Kenshin, The Latte Boy
Disclaimer: I don't own RK or the song Taylor, The Latte Boy (even though it's totally awesome)
Kenshin, The Latte Boy
There's this guy. I see him everyday. I don't know his name. But I'm in love with him. Before you criticize me, it started as a joke. I would tell my friends I was in love with him because he gave me my coffee everyday and everyone knows what a bitch I am without it.
It really bothered me that I didn't know his name, though. I mean, no name meant no name to fantasize about. Just a face (which, believe me, had given me enough to last for a very long time). You think I would have, even once, looked at his name tag and this wouldn't be so dumb. No, I never look lower than his eyes. Okay, every once and a while they dip down to take in the perfect curve of his lips and then to his hands to watch as he made my latte. Everyday.
And the totally unfair part? He knows my name. Yeah. If you've ever been to a Starbucks, you'd understand why. They ask you for you name, write it on the side of the cup, and when it's all fantastic and ready for consumption, they call your name. It makes it feel personal, I guess.
And I guess it was personal since I'd felt all giddy when I noticed he spelled my name right. Not that it was really hard to spell or anything. And he pronounced it right. Again, not a hard thing to do, but I still felt my heart flutter.
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply as I stood outside the doors. It was a little after eight. Today, I was going to look at his name and thank him by name. Well, maybe not. I'd always found it creepy when people greeted me by name when they looked at my name tag when I was working in retail.
So I pushed the door open and the little bell rang. And there he was, standing at the counter, looking amazing as always. His blood red hair was piled up in a high ponytail, just like always, and his violet eyes were glittering with enthusiasm as he put a drink together. It made me admire him more, the fact that he loved his job even if he got shit on all the time.
He pushed the drink down the counter and called a name before returning to the register. I was waiting there by then. I smiled brightly at him and he returned my smile.
"Hey, Kaoru. The usual?"
I nodded and let my eyes devour him. "Thanks," I finally answered, digging around in my wallet for what I owed him. I finally found it and handed it over, briefly telling him to keep the change.
When his eyes fell to the register to punch the numbers, I let my own eyes slide downward to read his name tag. Kenshin. Oooh. A smile was trembling on my lips and this one was much more... feral than the last one I'd given him. I attempted to make it disappear before he looked back up.
"It'll be right up," he assured and started moving around behind the counter, making my latte. He looked so natural doing, which I guess was to be expected since he did it every day.
I smiled and stepped away from the counter and hung out around the other end where I knew my latte would be waiting when it was done. But heaven help me if I could ever look away from him. I watched the way he moved behind the counter and found myself wrapped up in a silly daydream where he would lift me onto the counter and-
"Kaoru!" he called cheerfully.
"Thanks," I said, taking my latte. "See you tomorrow morning."
And this was the part of the day I hated. The part where I had to walk out or be late to work. It was Friday. I considered taking a half day and going in late. But it was too late to notify the correct people to clear it in time, so I reluctantly walked out the same door I'd come in, the bell sounding slightly less cheerful than it had when I had come in.
On Saturdays it was different. I would sit around and do some research about whatever project I was working on while I drank my latte in the small cafe. And that's exactly what I had planned for today. I walked in and inhaled the smell of coffee, smiling. It was a wonderful thing.
However my smile died on my lips when I realized that Kenshin, the now named barista behind the counter, was not there like he usually was. Well. That was disappointing. Or it would be disappointing if I wanted to completely understate it.
While coffee was a really good draw, I came for him. I know that sounds pathetic. Beyond pathetic maybe. I didn't care. I guess love does that to you. Takes away your common sense.
I shook my head and got in line anyway. I needed coffee to function. Even if it was going to be the first coffee I'd had in a long time that hadn't been made by Kenshin. I pushed the thought down and ordered my usual double latte when it was my turn.
It wasn't as good, I thought mournfully as I sat down at a table with my laptop. And then I shook myself. I was being totally ridiculous. It was just a double latte. The man behind the counter (his name was Aoshi) had made it exactly the same. I knew because I'd watched his every move to make sure.
