A/N: Yeaah...I've kinda been away a while. Ever since school started up again I've found myself swamped with homework and stuff so it was hard to balance that and finding time to write. I also had something very big happen to me recently that kind of set everything back a few days but I got it done for all of you though. I cranked out a new story for you all and I hope you all enjoy. ~Windstrider
"Good morning! What would you like to drink?"
Elsa, the barista at the Starbucks near the local mall, smiled and politely greeted everyone she met with the same smile, and same tone of voice. She filled out orders and obediently made them according to her customer's order like any good barista should. Although she put on the same face for everyone that came into the coffee place, when she saw a certain girl walk through the door and get in line for the third time that week, Elsa's smile was genuine. Elsa made eye contact with the girl in the line every once in a while as the line of customers moved along. The redheaded woman, who had her hair pulled back into a loose pony tail, waved excitedly to her, pushing up her thin rimmed glasses and tucking some stray strands of hair behind her right ear. The line shifted, and soon the beautiful redheaded woman approached Elsa. Smiling warmly, Elsa said, "Good morning, again, Anna! And what would you like today?" The woman on the other side of the counter said nothing, paused, then began to fumble around in her purse for something. Elsa, already knowing what she was searching for waited patiently, smiling at the beautiful teal eyed woman. Anna pulled out a small notepad and a pen, took a few moments to jot something down hastily, then rip it lightly off the pad and hand it to Elsa. The barista took a moment to read the woman's order then smiled and said, "White chocolate mocha with extra froth? No problem!"
Anna paused and smiled, tilting her head slightly, giving of a slight indication that she didn't quite hear what Elsa had said, even though her voice resonated throughout the room.
Ever since the pretty redhead had entered the coffee shop two days ago, Elsa noticed that she would sit for the longest time at the booth by the window across the room and watch Elsa work. She would look away shyly when Elsa caught her eye, and she would rest her cheek on her hand in the cutest way. She also, often chose to read a book.
Since Anna's second day of coming to the shop, Elsa had debated whether or not she should join the strangely silent girl and see if she could strike up some conversation. The girl looked like she wanted to get to know Elsa, but had settled for watching from afar.
Elsa made Anna's order to the best of her ability and walked up to the counter, leaning over it to look at the woman's face carefully, noticing the sprinkling of freckles across her nose and cheeks and how her teal eyes sparkled upon being in such close p3roximity to the person she admired.
"Here you are, then." Elsa said, "Have an awesome day, cutie." Then she winked and Anna blushed while taking her coffee, making sure their fingers brushed at the exchange. Anna then turned sharply and rushed over to the other side of the room where she sat down at her usual booth by the window and pulled out her book.
Elsa hoped that Anna would stay long enough for her to get off of work, then she would most definitely introduce herself and see if she could get to know the pretty girl who always ordered a white chocolate mocha. The barista noticed that Anna was reading The Book Thief and Elsa tilted her head, observing the cover. She was soon distracted by the way Anna's expressions fluctuated according to the happenings in the story. First the redhead smiled, then her smile froze and her eyes scanned the page for a few lines before her face fell and she frowned.
Elsa was a reader herself and had been putting off her hobbies, due to her responsibilities at home. Between her work and caring for her little brother Olaf, she barely had any time to herself for reading. Elsa, between orders, cast a glance at the clock. She had one more hour to go until her shift ended. Elsa turned back to the counter and caught Anna sneakily stealing a gaze from the other side of the room. Most times, Elsa pretended not to notice Anna watching her, but this time she waved and smiled. Anna jumped a bit, surprised she had been seen, then buried her nose back into her book where she remained for about fifteen minutes, thumbing through a few pages as she read. A few moments later, she stole another glance at Elsa who was ready this time. The barista, as soon as she caught sight of the gorgeous green eyes of Anna, leaned on the side of the counter and stuck her tongue out, playfully giving a small raspberry.
Anna, delighted by this, lifted her hand to her face, pushing her glasses up her nose and giggling. Elsa, wishing she could've heard the sound, grew slightly more impatient for her shift to be over. It was almost nearing the lunchtime rush and Elsa tapped her fingers on the table, praying to be relieved of her duties. Anna was known to leave at around noon and Elsa prayed silently that the woman would remain where she was for at least another twenty minutes. Maybe, Elsa thought, if Anna cast her more glances, she could make funny faces and get her to stay longer.
