Characters: Jared/Jensen, Katie, Sophia
Rating: R for language and k-i-s-s-i-n-g
Length: 4900ish words
Summary: AU. Jared works at the campus Starbucks, and every day at 4:30, a guy comes in and orders the same drink.
Disclaimer: Jared does not work at Starbucks, and Jensen is not a grad student at UT. As far as I know.
Author’s Note: It's become something of a tradition for me to write a fic featuring coffee, and more specifically Pumpkin Spice Lattes and the boys each year for wendy's birthday. This one is actually not in the same 'verse, but an AU with the same theme. (Coffee + J2 = true love!) This is a few days late, because I fail at brevity. Happy birthday to you, Wendy! ♥ (Title from Bertrand Russell.)
“Okay, silver Powerbook, blue shirt.”
Jared snorted. “No way.”
“Why not?” Katie cocked her head, eyes narrowing. “He’s pretty cute.”
He turned, put his back to the customers for a moment and murmured, “One, he’s not gay. And two, he’s reading Twilight.”
“You’re shitting me.” She peeked around Jared’s shoulder, eyes widening. “He is.”
“And not ironically, either. He’s been reading intently for about an hour. And his lips were moving.” Jared shook his head. “That’s a lot of strikes against, and that’s before we even deal with the ‘not into guys’ thing. Deal breaker.”
They were interrupted by a young blonde’s apparent urgent need for a Venti , no whip, non-fat, extra hot White Mocha. Jared called it out and took her money while Katie started whipping out the drink. A Grande Cappucino (three pumps of caramel), a Pumpkin Spice Latte (heavy whip), and a Venti Skinny Caramel Latte (no whip) later, they got back to their important conversation.
“How’d you know he wasn’t gay?” Katie was rinsing pitchers in the sink, the clanging of metal and water rushing drowning out their conversation to everyone else.
“I just know these things.” Jared answered loftily.
Katie rolled her eyes and then promptly started choking on her own laughter when Sophia walked by and muttered under her breath, “He tried to hit on him last week, and got shot down.”
Once she had recovered, Katie leaned closer. “Jared, someone saying no to you doesn’t mean they aren’t gay. It means they have good taste.” Katie flicked water at him covertly and Jared went to move on her and possibly douse her with the sprayer when he heard someone clearing their throat behind him.
Jared spun on his heels, face flaming. “Oh, I’m - I’m sorry.” He paused, mouth gone dry. Fuck. “Can I help you?” Grande Americano, extra shot, extra hot.
“Yeah, could I get a Grande Americano, extra shot, extra hot?”
Jared sent warning signals to his mouth to not make the extra hot joke he always wanted to make when this guy ordered. “Sure thing.” He called the order over to Katie, and took the money from Grande Americano (extra shot, extra hot), fingers tingling where they touched. “It’ll be right up.” Jared never asked if he wanted a Venti for a few cents more or another extra shot or any of that. He’d asked the first ten times the guy had come through, and he just didn’t want to anymore. This guy knew what he wanted, and Jared wanted to give it to him.
And god, did he want to give it to him.
He turned away, heat flooding his body in a really embarrassing way, and reached for his own cup, hidden behind the tins of tea. He took a covert sip of his lukewarm Pumpkin Spice Latte, and smiled. Best time of the year, in his opinion. The warm spicy aftertaste made him want to walk in the woods and kick fallen leaves just to listen to the sound. It was Fall in a cup.
“What are you drinking?”
Jared froze. The guy was talking to him. This had never happened before. They had a pattern. He came in around 4:30 every afternoon like clockwork for the last three weeks. He ordered the same drink every time. He paid, Jared smiled stupidly at him, and he moved over to the waiting area. Took his drink, popped the lid, added a little sugar, stirred, lid back on, and out the door. There wasn’t any talking. Or making out, either, but that was a whole other fantasy Jared was working on.
“It’s, uh, a Pumpkin Spice Latte.” Jared stared at him. Green eyes. He had green eyes behind those glasses. And god, the faintest freckles on his cheeks.