I fired up my laptop and glared at the screen for a moment before reprimanding myself. It wasn't my laptop's fault that I had issues. It wasn't my laptop's fault that my latte wasn't as good as usual, even though by all standards it should be. And it wasn't my laptop's fault that Kenshin had taken a day off. Seriously.
So I dropped my head into my chin and settled in to do some work. But it was just no use. I couldn't concentrate. My mind kept drifting. And drifting. Until finally I closed my laptop and pulled my latte closer to me. Today had been a total waste. Not that it usually wasn't, but I usually had eye candy to make it worth wasting.
I sighed and cast a look at the napkin resting next to my latte. It was a plain white napkin and I wondered why they didn't invest in a prettier napkin. Maybe green. Like their logo. Without even thinking about it, I began doodling on the napkin. Which was dumb because I had paper with me if I really wanted to doodle.
So I started writing.
That's right, I wrote on a napkin. I rolled my eyes at myself and wadded up the napkin and pushed it to the edge of the table against the wall. It was stupid. I never should have wrote it. I started to pick up the napkin again before scowling at myself.
I picked up all my belongs and threw my mostly untouched latte in the trash on my way out. Maybe Kenshin would be back on Monday. With this happy thought running through my mind, I didn't think too much about the napkin I left on the table with my girlish ramblings.
"Morning Kaoru," he greeted me as I walked in.
I smiled, but it wasn't up to my usual sunny standards. I'd had a rough night. I'd stayed up late to meet a deadline and now I was going to be late for work. But I'd still stopped for coffee. What was wrong with me? I wondered dully, searching my wallet for the fifty-five cents I knew I had. The office had coffee and if I had settled for that I wouldn't have been late...
"Keep it," he said, ringing me up.
"What?" I asked, not comprehending what he was saying. I knew I had change floating around somewhere...
"I've got it," he told me. "Your latte."
"You don't have to do that," I said, although my heart was singing. Everything else forgotten I began to argue with him about the latte. Surely when a man offers to pay for something that woman buys that means that they have some kind of feelings for them...
"Don't worry about it." He flashed me an easy smile and my heart almost beat itself right out of my chest. Lord.
"Thanks," I said, deciding to give in graciously.
As per my routine I watched him make my latte, admiring his form working as I did so. By now, you think I'd be tired of it. Watching him do this. I mean, he did it exactly the same every time. But no, not me. I find it fascinating. The way his hands can always find what they're looking for with such a flawless grace... It left me breathless.
So for the first time ever, I looked away. My eyes came to rest upon the table I'd been sitting at on Saturday. The napkin was gone, though. My heart skipped a beat before I calmed myself down. It was so stupid. I should have just thrown it out. I'm sure someone (maybe Aoshi, who had been working the counter) had thrown it away.
I pushed it out of my thoughts. Besides, even if he did read it, how would he know that I wrote it? He had no way of knowing. None at all. Nodding, I moved down to the end of the counter to collect my latte as he called my name. I plastered my smile on as I scooped it up.
"Thanks again," I said, pointing to the latte.
"Don't mention it," he replied, reaching into his apron pocket. "By the way-"
"Yes?" I asked, my eyes narrowing as he pulled something out of that apron pocket.
"I was just wondering if this was yours." His eyes were dancing with mischief, but I only met them for a moment before my eyes dropped to what he was holding in his hand.
And I almost fainted. Lord help me. It was the napkin I'd been scribbling on while I was so bored on Saturday. I think I would have rather I fainted. Instead I kept looking between him and the napkin like it was some foreign object. How in the hell did he get his hands on that!? I guess it didn't matter at this point.
I looked up at him weakly.
I nodded, numb. My brain was racing though. Oh. My. God. He read it. I just admitted that it belongs to me. That was a totally damning napkin. I tried to remember exactly what I'd written and almost died. I'd made a song.
A fucking song.
Kenshin, the latte boy
Bring me java, bring me joy
Oh, Kenshin, the latte boy
I love him, I love him, I love him
Would it be possible to beat my head against the counter? I eyed it carefully for a moment before deciding against it. Too many witnesses.
He handed it to me with a chuckle. He was laughing. Laughing at me. Oh, God. I took it and left the latte on the counter.
And then I walked out.
