carlos had ended up ordering his usual, Jensen always brought him one of the other coffees he had thought Carlos would like, and the man kept indulging him, but even if he never outright said that he had disliked them, he also never asked for them again. So Jensen kept searching for the right combination of flavors, hoping to find something really, really impressive. And he had a lot of time to do that, since Carlos usually came in once a week, on Friday afternoons, which was why Jensen already couldn’t wait to see him.
The last time he had came in, Jensen had a really difficult time focusing on his job, but he managed somehow. He had kept sneaking glances at Carlos, who had caught him looking every single time, looking at him from under the brim of his hat, one corner of his mouth rising slightly in a half-smile every time it had happened.
Yup, Jensen had a thing for Carlos’ hat. And his everything else as well, really.
That day, however, Carlos didn’t show up.
Jensen didn’t even go on a lunch break to make sure he didn’t miss the man, but he just didn’t came in that day. If he had Carlos’ number he totally would have texted him, but he didn’t. The man didn’t even have any social media accounts, Jensen checked, so he had no way of contact him, and he didn’t like that at all.
“Hey, what’s up, man?” Pooch asked, putting one hand on Jensen’s shoulder, trying to get his attention. “You look like someone just stole your favorite cupcakes from you.”
“It’s fine,” Jensen answered while cleaning up the counter so that they could prepare for closing for the day.
“He didn’t show up, huh?”
Jensen just shrugged and Pooch clapped him on the back.
“Maybe he was busy or something?”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
The next Friday passed quickly overall. About a half an hour before closing, after all the patrons left, Jensen started to dry up the cups and plates, when he noticed that Pooch was smiling at his phone instead of wiping the tables.
“Jolene bought new jammies for Jordan.”
Jensen walked up to his friend and glanced at the screen of the phone to see a picture of a small boy wearing a bear onesie and grinned.
“Aw, Baby Pooch!”
“I know, right?”
They ended up looking at the other pictures of Jordan on Pooch’s phone, when the door to the shop opened and a big, tall man came in, looked around briefly and walked up to the counter.
Jensen handed Pooch the dish rag and stepped behind the counter as well.
“Hi, how can I help you?”
“Black coffee. Three cups. To go,” he said and Jensen winced slightly at the tone of the man’s voice. Someone was cranky.
“Right. Sure thing. Would you like anything else with that?”
“No. Just coffee.”
“Coming right up!”
Jensen turned around to prepare the order, from the corner of one eye seeing Pooch wince as well. The man just stood there silently, looking at the various bottles of syrups, glancing at Jensen from time to time. It felt awkward. Jensen hated silence.
“So, are all of these for you?”
The guy did not look amused. After a while, when Jensen thought he won’t receive any answer, the grump looked right at him.
“No. One guy from my team likes your coffee.”
Jensen grinned at that. “Glad to hear that! That’d be $8.25.”
The guy paid him, even left a tip, but before he opened the door he turned to look at Jensen once again.
“He’ll be here next week,” he said, like his words were actually supposed to make sense to Jensen, then left the shop.
Jensen and Pooch looked at each other, then Pooch shrugged, and Jensen got back to wiping the cups.
Carlos nodded at him, touching the brim of his hat briefly before he sat down at his usual table, never taking his eyes off Jensen. Jensen just smiled at him and went back to work, but when he was about to hand the cups to the patrons, Pooch snagged them from his hands right away.
“It’s fine. You’re dying to go to him right now, man,” Pooch smirked at him. “Make your weird-ass coffee, and give it to him.”
Jensen grinned at his friend, and as Pooch went to serve the coffee to the customers, Jensen wiped his hands and prepared a small cup of coffee for Carlos, making sure everything was perfect.
As he walked up to Carlos a few minutes later, the man was texting someone, and when he put the phone down and their eyes met, one corner of Carlos’ mouth raised in a small smile Jensen liked seeing so much.
“Hello there, stranger,” Jensen said, placing the cup in front of Carlos, smiling. “On the house,” he added, before Carlos could reach for his wallet.
“Can I wait for you?” Carlos asked, and Jensen blinked a few times, looking at the clock briefly. “I won’t be done for three more hours.”
“I have time.”
And that was it. Jensen licked his lips and nodded, before walking up to the counter again to help Pooch.
Those three hours were the longest of Jensen’s life, really. Not only were the people incredibly picky, and sometimes very rude, but he was also aware of Carlos watching him almost the whole time, which was making it difficult for him to work. It was hard to focus when all he wanted to do was to walk up to Carlos and ask him where he had been for the last few weeks. If he wanted to answer, that is. Pooch seemed to notice that because an hour before closing he told Jensen to go and leave closing up to him. Pooch was the best friend anyone could ask for.
Carlos was waiting for him outside already, and Jensen ran one hand through his hair when he walked up to him. “So… you have an afternoon off today, or something?”
“Or something,” Carlos agreed, and Jensen snorted at the answer.
“Would you like to go somewhere, then? I know a great pub not far from here or… we could go to my place? If you want, that is,” Jensen adjusted his glasses quickly. “To talk. Or watch something. I could make spaghetti. Pooch says it’s the best, just ask him.”
Carlos nodded, smiling, and Jensen couldn’t help smiling back at him, especially since Carlos’ fingers kept gently brushing against his as they were walking to Jensen’s apartment.
As it turned out, the grumpy guy who had came into the coffee shop a week earlier was called Roque, and he was Carlos’ - Cougar’s, as he was apparently usually referred to by most of these who knew him – teammate. The guy had just assumed Jensen would know what he had been talking about, which made Jensen snort when Carlos had told him about it.
After they had gotten to the apartment, Jensen prepared spaghetti, while Carlos told him that he was working for the military and had been sent abroad, and that was why he was away for so long. Jensen hadn’t asked him about anything else. He knew how things were, being ex-military himself. They ended up watching a random horror movie Jensen found while channel surfing, before heading to bed. It had been an awesome night.
Jensen’s train of thought was interrupted when he heard Carlos growl quietly, which sounded kind of like purring, before he brought them even closer together and leaned down to kiss Jensen, morning breath be damned.
It was already the best morning ever. The first of many.