Sure enough, for the third time, Anna turned her head slightly to look at Elsa out of the corner of her eye. This time Elsa smiled and wiggled her eyebrows. Anna turned her head fully and did the same. Elsa chuckled and wiggled her ears. So did Anna. Elsa had to take another order, but was smiling at the cute girl the whole time.
Anna, sitting on her own, reading her book in the sunlight of the morning with the taste of coffee on her tongue and the sight of the gorgeous barista there to gaze at, Anna couldn't help but come to the coffee shop. The store had such a nice atmosphere about it, and the woman at the counter made Anna's coffee just the way she liked it. Anna had developed a crush on the barista since day one and two days later, there she was, shamelessly watching a woman she knew would never be in a relationship with. When Anna looked up again, the gorgeous barista was gone, replaced by a middle aged man with glasses.
Anna, staring in disappointment, closed her book and stood. She gathered her things together on the tabletop and placed her book in her backpack, pulling out her cell phone to check the time. As she was heading for the door, Elsa emerged from the back and saw her leaving and immediately began to call her name. When the woman didn't respond, Elsa quickened her pace and called a bit louder.
"H-hey! Hey, Anna!"
The barista had learned Anna's name when she had written it down for her on paper when Elsa asked for it the first day they met. Elsa had always thought Anna was a beautiful name and fitting for a woman like her.
"Anna?" As Elsa approached the girl, she began to wonder why she wasn't responding to her calls. She didn't have headphones on listening to music…maybe she just wasn't paying attention? Elsa reached forward and placed a hand on Anna's shoulder, startling the redhead, making her jump and whirl around in surprise.
"Hey!" Elsa giggled, meeting Anna's startled gaze with a smile, "It's just me!"
Anna's shoulders relaxed and she smiled brightly in reply, giving a little wave.
"I'm glad I caught you." Elsa continued, rubbing the back of her head, ruffling her mane of hair, "Were you just about to leave or do you have a few minutes to chill?" Elsa took notice of how hard Anna was staring at her mouth as she spoke. The woman with thick rimmed glasses took a few moments to think, then nodded her head with a smile. Elsa held out her hand for the woman to take and excitedly ushered her back to Anna's favorite seat near the window. As the pair sat down, Anna pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose again, a nervous habit. The barista was determined to make a relationship out of this chance meeting and so she thought for a moment, leaned forward and said in a hesitant voice,
"So…um…" Elsa folded her hands on the table, "Anna is it?"
"I have to say, that's a beautiful name!"
Anna smiled warmly.
"By the way," Elsa began again, feeling as if the conversation was going nowhere, "I see you like to read. What type of books to you like the most?"
Anna simply smiled admiringly at Elsa and the awkward barista bit her lip, thrumming her fingers against the tabletop. Elsa found it a bit unnerving that all Anna was doing was looking at her directly with a smile on her face, not responding to the obvious question that had been asked.
"Umm…can you hear me?" Elsa asked awkwardly, shifting in her seat. To Elsa's surprise, Anna's face fell and the barista watched nervously as Anna reached into her bag, pulled out her notepad and wrote something down, then slid it over the table and turned it so Elsa could see. The blonde looked at Anna for a moment, pressing her lips together before letting her eyes fall to the notepad that contained Anna's note, written in beautiful, loopy handwriting.
"No, I can't hear you," Anna had written, "I'm deaf. But I've gotten pretty good at reading lips."
Elsa's eyes widened slightly and she shifted in her seat, beginning to stutter out a nervous apology. Despite Elsa's good intentions, she only succeeded in making the situation seem worse than before for she knew that Anna couldn't hear a word of what was she was saying. Yet, she stuttered away while Anna looked on, smiling affectionately. The redhead took the notepad and wrote something down again for Elsa.
The blonde slowly quieted herself and trailed off, biting her tongue, waiting for Anna to finish.
Anna turned the paper over to Elsa and it read:
"I get that reaction a lot, but it's okay. Aside from that, I'm so happy to finally meet you! As you know, my name is Anna and I'm glad you like it because I think it's a bit on the boring side. What's your name?"
Anna handed Elsa the pen and with a nervous smile, Elsa began to write her reply. Anna waited patiently, liking how Elsa would pause every few words to think about what she was going to write next. When Elsa finally finished and handed the notepad back to its owner, Anna excitedly grabbed it and brought it close to her face. her expressive teal eyes eagerly scanning the page. Elsa grinned.
Anna read, "My name is Elsa and it's awesome to meet you too. You know, I've never had to write like this to communicate before."
Anna stopped, giggled, then kept reading.
"But be that as it may, it's still really cool to finally talk to you. How's the coffee? Did I get the froth the way you like it?"
