tagGay MaleOf All the Little Coffee Shops. . .

Of All the Little Coffee Shops. . .


'No , no, no,' I thought frantically 'Not today, not today of all days'. He was here, my french vanilla dream man. In all his gorgeous glory, he was here. And I was a mess, a literal hot mess. It was the hottest day of summer so far and the air conditioner had blown ten minutes after I arrived to start my shift at the coffee shop I co-owned with my best friend from high school, Steve. The man of my dreams, my Mr. Talk, Dark, and Gorgeous was here, and it was the only thing that could have made the day worse. He was here to see sweaty, disheveled little old me. Okay, he wasn't here to see me, he was undoubtedly here to order coffee, but still! Why must I suffer, why why must fate be so very unkind?

And oh Lord, today must have been his day off because instead of his usual flawless business suit with flawless business accessories, he was wearing khaki shorts, a pair of boat shoes, and a salmon colored button down shirt. The shirt had just enough buttons unbuttoned to clearly convey that he was a catalog model, enjoying a sunny day at the lake even though this was the city and there was no lake for miles. He had dark mahogany hair, almost black; perfect, fall into them forever, dark chocolate eyes; and a tan complexion that spoke of ancestry somewhere warm with rugged hills. Greece maybe, or Italy. It was 11am, but his 5 o'clock shadow perfectly hugged his square jaw managing to be at the same time impeccably groomed and rakish. He was tall, broad in the shoulders and chest leading down over abs I'd tried to imagine in the shower no less than a hundred times to a trim waist, tight bubble ass, and what I could now see were thick, well muscled legs covered in an even layer of dark hair. I had never seen him in shorts before, and my arousal at the sight was threatening to drill right through the counter and scare away all my customers. I thanked all my lucky stars for aprons.

I tried not to stare openly, or drool excessively. I'm utterly certain I was failed on both counts. I knew I would need a second to recover before I could speak coherently enough to take his order or perform anything even remotely in the realm of customer service. "God yes, please let me service this customer," my inner lecher purred while my outer business professional frantically grasped at the straws of propriety. A short man, ugly and balding, was screaming something in my face about the temperature of his coffee and wanting to see my manager; even though I was wearing a name tag that said "Manager" right under my name when I caught my very first break of the day. The phone rang.

I smiled my best business smile, ignored my raging hormones along with the angry man and calmly answered the phone. "Beanland, this is Kyle, how can I help you?" I droned out entirely by rote. I really, really should have checked the caller id. It was the HVAC company, they were "so so very sorry" but "as I could imagine, it'd been a hectic day" and they don't think it'll get any better for the next few days (today was Saturday), but they could have a technician out next Sunday. The one and only day of the entire week we were closed. My singular, precious, looking forward to it all week, only day off. If I wanted to stop me and the rest of my employees from dying of heat stroke any time before next winter, I was going to have to trek in on Sunday to meet their guy, who I'm sure would show up hours after his scheduled appointment, or 20 minutes before and then just leave. It was the last straw, I was hot, sexually frustrated, and angry as hell. I screamed wordlessly into the phone for a solid 20 seconds, I'm sure shocking the hell out of whatever poor dispatch lady was on the other end from the AC company, before I yelled "FINE" and slammed the receiver back down.

For the first time all day, complete and utter silence reigned over the shop. No one moved, no one breathed. The bald screaming man had gone three shades more pale and for a second I thought he would pass out. I turned my attention to him and he somehow blanched further, scooped up his coffee and literally fled my presence. A buzzing, repetitive beeping filled the silence and I realized I'd slammed the receiver down so hard it had actually bounced back off the cradle. Katie, one of my summer employees and the bravest of the lot by far; reached silently over my hand to slide the phone back onto the cradle. The beeping stopped. Silence reigned once more. My dream man was apparently cut from the same gallant cloth as darling Katie, because he cleared his throat and stepped up to the counter. At this point, his absurd attractiveness was the least absurd thing that had happened in a bit so I was able to say with only business like efficiency "French Vanilla, iced or hot?". I added a little smile to take the edge off in case he was sharing in the bald man's terror.