“It’s good?” He ducked his eyes, fidgeting briefly with the strap of his messenger bag. Jared noticed the strap was wrinkling his perfect, crisp white oxford, and he wanted to come straighten it for him. And then maybe tear it off him to see what was underneath that perma-press exterior. Instead, he realized he hadn’t answered, and the guy was kind of looking at him funny. Nervous, maybe, which was so freaking cute. Or he thought Jared was suddenly mute, which was maybe not so appealing.
“Yeah, I guess you wouldn’t drink it if it wasn’t good, huh?” He smiled, kind of halfway and crooked. Jared’s heart rate swooped dramatically and he nearly cried when someone moved up to place an order. He shot an apologetic look and nodded at Grande Americano (green eyes) as he turned away.
Jared watched as he picked up his cup from the end of the bar and went through the ritual of sweetening and stirring and lidding. When he threw a glance Jared’s way, Jared called out. “It’s the best drink on the menu, I swear!”
He looked over, laughed, kind of soft, and nodded as he headed for the door.
“What about him? White shirt, Grande Americano boy? You’d date him, right?” Katie gestured with her chin as he left the Starbucks, while Jared did not check out his ass. (Extra hot.)
“Oh god, yes.” He blurted out, then wished he could take it back as Katie cackled with glee.
Still, Jared couldn’t stop smiling and Katie and Sophia both mocked him mercilessly for the next hour and Twilight boy spilled a Venti Vanilla Latte (extra sparkle) all over the floor which Jared had to mop up and when they closed, it looked like a tornado had come through and wrecked the joint, but it was still the best night at the UT Austin campus Starbucks ever in Jared’s long (six month) tenure.
Until the next night, that is.
“Hey! Grande Americano, extra shot, extra hot?”
The guy blinked at him, clearly taken off-guard. “You know my order?”
Jared took a moment to decide if knowing the guy’s order was a sign of :
1) his awesomeness or
2) his abilities as a barista or
3) his status as a big creepy stalker.
He took a chance that Grande Americano (extra extra fucking hot) would take it as a compliment, and nodded. “Yeah, I - yeah.”
“Impressive.” He bit his bottom lip, chewed it for a moment. “But I’m thinking something new tonight. One of those Pumpkin Spice Lattes you were having before. Grande, extra shot.”
“Extra hot?” Jared grinned at him, ignored Katie coughing into her hand behind him, possibly veiling a rather unflattering word for Jared. Jared was trying not to freak out that this guy, the one he’d been ogling awkwardly during their thirty second transaction each day, remembered what Jared had been drinking. And wanted to try it. Jared wanted to try lots of things right then.
The warm look that passed across the guy’s face just then made Jared go completely hot south of the border. “Yeah, extra hot would be great.”
The whole transaction was different and Jared was thrown once again. It was a busy evening, so he didn’t get to try and flirt some more with Grande Americano turned Pumpkin Spice Latte (still extra hot), but he watched from the corner of his eye as the guy picked up his drink, and popped the lid off to give it a good sniff. He made an approving face and then blew across the surface, sinfully lush lips pursed. It was like a coffee-themed porno.
Jared may have moaned, if the sharp jab in his ribs from Katie’s bony elbow was a clue. “Quit whimpering like a puppy wanting a bone.” She paused. “Yeah, I said bone. Deal with it.” She moved away, slapping Jared on the ass as she did. He yelped and that drew the attention of the guy, eyes snapping to Jared’s over the edge of his cup. He finished the sip and looked at him quizzically, eyes shifting to Katie for a moment and back to Jared.
Then he started walking back over to Jared, who wondered if he could bribe Katie to let him leave right now. And by leave, he meant launch himself over the counter and possibly violate several health code violations right there by the travel mug display. Instead, he calmed himself, and remembered he had a job and this was a customer and he was here to help.
“Everything okay with the drink?” Jared smiled his best Starbucks smile, heart pounding like a jackhammer.
“No, yeah. I mean. It’s really good. Thanks.” He smiled, eyes shifting from Jared to the floor and back again.
“Well, Katie here made it, but I’ll let her know you liked it.” Jared’s smile was stuck so wide it was making his face hurt a little. But it was worth it, because the guy smiled back, and tonight he was wearing a dark green button-up shirt, sleeves rolled up, and it made his eyes stand out and Jared wanted to tell him so badly. So, best to keep smiling.
