When Jedediah enters the local coffee shop, The Roasted Haven, a little girl nearly runs into him. She skids to a halt before running face first into his legs.
“Whoa,” Jed gasps, nearly falling over. A man not much older than him comes over, short black hair, glasses resting on the bridge of his nose.
“Julia!” he exclaims, sweeping the girl up into his arms. “I’m sorry about that,” he apologizes, looking at the Texan. “My daughter is very energetic.” Jedediah laughs and gives the man a brilliant smile, causing the other man to blush slightly. “My name’s Octavius.” Wow, he’s beautiful, Octavius thinks.
“Name’s Jedediah,” Jed states, still smiling. “Nice ta meet ya, Octy.”
“That’s a silly nickname! Octy!” Julia says, smiling. “You can put me down now, Daddy.” Octavius sets her down and she walks over to what he assumes is their table. A laptop set upon it with papers strewn across the table.
“Sorry to bother you.” Octavius walks away and sits across from Julia, starting to type something on his computer. Jedediah walks over to the counter. The barista smiles kindly at him. Jedediah looks at the nametag, realizing that it isn’t Larry manning the cashier like usual. It reads Brandon.
“What would you like?” Brandon wonders. Jedediah taps his chin before ordering.
“I’ll have a small, white chocolate mocha, please,” he orders, then pays for the drink. Brandon gives him his change then tells Larry what he ordered. Larry goes to make the coffee. Jedediah waits for his coffee before sitting down at a table close by Octavius’s. Once he does sit down, Julia immediately begins to talk to the Texan.
“Sorry about almost running into you,” she states sheepishly. Jedediah gives her a warm smile and pats her on the head.
“No problemo, darlin’. You didn’t actually run into me,” Jed responds. Julia smiles and lets out a sigh of relief. “What’s your daddy workin’ on?” he wonders, glancing over to the Italian. Julia looks over at him too.
“Hmm, I don’t know actually. Hey, Daddy,” Octavius looks up from his laptop. “What are you working on? Jeddy wants to know.” Jed stifles a laugh once he hears his new nickname. Octavius clearly thought it was amusing as well, having to take a moment to answer the question.
“I’m working on some paperwork for my job,” he replies. “The atmosphere here helps me concentrate. As well as the caffeine.” Octavius points at his nearly empty cup of coffee. The bell chimes, signaling another person entering The Roasted Haven. Automatically, Jedediah looks at the door.
“Hey, Ahk!” Larry and Jed greet in sync. Ahkmenrah waves at them. Octavius raises an eyebrow.
“How do you know him?” Octavius wonders.
“Well, we’re both regulars. There’s a couple o’ others too,” the Texan explains. “You should come here more often, everyone is real nice and friendly.”
“Yeah! I like it here Daddy! And Jeddy is really nice,” Julia chimes in. Octavius ruffles her hair and smiles. “They also have really good food.”
“Lesley would love to hear that!” Larry suddenly shouts as a response to Julia’s comment.
“Why do you call him by his first name suddenly?” Ahkmenrah asks Larry, voice considerable quieter than Larry’s was. He’s leaning against the counter, having been chatting with the barista. Larry shrugs and they continue their conversation.
“Who’s Lesley?” Octavius wonders.
“The owner o’ the place. Usually there’s another barista, Attila. He only makes tea though,” Jedediah informs. “Also Ahkmenrah plans on asking Larry out today,” he whispers, leaning forward. Julia’s eyes light up, and she nearly jumps out of her chair.
“Really?” Octavius mutters. “I hope he isn’t rejected.”
“Daddy, you like boys too, right?” Julia asks. Jed lifts his eyebrows and looks at the man across from him. Octavius clears his throat, face turning bright red. He opens his mouth, then closes it.
“Well, technically I like men, but, yes,” he finally responds. Just as Jedediah is about to respond, he catches a bit of conversation from over by the counter.
“I mean, I guess what I want to say is,” Ahkmenrah is saying. Jedediah holds his index finger to his lips, then points at Ahk. Octavius looks over at them as well. “Do you, perhaps, uh, w-want to, umm, go out for dinner t-tonight?” Larry’s jaw drops. Ahk’s fingers are twitching slightly.
“…I would love to,” Larry answers after an uncomfortable silence. Ahkmenrah lets out a sigh of relief, his shoulders visibly relaxing. “Where will we be going? Is 7 o’clock okay?” Ahkmenrah nods in agreement to the said time.
“That’s a surprise,” Ahk adds. “Don’t worry, I’ll pick you up. I know where you live.” Larry’s eyes widen in confusion.
“I, uh, I never told you where I live.” Ahkmenrah laughs.
“I’m joking, Larry! I don’t actually know where you live, which I probably should know since I’m going to pick you up.”
“That was a little dark, Ahk!” Jedediah tells the Egyptian. Octavius chuckles. Ahkmenrah looks back at the Texan and grins, giving him a thumbs-up. “Maybe next time ya might wanna say somethin’ less stalker-ish.”
“See ya fellas!” Jedediah says, waving at Larry and Ahk. “Hope yer date goes well! Bye Octavius, Julia. I gotta go meet up with my buddy, Amelia.” Jedediah stands from his table and walks toward the door.
“Wait!” Octavius calls out. Jedediah stops and turns around. Octavius is right in front of him. “I would like to spend more time with you, as in, well do you want to, perhaps, go out sometime? On a date?” Jedediah glances around, eyes wide.
“I’m ain’t, uh, queer,” he says, loud enough for other people in the cafe to hear him, Octavius looks crestfallen. Then he whispers back, “I would love ta, but I don’t want anyone ta know.”
“We’ll keep it a secret then.” Octavius winks at him and goes back to his table to gather his things. Jedediah follows him over. Octavius quickly writes something on a slip of paper and hands it to the Texan. “Come to this address whenever you feel like.”
“Don’t worry, it’s just my house address,” Octavius murmurs. Jed takes it and leaves the cafe, but not before taking the slip of paper.
“Is Jeddy coming over to our house later?” Julia wonders. Octavius smiles at his daughter and nods.
“Hopefully,” he responds. “Farewell Larry, Brandon, Ahkmenrah.”
“Bye! Hope to see you again,” Larry replies.
“Bye!” the other two say. Julia waves at the men.