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The Caffeine Demon

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When that cute lady with the laptop came up to the counter for the fourth time since she’d arrived in the coffee shop two hour ago, Mary started to get worried. She expected this order to be the same distracted mutter of “large black coffee” accompanied by a credit card being pushed across the counter, but this time the woman paused, eyeing the sample cup sizes on the counter next to the register. She bit her lip distractingly (not that Mary was looking) and tapped her fingers on her chin.

“How much would it cost to fill a large cup with espresso?”

Mary stared at the woman— or demon?— in horror.

“…No.”

“What?”

The woman had turned to look at her now, dark brown eyes piercing. Mary could feel sweat beading on her brow.

“I— I mean… you’ll have to wait for us to pull the shots. The ones sitting in the cup will get bitter.”

“Taste means nothing to me.”

Mary gulped. Clearly this was no normal human she was dealing with here. She turned to the register screen, trying to fathom what was even being asked of her.

“…well. The biggest espresso we have is a triple, so that’s gonna be… a triple espresso plus… 27 shots.”

The woman hummed, glancing up at the menu, unfazed by the awe and fear in Mary’s voice.

“You have those energy packets. How many of those can you put in?”

At least this Mary knew the answer to.

“Uh, legally? We can only give you one.”

“Fine, add one then.”

Mary rang up the total, and swiped the credit card that was slid across the counter towards her. The order printed out, and she passed it silently to Irene at the espresso machine, unable to voice the hellish order as she was supposed to. Irene, technically Mary’s boss, opened her mouth to gently admonish the breach in protocol, then looked down at the order. She looked back up at Mary.

“No.”

Mary shrugged helplessly.

“…Yes?”

Irene looked down the counter to where that beautiful woman stood, apparently totally unaware of the chaos she was causing. Mary could see recognition flicker in Irene’s eyes. Her soft, gentle, voice was full of disbelief.

“That woman’s a demon. I’ve seen her in here working from open to close before. But this…”

Mary nodded in silent agreement, and Irene began the solemn work of pulling shot after shot into the cup. Mary couldn’t bring herself to look away. Finally, Irene emptied the energy packet into the drink, capped it, and passed in to Mary, who walked over to where the woman was waiting.

“One hell beverage for the hot demon lady?”

From behind her, Irene squeaked, and Mary stared at the woman in horror as she realized she’d said that out loud. The woman turned, ever so slowly, and Mary found herself shrinking back. She was never, ever, going to live this down. Irene was definitely going to reprimand her for this, and worse, she’d just insulted the woman she’d been crushing on for weeks. This was the end of the line for Mary Sage—

“Nadiya.”

“U-uh… what?”

The woman leaned over the counter a bit, a smirk twisting across her face, and Mary short circuited again.

“It’s Nadiya Jones. Although “hot demon lady” isn’t the worst I’ve heard.”

Mary stared at her, unable to form words as Nadiya reached across the counter, her hand brushing Mary’s as she took the cup of hell liquid.

And tipped it back, draining about half the cup.

Her expression still unchanged, Nadiya sauntered back to her table with the cup and sat down at her laptop again. Mary watched her all the way, awestruck.

Well, that was it. Mary Sage was officially in love.