“Yeah. I liked it.” He nodded, stepped to the side as another customer came up to the counter. His face was kind of pink, and Jared knew the drink was extra hot, but he gave himself a little credit for that blush as well.
“I’m glad.” He tore himself away, smile dimming by a few hundred watts as he took the next order.
A few minutes later, his mystery man gone and customers all properly caffeinated, Sophia bumped him with her hip as she re-loaded the pastry case. She smelled like cookies, which made Jared sorry he didn’t like girls for just a moment. “I’m glad? Wow, you’ll be getting into those pants in no time.”
“Shhh, god.” Jared looked around, but nobody overheard. He hissed back, “I don’t even know if he’s gay. Or likes me. He probably just has a caffeine addiction and I’m his dealer.”
Katie came up next to him. “That dude is as gay as the day is long, honey. Whether he likes guys who are complete dorks is a whole other issue.”
Jared’s mouth opened and shut with a click. “How do you know that?”
“I just know these things.” She winked, throwing Jared’s own words back at him.
Sophia sighed and Jared turned to her. “God, it’s like babysitting coming to work with you two, but with lower pay.” She pointed over at Katie, who was suddenly grinding coffee. “She hit on him two weeks ago and he turned her down.”
“Katie!” Jared spun back, but she held a finger up to her mouth to shush him, then pointed at new customers coming in.
It was all Jared could do to retain the shots and whip and syrup details of the next two orders. Because the truth was, in his experience, guys didn’t actually turn Katie down unless they were gay.
So, there was hope.
Jared sniffed his shirt collar and grimaced. He still smelled like coffee. He was fairly certain there was coffee in his blood after so many hours surrounded by it, drinking it, and selling it.
He exhaled sharply and shifted in the hard wooden chair. His knees knocked painfully against the underside of the table and he cursed, in order: his height, this table and his roommate for being so intolerable he couldn’t read in his room.
God, he was exhausted. He rubbed his eyes and turned the page, wishing the words of King Lear would stop swimming in front of him.
“You look like you could use this.”
He nearly upended the table this time, knees slamming into the underneath as he jerked and looked up. He didn’t recognize the voice immediately, but it took all of half a breath to know the face looking down at him, startled.
“Shit, sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He set the cup down carefully and smiled, kind of slow and nervous. He rubbed his hand along the side of his neck, and stood there.
Without thinking it through, Jared pointed at him, and blurted out, “Grande Americano, extra shot, extra hot!”
He laughed, and it was a great sound, all warm and deep. “Uh yeah, my friends actually call me Jensen. It’s shorter.”
Jared wanted to thump his head on the table until he could make his brain forget he was a complete idiot, but instead, he held out his hand and Jensen shook it. “Hey, I’m Jared. Is this really for me?” He gestured at the cup, and noticed the familiar spicy smell wafting from it. “Because you might just be my new hero."
Jensen laughed a little, shifted on his feet. "Yeah, um. You looked like you were about to nosedive into your Shakespeare, so I figured I'd help you out with some caffeine. For a change." He smiled, and it was genuine, and it was doing such amazing things to Jared's insides, he could barely form words.
"Oh, wow. I'm - thanks. Do you want to sit down?" Please, please, please. Jensen had apparently seen him, left the library, walked across the street and back just to bring Jared coffee, so surely he would be willing to sit down.
He flicked a look at a table about twenty feet away with five other students. "I can't, actually. I'm here working on a group project." Jensen jerked a thumb in that direction. "If I leave them alone too long, it goes Lord of the Flies in a hurry."
Jared laughed way too loud at that, considering:
1) it was funny, but not hilarious and
2) he was in the library. Oh, and
3) he was an idiot.
He knew his face had gone red again, but Jensen seemed pleased.
"Oh, okay. Well. Another time?" Jared tried (and failed, he was pretty sure) to keep the note of desperate hope out of his voice, going for smooth and carefree.
"That would be great. I'm here a lot, so I'm sure we'll cross paths again." Jensen nodded, then turned back towards his group. "And well, you'll see me tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Jared's mind went completely blank.
