This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Something About a Coffee Shop

Brian could feel himself exhaling deeply in the comfort of the Legend. Soon he was watching Terra, Lauren, and the black Ford Explorer drive away. The hood of the Legend was still buckled, but the engine revved along blissfully.
“Of course, I’m at fault,” Trevor began.
He’s gonna ask for money.
He didn’t care. Let him ask. He was still savoring the fact that he had had a perfectly normal conversation with the most beautiful girl he had ever met. He blinked.
Did that even happen?
“…which means that my premiums are going to go up, and the frequency in which we visit ‘ol Fiorito’s is going down. How’d things go with Terra?”
Terra…is he asking a question? Yeah…definitely asking a question…
“uh…she’s great. We talked. Umm…”
Trevor gave him a wry smile. “Alright…tell me about her.”
Brian reflected for a moment before he realized that the words he was about to say was, in fact, the truth. He formed the words carefully, checking and double checking their accuracy struggling to believe it all the way.
“I just ‘get her’, ya know?” He asked Trevor as much as he asked himself. He did.
“Awesome man. Glad it went well for you,” Trevor said as pastel house after pastel house passed outside.
“Yeah man, thanks. Really. You didn’t have to wreck your car like that.”
He stared at the buckled front hood. That wasn’t going to be cheap.
“Ha. You’re right I didn’t. Prolly shouldn’t have.”
“So…Lauren?” Brian tried to give his friend a chance to talk.
“She’s cool. Taken, but cool. I did try to do what you said. With the thinking differently and all.”
“Yeah? And…”
“Stupid hard.” Trevor shook his head. “But at one point I had myself convinced she was my cousin…and that helped.”
Brian laughed. “Go with whatever works,” he said. Trevor pulled out onto 62nd Street. His question t-boned Brian’s train of thought.
“Do you think she enjoyed talking to you as much as you apparently enjoyed talking to her?”His arm slung haphazardly over the wheel.
How on earth?…
“Sure…I mean, I think so,” Brian struggled to answer.
“You think so?”
“Well…how else would I know?”
“What did she say when you asked for her number?”
“You did ask her for her number.”
“Please tell me you got her number. Brian. I’m going to kill you. No…I’m going to lock you in this car, set it on fire, and walk away if you tell me you didn’t get her number.”
Silence. Brian could feel his mouth go dry.
“Dang it Brian! You’re going to die single. You know that? Single. Alone. Forever.”
The words landed like a failing grade on a final.
Was that true?
“Dude…she was wiped! She told me she had just caught the red-eye from Venezuela,” He found a flare.
“So…it just seemed…wrong.”
Trevor inhaled.
“Let me get this straight. I wreck my car for you to meet one of the most attractive women you’ve ever seen. You have a phenomenal conversation with her, but you waste it because ‘it seemed wrong’. Have I got that right?”
“It wasn’t a waste!” Brian shot back.
“Oh yeah? How so? How do you plan on wooing her now? I know! You could shoot her a text! Nice to meet you, had a great time chatting. Let’s catch up! OH WAIT! YOU CAN’T!” Trevor shouted.
How could he blame him? That buckled hood was over a grand in damage, and his friend had nothing to show for it. Anger and regret mixed in his stomach like wet concrete.
“It just didn’t seem right man.”
“Right? What the heck does that even mean? How could it have been any more right?”
“She was tired! I didn’t feel like asking okay! Lay off!”
“Brian. You have got to bend a rule now and then. You’re not breaking anything. There’s nothing wrong asking her for her number when you’ve just had a great conversation with her.”
Brian sunk deep into the passenger seat. They passed a do-nut shop with a sign for 50 cent coffee.
“You’re right. I think I blew it. How long does it take for a coffee shop to hire someone?”
“I’d say a week or so, maybe less if they’re scraping for someone. Why?”
“Terra had just visited Beanies, she told me that Lauren made her apply there.”
“You’re gonna hate this, but I think that’s a good thing.”
“She’s gonna forget me.” Brian rested his forehead to the passenger side window, and stared out. He breathed heavily before turning around to check the clock on the dashboard. The clock read 10:15. He had fifteen minutes.
“Can you drop me off at the library? I don’t have time to go by my apartment. Kevin is gonna skin me if I’m late again.”
“Sure, will you need a ride home?”
“Naw, I’ll grab a bus.”
Trevor turned onto 7th Avenue and headed north towards the relatively new Arcola Lakes Branch. Brian’s mind kicked into work mode as he thought about the after-school and community programs, and the pile of books that would need to be re-catalogued. He didn’t mind. The place was quiet, the people were always friendly, and even Kevin was a pretty cool boss. He just needed to be on time.


