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Iced Vanilla Latte

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When Felix walks in to the coffeeshop at 7 am, there’s already a line out the door. He takes in a deep breath and hurriedly tosses his stuff into the break room and dons an apron.

“I’m so glad you’re here right now,” Sue says as Felix walks behind the counter.

“Where did this rush even come from?” Felix ponders, starting on the next order. The coffeeshop was often busy Monday mornings, but not line-out-the-door busy.

Sue finishes making a caramel macchiato and yells out, “Devon!” before answering, “It’s the first day of the semester, we’re right by a college campus, and students need their caffeine.”

Felix laughs and says, “I didn’t even think about that, and I even have class later today. What classes are you taking this semester again?”

Before Sue replies, Felix takes the finished iced vanilla latte and yells out, “Milo!”

When the customer comes up to the counter, Felix is taken aback. The man looks to be around his age, maybe a little bit older, and is much taller than him. He has long hair, and warm brown eyes, and such a cute smile, and oh shit he’s talking-

“Thank you so much,” the man says, taking the drink from Felix.

“Uh- Oh- Uh- Y-yeah, no problem,” says Felix. He wants to smack himself in the head. He quickly turns around and begins to work on another drink.

Sue gives him side eye that he can feel without even looking at her.

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just have such an awfully embarrassing moment of gay panic,” she says, “Anyways, I have three engineering classes and a humanities class. You?”

The two of them continue to chat about classes and schoolwork, and they work through the Monday morning rush with ease.

The next Monday, Felix is working the register when the cute guy from last week comes in again.

“Hi, a large iced vanilla latte please,” the man says, smiling.

Felix tries to keep his calm as he rings in the order. He asks, “Name?”

“Milo,” the man responds.

“$4.30,” Felix says as he writes Milo’s name on a cup.

Milo pays with a card and then says, “Thanks, Felix.”

Felix immediately becomes flustered at Milo saying his name. Felix replies, “Uh- you’re welcome?”

Milo walks away to wait for his drink and Felix thinks How the hell did he know my name? before realizing he’s wearing a name tag. With his name on it.

For the next month or so, Milo comes in almost every Monday, and sometimes on Wednesdays and Fridays too. And he always orders a large iced vanilla latte. And he always smiles so genuinely at Felix.

Not that Felix is keeping track.

Felix asks for the last Friday in September off to celebrate his mother’s birthday.

On the following Monday, Milo’s conversation with Felix goes beyond basic customer service talk for the first time.

“Where were you last Friday? I missed you,” Milo says with a wink after ordering his drink.

Felix’s brain short circuits but he manages to reply, “I just had to- uh- do a thing with my mom.”

Milo smiles and says, “Well, it’s good to see you.”

Felix thinks about this interaction for the entire day.

It’s an oddly cold day in mid-October. Felix shivers every time a customer walks in or out and the door opens.

Milo shows up in the early afternoon, ordering his usual.

“How do you drink iced drinks even when it’s cold outside?” Felix asks after handing him his drink.

Milo laughs, “Just don’t really care for hot coffee.”

When Milo leaves, Mariah sighs and says, “Can you please just ask him out already? I’ve been watching you pine for like 2 months now.”

Felix coughs and almost chokes on absolutely nothing. “I- No- Wait- I don’t- That’s not- I don’t even know if he’s into guys-”

“Oh he’s definitely into guys,” Mariah says, “He ordered an iced coffee even though it’s freezing outside. He has to be gay.”

“Okay, well, that is some pretty strong evidence,” Felix says, “But still-”

Stanley walks out from the back stock. “You guys talking about that dude Felix has been ogling?”

“I have not been ogling-“

Mariah ignores him. “Yeah, Felix won’t ask him out.”
Stanley laughs and says, “Just go for it, man. He always looks super interested in you too. Also he seems like a really nice guy and doesn’t want to overstep boundaries since like, being nice to him is your job. So you gotta go for it first.”

Felix pauses for a moment and goes, “Okay. I’ll think about it.”

The next week, after Milo order his drink, Felix writes his number next to Milo’s name.

He’s busy helping out another customer and doesn’t get to see Milo’s reaction to the number. Nor does he see get to see Milo walk out of the store.

Felix is a nervous wreck the rest of the day.

Felix is working on his computer science homework later that night when his phone buzzes. Felix absolutely does not rush and fumble to get his phone.

Unknown number: Hey it’s Milo. Is this Felix?

Felix quickly types out a reply:

Felix: It is. Hello.

Milo: Oh, great! I’m so glad you gave me your number… I was starting to get worried that I was being creepy haha

Felix puts his face in his hands and lets out a muffled yell. He was so nice to Felix but he thought he was being creepy?

