“One dark roast with a shot of cream, two packets of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon.” Shiro nearly has to ask the man to repeat himself, as he was too busy staring at him. The man’s hair was tied up in a low ponytail, he was covered head to toe in grime and sweat despite the cold weather outside. His jumpsuit had the ‘Blade of Marmora’ symbol on it, an auto shop just a ways away from the coffee shop. The name tag stated ‘KEITH K.’ more than likely the man’s name. Keith gave him a funny look, quickly snapping Shiro back into reality, typing the order onto the screen and telling the man the price. He paid in exact change, placing two dollars in the tip jar and stepping to the side.
“H-Have a nice day.” Shiro called out lamely. Keith paused in his step, turning back to thank Shiro with a smile before going to the waiting counter. A rude cough from another customer told Shiro to get back to work, taking the next order.
He finishes up the last few orders of their rush, happy to relax with his coworkers until it’s time for closing. Allura is the first to leave of the trio, she still had three projects to finish up and a sick boyfriend at home to take care of. Matt left an hour after her, having to finish the last bits of studying before a big test, wishing Shiro a good night, shoving his tips into his pocket and grabbing his keys. Shiro was the only one left, the closer for the night. Shiro idly wiped down the counters and tables, already stacking the chairs in preparation. Technically they didn’t close for another twenty minutes but no one came in an hour before closing. Usually that is.
“Are you closed?” Shiro jumped about six feet in the air from shock. He grabbed his chest and turned to the person who had come in while he was distracted. Lo and behold it was the mechanic, Keith, shifting side to side, waiting on his answer.
“Oh no, we close at nine.” Shiro gets out, making his way back behind the counter. “Um what can I get for you?” Shiro signs into the computer, looking up at the man to wait for his order.
“Caramel frappe, venti, extra caramel please.” Keith orders, pulling out a ten from his wallet. Shiro inputs the order, wondering if it would be too creepy as a conversation starter to point out that was vastly different than what he had ordered that morning. He mulls it over in his head, as he counts out the change when he notices Keith’s relatively new shoes.
“Oh are those the NASA vans?” Shiro asks, handing over the change and grabbing a cup to begin the order. Keith looked up from his phone then down at his shoes before looking back at Shiro.
“Oh, yeah, I was able to get a pair right when they came out. I usually don’t care too much to spend that kind of money on something like shoes but hey, NASA is NASA.” Keith smiles, sliding his phone into his pocket. Shiro picks up on the indicator that they’re in a conversation now instead of just small talk and quickly racks his brain for something to continue with.
“I saw on their twitter the other day that they might have figured out how long a day on Saturn actually is.” Shiro winces at his own comment, putting the blender into the sink. Nice conversation flow Shirogane, that was sure to blow him off his feet.
“That’s pretty cool, could be useful in finding out more about the planet. Have you been keeping up with the Voyagers? Isn’t it crazy how they’ve left the solar system?” Keith says, leaning on the counter. Shiro puts the finishing touches on the drink, sliding it across the counter.
“Right? Imagine how much we can discover, imagine if they find another planet out there.” Shiro wonders, smiling as Keith takes the drink and stabs it with a straw, heading towards the door. “It’d be pretty amazing.”
“I have to get this back to my dad before he crashes but it was nice talking to you Shiro. I’ll see you around yeah?” Keith asks, holding the door open, uncaring of the cold wind.
“I would hope so, I don’t plan on getting fired in the future.” Shiro says, Keith letting out a short laugh before waving and shutting the door. Shiro drops his head to the counter, grabbing at his hair lightly and pulling. “‘ I don’t plan on getting fired in the future. ’ Hilarious Shiro, he must really think you’re a dork.” Shiro sighs, finishing up his closing duties and locking up the store, starting on his long walk home.
Surprisingly the conversation hadn’t scared Keith off. Instead it seemed to make him want to talk to Shiro more. Keith comes in at four every day almost precisely on the dot, orders the same exact drink every time and leaves the same tip. They chat idly when Shiro is making coffees during the rush and sometimes have deeper conversations when Keith comes in for a late night coffee run. Shiro has been scolded more times than he can count by Allura and Matt for ‘making googly eyes’ while on his shift, the two shooing Keith away so Shiro can actually work.
According to Allura and Matt however he only makes his late night coffee runs when Shiro is the one that’s closing. Shiro tries not to let that thought go to his heart but he couldn’t help the day dreamy mood he was stuck in after that. Allura and Matt on the other hand gravely regretted telling him, having to deal with Shiro sighing dreamily until their shifts were over.
Keith walks into the coffee shop one night and stops in his tracks, pulling his jacket closer. “There a reason it feels like Alaska in here? It was fine earlier.” Keith jokes, walking up to the counter where Shiro is shivering through his jacket.
“Heater broke, lady is coming in tomorrow to fix it, gotta freeze until then.” Shiro tells him, pulling off his glove in order to type in Keith’s order. “The usual?”
“Yeah. Hey at least you can close the store in about thirty minutes.” Keith tries to add helpfully, hoping it would lift Shiro’s spirits. Shiro laughs a little, already making Keith’s drink the way he likes it.
“Yeah but I still have to walk home Keith. Are you ready for the super blood moon eclipse?” Shiro asks, finishing off the drink with cinnamon.
“Of course, won’t be able to see another for a while.” Keith takes the drink, sipping from it. “Out of curiosity what’s your favorite winter drink? Something to keep warm.” Shiro thinks for a moment, figuring Keith would probably want something sweet after his bitter coffee.
“Hot chocolate of course, it’s a classic.” Shiro states matter of factly. He leans against the counter, smiling at Keith. “Of course it has to have real milk, sugar, whip cream and marshmallows. Anything else is subpar.”
“Well if it’s not too much trouble I’d like a cup of that.” Keith says, handing over the money already. Shiro takes the twenty dollar bill, already knowing to keep the change before starting the drink. He made it the way his grandfather had taught him long ago, making sure to sprinkle the marshmallows on just right. He handed the cup to Keith with a dramatic bow, making the other laugh.
“All right Picasso, let me borrow that pen of yours.” Keith takes the offered marker and writes something on the cup Shiro can’t see, probably making sure he doesn’t mix it up with his coffee. But then Keith hands the marker back, placing the hot chocolate on the counter and taking his own coffee, heading to the door. “It’s closing time Shiro, don’t forget to check out the moon in about an hour.” Keith tells him, giving him a corny salute as he opens the door.
“Wait your drink!” Shiro calls after him, stopping Keith before he left. Keith gives him a rueful smile, his cheeks turning a dusty pink.
“I got it for you. Keep warm Shiro, I don’t want you to get sick.” With that Keith left from the small shop, heading towards the parking on the side. Shiro sighed helplessly, picking up the drink and taking a good mouthful, grateful for the warmth in the cold shop. He turns the cup in his hand and just about drops it when he sees what Keith had written.
‘ I think you’re out of this world. Call me or text if you ever want to talk more about anything. xxx-xxx-xxxx’
Shiro mentally has a short breakdown, damn near throwing the drink all over himself. He sits in his chair, immediately pulling out his phone and typing in the number, sending a quick hello text, social norms be damned.