“One triple mocha with extra whipped cream and caramel drizzle.”
Gran thankfully grasped the plastic cup as though it were the nectar of life.
“Finals?” The barista noted how half the frappuccino disappeared in an instant.
“Thesis.” Gran grumbled into the whipped cream, emerging with a caramel mustache.
Brain fried by re-reading the same words again until they lost all meaning, Gran dragged his half asleep, sweatpants clad self to his usual spot in the cafe
only to find that someone else was sitting in his seat.
Yes, his seat. His name was practically written on it, ever since one of his laptop stickers liberated itself and was permanently grafted onto the wooden table. Lancelot thought it was cute and never bothered to clean it off.
With an attitude only a starving, manic, sleep deprived college student could have, he was ready to demand this stranger get the fuck out of his seat, but he made a grave mistake by looking at the culprit.
A gorgeous red gaze burned back at him for a fleeting moment that stopped time and space itself. An angelic chorus drowned out the contemporary pop thrumming over the café speakers. Gran`s heart constricted in a way that no mere caffeine could induce.
Nevermind, he`s freakin` hot!
A pair of black rimmed glasses sat on the edge of his nose, clearly too busy to bother with pushing them up. He wore a suit, and he wore it very well, Gran noted with delight. He was probably a salary man or something who worked nearby; the college town was filled with tall buildings stuffed to the gills with lawyers and accountants.
Definitely an older man. Definitely his type.
Gran wordlessly turned around like a wound up toy soldier taking perfectly measured steps and gracefully threw himself to a table far, far opposite of sexy mystery man. Gran quickly pulled out his phone to emphasize he was definitely, definitely not pretending to surf Twitter when he was really looking at him through the lense of his camera at this moment.
Gran was too far away to hear the soft chuckle the man allowed himself before he took a sip from his coffee cup.
His newfound crush left before him, but the wave he gave the two baristas behind the counter planted a small seed of hope within him that he`ll be back again.
The town was small, and he hoped that the mystery man of his dreams picks this one coffee shop just ten minutes from his campus.
“Yes, please.” Percival sighed, exasperated. He`s had far too many legal briefs to deal with this week than any sane man should. Judging by the dark circles peeking from under immaculately dabbed concealer, he wasn`t a sane man anyway.
“Here you go. The Percival special, with four shots of espresso.”
Normally, this is where he would take his drink and trudge like the faithful soldier he is to his seat and prepare for the long haul. Now, however, Percival was too busy staring across the room at a boy tapping away at his keyboard (which was coated so heavily in video game related decals and stickers that the type of laptop was beyond unfathomable) with such ferocity that the clicks could be heard in the next town.
His chestnut colored hair was matted in a way that suggested he rolled out of bed and down the road, but the bags under his eyes retorted that naps were a fairy tale. Despite it all, there was a determined glint in his mischievous amber eyes that suggested he liked playing against challenging odds. Gran was positively haggard, and Percival was positively smitten by his boyish charm.
“Percival? Your coffee.” Lancelot cleared his throat.
“Yes, thank you.” He doesn`t break his enamored gaze, taking his drink to the table that he unknowingly annexed from this very boy a few days prior.
Each moment Percival managed to steal a glance at his exhausted grad student sweetheart, the handsome angel was locked in a frenzied stare at the blue light of his laptop screen. He`s busy, I really shouldn`t bother him. So he went back to his brief.
As Percival drew a red line through yet another missing Oxford comma, Gran stole a glance away from his impending doom, the sight of his lawyer in shining armor giving him the strength to continue on.
“Uh oh,” Lancelot clicked his tongue.
Vane peered over the coffee machine and joined him in watching the two steal glances with almost comical timing for the next half hour of their shift.
“Hey Lan-chan, I have an idea.”
“Here you go.” Vane could barely contain the smirk on his face as Gran took the cup from his hand without a glance, far too tired to even care what he was about to put in his mouth.
“And here`s your order.” Lancelot offered the innocuous, opaque cup whose contents escapes Percy`s eagle eye.
Lancelot prepared the countdown. Three...two...one...
