Carlos had his morning routine almost down to a science.
He would wake up at 6:23, by his watch, and then spend six minutes convincing himself to get out of bed. He would spend twelve minutes showering, nine minutes making sure his hair was absolutely perfect, and three minutes brushing his teeth. He supposed this was a rather pointless thing to do when he would always eat his breakfast minutes later, but he just couldn't force himself to change his daily schedule.
He would spend anywhere from two to seven minutes getting dressed, depending on how tired he was, and he would finally leave the comforting darkness of his bedroom. He would walk into his kitchen, pouring himself a bowl of cereal and beginning to eat it after putting a kettle of water on the stove to boil. He would sit at his small kitchen table, blearily staring ahead as he ate his cereal, until the water boiled and teakettle hissed. He would pour the water over the teabag in his mug and sit back down as he tentatively began to sip at his tea. It was always in the same, faded mug, on which he couldn't even begin to remember the original image. It sort of looked like the ocean now, but he wasn't sure.
This was how his mornings had been since he'd come to Night Vale. This little bit of order in his life had kept him grounded throughout the oddities of the desert town. He couldn't always depend on much, but one thing he could assure himself of was this little routine; of twelve-minute showers in the dark and cups of tea in his faded mug.
The days passed and tended to meld together, and before he knew it, he'd been doing this same set of things every day for over a year. He really couldn't imagine deviating from his daily routine.
And then one morning, he woke up, and, by his watch, it was 6:23, and nothing else was familiar.
Light was streaming in from between blinds on an improperly located window, the sheets on the bed felt stiffer than his own, the room smelled faintly of lavender, and, most obviously, there was an arm wrapped gently around his waist. He rolled over to find that it was attached to Cecil, and he quickly remembered coming back to Cecil's apartment the night before, after their fifth date. They had gotten back at nearly eleven o'clock and had watched part of a movie until both nearly fell asleep, and had managed to stumble into Cecil's bedroom, each donning a pair of his pajamas before falling soundly asleep on his bed.
He waited twenty-four minutes before Cecil woke up, and spent seven minutes coaxing him out of bed. Cecil led him to the kitchen for breakfast, which felt strange to Carlos at this stage of morning preparation. Cecil offered him coffee and he declined - he never really had gotten a taste for coffee. Cecil apologised profusely for not having tea, saying that he would have to get some the next time he went to the Ralph's.
Carlos just sat at Cecil's kitchen table, staring sleepily at his boyfriend who was making coffee for himself and scrambled eggs for the both of them. Cecil hummed quietly as he cooked, and Carlos found himself becoming entranced by the soft tune.
He jumped slightly when Cecil set two plates on the table, smiling sunnily, "Wake up, sleepyhead!"
And so they sat there, silently eating their breakfast, stocking feet rubbing against each other under the table. Carlos watched as Cecil took careful sips of his coffee, wrapping his lips around the rim of the mug and making Carlos desperately want to kiss him.
Cecil must have caught him staring at his lips, because he set the mug down, reaching across the table to take Carlos' hands in his, and leaned forward to kiss him gently on the lips.
His lips were soft and tasted slightly of the coffee he'd been drinking, but Carlos didn't really mind it. Rather than the usual bitterness, this was sweet. Maybe it was Cecil, or maybe he'd just put an entirely unhealthy amount of sugar in his coffee. Either way, Carlos had never loved coffee more.