Dawn slipped her fingers between Carlo’s. They squinted their eyes from the sunlight as they walked out of the dorm building.
“I’m just gonna head to class from here,” Carlo said, taking his hand from Dawn’s.
Dawn grabbed her cellphone out of her back pocket and slid her thumb across the screen. “You have 15 minutes. Come to The Cup with me.” She crossed her arms and frowned.
“I want to read over my notes.”
“You can come to The Cup with me. I’ll test you.”
“Nah, just go.” Carlo pointed his hand with the notebook to The Cup, the coffee shop across the field.
“Hug me first.” Dawn closed her eyes and held her arms open.
Carlo wrapped his arms around Dawn’s shoulders and kissed her blonde head. “Bye Dawn,” he said before letting her go.
“Text me when you’re out,” Dawn said as Carlo walked away.
The bell on the door jingled as Dawn entered The Cup. She stopped as soon as she stepped in. The counter’s line ended near the entrance. She scanned the couches and tables in the dining area for someone she knew.
“Looks like everybody had the same idea.”
Dawn smiled and turned around when she heard his voice.
“Andriel!” She hugged him. “You’re out of class early. Usually I don’t see you here for another 20 minutes.”
“Yeah. Professor showed up late, turned on some movie made in the ’80s about the culture of Guatemala and was on his iPad. He obviously didn’t want to be there today so why should I?”
Dawn shrugged. “Nobody cares about anything anymore.”
The line moved up and Andriel puffed his chest out and purposefully walked into Dawn. “Excuse me, miss,” he said in a deep voice.
She grinned and pushed him away. “You’re such a creep.”
Andriel rubbed one of his big hands through Dawn’s hair, pulling it in front of her face.
“Cut it out!” She laughed and parted her hair.
They stepped up as the line moved.
“What are you getting today? The usual?” Dawn asked.
Andriel looked over the menu that hung on the wall above the cashiers, as if he was going to get something different.
“Yeah, it’s looking like sweet black tea again. What’re you getting, my little vanilla bean? Vanilla bean coffee?”
Dawn tilted her head back and laughed. She clung to Andriel’s arm. “Yes! I’ve been craving it!”
Dawn and Andriel met at The Cup on Tuesdays and Thursdays after Andriel got out of class. Dawn did her literature reading there after Carlo left to start his day. The two never planned to meet, they didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers. It just became a routine. They met two months earlier, when Dawn gave Andriel her change when he was short at the register next to her.
Andriel stepped up to the next available cashier when they got to the front of the line.
“Hello. How are you?”
The cashier, a tiny girl with pink cheeks and scrunched black hair, nodded at him.
“One sweet black tea, please.” He looked at Dawn who was smiling behind him. “And one vanilla bean coffee.”
“Will that be all?”
“Yes, thank you.”
The cashier smirked at Andriel and poked at the register’s keys.
“Busy today,” Andriel said.
The cashier looked up at him and moved the bangs out of her eyes. “Yeah. Gets like this right before the 11:45 classes and when the 11:30 ones let out. Half dead kids coming in here wanting their lattes.” She ran her fingers through her damp hair, slanted her eyes and let her jaw hang open. “I need my coffee to survive,” she said, sticking her arms out in front of her like a mummy.
They both laughed.
“Well that’s quite frightening,” said Andriel.
Dawn wrapped her arms around Andriel from behind. “You didn’t have to do that for me. Thank you.” She met the cashier’s eyes.
“You’re welcome. I wanted to,” said Andriel.
Andriel turned around and pulled Dawn’s head to his chest.
The cashier forced a smile. “They’ll be right out.”
When they got their drinks, Dawn led Andriel to a small table in the corner.
“Back to our table,” said Andriel after taking a sip of his tea.
“The best table ever,” Dawn said as she placed her purse in front of her.
“That’s because it’s our table.”
Andriel took a gulp of his tea. His round green eyes looked at Dawn from above his white cup.
“I was thinking,” he said after he swallowed. “We should hang out more often.”
Dawn placed her chin in her palm and her fingers tapped the table. “Yes, we should. I agree.”
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot actually.” Andriel looked down and smiled, then looked back up at Dawn. “I look forward to coming to The Cup because I know I’ll run into you. I really enjoy your company.”
Dawn flipped her hair behind her shoulder and scooted forward on her seat.
“I enjoy being with you too. You’re fun.”
Andriel grinned and he rolled his eyes as he leaned back in his chair. “Come on. You can do better than that.”
Dawn glared at Andriel as she sipped from her coffee. “Yeah? Well so can you.”
“How about that poem you said you were going to write about me? Did you do it?”
Dawn laughed as she hid her face in her arms on the table.
Andriel couldn’t help but laugh as well. “What? You did it? Let me see it!”
“No, it’s stupid.”
“You really did it! Come on, let’s see it. Where is it?”
“You love me.”
“I can’t help it.”
“Let me see it. And read it to me. No. Recite it. In my ear.”
Dawn clutched her purse to her chest and shook her head.
Andriel grabbed the strap on Dawn’s purse.
“No! Andriel!” Dawn tugged back and ripped the strap from his hands.
“Alright, alright. Fine. Don’t confess your feelings to me in a poem.”
Dawn’s smile took over her face. “Maybe I won’t,” she said and pouted her lips.
“Put those away.”
“Hey. Be nice to me or else I won’t let you read my poem.”
Andriel sat up straight and put up his palms. “Alright, alright. I’ll be good.”
“You already are good, sweet tea.”
“Cut it out, little vanilla bean. You’re making this tea hot.” Andriel pointed a thumb at his chest.
“Delicious. We should blend together sometime,” said Dawn.
Andriel stretched his arms out and placed his forehead on the table as he laughed. His fingers wrapped around Dawn’s wrists.
“Yeah, that was a good one,” said Dawn, grabbing Andriel’s hands. “If you want to hold my hands, Andriel, just do it.”
Andriel looked up. “Okay then.” He gripped her hands.
For a few seconds, they looked into each other’s eyes, their fingers entwined.
Dawn pulled away and tossed back her hair. “Well, I’ll get that poem out then.” It was the only thing she could think of to avoid his gentle yet intense stare.
Andriel watched as she unzipped her purse.
“It’s not too good, really. I was just bored is all,” said Dawn.
“I wouldn’t think daydreaming about me is boring.”
Dawn shrugged as she held out the folded up white and green napkin she wrote the poem on the week before.
Andriel took it from her. “Let’s see what you got, poet.”
“Oh no.” Dawn cupped her eyes and smirked.
After a few seconds Andriel said, “Well, this isn’t too creative. I’m a bit confused.”
“What?” Dawn took the napkin from Andriel.
It read: We’re through. – Carlo