It had been three weeks since I'd last shown my face at my Starbucks. In fact, it had been three weeks since I'd stepped in any Starbucks and I found I was saving a good amount of money. So there was an upside to this broken, trounced on heart thing.
I was sitting in my apartment, drinking coffee that I'd made. I'd gone out and bought a coffee machine and read the directions. This was something I could make. It gurgled at me everyday, as if to say, it's okay, I know I don't taste as good as those latte's you used to buy, but at least I wake you up.
I eyed my mug and wearily agreed. I was reading over something for work. I wasn't really sure what. As an editor I saw all kinds of crap all the time, but I'd been working in something of a blur for the last three weeks. I couldn't remember anything I'd done in that time. Except being miserable.
And this is why I told Misao that stalker-ish obsessions are not good. They never end well. Although I'd never heard of the one being stalked laughing at the stalker before. Whatever. It had happened. It was over. I could never go to a Starbucks again. And that was a lot of Starbucks. Instead, I had to make shitty homemade coffee.
I sighed and threw the draft down. I couldn't concentrate. I stood up and dumped the rest of my coffee down the drain and reached for a cherry coke instead. Caffeine overload time. I needed my concentration and this was the only thing that would work. I hoped. It had worked over the past few weeks. For the most part, anyway.
I was stretching out when the doorbell rang. I looked at the clock and frowned. It was early. Like god awful early. I had been pretty sure I was the only one in the whole apartment complex up this early. And it was Saturday.
Shrugging it off, I went towards my door. And I ignored the peep hole. Again, stupid me. I was doing lots of stupid things lately. I swung the door open and there he stood.
My thoughts went a little something like this: What the-? Why is he here? Wait, how does he even know where I live? I'm confused. Shit, I'm wearing pajamas. Why don't I ever wear decent pajamas? Why couldn't he have waited till I drank all my coke? I'm so not awake enough to deal with this.
So, no, not ideal. Neither was the first thing out of my mouth. "What do you want?" And then I flinched. That was harsh. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so rude. You wanna come in?"
He entered wordlessly as I held the door open for him. He stood awkwardly in the entryway for a moment before I gestured to the couch. He sat and I decided I wanted to stay standing in case I had to throw him out.
"All right. Out with it." I said. "Why are you here?" I frowned. "How are you here? I mean, I don't recall filling anything out and giving you my address or anything. Or even a last name for that matter."
He had the decency to flush. "Well, your friend Misao is a bit obsessed with Aoshi. And she-"
I groaned. Christ. My best friend, (who also happened to be obsessed with a Starbucks employee... go figure) Misao, had totally blown me in to this guy I never wanted to see again. Okay, that was a lie. I wanted to see him, but not in my apartment! Okay, another lie, but I didn't want to see him in my apartment like this!
"Misao has a big mouth."
"I appreciated it," he said quietly. There was a quiet intensity in his eyes and I let him finish what he had to say. "I wanted to say I'm sorry. For laughing. I wasn't laughing at you."
I fought back a snort.
"I wasn't," he continued, taking in my facial expressions. "I thought it was... sweet. I was only teasing. I thought you'd get angry or something. Anything but what you did. And then I thought that maybe you needed time, but I started getting nervous after a few days. You never miss your week days."
I swallowed. This was sounding too... perfect for my liking. I licked my lips and was going to say something, anything, to break the silence when he started talking again.
"So when Misao overheard me talking about it-"
"She decided that she had to help," I finished for him. I was so going to kill that girl.
He nodded. "Kaoru, I'm sorry. I really liked your, uh, poem," he said. "Seriously." He stood up and took my hands in his. "You think you can forgive me?"
"Maybe," I said, my eyes falling to his lips. I couldn't help it! It had been a long time since I'd been able to get my dose of him and he was so close! So sue me! I was like a recovering alcoholic and he was the shot of tequila being waved in my face. Of course I was going to eye it up for all it was worth. And hopefully consume it.
Apparently he was getting the message because in the midst of my thoughts he laid his lips on mine. Gently at first and then increasing in pressure as he realized that it was okay. And then... well then there were fireworks. Of a fantastic variety.
As his arms came around me, I decided that maybe I wouldn't kill Misao. I might just have to thank her. Oh, the horror.