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Victory: Coffee!

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Betty's been working at this coffee shop for a couple years now, and she kind of hates it, but- okay, she kind of loves it, too. She both loves and hates it, because it is close, so close to what she wants, but also so very far away. She wants to work in a coffee shop, she just doesn't want to work in this coffee shop.

It's not that she doesn't like her boss; Lorna's great. She's funny and friendly and just slightly, or, okay, completely racist. Betty would be a lot happier without that last part. The time when Lorna sat her down to warn her about the Scottish and their penny-pinching ways is one of the strangest terrible-hilarious things that has happened to Betty in a while. She's not really sure how it is that it didn't occur to Lorna that someone with a "Mc" in their name might be Scottish.

Lorna's unexpectedly solid on the whole LGBT/queer issues thing, though, which Betty is really appreciative of. Betty sort of loves and hates, too, the way Lorna keeps booting her out from behind the counter to wipe down the tables - even if they've already been cleaned - when it's quiet and Betty's crush is around. She's a new regular and Betty thinks she might want to marry her.

Victory: Coffee! isn't really a student hangout, but that's what she is. She sits a little back from the window at a table by the wall with all of her notes spread out in front of her, flipping through textbooks and bobbing along to her music, headphones over her ears. She's got a walkman, this clunky cassette player that she hauls around everywhere with her and Betty doesn't know what that's about but she wants to. Betty catches her singing little snippets to herself sometimes, overhears her when she's wiping down tables, and it makes Betty smile. She's got a good voice, a voice like something good, and Betty thinks that even if she didn't, it wouldn't matter.

Betty can't seem to stop grinning whenever she's around, and she feels so vulnerable with it, like everyone's got to know that she's half in love with this girl already, and the day that Betty accidentally catches her eye when she's rapping to herself about French verbs and she blushes and ducks her head down and fidgets a little before going back to it, Betty thinks maybe, maybe, maybe something will happen.

It would probably help a lot if Betty could actually get up the courage to start an actual conversation with her; she doesn't think taking her coffee order counts. She thinks that, maybe, she could say something about the weather the next time her crush comes in - it's been snowing a lot, lately. Betty keeps opening her door in the morning and then closing it right back up again so that she can unlace her boots and then relace them with her pants tucked inside them; if she doesn’t the water from that slush-snow-ice-salt-puddle mixture she walks through to get to work travels up her pants like the chromatography experiment she did in high school biology. Betty's crush has been coming into the shop wearing Sorel boots and skirts that look thicker than normal with colourful socks or stockings that just peep out between her boots and skirt. Her coat is a little thin-looking and when she takes it off she also pulls the cardigan she's wearing beneath it off, along with a hat, scarf, and mitts that look homemade. Her cheeks are all pink from the cold and she looks adorable when she comes in. She looks like the sort of girl that should be drinking hot chocolate, but she only ever orders coffee that she fixes herself once it's been handed to her.

Betty doesn't think that it's that she doesn't trust anyone else to get the mixture just right, because it seems to change each day - two sugars and no cream, a double-double, three creams and no sugar. Betty's not sure she ever has it the same way twice, or that she knows what she's going to put in it before she does. Betty wants to know what that's about. She thinks that's something she could ask her, after they talk about the weather a little and maybe what she's going to school for and where she learned to sing. Maybe, she thinks, when Betty opens up a coffee shop of her own she could sing there. Maybe.

Betty imagines, sometimes, what her coffee shop will be like - it's going to happen, just as soon as she has enough money saved up, and it's going to be amazing. It's going to be the best coffee shop in Toronto and it's going to serve the best coffee and tea and the best baked goods and it's going to be hers. Lately, when Betty imagines it, she imagines her crush singing in the corner, and it's nice- it's nice to think about and something good to think about when she's having a bad day and needs something good.

This is before Betty’s crush comes in with this ridiculous princess - what is she an Eaton or something? - with a fur coat and airs and an expensive drink order.

Betty had already hated her for the coat alone and then the princess is all over Betty's girl and she orders the same thing for "Kate" and pays for both of them. So Betty knows that her name is Kate now, and, okay, she was working up to asking her, talking to her - it's just that she seemed really shy, really introverted and Betty'd worked this up to something really big in her head, and now she feels like the ground's been swept out from under her.

Kate's all over the princess, too, in her space, touching her clothes, and they're sitting at a table laughing together, and probably playing footsie underneath the table and Kate looks so happy and Betty feels like shit, and she feels like shit for feeling like shit.

She's moping behind the counter after they've gone when Edith says to her, "Oh, honey. Are you jealous? Her friend was wearing a ring - I think she's married or engaged. You've probably still got a shot, if you'd just talk to her."

"Do you think so?" she asks, and she hates how her voice sounds right now, how needy it is.

"Yeah, I do."

So Betty starts talking to Kate when she comes in, a little, and it's good, and it's also terrible, because she thinks that before she was kind of in love with the idea of Kate more than anything else, but now she thinks that she's falling, a little -that she could fall in love with this woman. She's smart and funny and enthusiastic and open and friendly and kind of adorably naive and she's got this sad smile sometimes like she's got a secret and Betty wants to know it, wants to make that smile go away, make Kate happy, and if all of the girls that she works with didn't know that she had a crush on Kate before, they do now.

Edith was right about Kate's friend - Gladys - being engaged, and Betty really needs to ask Kate out, but it's almost worse than before, now, because she knows Kate now and knows, a little, what she's going to be missing if Kate turns her down, but Vera's been threatening to do it for her lately and Betty thinks she's serious. She still keeps chickening out, though.

One day when Kate's in and they're talking Call Me Maybe comes on the radio for the umpteenth time and Betty... finds herself learning Kate's little dance to it despite how much she hates the song, and it's fun and then she has to go deal with the afternoon rush and Kate goes back to her books and when she looks up at one point, she sees Vera talking to Kate, shit, and then, later, at the end of the rush Kate's at the end of the line, all packed up to go. She seems a little flustered.

"So, Gladys told me- only I didn't believe her, but then Vera said just now, that? And I've never done this before, but-" She shoves a piece of paper into Betty's hand and runs out the door.

Betty feels a little like she just got hit by a truck. She unfolds the paper and there are ten digits written down inside and the words "Call me, maybe." Oh my god. Kate just gave her her phone number, and Carly Rae Jepsen lyrics, and Betty is going to call her. Something’s going to happen, and, maybe, maybe, when Betty saves up enough money and opens up her own coffee shop Kate will come and sing for her after all.