"Iced caramel latte, extra whipped cream, extra caramel," he stated calmly as if hearing a grown man scream in a business was an every day occurrence. Hell I didn't even know what he did for work, so maybe it was. I was shocked. Every weekday morning for the last three years he'd shown up at precisely 7:35 and ordered a temperature appropriate for the season version of French Vanilla. And he'd never been here on the weekend before. Not that I kept tabs on or lightly stalked him or anything, perfectly normal and healthy, proprietor/customer interaction. Nothing to see here folks. He chuckled at my surprised face, deep and rich and rolling out of that broad chest I wanted to kiss every inch of and I felt like I was falling somehow even more in lust. "What?" he said sheepishly "today, I'm trying new things." I was sure at this point that I had gone utterly insane, because his conspiratorial almost whisper sounded less like a confession to your trusted barista and more like flirting.

No, no, there's no way Mr. French Perfect Vanilla could be interested, stop with your crazy. He seemed to confirm it himself because next he said "are you sure you're alright, you should really sit down" and the flirty tone was gone, replaced by pure concern. He turned to Katie and his voice had that "Boss" tone I'd never managed to perfect. "You can do without him for a fifteen minute break right?" he said, though it clearly wasn't a question; my employees would be doing without me for a fifteen minute break. He flashed her a handsome smile, all perfect white teeth, and made it seem like she'd be doing him a favor, and who on earth straight woman or not-so-straight man would be able to say no? "Can you get him some ice water to go with my latte? My treat," he added with a wink. Water is free I wanted to grumble, but Katie laughed and sprang into motion. Now that I had stopped actively moving around and keeping myself busy, my body and mind were starting to really protest the rough treatment of the day. I'm no pushover, but today had been enough to take it out of anyone. I sighed my protest for him and my employees to hear, but he was right, I needed a break.

Katie prepped the drinks quickly and efficiently, with only a minimal amount of unnecessary smiles and eyelash batting at my handsome stranger. Every time she eyed him, I remembered that smile he gave her earlier and I wanted to growl and grab him possessively. Luckily the heat hadn't addled me that much and I did not manhandle a handsome stranger who's name I didn't even know in the name of my unrequited love. My shoulders were tight and I stretched and wiggled around a little bit as I walked towards the end of the counter before reaching over my head to pull off the full length apron I was wearing. You might not expect it but those things were hot and even the warm air in the shop felt good by comparison. My shirt rode up with the motion a little, exposing a sliver of my stomach and back and it felt amazing, but I quickly settled it back in place, this was a workplace and I was the boss after all. When I turned back around to reach for my drink, the stranger was staring at me and there was something dark and unreadable in his eyes. I didn't pin my hope on it though, it wasn't lust, but I didn't know what else it could be.

Before I could reach the water, he moved quickly to pick it up. What was this guy playing at? Makes me take a break, makes me drink water, takes my water before I even have a chance to take a sip? I was hot and cranky and in no mood to deal with whatever look I had just seen on his face. He must have seen the change in my mood because he looked chagrined and asked "join me for a drink?" I sighed, before catching myself. My dream man just asked me to spend fifteen entire minutes with him, nay insisted on it. I might even learn his name. And here I was, whining about it. I think somewhere in the frantic morning there had to have been a severe blow to the head because this was my chance! The moment may have arrived to learn more about my most long running fantasy. His disarming smile smothered the last of my bad mood and I acquiesced. I figured he would lead me over to one of the tables, but he headed straight for the door. He still had my water in one of his big, tan hands so there was nothing I could do but follow obediently in his wake. He really did generate a wake too, people moved out of his way with no protest, women looked up from their phones and smiled. 'Ah to be handsome,' I thought, while once again mastering the urge to growl possessively at the women.

Nobody moved out of the way like that for me, and I was certainly in no mood to be jostled around so I was glad for the wake. I continued to reflect on our physical difference as a way to distract myself from the fact that this guy's perfect ass was right in front of me. Okay, I was tall, 5'11; but not as tall as this guy, he had to be at least 6'2. And I didn't have the filled in Adonis frame of this guy, instead I was built lean, stronger than you'd expect, but I'd never be jacked even if I did have time for the gym. In the past people had jumped out of my way, but that was just because I had that punky bad boy thing going on. Who doesn't move out of the way of somebody covered in spikes and safety pins? Now all that remained of my time as a punk kid were small gauges in my ears, pink because fuck your gender stereotypes (or at least that's what I'd been feeling when I first picked them out, now it was just tradition), the scars from snake bite piercings under my lower lip, and half the side shaves required for a mohawk. Some days I wish I could just mentally allow myself to grow out the other side, but I liked the idea of being 5 minutes with a clippers and 20 minutes with some Manic Panic away from the glory of my old hair. Made me feel like less of an aging sell out.

