Gwen is a recovering catholic. Sam studies psychology. Luther tells stories, and Lisa drinks Mexican hot chocolate. Fred lives with Sam, and Heather loves both of them. William watches from afar. Joe works the counter and pretends not to listen.
The espresso is bitter, a French roast best drunk in black. Joe doesn't care for his black apron nor for caffeine. He enjoys the gossip, and the way William squirms in his seat. Too bad Will's got eyes for Heather, Joe thinks. The milk grumbles in the steam back up to one hundred twenty degrees. The door opens. Jen walks in.
"Latte?" Joe asks.
Jen smiles and lays a five on the counter.
"Do you think its gonna rain?" she asks.
Joe laughs, "In May?" He pours the espresso, thinks, and continues, "Not with this high pressure cell over head."
"You ever think of being a weather man?"
"No, I'd rather predict drinks," he says.
Jeff walks in wearing a short sleeved lavender and tight khaki Dockers. Jen raises an eyebrow.
"Mint mocha," Joe mutters, and hands her the latte with change.
Jeff looks up at the sign glancing at prices. "Can I have a mint mocha?" he asks.
"Sure thing, bud," Joe smirks.
Jen walks cluelessly away. Her jeans do nothing for the men at the counter. Jeff pretends to admire her ass. Joe hands him the mint mocha.
"Enjoy the mint," he says.
Jeff makes a move for his wallet.
"Next!" Joe cries. There is no one in line.
Jeff balks wallet half open.
"Move along," orders Joe mimicking Ben Kenobi.
"You're not the droid he's looking for," Luther says.
Jeff moves along uncomfortable in his lavender shirt.
"Hot today, isn't it?" Heather asks.
"Yeah," Jeff says and shuffles to the back.
"What's up, Luther?" Joe says, propping himself up on the counter.
"Not much. Not much," Luther begins, "Hey. You know the old barn in South Davis?"
"Well, the owners will be out of town this weekend. And we've been talking about having a little get together out there."
"In the barn?"
"Yeah. Wanna come?"
Joe laughs, "Sure." He watches the group at their table, Heather so sure of herself, and her men at her heels, Gwen trying to study, and Lisa smiling. William rises from his seat to fill his glass with water.
"Yeah. Sure, I'll come," Joe says eyes on William.
Heather sidles out from her table to the water. "Hey what's your name?" she asks William.
"William," he says intently filling his cup. He is too shy to turn around.
She leans close to him and reaches for a glass. He smells lilacs and forgets to stop the water, as it spills over on his hand.
"Thirsty, William?" Heather asks.
"Yes," he says, and turns from the water.
"Me too," she says, "My name's Heather."
She fills her glass casually. William stands there uncertain what to do.
"Would you like to hang out with us?" Heather asks.
"O.K.," says William.
"Cool. What do you like to do?"
"I don't know," he says.
"Aw! Come on."
"Well. I like to walk in the rain."
"I like the open wind," Heather says. She looks at him closely and smiles. He stops squirming, and feels the blood flow to his lips.
"I don't like the Eurythmics," says Fred, loud enough to be heard.
"You ever play left field?" asks Sam.
Gwen laughs looking at Fred.
"What? Anyway... who's this?" Fred demands Heather.
"William," says William.
"Hi, William," Luther extends a hand.
Heather spotting a friend runs outside. William feels abandoned.
"Nice boots," says Joe.
William smiles a right-faced, lop sided smile and shuffles his Doc Martens. Brand new the shoes shine even beneath fluorescent light.
"Isn't it hot in black?" Lisa asks.
"I don't know," William replies.
"The rain cools him off," says Joe.
Five girls in matching clothes enter giggling. They look at the sign from a distance. More mint mochas, thinks Joe.
"Nice meeting you," says William slipping out.
"See you later," Joe calls.
One of the girls orders an Italian soda. Well, four out of five is pretty good, Joe thinks.
"Actually, I'd like one too," says another.
"Are you sure?" Joe asks.
"Yes, I'm certain."
Joe thinks about reringing the order. "What flavors?" he asks.
"Uh. I don't know. What do you want?" the one asks the other.
"Yeah. Me too. That sounds good," she says.
Joe laughs to himself and feels devilish. "Why not get a lemonade?"
They pause, look at the sign, and look back. "We didn't think of that."
"Actually, I don't know. I think I'll just get a mint mocha," the one says at last after much deliberatrion.
"Me too," says the other, and Joe quickly whips up five mochas, satisfied.