I sat the coffees down on the wooden table in front of us and stared longingly into the eyes of my one true love.
•Dark brown, wavy hair.
Jason Hart really was the living embodiment of perfection. Guys wanted to be him and girls wanted to date him. Me? I wanted to marry him.
“Babe, kiss me,” he demanded, puckering up.
I licked my lips and focused my green gaze into his, lost in the depths of his ocean blues. Inviting and kind, he drew me in with that one look. I wanted to drown in the intensity of his eyes. Relish in their beauty. Instead, I did nothing but stare as he landed the kiss to end all kisses on his girlfriend–Anna’s–lips.
Talk about awkward!
“Hmm, you taste like peppermint,” he beamed.
They both pulled away, thankfully ending their intimate moment.
Anna Jones was a marketing major, sorority sister and one lucky duck. She’d been dating my roommate for six delightful months, making her a regular occurrence in my life. I never acted upon my feelings and certainly wouldn’t while he had a girlfriend. Anna was a lovely girl and I’d never do anything to jeopardise their relationship. After all, they were perfect together and I had no right interfering.
Thanks for the coffee, Ebony,” she stated, gesturing towards the three take-out cups. “I need it after my lecture.”
“Is professor Jenkins still being an ass?” asked Jason, throwing her some seriously sympathetic eyes.
I longed for him to offer me the same amount of compassion.
“Yep. Nothing we do pleases him. The guy takes ‘tough love’ to a whole new level.”
I sipped on my bitter concoction, enjoying its brutality.
“That sucks. I’m glad the coffee can help. Although, I really can’t take any of the credit. Greg the barista is the true hero here,” I offered.
All three of us looked towards the counter, flashing our favourite member of staff our biggest cheese. Greg often slipped us freebies when his manager wasn’t looking and I especially appreciated those treats in the form of cake. Coffee-To-Go was an infestation of amazing beverages, free wi-fi and live music. I sometimes gigged here with my band and enjoyed the chilled out atmosphere. Majority of students from Florida State College frequented here, making it Tallahassee’s number one hot spot on a Monday morning. Zombies wound emerge from their previous night out, desperate for some caffeine.
“Should I be concerned your leg is vibrating?” asked Anna, aiming her enquiry towards Jason.
I inwardly cringed.
“My phone is ringing,” he insisted, pulling it from his jeans pocket. “It’s Alex.”
Alex was his older, career-driven, brother. We’d yet to meet but I knew a lot about him through stories told by Jason. He lived not ten kilometres from where our apartment sat, though refused to visit due to his insane timetable. He was a lawyer and lived for work, apparently.
“Hey, bro. What up?”
There was silence as Jason no doubt allowed Alex to speak, prompting Anna and I to drink from our cups. I busied myself with people watching but soon switched my attention back to Jason upon being summoned.
“I’ll check with Ebony but it shouldn’t be an issue,” he ensured, covering his phone to kindly explain. “Alex’s house flooded. It’s cool if he stays with us while it’s renovated, right?”
I nodded. Partly because I couldn’t physically say no to Jason and partly because I felt sorry for Alex. A flooded house sounded nothing short of a nightmare and I didn’t mind throwing the guy a bone.
“Yep, she says that’s fine. Come tonight if you like?”
Again, there was silence.
“Oh, you’re here now? Awesome. See you soon, dude.”
He hung up and flashed me a smile, appreciative as ever. “Thanks, Ebony! You’re really saving his ass right now. A burst pipe has well and truly fucked him over.”
“Poor guy,” I reasoned, checking the time on my watch. “I need to head to class now but tell your brother to help himself to our food. I have a few spare blankets he can use for tonight too.”
“You’re amazing, Ebony!”
Not amazing enough to date!
“I know I am! Catch you guys later!” I hollered, rushing towards the exit.
Outside, the heat hit me like a sack of potatoes to the face. It didn’t matter that I lived here or that I had for almost two and a half years. I would never get used to the humidity.
God bless the inventor of AC!
I hurried towards campus, mindful of my take-out coffee. The last thing I wanted was to wear my latte. I had made that mistake only last week when rushing to class. Never again.
My best friend and lead guitarist of The Struggling Somebodies (AKA, my band) shouted to gain my attention, waving his hands around like a mad man.
“Hey, Jez,” I greeted, hugging him with great fondness. “You on your way to class?”
He nodded. “Walk with me?”
We linked arms and took off down the sidewalk, heading towards the south building. My communications class was taking place in the new wing, whereas Jez was needed in the old part. He was studying music management and I, elementary education. My dream to be a teacher stretched as far back as I could remember and I couldn’t wait to become fully qualified.
“Cordelia might’ve landed us a gig at a new bar opening happening this weekend. She knows a guy who knows a guy,” he explained, piquing my interests.
Cordelia was his girlfriend and The Struggling Somebodies biggest fan. It was only the two of us but that didn’t sway Cordelia’s dedication. I would sing and Jez would play. We didn’t take it too seriously and for the most part, kept it casual. It was a fun and easy way to earn some quick cash.
“Awesome. Shall we get together through the week and run through a few songs just in case?”
“Absolutely. I’ve wrote another original if you wanna practice that? We won’t do it this weekend, obviously.”
As well as covers, we sometimes did originals when Jez had a streak of genius.
“I’ll give it a go,” I ensured, breaking away as to head right.
“Text you later?”
I nodded. “Yeah, see ya!”
I threw him a goofy wave and off I went, slamming straight into a solid body. My coffee went flying, as did my dignity.
Brown liquid dripped from my victim’s chin and stained his shirt, no doubt rendering it useless.