Keith frantically shoved a few specialty drinks at the customers waiting at the end of the counter, shouting for them to have a nice day before throwing himself back into the fray. Two drinks started and syrups in hand he shouted when a hand clamped out on his shoulder.
He glared at the man behind him; despite the busy crush of customers Lance still had it in him to have an unrepressed grin and a gleam in his blue eyes. “Hey, hot stuff, could you clear some of the tables while I finish here?”
Keith dared a look, dangerous as there was a high chance he might’ve made accidental eye contact with an impatient customer, only to find there only a handful of customers left waiting in line. He discreetly avoided looking at any of them, despite their attempts to catch his attention, preferring to peer over their heads to the tables.
A breath punched out of him and he nodded. “Yeah, I got ‘em.”
Distantly he tagged Lance in, Lance’s hand lingering in his turning a simple high-five into a tangling of fingers. Keith’s eyes briefly met blue eyes, face uncomfortably warm but that’s just because of the hot coffee machine he was working on.
A wink and a squeeze later Keith was ignoring the tingling in his hand as well as the curious gaze of the blonde girl waiting to be served.
Collecting as many dishes humanly possible he hurried into the back room before setting them down into a sink of warm, soapy water.
Moving the faucet to the empty sink he splashed cold water onto his still-burning face. The massive influx of customers always making him as frazzled as it always did. Whoever told him Tuesday shifts were slow was a goddamned liar. Somehow Tuesdays at 2 PM were busier than when he worked mid-morning on a Friday.
Keith briefly contemplated staying in the back until the rush died down but that wouldn’t be fair to Lance. Groaning he trudged his way back to the front.
He tagged the guy at the register out and plastered a smile on for the next customer, earning a smile from Lance where he stood at the machines. A few orders later his smile melted off when his manager walked up. Her silver hair in a perfect ballerina bun on top of her head and a knowing smile on her face.
“A large black tea, please.”
Keith didn’t bother to look at the register as he put the order in, preferring to stare at Allura with dead eyes as she blinked innocently at him. “I thought you told me Tuesdays were slow,” he said, passing her card back.
She shrugged, stuffing her card back into her wallet. “They were.” She leaned against the counter, looking far too casual for being such a nosy busybody. “Perhaps people are just waiting for one of you two to ask the other out.”
He prayed the woman behind Allura—unfortunately a regular, medium caramel macchiato with almond milk—would ignore everything as he gave her back her change. Fake smile hurting as sharp eyes darted between him and the barista effortlessly swirling drinks together.
As she left with a little smile—or was that a smirk?—Allura sipped from the cup that was placed in front of her. “Thank you, Lance.”
Keith’s shoulders stiffened as he felt Lance move in behind him, close enough that a broad chest pressed against the back of his shoulder. “No problem, boss lady! You comin’ in to help your lowly servants, princess?”
Allura laughed, all silver bells and English tea and whatever other snobby stuff her English accent added to her laugh. “In about thirty minutes. Don’t forget to get a fifteen before the end of your shift.”
Lance saluted and Keith hated that he could feel him do that. He hated it even more when he could feel a chill against his back when he left.
He cleared his throat and waited for the buzz of the machine to drown out his voice, leaning just enough for Allura and her alone to hear him. “No one is waiting for anyone to ask anyone out!”
Allura hummed skeptically, swirling her drink around in her cup. “The only reason half of these people are here is that they’re waiting for you two to get together.”
“Well, why would they think that?” he hissed.
“Come, Keith, we all have seen you two flirt.”
“What flirting? There hasn’t been any flirting!” Keith ground out as the buzzing slowed to the clinking of glasses.
Allura remained completely unconvinced, taking a sip of her drink. “Hmm, Keith, could you get me some—oh,” she snapped her fingers a couple times, “what is it called again?”
Keith squinted in confusion. “Honey?”
“Yeah, hot stuff?”
Keith instantly went red, stammering and stuttering out something about needing the sweetener and shoving Lance to the back room to get it before turning back to a smug Allura.
She grinned into her cup, apparently completely fine with how it tasted.