Rubbing my left wrist, I left the tattoo parlour with a painfully big smile on my face. After two years of looking for the perfect design to be etched on my skin for eternity, I finally did it! Right now it looked pretty blurry due to the protective wrap and excessive ink, but the tattoo artist said after a couple of days it would look exactly like the picture I mailed him.
It wasn't anything impressive nor his normal style, and even though it wouldn't make him rich, he was nice enough to put in his usual effort, for my sake.
Texting my best friend Sam, I ran over to my bike and doublechecked the adress to the new coffee house in town she wanted to check out.
Me: S, omw! You're gonna love my newest accessory!
Sam: You know I hate surprises! Already here&claimed a spot. Get here ASAP! Crew is hot AF!
Laughing at her flirty ways, I tucked away my phone before I got on my bike. Since we moved to the city, Sam and I shared a small two bedroom appartment in a busy neighborhood. It wasn't anything too fancy, but lucky for us, everything we needed was either within walking distance or a short bike ride away. Plus, it gave us some free exercice.
Not that we really needed it. Sam would even say I got too much exercice. But I couldn't help myself. Even though I danced at least five hours a day, seven days a week and took my bike almost everywhere, it never felt like enough...
A honk broke my gloomy train of thoughts before I could go down too far. Looking up I saw the trafic light in front of me had turned green. I smiled apologetically at the frowning driver behind me and quickly continued pedaling to the cafe.
After a couple more minutes, the sign of the coffeehouse came into view.
In sleek black letters on a white background, it said 'Colazione', which I thought was quite a peculiar name for a coffeehouse. But I guess its uniqueness made it memorable in its own way.
I could already see Sam's long black waves through the window. I secured my bike and went in, only to be completely surprised by how cosy it was inside, so not what I expected after seeing the modern sign. The walls were stripped of any covers so you could see the warm red brick walls. On several spots, chalk boards hang with suggestions for recipes of the week and different sizes lightbulbs spread a warm light. At the windows there were some benches with fluffy pillows, that looked comfy enough to take a nap. From where I was standing, I could see the counter was filled with droolworthy pastries and baskets full of chocolate chip cookies.
I looked over to a seat next to the window bench and spotted Sam waving not so subtly from a cute wooden table with two round poofs. Making my way over to her, I noticed she had one half empty and one full mug of coffee in front of her.
"One wasn't enough huh?" I joked while leaning over to kiss her cheek.
"Never, but that one's for you actually. Ordered it when I got your text, so it should be perfect to drink. And this way you couldn't order anything with skimmed milk, which I doubt they'd even have."
Rolling my eyes I sat down and placed my bag on the floor next to me before hesitantly taking a small sip.
"Hmmmm." I couldn't help the involuntary moan that escaped my mouth upon drinking the warm, rich, slightly bitter drink from heaven.
"Thanks love, it's perfect," I said. I know it's weird, but I prefer my coffee lukewarm instead of freshly boiled, always have, always will.
"Anytime. So, what's this new accessory I'm supposed to love?" Sam asked raising her eyebrows.
Grinning I set down my mug and slowly started twirling my spoon around.
It was so funny watching her shuffle to the edge of her seat. Her curious nature was one of the many reasons she was my best friend.
"Soo... you know that thing I've been meaning to get since like forever?"
Her green orbs narrowed themselves at me, getting frustrated with my succesful attemps of annoying her.
"Spill it, Lou! Before I revert to using your full name!"
Turning pale, I quickly replied: "Okay, okay! No need to go all mom mode!"
With Sam being one year older than me, she'd always felt the need to protect me, kind of like my sister from another mister and adoptive mom all in one.
Smiling a little nervously, I pulled op the left sleeve of my burgundy sweater to show her my wrapped up wrist. Unconsciously I held my breath while carefully unfolding the wrap so I could reuse it afterwards. I loved it, but a tiny piece of me doubted if she'd love it just the same.
When the design was finally visible, I was too afraid to look up and see the judgement I expected on her face, so I kept looking at anything else. My sleeve, the table, the spoon now abandoned in my coffee mug...
"Lou... it's beautiful!"
My eyes snapped to hers. I couldn't believe the look of awe on her face as she stared at it.
"It's not as clear as it should be, but that´s just the excessive ink. I need to wash it, rub on a special cream and in a couple of days it should look way better than this," I rambled.
Her hand on my arm stopped my nervous word vomit.
"Honey, don't stress! I love it, seriously!" Her wide white smile stretched across her face quickly shut up any remaining whispers of doubt in my mind.
"Thank you," I replied fondly. Sam had always been there for me, had my back whenever anything happened and I needed someone to lean on. But she was also the one who would metaphorically knock some sense into me whenever it was necessary.
