“Yeah, I got his email this morning. Can you have Isaac call him in for a second meeting? There’s a lot we still need to go over and honestly, I don’t know if this is something we even want to sign on for.”
Stiles spun around, his eyes locking onto the greatest source of annoyance in his life, Phone Guy, also known as “Derek”. He was a complete asshole. Why were all the hot ones such jerks? Honestly. Life wasn’t fair.
“What can I get for you?” Stiles asked. This being the third day in a row Derek had come in for coffee, he remembered the man’s order. But he wasn’t about to make this any easier on him.
“Venti macchiato. No, Erica—don’t mention it to Cora. I’ll never hear the end of it. We both know how much we need this contract.”
“Name for the order?”
“Derek. Listen to me, just this once, Erica.”
Stiles turned his back to Derek and began preparing the macchiato, obnoxiously mimicking Derek speaking as he did so.
Just as he began to write the letter “D” on Derek’s cup, a thought occurred to him. He stopped, formed the “D” into a “P” and scribbled the rest of the new ‘name’ onto Derek’s cup.
He handed the drink off to Greenberg to pass out to Derek. “Uhh, Venti macchiato for…Phone Guy?”
The look on Derek’s face was worth it.
The next morning, Derek showed up at about the same time. Bright and early at 6am. And guess what?
On the phone.
“Why didn’t you mention that sooner?” he asked, his tone biting. Clearly he needed his coffee to turn into a decent human being, or at least, Stiles hoped so, for the sake of whoever else had to deal with him today.
“What can I get you?”
“Venti macchiato. No, Erica, I’m getting myself coffee. Get your own.”
Stiles had his full attention for about 5 seconds, long enough for Derek to glare and growl out his name again.
Apparently he was annoyed about the thing with the name and the writing and the cup.
“Sure,” Stiles said, spinning around to get the drink started. He scribbled a name on the cup and waited on the next person in line before finishing up Derek’s drink, all the while tamping down an absolutely awful grin. His customer probably thought he was going insane. (Maybe he was.)
When Greenberg read out the name and order for “Drake”, Derek at least had the decency to school his expression into something semi-civilized when he looked over at Stiles.
Was he suspicious?
Probably not yet.
Besides, it was an honest mistake. Really, it was.
The fifth time Derek came in was Friday morning at 6:30 and there was a line nearly out the door. Stiles rang in his order without asking what he wanted and Derek looked only marginally surprised. Well, his eyebrows looked surprised. The rest of his face didn’t care. He was too busy talking to that Erica chick again.
Scott was in today. Innocent as could be, he read off “Macchiato for Diego” and handed the drink to a very, very unamused Derek.
Stiles ducked into the break room and laughed for a good five minutes. Someone popped there head in to check on him, but he couldn’t manage anything more than a gurgled laugh and a thumbs up in response.
It’d be so worth it if he got fired over this.
Oh wait. Ha.
Good thing he owned the place.
Derek showed up next on Sunday. Apparently he didn’t work on Saturdays. Or something. Again, he was on the phone. But this time, it seemed to be someone else. Someone important that he needed to be on his best behavior for. He didn’t say anything back, just listened.
They silently went through the transaction, Derek looking like he had a few choice words for Stiles, but he kept his mouth shut. Definitely an important call.
Better keep it simple, then, Stiles told himself.
It being Sunday morning, he didn’t have anyone else running the counter with him, which honestly, made this so much better.
“I have a macchiato here for—,” he squinted at the name he had written on the cup, like he didn’t remember what he’d just put on it. “For Dominik.”
He handed Derek’s drink over with a straight-face and a “Have a great day!”
If looks could kill, Stiles would at least be in the ICU right now.
Naturally, Stiles decided it was time to step it up a bit. The next time Derek came in was, of course, Monday at half past dawn o’clock in the morning.
For once, the man wasn’t on the phone. When he finally got to the counter, however, Stiles realized he was texting fervently. Great.
He rang him out and got his cup started, handing it over to Malia without a word.