Anna nodded enthusiastically and took a sip of her coffee for emphasis, making Elsa chuckle a little. Anna loved the way Elsa looked when she laughed. Her shoulders bounced a bit and her smile was gorgeous. Anna grabbed the notepad and began to jot something down in reply. Elsa found herself enjoying the redhead's company. Despite the fact she couldn't hear anything, she seemed like a genuinely happy person with a comfortable atmosphere about her. Not a thing about her was awkward or unpleasant for Elsa and the blonde found herself anticipating what Anna would write next.
Anna turned the page over and Elsa read: "Your coffee is always the best! I've been to other Starbucks places before but no one makes my white chocolate mocha like you!"
Elsa wrote back: "I'm glad you like it! I've only just started working here to sustain me and my brother on what little money we can make."
"You have a brother?" Anna wrote in reply, "How old?"
"He's 9." Elsa said aloud, but then shook her head and remembered she needed to write it down.
Elsa watched as Anna read her note, then looked up and smiled softly. Elsa read Anna's emotions as clear as a crystal through those wide, teal eyes and her lips pulled into a grin. Anna then wrote to Elsa: "I've always wanted a brother."
Elsa shook her head and Anna chuckled silently. Elsa could tell by the way Anna's shoulders bounced a bit as she giggled. Happy that she could make Anna laugh, Elsa took the notepad and began to furiously scribble: "My brother, Olaf, is quiet and well behaved in public but at home I'm completely comfortable with saying he's an adorable little monster child!"
Anna read her note giggling again, lifting her shoulders. Elsa looked at Anna's eyes and Anna looked at hers. Anna loved the clear blue of the barista's irises. They were a calm, gentle blue with just a hint of green…
Suddenly a loud vibration came from Anna's jeans pocket and the redhead shifted slightly to reach down to pull out her phone. She pushed her glasses up on her nose using her pointer finger and frowned at the text she had received.
"What?" Elsa asked aloud.
Anna lifted her head to look at Elsa once more and she mouthed the words: "I need to go."
The look of disappointment that crossed the barista's face made Anna feel horrible. The redhead, not wanting to make her new friend sad, reached forward and grabbed Elsa's hand. The soft, warm contact made Elsa pause and straighten significantly in her seat. Anna hastily grabbed a pen from her purse and reached down, beginning to write a series of numbers on Elsa's palm. When she finished, the flustered barista grinned and sat back in her seat reading over the series of numbers scribbled on the heel of her hand. Anna then began to gather her things for a second time and, casting apologetic glances at the barista, stood.
Elsa said aloud, "It's okay, Anna."
And Anna smiled brightly before rushing from the store, leaving Elsa with a phone number and a wonderful feeling in her chest.
Anna, delighted that the person she admired had stopped and talked to her, rushed out of the door, not wanting to look back and see the adorable puppy eyes she knew the platinum blonde was giving her. If Anna turned and looked into those blue eyes once more, she doubted she'd be able to resist leaving her. She walked out into the parking lot and tapped her foot, waiting patiently for her favorite cousin to drive up in her white mustang. If Anna was capable of hearing things, a few moments after she had exited the store, she would've heard a high pitched squeal of rubber against road. Anna's cousin's white mustang zipped down the parking lot towards Anna and slowed down right in front of her. The window of the driver's seat rolled down and Rapunzel stuck her head out and waved enthusiastically for Anna to get in.
The woman smiled and slid into the passenger's side where she buckled her seat belt and pushed up her glasses. In sign language, Anna's cousin, Rapunzel, greeted her: "Hello, Anna! Did you have a nice time in there? I saw you talking with that girl at the counter."
Anna sighed silently and replied in quick gestures: "I was, and she is amazing!" then she made the heart sign with her hands and Rapunzel laughed. Anna loved to see her cousin smile.
One of the many things Rapunzel loved about Anna was the fact that, because of her condition, Rapunzel could turn up the music in her car as loud as she wanted and she would get no complaints. Another reason was that Anna was a miracle. Sine Rapunzel was her caretaker, she knew the extent of the toll that Anna's deafness had taken on her when Anna's parent died in a horrible fire when Anna was a seven year old girl. Anna, having been hit in the head with a beam from her house during the fire, had been knocked out and when she woke up, she was in a hospital room, completely unable to hear anything.
At first, Anna had trouble adapting to her new life of silence, but eventually, she learned sign language and other ways to communicate. She missed voices and the sounds of everyday life but most of all, she missed music. Eleven years later however, she was as happy as could be and perfectly content with life no music and all.