But as we emerged from the crowd, me blinking owlishly in the bright light, the 6 inch mop of sandy blonde hair on top just felt hot. I was pretty sure the gel I used to keep it looking like a respectable hairdo and not some post-punk nightmare would not enjoy this heat and humidity and I was going to have to really avoid mirrors when I got back inside. We made it through the rest of the crowd in the midst of my musings and instead of sitting down at any of the cafe tables I had outside, the stranger turned sharply right. We walked to the edge of the little plaza that housed my shop, a couple others, and several high rise professional buildings to some ornamental trees and bushes. There was a low wall and out ten feet down, the opening for a path. I'd never noticed any of this stuff before. "Okay", the stranger said conspiratorially "what I'm about to show you it top secret" as he took a step down the path. Maybe twenty steps in we found a picnic bench, like one of those ones you'd see at a park, in the middle of a the tiny grove of trees. It was like the book The Secret Garden playing out right before my eyes.

"I never knew this was here."

" Nobody does, and they better not learn about it either," he said with a stern voice, but a smile that said the threat was a joke. "The city built this complex with no regard for green space so a couple years back they dug up the pavement in this little section, planted some trees, and plopped down a picnic table and now, no lie, this is considered a 'park' in the city plans." he said, gracing me again with that rich chuckle. I laughed along with him, the story warranted it, but I was on Cloud 9. I knew a secret about my dream man. I knew the location of his oasis. If I wanted to graduate from light to heavy stalking, I could find him here after he bought his coffee every day. Amazing.

"Oh God," he said looking embrassed and reaching out his hand for me to shake, "I'm Dominic by the way, my friends call me Dom. You can call me Dom." I shook his hand but my head was a little fuzzy as my libido came surging back into the situation with a vengeance, my inner lech happy to take over and imagine all the situations in which I could spend my time calling him 'Dom'. "Kyle," I replied and added still a little dazedly "I wear a nametag." He laughed and this time, it wasn't a chuckle like before, it was a full rich belly laugh that shook his shoulder and lit up his whole face. The blood that had been surging to my groan did an abrupt about face and headed for my heart and for a second I thought I'd pass out. Prolonged exposure to Dom seemed like it would really put my body through the wringer. The lech took over again, imagining what it would be like for Dom to put my body through the wringer. Great, now that guy wasn't just riffing off of what Dom said but my own internal monologue too. I should really have a sit down with that guy.

Dom settled onto one side of the picnic table and reached across to set my water down in front of the bench on the other side. I slid into the bench, taking a second to shuffle around so my knees fit and I could fold my legs under the seat without too much hassle. He was still smiling but unlike before it wasn't purposefully charming or business like, it was an ear to ear boyish grin of enjoyment. I liked that. I liked that I'd made his face look like that. There was still tension in him though, and he didn't settle down fully until I took a long sip from my water. He'd been worrying about me, I realized, with shock. This whole time while we walked over and chatted Dom had been thinking about and worrying about me. That did other funny things to my heart, but I knew I couldn't get too caught up. Just two guys sitting down for non-romantic drinks as friends. Not even friends, lightly acquainted strangers who could maybe become friends. I couldn't get carried away here, it would only lead to heartbreak down the road.

"So Kyle," Dom started, "you're the manager of the best coffee shop in three counties. What's that like?" I laughed at the seemingly effortless ice breaker, the guy was smooth, I'd give him that.

"Just three counties?" I joked while Dom made a non-committal gesture with his hand before taking a sip of the sugared monstrosity he'd ordered. "Well, I do manage the place," I continued "but I actually co-own it with my friend." Dom's eyebrows rose.

"You own the place and still spend a Saturday sweating your ass off behind the counter with just a couple of high school kids to help?" he exclaimed incredulously.

