Gabi stared, dazed, out the window, half-listening to the buzz of noise around her. It was her slow hour, just after the morning rush and just before the lunch crowd filtered in. The coffee shop she worked at, Café et Thé, had a good mix of comfortable broken-in seating and high tables for people to work at, so there were always people around, mostly her regulars, but they were all busy with their laptops and books and conversations. Sam wasn’t here yet to entertain her, so she just watched people out the window. A man with a vivid purple mohawk and a business suit walked by Paulo, the shop’s local mailman. Gabi grabbed a cup and filled it with the daily blend and a sugar cube, just in time for Paulo to walk in and set a dollar and change on the counter.
“Thanks Gabi, you’re a lifesaver.” He grabbed the coffee and continued on his route. The shop’s ancient cd player clunked as it changed cds, and The Thomas Crown Affair soundtrack came on. Her boss loved this one. Gabi didn’t mind it too much, but whenever “Kaban La Ka Kratchie" came on it jarred a bit and didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the shop’s ambience.
She noticed they were beginning to run low on cup lids, so she ran in the back room to restock. As soon as she got back into the shelves, she heard the shop’s door jingle. Of course, she sighed. She grabbed the lids and hurried back.
“Can I help y–“ Sam smiled at her, stopping her mid-sentence.
“Where would you like me to put them?” Gabi shook herself out of her dazed stare and noticed the large sack of green coffee beans slung over Sam’s shoulder.
“Oh! Over here, please.” Sam followed her to the end of the counter and around to the large roasting area at the back of the shop. He set the bag in the corner where Gabi pointed and then turned back to her. Gabi realized how close she was standing and awkwardly took a step back.
“Do you need help with anything else? I noticed one of the lights was starting to flicker.” Sam sometimes helped as the shop’s handyman as well as delivering their coffee when it came in.
“Uh, yeah, that’d be great. I’ll grab the ladder.” Gabi turned to go get it out of the back room, but Sam grabbed her shoulder.
“That’s alright, I know where it is, and anyway, it looks like you might be getting busy.” He pointed, and a few people walked in and began lining up at the counter.
After she finished the last customer’s rather complicated order, she looked around. She sighed. Sam must have left while I was busy. Gabi turned to take out the trash. She pushed open the back door of the shop and collided with Sam. He caught her elbow to help keep her from falling and then took the trash bag from her hand.
“Allow me. It’s the least I can do after nearly knocking you over.” Gabi smiled and slid around him to hold the door open for him. He lifted the dumpster lid and tossed the bag up and over the high edge with ease, (something Gabi idly envied, as she was 5’2” and always fought with the dumpster.) He walked back and took the door from her and motioned for her to lead in. She walked back behind the counter to wash her hands, and he followed. He bumped shoulders with her, and she laughed. She splashed him lightly in the face with water, and he sputtered, which made her laugh harder. Some businessmen meeting in the corner looked up and glared at the noise, but her regulars smiled. Gabi tossed a towel to Sam, then grabbed a fresh one from under the counter. He grinned at her as he dried his face off.
“So, Gabi, I was thinking.” Sam stepped closer to hand her the towel. “I think we should date.” Gabi’s eyes grew wide.
“Are you sure? I mean…that’s not what I meant. But, just, really? I need to stop talking now.” Gabi put her hand over her mouth to stop the flow of questions. Sam arched an eyebrow.
“Well, you’re funny, for one. I like being here, with you, so I figured it might be fun being other places with you too.” Gabi smiled.
“We could do that.” She gave him a light kiss on his cheek and then blushed.
“I’ll pick you up after your shift tonight, we can do dinner?” Sam took her hand and kissed it. Two of her favorite customers, Mavis and Edna, started cheering. The business men looked disgusted and left. Gabi blushed even more and Sam walked to the door, took a bow for the older ladies’ benefit and left.
Gabi made a cup of tea and grinned to herself. It’s been an exceptionally good day.