"It's so you! Really it's perfect. And by the looks of it, the artist's quite the pro! Maybe I can finally get that rose tattoo I've been dreaming of since high school."
"Absolutely! Wait I have one of his cards," I said while taking it out of my purse and handing it over, only to see her gaze drift off to something behind me. Looking over my shoulder while sipping my mug - so it wasn't too obvious - I quickly spotted the object of her interest. A handsome guy with blond hair was walking between the tables with a serving tray and rag, gathering empty cups and wiping over every surface to make them shiny again.
Smirking I turned back to her.
"Looks like there's something more interesting than me in here, huh?"
Shaking her head, Sam finally snapped out of her trance. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
"Who's the hottie?" I asked her.
Even through her tan skin, I could see the blush creeping on her cheeks.
"He's one of the owners. I think his name is Chase but I'm not sure. Could be Shane or something like that... I wanted to ask him but I chickened out and they're not wearing name tags so..."
My eyebrows shot up. This was one of the only times I'd known Sam to chicken out of anything.
"Girl... what's gotten into you?" I asked.
She looked down at her mug and started fidgeting with her napkin.
"When I went to order, he was behind the counter and the minute he turned around I was just stunned. I couldn't utter a word, I honestly don't know what came over me. He has these sparkling green eyes that just... I don't know, made me swoon I guess. I had to point to what I wanted to order."
Sam dared to glance at him before she quickly looked down again. Even though she was stunning, she didn't have a lot of experience with guys. I thought it was because she was too pretty, with her thick, wavy, long black hair, golden skin and pale green eyes, she had inherited every possible amazing trait her Irish father and Indian mother could pass on.
Noticing her level of discomfort wasn't diminishing anytime soon, I decided to distract her. Looking around the place, I found the next topic of conversation. The blond hottie wasn't the only one working, behind the counter were two more guys, one shorter with brown hair in a man bun who seemed to be a little bit younger than us, maybe 18 or so. The other one, the tallest one had his back turned to us, but you could see his muscles working while he handled the espresso machine like a true barista.
"What about that one?" I asked Sam, knowing she'd already have made sure to form her first opinion.
"Oooh he's stunning! Has the clearest blue eyes I've ever seen! Kind of a bored expression on his face most of the time though. I bet he's gorgeous when he smiles," she finished with a wink, my distraction obviously having worked to get her mind on different things.
I couldn't help but chuckle at her words. Sam hardly had a filter, she just spoke her opinion without holding back, a trait I envied her for.
"You need a refill?" I asked getting up and taking both our empty mugs.
"Yes please! I won't survive my night shift if I don't make sure I have enough energy backed up!"
Last month, Sam had started working as a nurse in the hospitals geriatric department. Even though the hours were long and the work was exhausting, she loved it.
"Coming right up!"
With that, I made my way over to the counter, my gaze drifting over to the different trays filled with yumminess, before softly shaking my head.
"Can I get you anything?"
A deep voice drew my attention over to the ordering part of the counter, where the tall guy was now waiting to take my order. Suddenly I understood what Sam meant. My mind just froze on the spot. I forgot everything, how to move, how to speak, how to close my mouth. Sam's description didn't do him justice. The guy standing in front of me wasn't just stunning, he looked like an Italian model. His steel blue eyes held something serious and intriguing at the same time. My hands itched to touch his dark almost black curls that looked tousled already. He was wearing plain blue jeans that hugged his muscular legs and a black V neck T-shirt accentuating his broad shoulders, all in all he managed to look effortlessly hot.
A frown appeared on his face at my lack of response.
"Oh! Uhm... I'm sorry, could I have two more of whatever the girl over there ordered?" I asked in a small voice, motioning to Sam. Without a doubt, my fair skin wouldn't help to hide my embarrasement.
He stared at me for a minute before glancing over at Sam. Then he turned around and looked for his blond co-worker.
The blond guy who was in the back of the shop turned around at the sound of his name. "Yeah?"
"What'd you get the lady over there?" Tall, dark and handsome asked, nodding his head in Sam's direction.
"Two cinnamon dark roast cappuccino's with dark chocolate syrup," the guy called Jayce replied with a soft smile. I couldn't help but notice how his eyes and smile widened when he looked at Sam.
Turning back to me, the tall guy said: "That'll be 8,50."
After paying for the coffees, I looked around awkwardly while he started preparing two new mugs. I didn't really know what I was supposed to do, can't blame a girl for assuming this was like a Starbucks, where you waited a bit until your order was prepared.
When he turned around, I assume to grab the syrup which was on the other side of the counter, his eyes landed on me and again, it was just like my brain shut down.
"You can go sit, I'll bring 'em over."
His answer was short, but not necesaarily rude. Sam was right about one thing though, he would be even more gorgeous with a smile.