"Grande Americano, extra shot, extra hot?" Jensen pointed at himself, and oh shit, Jared was actually lightheaded, the blood rushed to his lower half so fast. This was flirting. Flirting was happening!
"Heh. Right, right. I'll see you. And man, thanks for this. I owe you one." Jared took a drink of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and it was absolute heaven.
"I'll hold you to that." And then he choked on it, because oh god, Jensen was gonna hold him to that.
"And then he smiled at me, and he had remembered the drink I liked and he was, he was almost definitely flirting with me and oh fuck, Soph. It was like a wet dream, but I was totally awake. He was wearing this geek chic blue argyle sweater vest over a white shirt and - "
"And was he carrying a brown leather messenger bag, and wearing glasses?"
"Yes, that’s the guy! What, how?"
"He's in line." She grinned at him, and went over to get a panini out of the warming oven.
Jared nearly wiped out the entire tea bag display when he spun around, and instantly tried to do the math of how far away Jensen was, and how far Jared's voice could carry and whether he needed to crawl under the counter and die of mortification now or if it could wait until later.
Jensen nodded to him from the line, and he didn't look like he'd heard, but Jared couldn't be sure. He nodded back, hissed Jensen's order to Katie, who rolled her eyes and started making it at the same time as a Grande, triple shot, extra whip Peppermint Mocha. She slid it over right as Jensen made it to the front of the line, and Jared grabbed it, mouthing 'thank you' to her. She rolled her eyes, but smiled as she went back to work.
"Hi." Jared pushed the drink across to Jensen, who looked at it in surprise.
"Wow, for me? Already?" Jensen reached into his back pocket for his wallet, face pleased.
"Yep!" Jared had wanted to give it to him free, but Mike chose that moment to walk through, looking suspicious. Which was actually Mike's default expression when he wasn't looking pissed. Mike did not seem particularly pleased with his lot in life as a manager at Starbucks, and Jared made a point to steer clear of his wrath as much as possible.
The line behind Jensen was long, which was disappointing, as this meant Jensen had to scoop up his coffee and move out of the way entirely too fast for Jared's liking. Jared shrugged at him, pulling a face. "Duty calls."
"The people need their caffeine." Jensen hesitated a moment longer, eyes on Jared's, mouth open again like he was going to add something. He closed it, eyes hanging for a moment on Jared, and then headed for the sugar, and Jared watched him go.
Jared was crossing the third floor of the library, arms full of books and shoulder aching from his backpack full of more books, cursing his choice of major under his breath. He was beelining for his favorite study carrel, across from the reference desk and with a nice view of campus from the window next to it.
He turned and Gulliver's Travels went sliding right off the top of the pile, nearly taking Madame Bovary with it. Jared scrambled not to lose the entire stack and heard the sounds of feet coming closer.
"Wow, I'm good at that, huh?" Jensen was right there, kneeling down to pick up his book and Jared was frozen on the spot. Because Jensen was right there. Close enough that Jared could nudge forward and touch him, close enough that Jared could pick up the clean smell of soap on him, the pale soft scent of his laundry detergent. Close enough that Jared made a weird, embarrassing noise of want and had to cover it with coughing.
"What? Good at what?" Good at making Jared feel like a twelve year old with a crush the size of Mount Everest? Yes, he was really, really good at that.
"Sneaking up on you. Maybe if you didn't carry the entire library at once?" Jensen was still holding Gulliver's Travels, and he carefully placed it on top of the stack still in Jared's arms. "Let me guess? English Lit major?"
"Yeah. You caught me. Bit of a bookworm." Jared moved from one foot to the other. It wasn't the major that made boys swoon, as a rule. His hair fell forward, tickling his forehead, but he didn't have a hand free to push it back. He tried to blow it out of the way, but it just fluttered up a moment and fell back down.
"I can relate." Jensen was really still very close, and he was wearing a soft gray button-up shirt, clearly ironed, and it made Jared in his wrinkled t-shirt and jeans in desperate need of washing feel like a slob and a half. Jensen turned and looked over his shoulder. "Oh crap, I gotta go. Our jobs are always getting in the way, huh?"
