Her toe taps impatiently on the faux wood floor, clicking each time it hits. The wire that runs from her ear to her front pocket, where it disappears into a small black leather pouch, flaps with the movement. She glances at her watch and then cranes her neck around the big beefy man in front of her-- a man who turns and glares at her up and down for tapping her foot only to turn his snarl into a brief smile. She rolls her eyes and stops momentarily just to glare back before resuming her nervous behavior. She checks her watch again compulsively; she has a meeting for which she is about to be late, and she doesn’t understand what could be taking so long; sure there’s only one pimply faced college kid working the complex, robotic machines this morning, but the custom, foamy orders don’t even sound particularly convoluted today. The man in front of her steps forward to retrieve his own order, and she sighs: finally.
A few minutes later, she struggles to push open the coffee shop door, juggling her wallet, her cell phone, her office key card, and her freshly brewed coffee. Clearly she is too distracted to notice the greasy haired munchkin of a man approach, lower his sunglasses on his nose, and look her over with a smirk on his face.
“Excuse me; are the pastries in there any good?”
Startled, she looks up and straight into the just-bleached teeth of the smiling man, who points behind her. She almost does a double take; what is he, new? Everyone knows if you want fresh pastries—especially on this side of town—there’s an amazing bakery a few blocks down.
She doesn’t say as much, though; she just tells him some of them are with a tense return smile. She hastily stuffs her wallet into her purse and turns to press the pedestrian button on the corner.
“Are you Spanish?”
The little red hand still blinks tauntingly, so she sighs and just shakes her head no, busying herself with her key card and counting down the seconds until the light changes.
“Really? You look Mexican,” he doesn’t get the hint.
“I’m Italian.” She sucks in a breath after she admits that; she doesn’t know why she’s humoring this guy. She’s usually not that nice. She doesn’t believe in humoring someone or placating them in any way. Maybe it's the New Yorker in her, but she always tells it like it is, no matter how blunt or insensitive it may come off. She doesn’t like there to be any surprises.
“Well, same difference, though, right?”
She turns to him, and his grin is wide. A piece of his greasy hair blows on his forehead, but he doesn’t move to wipe it away with a pudgy, seemingly swollen hand. He stands as tall as her chin, and she’s wearing heels; he really is a munchkin of a man without being at-all cute. She contemplates just making a run for it, but with her luck, there’d be a police officer around the corner, and he’d get her for jaywalking—making her extremely late and giving this guy another good five minutes or so while the ticket was written up where he could chat her up. She stops momentarily to ponder what it is about older (read: George Clooney’s age without the looks or talent or charm of George Clooney) gentlemen in Los Angeles that they automatically assume a younger girl must have a daddy complex and therefore it is not creepy to hit on her. She remembers the time she and her father visited San Diego, and the waiter at their hotel thought they were a couple. She had been sixteen. Granted, they were yelling at each other pretty loudly…
Anyway, that little break in conversation must have been all he needed to muster up another ounce of courage or strength, and without waiting for her to reply (or taking her silence as a reply—a negative one), he asked: “So, can I buy you a cup of coffee?”
She doesn’t know why such a simple question angers her, but it does. She doesn’t know if it’s because she literally doesn’t have time for this or if it’s because it’s just typical. Sure, she’ll get the occasional nod-and-smile from guys in line at coffee shops, or guys that hold a door open for her at coffee shops, or even the guy behind the counter at coffee shops, but usually they keep their distance, and that’s how she likes it. She’s not one of those people who will sit with a book or her laptop for hours sipping the same lukewarm java, secretly pining for someone to come over and strike up a conversation. If she was, she’d expect this kind of behavior, but she thinks she gives off the aura of someone who doesn’t have time for that (at least she tries to), and it annoys her when guys don’t get the hint. Hell, she was walking her dog in Malibu over the weekend, and a very cute restaurant manager tried to engage her in conversation, but she couldn't even stop to talk to him because she was on a very tight schedule. She has had a very busy week...
So now that this guy thinks he has something in common with her because they both drink coffee, should that automatically mean they’ve bonded? Should she swoon? Should she tell him he’s so original and no one’s ever propositioned her in such a way before? Should she pretend he can't see the coffee she has already purchased, or does he expect her to toss it out and start all over with one for which he will pay?
Regardless, she has never been more thankful than when the light finally turns, and although she holds a now slightly watery cup in her hands, she just retorts: “I don’t drink coffee,” in what she hopes is as icy a manner as the aforementioned drink. Is there mocking in her tone? Probably. Is it the coy, jokey mocking to which she’s come to expect from such words? Definitely not. But it gets the job done, and she is able to power-walk across the street and safely into her building with one swipe of her key card.
She knows; she’s a bitch ;)