The cafe Alex frequented was busy as usual that Wednesday morning. She took a deep breath as she entered and immediately got in line. Pinching her side to rid it of it’s sharp pinch, she took a deep breath, willing it to ease despite how exhausted she was from her run; from pushing herself to shave off a few minutes of her time up the hill to get here. The scent of coffee filled her nose and she relaxed, easing into the routine of ‘order and step aside, move up in line’ with those ahead of her.
Alex eased the pressure on her side when the pinch let up and instead drummed her fingers on the exposed skin of her side. Just three more ahead of her and she would get the caffeine fix she craved.
The woman in front of her scanned the board, the selections in the glass case that held an assortment of breakfast items and pastries. Again at the board. She said nothing, not even when the barista shifted awkwardly, trying not to push the customer to decide faster. Alex sighed, slight irritation welling in her gut. At this rate she’d be late getting ready for work. Thankfully her apartment was a short walk away, something that saved her on more than one occasion when the baristas were behind on orders.
“I’m just going to take the other lady’s order while you decide...if that’s alright?” The barista was about to talk to Alex when the woman finally spoke.
“I’d like a grande half sweet white mocha, lactose free. No whipped cream. And… a bean burrito.”
Alex raised a brow at such a request. It was oddly specific for someone who had taken their sweet time ordering. The barista was equally thrown off for a moment before she recovered and put in the order. When it was paid for, the woman moved to the side to stand with the others waiting for their orders.
“Just a tall black.” Alex had her coffee handed to her once she paid and with a glance in the direction of the woman, she caught a pair of the brightest eyes she’d ever seen.
No, they were only that bright because the morning sun was coming through the windows and she happened to be standing with her back to it. Looking at Alex like she was some curious new creature, the woman tilted her head.
Heat rose to Alex’s cheeks and she cleared her throat, walking out the door of the cafe. The heat was due to her morning run. Of course she’d still be flush.
But really, a grande half sweet... whatever and no whipped cream with a bean burrito? What an odd breakfast combination.
Saturday brought it’s own stream of challenges for Alex. The hospital was short staffed and although it was supposed to be her first day off in almost a month, she took the shift. Saturdays were filled with less work routined people and more teengers . They were loud and obnoxious, half of them talking about the latest concerts, anime they were watching. A few of them sat off to the side with their music blasting in their ears.
The hospital and city mall were a block away from one another so their destination this early wasn’t a mystery.
Early. Alex snorted. It was nine-thirty. She was surprised at how many teens were up and about actually. When she was a teenager Saturday’s were meant for sleeping in till noon and staying up till two am Sunday. Sleeping the day away and feeling like death Monday morning at school.
Alex stood when her stop was a couple more away and moved toward the door. The teens followed her lead.
Sighing, she looked around at the other side of the train and tilted her head when a familiar face met hers. Well, profile. But Alex wouldn’t forget the woman’s face even at a side view.
As if sensing she was being watched, the woman turned and those bright eyes were staring back at her. It was only this time Alex noticed there was a white streak running through with the rest of her hair. How odd....
The woman blinked, recognition also coming to light on her face. She didn’t smile, nor did she wave.
The train stopped and the doors opened. Alex got off with the teenagers, but the woman stayed where she was, her gaze now focused on something to the side of her.
Alex took in a breath, unaware she’d been holding it. Likely due to the copious amounts of perfume and AXE spray the delinquents wore. The train moved and her pager buzzed.
Shit. She was running late.
Her lunch break was delayed due to an enormous flux of people coming in with the same symptoms. It was nothing more than the common cold but half of them googled their condition and were convinced they were dying. It took Alex everything not to snap.
With four hours left of her shift she was able to sneak away for a walk toward the mall. There was a place that made the best pad thai…
Normally Alex didn’t notice people walking past her. There was usually nothing extraordinary about the fellow human to steal her attention from her task at hand. But coming toward her was a dark head of curled hair, a white streak running through and eyes. Those eyes.
They’re gazes met at the same time and they blinked.
The woman smiled this time and it was like the world around her brightened. They passed, long hair fluttering in the light breeze while Alex’s short hair curled around her cheek. Alex looked back, watching for a moment as the woman walked away.
Should she call out a hello?
No, she probably wasn’t even smiled at. Bright eyes probably saw a dog behind her or something. Everyone smiles at dogs.
Shaking herself out of her thoughts, Alex quickened her pace to her lunch.
The following Tuesday Alex finally made it to the end of her shift and all but dragged herself to the train. Since Saturday she had scanned it each time she got in and each time found herself just a little disappointed she didn’t encounter the bright eyed woman.
When she got to her apartment building she decided this once, she could stand to use the elevator. Summoning it, she got in and pressed for the third floor. The doors nearly closed when a hand stopped it and they opened.
To reveal that same, bright eyed, dark haired, complicated cafe order, woman.
She stepped in, pressing for the fourth.
Of all the coincidences…
They’re in close quarters now. Alex could say something.
Of course it’d be entirely weird and the woman would think she’s crazy…
Third. The doors opened.
Alex hesitated. The doors started closing. The woman looked at her with a raised brow.
Sticking out her hand, she went for it. “I’m Alex. We seem to see one another a lot so I thought I’d introduce myself. Especially since we’re apparently neighbours?”
The woman tilted her head the slightest bit but took her hand. “Astra.” Her accent was different...her name seemed familiar...Alex’s eyes widened. Astra cast her eyes downward. “I’ve made you uncomfortable with my identity.”
The doors opened and closed. Neither of them moved.
“No! Not at all, I was just surprised. It’s not everyday I meet a Kryptonian.” The silence between them was a bit awkward as they let one another’s hands go and Alex immediately missed the warmth in her palm. “Do you wanna...grab coffee or something?”
Astra raised a perfectly sculpted brow and indicated to the watch on her other hand. “It is late to go to a cafe, no?”
Alex grinned. “Well, I happen to have a badass espresso machine myself.”
The smile Astra bestowed upon her was the same from when they passed each other on the street. Blindingly beautiful. Heartachingly so.
“Do you have burritos?”
Alex laughed, punching for her floor. “I think I can manage that.”