Before Jared could yell out, ‘In the way of what?’, because he really, really wanted to know, Jensen headed across the room and slipped behind the reference desk, coming to the aid of a tall girl holding a sheet of paper and wearing a quizzical expression. Jensen studied the sheet, adjusting his glasses up his nose, and then pointed right past Jared at the bookshelves. Jared caught Jensen's eyes and realized he was standing in the middle of the study area, staring. He launched himself into motion and saw that his favorite carrel was now taken, so he set his books down on the next nearest carrel, and wow, this one was actually better, and now his new favorite. As Jared took his seat, causing a stack of books to cascade from stack to heap, he had a clear view of Jensen at his own computer, looking something up for the next student.
It took him about fifteen minutes to muster up the courage to walk up to the reference desk. "So, you're a librarian?" Jared tried to seem nonchalant, but truthfully, he'd been having naughty librarian fantasies for the last fifteen minutes and he was having serious trouble with nonchalant.
"Well, not quite. I'm in the grad program for Library Science. Working here part-time for the experience." Jensen moved closer, fingers tapping absently on the counter.
"Oh." Jared just looked at him, then. Smiling.
"Did you have a question?" Jensen was smiling back, patient. His eyes shifted over Jared, and past him at all the students working in the nearby area. He seemed a little nervous.
"I did. I -" Jared glanced down at his syllabus, and there it was, a periodical he needed to find, and a perfect excuse to ask Jensen for help, and instead, he blurted out, "Will you go out with me?" And oh, shit.
Jensen's hands went flat on the counter, and his eyes widened slightly. "That's your reference question?"
"Um. Yes?" Jared looked hopeful and rocked on his feet, twisting the paper in his hands. He figured since he had already stepped off into the deep end, he might as well keep paddling.
"Was that question on there?" Jensen gestured at the paper, and Jared was getting confused, and a little disappointed. He thought, despite his ridiculously clumsy approach, he'd seen a flare of interest in Jensen's expression, but this. This was not so good.
"No, this is. I need this periodical." Jared held out the paper, and Jensen took it, studied it hard. It was then that Jared noticed the pink flush creeping up Jensen's neck.
"Right. Um, follow me. Teresa, I'll be right back." He held up the paper, and jerked his head at the other student across the desk from him, who Jared hadn't even noticed. He was pretty sure she hadn't heard him ask Jensen out, though, because she just nodded and continued giving directions to the copy machines to a confused looking student in a UT t-shirt.
"Yeah, this way." Jared frowned and followed Jensen, wondering. He guessed Katie could have been wrong, and Jensen was straight and he was trying to let him down easy. Or Jensen was gay, but he thought Jared was a big old loser and again, was trying to let him down easy. He didn't much care for either scenario.
They turned the corner down a row of books, and Jared frowned. This was not where the periodicals were and - oh.
It was a third, too good to be true, scenario. Jensen turned to him, and his smile made Jared's insides go to jelly. "Did you know I don't even like coffee that much? I mean, I do, but I've been drinking way too much of it lately. I’ve barely slept in three weeks.”
"Yeah?" Jared stepped closer, chewing on his bottom lip, eyes on Jensen's. “I’m sorry?”
"But god, there's this guy who works at Starbucks, and he's just. He's so hot, I go and get coffee just to see him." Jensen was moving closer, and Jared backed up until he felt the edge of a bookshelf in his back.
"You do?" His voice turned higher, hopeful.
“Yeah, but see, I didn’t know what to do, because one, he always seemed to be flirting with the girls there and so two, I didn’t know if he was straight or what and three, he’s so gorgeous, I figured either way, he was taken.”
Jared blinked, and swallowed, and stared. He didn’t even know where to start. “I look forward to 4:30 every shift, Jensen.” Jensen’s eyes widened a little. “And I thought, well, I didn’t think. I couldn’t think. You make me kind of crazy. You’re so put together and calm and your clothes are ironed and I’m just this ridiculous loud mess, always with coffee spilled on me and I sweat too much and I am always, always saying the wrong thing out loud because I wasn’t born with a good brain-to-mouth filter. So, I just didn’t say much to you for fear of ...oh god, for fear of doing this exact -“
Jensen’s mouth was a revelation against his, soft and careful. It was there and gone so fast, Jared was barely able to process, though he found himself leaning forward to follow it.