Felix: Not at all! And I’m glad you decided to text me.

Milo: Good to hear! So, are you free this weekend?

Felix can’t help but smile so stupidly as he texts Milo back.

Their first date is at a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that Milo highly recommended. The food is absolutely delicious and they talk for hours, staying long after they’ve finished their meals. Felix learns that Milo goes to the same university as him and is majoring in Music Theory, that he has a little sister, and that his favorite color is green.

Eventually they feel like they’ve maybe overstayed their welcome and walk out of the restaurant.

“How far away do you live from here?” Milo asks.

“I actually live like, a 10 minute walk away,” Felix replies.

“Oh,” Milo says, “I can walk you home if you want?”

Felix smiles. “That would be really nice.”

Milo smiles back and the two begin to walk towards Felix’s apartment, continuing to chat. About a third of the way in, Milo slips his hand into Felix’s, and it takes a lot for Felix to not immediately yell. (To be honest, it’s a little awkward because of the height difference, but neither of them care.)

They continue to hold hands the rest of the way. When they arrive at Felix’s apartment complex, Felix gives Milo’s hand a squeeze and lets go.

“I’ll see you again sometime soon?” Felix asks.

“Of course!” Milo answers, “I had a really good time tonight.”

“Me too,” Felix says, smiling.

They say their goodbyes, and Felix heads up to his apartment. He can’t stop smiling and giggling until he falls asleep.

For their second date, they go bowling. Milo and Felix are both awful. But it’s some of the most fun Felix has had in a while. They play one round too many and are absolutely exhausted by the end of the night.

This time, Milo drives Felix back home.

“Is it possible to get sore from bowling?” Felix asks in the car.

“Probably. I feel like I’m going to be,” Milo says, letting out a short laugh.

“Thank you for driving me home. I really appreciate it,” Felix says as Milo pulls up to Felix’s building.

Milo parks the car and turns to Felix. “It’s no problem.”

They look at each other for a moment, and Felix can’t help but how think about pretty Milo looks in the dim lighting of the few street lights around them.

Milo speaks again, “Can I… Can I kiss you?”

Felix feels the blush creep up on his face. But he nods, and Milo is leaning over, raising his hand so it cups Felix’s cheek. Felix closes the distance between them, and then they’re kissing.

Milo is so gentle as he kisses Felix. He’s slow and soft and Felix melts right into it.

A few moments later, they part and smile at each other.

“Thank you, again, for driving me home. And for tonight in general,” Felix says.

Milo drops his hand from Felix’s cheek. “No problem. I had a lot of fun. Have a good night, Felix.”

Felix gives one last smile and then gets out of the car.

Milo continues to be a regular at the coffeeshop. Their interactions stay the same, except they smile non-stop at each other.

Sue, Mariah, and Stanley watch them from afar and whisper to each other.

Felix eventually starts using his employee discount on Milo’s orders, so Milo’s a little less broke coming all of the time.

Their third date is at a showing of Avenue Q put on by their university’s theatre department. It’s hilarious, and the two laugh way more than they expected. Milo has his hand on Felix’s thigh the entire performance.

After their date, Milo drops Felix off again. And kisses him in the car again.

This time, Felix brings his hand to the back of Milo’s head, threading his fingers through Milo’s hair, and tugs a bit. The noise that Milo makes drives Felix absolutely crazy. Milo deepens the kiss and Felix happily reciprocates.

Their making out gets quite heated, and eventually Felix pulls away. Panting, he asks, “You wanna take this upstairs?”

“Absolutely,” Milo says, and the two waste no time going up to Felix’s apartment.

In late November, Milo shows up one day in the early morning. Felix is at the register and smiles, ringing him up.

After Milo pays, he says, “By the way, today’s my birthday.”

Felix lets out a gasp. “We’re dating and you didn’t tell me this until the day of?”

“My bad,” Milo says, “But I still wanted to let you know.”

Felix quickly comes out from behind the counter and grabs a green reusable tumbler from their display shelf. He pays for it, and then has Stanley make the iced vanilla latte in it.

“You’re here literally all the time, that’s a lot of plastic cups,” Felix says as he hands the drink to Milo, “Think of the environment. Also happy birthday.”

Milo lets out a wide smile and kisses Milo on the cheek. “Thank you so much.”

Felix blushes and smiles back.

Felix has his head in Milo’s lap, playing a game on his Switch. Milo is playing with Felix’s hair as he reads a book. A random Food Network show is playing on the TV at a low volume.

Felix puts down his Switch and looks up at Milo.

Milo looks back at Felix and asks, “Something wrong?”

Felix shakes his head. He replies, “No, just wanted to look at you.”

The two smile at each other. Felix goes back to his game, feeling the happiest he’s ever felt.