Lauren hit the accelerator and sent the Explorer rocketing towards I-95. Terra thought about Venezuela, how on earth she was going to deposit two gold bars into her account without raising eyebrows, and the cute guy that wasn’t interested in her.
Why should he be? No makeup, no sleep, no chance. Still…
“You okay girl? Almost home. Then you can pass out.”
“I’m still ticked you made me fill out an application. I look like crap.” She pulled down the window visor and looked at herself in the mirror.
“Mario knows what you look like. Besides, I told him you’d been up all night flying in from vacation.”
“Ugh. I’m too tired to care. You seemed awfully chatty with that guy.” Terra glanced over at her friend hoping she’d change the subject. She bit.
“He was nice.”
That was Lauren’s catch-all for describing guys she was crushing on, but didn’t want to admit it. She pushed.
“Nice.” Lauren said with finality.
“He asked you out didn’t he?”
Lauren bobbled her head as if trying to decide how to answer. Terra rolled her eyes. “He did! Ugh. I can peg his type from a mile away.”
“I told him I was taken.”
Finally girl. At least you’re getting smarter.
Historically, Lauren fell for bad-news types like a trailer house in a hurricane. It was good to see her standing up for herself.
“Devious,” Terra let a playfully mischievous smile sneak across her face.
“I know. And yet he still copied my number off the insurance form and into his phone.”
Terra opened her mouth and laughed.
“Ha. He didn’t buy it,” she said.
“I’m just not convincing enough ya know?” Lauren shook her head.
“It’s true, you’re an awful liar,” Terra said as she removed a stick of gum from her purse.
“Not like you.”
“Excuse me?” Terra recoiled feigning offense.
Lauren laughed.
“Oh…oh don’t even! Please. And I wasn’t the only one playing chatty Cathy!” Lauren turned the tables. Terra popped her gum, and closed her eyes. A goofy grin stretched across her face.
So what if she liked the guy that talked to her on the side of the road?
“I knew it. You were totally diggin on him!”
“I’m tired.”
“Yeah. Uh huh.”
“Doesn’t matter. He wasn’t interested.” Terra crossed her arms.
She wasn’t about to let some freak-accident boy ruin her day. She had bigger things to worry about.
“And what gives you that impression?”
“He was about to ask for my number, and then at the last second, he bailed. Not interested.”
“Well…you do look like crap,” Lauren said in a playful told-you-so tone.
Terra hit her shoulder.
“Hey!” Lauren exclaimed before continuing, “Terra. The guy was scared. Didn’t you notice?”
“Pale skin, corduroy pants, long sleeve shirt?”
“Yeah…he was cute. So?”
“You’re missing it. It’s 85 out here. No guy just out of college with an outside job is going to be wearing corduroys or a long sleeve. The kid works inside all day.”
“Let’s review inside jobs shall we? Business? Nope. Not dressed that nice. Grocery or retail? Probably not since most shops require a uniform. Tech? Hmm…could be. Government job? Likely.”
“Nice try Sherlock. How’d you know for real?” Terra wasn’t buying a word of it.
“Fine.” Lauren capitulated. “I saw his ID card. He works at the library.”
“Ha. Busted. Why does that make him scared?”
“It doesn’t. But, you didn’t see him take a deep breath before he went and handed you that water bottle,” Lauren said with a promising smile.

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