“I didn’t know if there was some kind of off switch. And I’ve been wanting to do that, Jared. For awhile now.” Jensen pressed his lips together, eyes drifting down from Jared’s to his mouth and then up again.
Jared reached out with both hands and grabbed Jensen’s upper arms, yanking him closer. He felt the shelves shake behind him and his elbow knocked two books to the ground. He kissed Jensen, then, messy and enthusiastic, just like he was.
And Jensen didn’t seem to mind, even when Jared wrinkled his shirt and mussed his hair, things Jared had kind of wanted to do since the moment he’d first laid eyes on him.
“I...I can’t actually stay in the stacks and make out with you for my entire shift, as much as I’d like to, Jared.” Jensen laughed to himself, hand on Jared’s chest. “God, this is crazy. I barely know you and we’re all - “ He gestured down at the two of them, pressed against each other in the Asian History books. Jensen was flushed, and had pulled off his glasses when they started really kissing, so Jared could see his eyes, could see how wide they had dilated in this poorly lit aisle. Which Jensen had clearly chosen for that reason. Jared grinned.
Jared’s hands clasped on Jensen’s lower back, pulling him even closer. “Don’t. Can’t they all find their own books? They’re college kids, they can handle it.”
Adding his other hand to Jared’s chest, Jensen pushed, and Jared let him go, reluctantly. “I’m sorry, I should really go.” Jensen went to smoothing his shirt, settling his glasses back on his nose, and Jared felt a swoop of building fondness he couldn’t even explain. Something about seeing what was underneath that buttoned-up exterior, if just for a moment, made Jared ache for more and more.
“So, when - you never answered my question.” Jared wrapped his hand around Jensen’s wrist, fingers touching warm skin. “Will you go out with me?”
“You think I only wanted you for covert make-out sessions or something?” Jensen grinned, a full, wide one and Jared couldn’t help but echo it.
“Hey, if that’s the price I’d have to pay to see you, I’d be willing to take the hit, Jensen. But if you want me to make an honest man of you...” He winked, and Jensen inhaled sharply, eyes dark on his.
"Where would we go on this date?” Jensen shifted closer, lips hovering right over Jared’s.
“I don’t know.” Jared hadn’t actually thought it through, honestly. “We could get a cup of -“
“Don’t say coffee.” Jensen smiled, right up close, and touched his mouth to Jared’s. “I can’t sleep as it is.”
“Dinner, then?” His heart rate was climbing, the proximity of Jensen and the mental image of Jensen in bed not sleeping, and Jared was not strong enough to keep his dick from going hard in his jeans. He let one hand trail down to Jensen’s ass, the overload of getting exactly what we wanted all at once frying his self-control.
Jensen pushed against him for just a moment, and shit, Jared wasn’t the only one showing the effects of this close encounter. “Yeah, tonight.” Jensen kissed him, his mouth still tasted like coffee, and Jared had never loved that taste more than now.
“Come on.” Jensen pulled Jared out into the main aisle, and Jared let go of his hand, tried to adjust himself inconspicuously. They walked side-by-side back towards the reference desk. Jensen reached for a post-it note when they got there, and wrote on it for a moment, printing neatly and carefully. “I like pizza.”
He put the yellow note into Jared’s palm, pressing a sharp line across the adhesive until it stuck there.
“Yeah, we could go to Johnny’s, they have - “ Jared glanced down at it, realized it was an address. Jensen’s address.
“I was thinking delivery.” Jensen moved away, and around the desk. “Seven o’clock.” He straightened a stack of books on the counter, and shifted towards a student approaching from the other side of the desk.
Jared could see the girl working at the desk with Jensen was annoyed, glaring over at Jensen, and then at Jared in turn. He smiled at the pissed off girl, wide as you please, feeling no pain.
1) three hundred pages to read,
2) a paper to outline, and
3) another six hour shift at Starbucks tomorrow after class.
But he wasn’t too worried about those things, because he also had:
1) Jensen’s address on a post-it,
2) a date with a naughty librarian-to-be, and
3) the feeling that life was about to get awesome.
He smiled to himself as he sat down at his carrel to get to work, feeling Jensen’s eyes on him as he did. Seven o’clock couldn’t come fast enough.