Pumpkin Spiced Love
Fall was in the air.
My favorite time of year. My favorite season. Oddly enough, I always felt it's the season when the trees come to life, rather than the leaves dying and falling to the ground. I loved seeing the change of hues turn from crisp green to lavish shades of yellows, reds, and orange. Falling to the ground, creating a majestic spectacle of color on the boring black tarred city streets.
The first day of Autumn marked the first day of my new life. I up and quit my demanding corporate job a month ago. I couldn't take it anymore. The stress, the workload, the always traveling, no time for personal life, high demands as an advertising executive.
And where did it get me?
They didn't consider me, the young woman for the VP position, they didn't consider me apparently worthy enough to accept my request for a raise. I've sacrificed holidays, vacation days, spending time with my nieces and nephews, everything. Constantly traveling every other week, I couldn't hold a guy for more than a month. I'm not getting any younger and I felt completely alone.
The only happiness I found in my life was being greeted by the dogs in my apartment complex. I dish out thousands of dollars every month in the far too expensive city of New York to live in a pet-friendly complex, hoping that one day I could have a pet of my own. But once again, the demands of my job always got in the way. When I quit, that's when I decided to start my own dog walking business. Thankfully it hit the ground running with practically everyone in my unit needing my services.
I hop in the shower and get dressed in my favorite fall attire. My favorite white t-shirt, skinny jeans topped with my coziest mustard yellow cardigan, and my knee-high brown leather boots. It feels so amazing to not have to wear my boring black business suits and uncomfortable heels anymore.
I am definitely loving my new life already!
First stop, with it being fall, of course, Starbucks!
I'm not much of a regular coffee drinker but when it's this time of year, I could drink five pumpkin spiced lattes a day. The bitterness of the strong coffee beans always leaves a bad taste in my mouth but with pumpkin spice, it awakens every taste bud on my tongue. The rich, creamy sweetness, the hints of pumpkin and cinnamon, all dance around my mouth like the leaves dancing to the ground like a free spirit.
"Good morning!" I said all chipper, excited for what's to be exploding in my mouth in a matter of minutes. "One pumpkin spiced latte please!"
"Name?" the unenthusiastic barista asks me.
"Mel," I answer giving my usual nickname I use instead of the proper Melissa.
I pay, move to the side to let the customers behind me give their orders while I wait impatiently.
"MEL!" the busy barista guy throws the to-go cup on the counter and I grab it without hesitation. The cup warms my hands making me feel all happy and cozy inside and my tastebuds are already bursting in my mouth waiting for the heavenly taste to hit.
I go to take my first sip and instead of moaning from the tasteful pleasures swirling in my mouth, I gag and quickly swallow down the horrendous bitter mistaken taste, sending my mouth screaming in disgust.
I look down at the cup and it says my name, Mel written on it so I look up to tell them they made a mistake only to be rudely interrupted by a man's voice behind me.
"This is NOT my usual!" He grunts, forcing me to look at him.
First impressions, of course, he's a rude asshole but a shiver runs up my neck when I lock eyes with his hazel abyss. His dark hair slicked back and his jet black suit flaunts his well-built body.
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Larsen," the barista responded all flustered as he grabbed another cup to make him a new one. I look down at the to-go cup in his hand and notice Mel written on it.
"Your name is Mel?" I question, putting the dots together in my head.
"Who's asking?" He barked, completely arrogant and uninterested in striking up a conversation, although that wasn't where I was going with things.
"Umm Mel...I think we grabbed each other's coffee's by accident."
"So you're one of those crazy, fall-loving people with pumpkin scented everything?" he replied condescendingly.
"NO!" I spat back at him but he just smirked at me.
"So you're telling me you don't have a pumpkin-scented candle burning every night in your place? Just like you don't order pumpkin spiced lattes every day of the fall season?" He looked at me with pointed eyebrows, already knowing he was right. It pissed me off he could already read me like a book when I only assumed one thing about him.
"Well, then you drink bitter coffee like your bitter heart!" I retorted with a sassy tone, crossing my arms over my chest.
He paused for a moment, looking me up and down before releasing a slanted smile and chuckle. “You're right. I deserve that. I'm Mel Larsen." he extended his free hand for me to shake.
"Melissa Peterson, Mel for short," indulging him in a handshake.
"I'm sorry. Today's just hasn't been a good one for me." He sounded apologetic and I wondered what had him so bent out of shape, especially so early in the morning, but I was too afraid to ask.
"Well..." I responded, handing him my coffee cup for the exchange. "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall," I say with a warm smile, once again indulging in the beauty of the season.
Mel stares at me like he's taking in my words and lets out a heavy sigh. "That's beautiful. I'll remember that. Nice to meet you, Mel. Maybe we'll switch coffee's again.” He smiles, taking his cup and handing me mine.
I couldn't help but watch him walk away and I was surprised to see him turn his body back around to look at me. He caught me watching as well and smiled before bringing his cup to his mouth for a sip. My lips tingled watching him encase the lid. Knowing my lips had just been there.
I wondered if he was thinking the same thing as I brought my own cup to my mouth and finally indulged in the ever so awaited anticipation of the heavenly sweetness of fall dancing in my mouth.
As I watched his eyes linger around my mouth, not just my tastebuds were awakened but my entire body was engulfed in the sweetest fix that's ever touched my tongue. The taste of change to come, the taste of new adventures, the taste of this mysterious man that lingered around the rim of my cup.
Mr. Mel Larsen.
"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall" - F. Scott Fitzgerald