Waiting on other customers, he barely heard the tail end of his dear Malia gracefully announcing a drink for “Darth Vader.”
Stiles held his breath, desperately trying not to burst into a fit of giggles. Oh god, if only he could have seen Derek’s face on that one.
God, this was just getting so weird.
Stiles had lists and lists of names beginning with the letter D forming in his head at all times. Always in his spare time, his brain would be scrounging for good names. He thought of several good ones in the shower that morning, actually. God, it was going to be so hard to choose.
“Can you stop writing weird things on my cup?” Derek demanded, in lieu of saying hello or how are you or anything else polite.
“I’m great, thanks. How are you?” Stiles said, smiling as big and stupidly as he could.
When Derek got his drink that day, it read “Dannika” with a little heart.
Stiles made sure to turn and wave when he felt Derek’s glare burning into his back.
The next morning, Derek didn’t speak to him. He let Stiles ring him out, paid, and waited impatiently for his drink.
Stiles frowned and penned the name “Draco” on the side of Derek’s cup.
He didn’t even give Stiles a chance to read it aloud before he was snatching it from his hand and leaving the store.
Well, Stiles knew what the next name was going to be.
Derek didn’t show up on Thursday. Stiles got worried when he still wasn’t in by midday Friday.
He was beginning to wonder if he had pushed a little too far when in walked Derek, looking like he hadn’t slept in three days. Which, maybe he hadn’t? He did seem to have a slight coffee problem.
This time, Derek was on the phone again, but it didn’t sound like a particularly good conversation. “No, are you even—Cora! Are you even listening to me?”
Derek’s tone was placating. “Yes, I know, Cora. Your job is the hardest of them all. You’re stressed out. Of course.”
The woman on the other end of the phone yelled so loudly that Stiles caught the end of her sentence, “—mocking me?”
Whoever this Cora person was, she seemed almost as rude as Derek was. Maybe they were related. Stiles almost got a giggle out of that, if not for the fact that the look on Derek’s face was sliding towards something like remorse.
“No! Can you wait five minutes? I’m just trying to—“
There was a pause and then Derek sucked in a deep breath, like he’d just been punched in the stomach. “Cora, I’m not—what the hell does that have to do with this?”
Derek seemed to deflate, his emotions completely draining from his facial expression. Stiles could swear the air temperature felt cooler around them.
He could still hear the muffled sounds of a voice shouting at Derek, something about “the fire” and “girlfriend” and definitely the words “your fault”. He didn’t know what to do. So he turned right around and made a venti macchiato.
“Hey, man. Here’s your drink.” He tried to sound extra upbeat, if only to offset Derek’s dark mood.
Derek fumbled for his wallet, but Stiles held up a hand to stop him. “On the house. Your, uh,” he counted quickly in his head, “your 8th one’s free?”
Derek’s face did a weird thing, like he wasn’t sure if he should trust Stiles. His eyebrows seemed confused again. They really didn’t like Stiles all that well.
Stiles handed over the cup without mentioning what he’d written on the side and if Derek read it, he waited until he got out of the shop to do so.
Derek stopped by later, no phone, not even in his hand as it always was. He walked right up to the counter, passed the line of about 5 customers, with his—oh, his cup.
“Hey—“ Stiles started, only to have Derek glare harder at him. “What? What did I do?”
“You’re annoying. Do you know that?”
“Yes, born and raised!”
“That makes no sense at all.”
“Fine, but that’s beside the point. What can I do for you this fine afternoon?”
“First of all, I want my free refill,” Derek said, gesturing to his cup. He looked like he was ready to fight for it if he had to.
Stiles started on the drink, in a new cup, but Derek was apparently not done talking yet. “Why did you write this on my cup?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Diego.”
Derek huffed, then read the words aloud in probably the brattiest voice Stiles had ever heard. “Diego, I’m sorry you’re having a shitty day. Keep your chin up! PS. Free refills all day just for you.”
He didn’t mention the little heart Stiles had drawn at the end, immediately regretted, and then accepted as probably one of the bigger mistakes in his life so far.