“What on earth…”
Gran nearly dropped his cup in disgust. He was ready to give whoever stole his ten shots of sugar an absolute tongue lashing, but the words died in his throat when the red-handed thief turned out to be the man of his dreams.
He wanted to apologize, but the graceful word vomit that escaped him instead was:
“Is this dirt? Are you drinking dirt?”
A bucket of ice cold water replaced his spinal fluid instantaneously. Oh god, why did I say that!
But Percival merely chuckled, and the ice melted instantly. Gran`s spinal fluid was now satin lava that wrapped him from head to toe in heady warmth. No, that`s not possible, but this man absolutely made it possible.
“I would rather drink dirt than liquified sugar, personally.” His words were biting, but his gaze was positively affectionate, and Gran`s knees likewise became liquid sugar.
“Soooo...number?” Vane broke the silent stare that lasted approximately five minutes to the rest of the sane world. “Should we write it on your cup?” He joked, holding up the aforementioned offender of dirt liquid.
“There will be no need.” Percival offered his sleek smartphone to Gran. In a dreamlike trance, he put in his number.
“Then I`ll call you later...” He glanced at this newfound contact information. “Gran.” He swept a lock of gelled hair behind his ear to distract from the smile creeping onto his face at the boy`s name.
“Yeah…” He managed a slow, bashful wave.
Lancelot and Vane busied themselves cleaning cups and left Gran to his own devices, still as he stood glued to the floor and waving even though he was long gone.
Approximately five minutes after Percival`s departure, all three of them jumped five feet in the air at the sound of Gran`s midi ringtone.
“I just wanted to make sure the number was right.” A smooth voice came over the crackle of the phone as the two baristas leaned over to hear every word.
“Oh..well, uh. It works!” Gran flashed a thumbs up despite being on the phone. Vane burst into laughter.
“Right.” A lull. “Ah, also, I forgot to tell you, my name is Percival.”
“Percival…” A perfect name for a perfect guy. “I`ll text you as soon as I get home.”
Once he hung up, the two behind the counter allowed themselves to dissolve into uncontrollable laughter at the embarrassing display of awkwardness. Gran, however, continued to stare out the door with a radiant glow on his face.
“I`m going to marry him.” He announced to no one in particular.
“Wow.” Lancelot dried the tears from his eyes. “After one phone call?”
“Yes.” Gran didn`t even blink.
“Well make sure to invite us as thanks!” Vane blurted out, earning himself an elbow from Lancelot that goes completely unnoticed.
“Wait, this was your idea?” Gran looked down at the offensive cup of coffee and back at Vane, thoroughly scandalized.
“You two were kinda hopelessly staring at each other, so, we gave you a little nudge.”
“You guys…!” Gran`s eyes glittered with gratitude. Reflexively, he grasped the cup in his hands and went to take a celebratory drink, only to wheeze at the taste of disgusting bean water once more.
“Uhh...can I have my real drink now? My mouth tastes like what my brain feels like in class.”
Three days passed, and the two regulars they had become so fond of are nowhere to be found. The sticker marked chair was lonely again today.
“You`re wondering where they are, aren`t you?” Lancelot, who was only pretending to clean the machines, nearly banged his head on the espresso maker at Vane`s sudden question.
He rubbed the back of his head as he glanced around the empty shop. “Well, maybe just a little curious.”
He had to admit, he missed his newfound sport of people watching.
“Lan-chan, look!” Vane pointed at the door excitedly as a cozy looking couple made their way in from the blustery cold. Gran looked a little bit less tired than normal, and Percival`s normally knit brow was as smooth as could be.
“There`s the lovebirds!” Vane eyed their interlocked hands. He looked at Gran with mischievous stars in his eyes. “So, didja marry him yet?”
“Not yet, but we`re planning.” Percival replied for him without missing a beat as Gran blushed right to his ears.
“Alright, you two.” Lancelot found himself unconsciously smiling as he pulled out the blender. “What`ll it be?”
“I`ll have a strawberry frappuccino, please.” Percival replied, unwinding his scarf.
“Oh, not the usual?”
“I`ve been encouraged to try the sweeter things in life.” Percival smiled as he looked at Gran. “Two straws, please.”