"Well an adult has to be legally present," I joked "and besides, I wouldn't ask them to do something I wasn't willing to do and I'm really committed to the success of the place, so yeah, I work Saturdays and behind the counter . . . " I trailed off without finishing, shocked by how defensive I felt about my crappy work schedule and weird sense of business honor. When I looked back at Dom he was smiling that genuine smile again and I think he liked what I'd said. I blushed. "How about you?" I asked to get the focus back off me before I melted further under the warmth of his gaze. "What do you do?"

He sighed. He looked down at his drink and down at the surface of the picnic table and made an all around show of looking chagrined. "This is where I lose them all," he said ruefully and I chuckled. "I'm a lawyer, a defense attorney, with one of the white shoe firms in the Hanson tower in the plaza. I won't tell you which one, I couldn't stand the thought of you hating me thirty seconds after meeting me." He finished. 'I could never hate you,' I thought. But the thought was both sappy and overly familiar so I said nothing. "So you live close by?" I asked. I was confused when he immediately blushed and looked guilty.

"No, I live out of town a little bit, in one of the suburbs." he said hesitantly. When I didn't respond immediately, he followed up with "I was just craving coffee. . . this coffee . . . you know, specifically so I came in to town for a bit. I guess I could have made coffee at home, but I have some papers I wanted to grab from my office anyway, so it made sense." He didn't have to justify anything to me but it was funny to see him running through it anyway.

"Hey, I'm flattered," I said "the coffee is good enough to risk Saturday morning traffic here with only that flimsy paperwork as an excuse? I should put that endorsement on the website!" I teased. He laughed but it was more hesitant before. Okay, maybe he didn't think I was a funny as I thought I was, can't win them all. I grinned and chuckled. At this point most of my allotted fifteen minutes had passed and no matter how much I was enjoying my conversation with Dom, I was still the boss and had to set a good example. I finished my water while he sipped his coffee and we lapsed into companionable silence. I could Dom was thinking about something, but he didn't say anything and I didn't push.

The last few minutes of my break passed and I was really feeling refreshed. The water, the breeze and shade through the trees, and the pleasant conversation with the handsome and friendly Dom had really revived me. When I opened my mouth to tell Dom that though, he cut me off. "Hey," he said squirming on the bench a little. "So um, I'm sure the water helped but I have a pool. . . At my house. You guys are closed on Sunday's right? So if you don't have plans tonight, you can come over and use the pool? It was supposed to be a party but all the guys bailed at the last second, so now I have like three cases of beer and burgers for 12. I could sure use the help! I'll cook, you'd just been to bring swim trunks and an appetite!" His confidence seemed to return as he talked and by the end he was giving me a full dose of that charming smile again. Go to his house, with just swim trunks to stand between me and abject humiliation as my body reacted to his presence? Hang out with at an abandoned party potentially just the two of us? Drink beer and stare at Dom shirtless for some unknown amount of time? This was an awful idea. I was in dare I say, dangerous waters, here. In the history of colossally bad ideas, this was the worst.

"Sure, sounds fun." My mouth said before my brain could stop it. 'WHHHAAAT?! Sure?! SURE?' I scolded myself but it was too late to take it back. The words had escaped my mouth and they were just hanging out there practically visible in the air. Waiting for Dom to pick them up or drop them. Please drop them, save me from myself, I pleaded with him mentally. But apparently he was no psychic, because that genuine boyish grin was back and he said "Awesome" as he reached into the back pocket of his shorts and pulled out his wallet. He pulled a business card out of one of the folds and flipped it over. He wrote down his address and a phone number and handed it to me.

"That's my address, I put my cell number on there too, just in case something comes up or you get turned around on the way over," he stated, handily giving me an escape hatch, but seeing his obvious happiness at my acceptance I knew I'd never be able to take it. "I was thinking like 8?" he said, waiting for my response. I glance at his address, it was probably about 20 minutes from my place, which was maybe a 5 minute walk from the shop. Yeah, 8 would be perfect, it would give me time to close up the cafe, dress in all two pairs of swimsuits I owned a couple of times and take them both off hating them before flipping a coin, and then overthink everything for an hour before I even had to get in my car. "Sounds good" I said, while inwardly groaning. Dom smiled again, wide enough to make little crinkles at the corners of his eyes and highlight a dimple on one cheek I hadn't seen before. I was done for, no person with a heart could disappoint a face like that.

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