“Wow, great impression of me, but what’s wrong with what I wrote?”
Derek gestured to the cup. “You repeated the name Diego.”
“Okay, sure. But that’s because it’s my favorite one.”
Derek huffed, leaning further across the counter. “Why did you write this?”
“Why not?” Stiles put his hands up, slightly worried that Derek was about to cause a scene in his lovely little coffee shop. Mom would not have let that happen and Stiles was determined to uphold her legacy. Claudia’s Coffee had been and always would be a respectable establishment, goddammit.
Besides, this was mostly his fault anyways, so he really needed to deal with it.
Stiles grumbled under his breath about demanding customers and for the first time in probably a couple minutes, realized there was still quite a line in the store. Why Greenberg was just standing there and not trying to help Stiles out was a complete mystery. (But not really.)
“Greenberg, can you come here and work on this line for me? I’m terribly sorry everyone. I know this is probably screwing up your entire morning. Half off everyone’s orders, okay?” Stiles announced, patting Greenberg on the back when he finally trotted over.
A little nervous, Stiles turned back to Derek and directed him towards the end of the counter where they could have a more private conversation.
“Okay, sorry. Look, you’re in here every day and I look forward to seeing you and then you were upset today. I felt bad and I didn’t know how else to help. I’m really sorry. I’ll stop writing weird shit on your cups.”
Derek’s face twisted up into a thousand different emotions at once before he finally got himself under control. “That’s not—it’s not about you writing on my cups.”
“It’s not?” Stiles asked, feeling his face pinch in confusion.
“No,” he said, then spoke in a quiet voice, “It’s about you caring that I’m having a bad day.”
“Oh. Oh shit,” Stiles tensed, anticipating some kind of argument. This one was going to be much harder to clean up. “Should I…not do that?”
Derek frowned. Stiles panicked.
“Okay, then I don’t care. You can pay for your refill and we’ll pretend I never made any weirdly forward gestures—“
“No, that’s not what I meant!” Derek all but shouted, stunning Stiles into silence. Not exactly the reaction he had been anticipating. To say he was perplexed was an understatement.
Stiles waited, assuming Derek had some kind of explanation. If he opened his mouth to ask, Stiles knew he was going to end up babbling like an idiot and making this so much worse.
“I’m sorry. I’m didn’t mean to—,” he sighed, his eyes never quite meeting Stiles. “I know it’s just an excuse, but I’m bad with people. I guess you noticed.”
Stiles smiled, hesitant at first. But then Derek was looking at him and his mouth quirked up a little at the corners, and it was like something clicked into place between them.
“It’s okay. I know you must be busy, so I’ll get your drink for you, okay?”
Stiles backed away from the counter, grinning at Derek for as long as he possibly could.
“Yeah, thank you.”
Derek’s eyebrows were still unimpressed by Stiles’ antics.
When Derek took his cup directly from Stiles, his smile lighting up the entire goddamn room, he didn’t even think to look at the side of it. They stared at each for a little too long, Stiles only breaking eye contact when that guy, Greenberg or whatever, shouted something profane loudly enough for the whole store to hear.
It wasn’t until Derek reached his car that he realized something: he didn’t even know the guy’s name. So much for social skills.
Mourning this major slip-up, he began to pry the lid off his too hot drink so that it would cool faster, when he saw it. There was an actual note—penned by a familiar hand—folded up and taped to his cup.
Call me as soon as you’re busy doing something else! Preferably if you are with “Erica”.
But seriously, call me. Text me. Mail me a letter at the shop. I don’t care.
See you tomorrow?
He called in the middle of his first meeting of the day—which happened to be with Gerard Argent and some of the subcontractors for his building project—excusing himself from the room only after Stiles had him forcing back laughter with rapidly decreasing levels of success.
He would have worried about getting fired, but technically, he owned the company.
And besides, after all the times he’d been on the phone at Claudia’s Coffee, he had a lot of making up to do with Stiles.