He sat at his usual spot beside the window, with a cappuccino in one hand and a pen in the other.
It was a nice day. The sienna-coloured walls of the shop were bathed in the deep golden hue of sunrise, giving them a rustic charm. The sight reminded him of a caramel macchiato.
He frowned at his cappuccino.
With a sigh, he pushed his half-full cup away and began to focus on his work. It was early morning, so he was accompanied only by the barista. He preferred it this way.
To him, there was nothing better than listening to Neil Diamond at sunrise with the fragrance of fresh-ground coffee in the air. Coffee was his dopamine. He could not find such solace in tea.
In fact, he was always the first person to arrive because he couldn't resist its allure. How could he sleep, when there were so many different coffees to try?
Besides, his greatest works were conceived in that very shop.
She was not a morning person. She would have rather jumped into the mouth of an active volcano with 250 pounds of dynamite strapped to her chest than get up at any time before nine o' clock.
But alas, the universe was against her. Or at least, her pet dog was.
Drowsily, she entered the shop, hoping that the sugar in her favourite butterscotch cupcake would rouse her. She was so sleepy that she hadn't even bothered to change her sweatpants.
He looked up, intrigued to see who had intruded on his sanctuary.
Hardly had the girl made it to the counter when the barista handed her a cupcake with a chuckle. She held it gingerly, as if it was the most cherished thing in the world.
He raised his eyebrows. Was she a regular? How had he never seen her before? And why wasn't she ordering coffee?
He was so lost in thought that he almost didn't realise she was passing by him until he felt something very hot drip down his leg.
He screeched as he pulled his leg away from the dripping pile of coffee. His eyes snapped to the girl, whose face morphed into an expression of pure horror and shock.
"I am so sorry!" she exclaimed, her cheeks flushing a brilliant red. "I didn't mean to knock it over! It was my purse! I-I just-I'm so sorry!" she apologised ungracefully.
She then proceeded to wipe the coffee off the table, which led to more dark stains on his pants. "Today is not my day." she muttered, embarrassed.
"No, it's-it's quite alright." he replied, although it was not quite alright at all. Those were his favourite sweatpants. But he was distracted by something far more striking.
When she had entered the shop, he couldn't see her properly, but as she stood by the window, he noticed the colour of her hair- mocha. The sunlight revealed an orange tint in her eyes.
Pumpkin spice latte. It was breathtaking.
She, however, had not come to a similar conclusion about him.
Why is he staring at me? Is he still angry? She noticed that he didn't have a cupcake. Maybe I should offer him mine.
"Do you want my cupcake?" she asked, holding it out to him. He looked at her as if she asked him if he added salt to his coffee. Then he burst out laughing.
She was confused. "What's so funny?" she asked. He wiped a tear from his eye. "The fact that you think a measly cupcake can compensate for the loss of such a noble drink amuses me."
It was her turn to laugh. He was confused. "What's so funny?" he asked. "The fact that you think a measly drink can even be compared to something as ineffable as a cupcake amuses me."
"Excuse me?!" he exclaimed, outraged. She grinned at him, her turmoil at the previous incident long gone. "You're excused." she replied, placing her cupcake in front of him.
She left before he could utter another word.
Doubts started to plague his mind. Were cupcakes actually better than- no. He couldn't let such, such fibs affect him. He was a coffee lover through and through. Yet...
He took a bite out of the cupcake. The plethora of emotions that erupted in his body overwhelmed him. The mélange of the soft crumb and even softer cream stupefied him.
He found himself downing bite after bite, as if to make sure his euphoria wasn't imaginary. That the memories of comfort and love from his childhood weren't evoked by a fabrication of his mind.
With each bite, he wasn't disappointed.
"Hey!" he called the barista. The barista glanced up at him. "What do you put in this thing?"
The barista smiled.
"The usual flour, sugar, butter. Some butterscotch extract. Oh, and a whole lot of coffee powder."