Anna smiled out the window and Rapunzel tapped her cousin's shoulder, breaking her thoughts about the beautiful blonde barista with the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.
Rapunzel gestured: "So what do you feel like eating tonight?"
"Chocolate!" Anna gestured back jokingly and Rapunzel laughed and nudged her.
"No, I mean real food, dummy!"
"I'd like some salad." Anna signaled and Rapunzel nodded, smiling.
"Salad it is then!" Rapunzel said aloud.
The relationship between the cousins was nothing short of affectionate. Since Rapunzel practically raised Anna since childhood, the older girl had always felt that Anna was more than a sister than a cousin. She felt like she was doing her Aunt and Uncle a favor by caring for the little deaf Anna. In return, she was rewarded by seeing the fruits of her labor of raising a child three years younger come alive in the person she loved the most. Rapunzel loved Anna more than anyone. More than anything. And Anna returned the feeling.
Rapunzel reached over and took Anna's hand, and the cousin's shared a smile, communicating through eye contact what they couldn't through words.
Meanwhile, Elsa was bicycling down the busy road on her way home, talking hastily to her little brother on the phone,
"Olaf, did you remember to feed the dog?"
"Yeah!" Olaf's small, cheery voice replied on the other end, "Sven's just fine! Hey, you sound a bit more happy than normal! Did you get a raise?"
"No I…" Elsa paused, then broke out into a small half smile, "I met a girl."
"Is it that Anna girl you've been talking about?" Olaf asked, pushing Sven off the couch.
"That's the one!" Elsa replied dreamily staring at the clouds in the sky, day dreaming about the beautiful redhead woman with the cute classes and loopy hand writing.
"Whoa!" Olaf said in excitement. Elsa could picture him clapping his hands, "That's so cool! Is she nice?"
"Very." Elsa smiled, sighing longingly, "I wish she could've stayed longer."
"Aww, she had to leave?"
The one of the many things Elsa loved about her little brother was that he was always sharing her emotions. If she felt happy, he felt happy. If she felt sad, he was sad. Elsa felt a deep connection with him as a big sister should. She was doing her very best to raise him right and according to Olaf, she was doing a fantastic job.
Elsa pedaled a bit faster down the highway, talking to Olaf and asking him how his day was going. He would reply in that same, never-ceasing adorable voice of his and Elsa would grin every time he stuttered a bit on his words. Elsa promised to buy her brother some ice cream if he joined her on a trip to the store later and Olaf enthusiastically agreed. The bicycle ride home from Elsa's work wasn't long and didn't put too much strain on Elsa's legs. About five minutes later, she pulled up to the little house in the middle of nowhere where Olaf was playing out in the front yard with Sven, their grey and black furred mutt. Sven, when Elsa got off her bike, rushed over and jumped on her chest, placing his paws on her shoulder and licking her face.
"Ah! Sven!" Elsa giggled shoving him playfully, "Down! Down, boy, gosh!" Sven returned to all fours but lovingly rubbed up against Elsa's legs as she opened her arms for her little brother. Olaf rushed up to her and threw his arms around her waist.
"Hey, sis!" He cried excitedly.
"Hi." Elsa smiled, hugging him back, ruffling his platinum blonde hair, "You ready to go, kiddo?"
"Hold on! Let me go and get my wallet!" Olaf replied, turning on his heel and dashing toward the house. Elsa smiled after him, putting her hands on her hips. She glanced down at Sven who was sitting by her side, ears perked and tail waving back and forth, tongue hanging out and panting excitedly, seemingly smiling in his excitement to see his owner again.
As Olaf and Elsa got on their bikes and began to pedal toward their destination, Rapunzel and Anna arrived at Rapunzel's home. The older woman hopped out of her mustang and circled the front of the car, opening the door for her younger cousin to exit. Anna gestured, "Thank you," and got out, hugged Rapunzel quickly, then hurried inside. Rapunzel, on her heels, watched with a laugh as Anna draped herself dramatically over the couch, sighing loudly and covering her eyes with her forearm. The brunette chuckled warmly at the small sound of Anna's still small voice and strode across the room to sit down on her stomach, playfully taking Anna's glasses and putting them on herself.
"Hmm no wonder you can't see without these puppies." Rapunzel said, laughingly, "You're blind as a bat!"
Anna blindly reached out for her glasses, blinking rapidly. Her cousin moved away teasingly gesturing for the younger girl to come closer. Anna, surprising Rapunzel, grabbed them off of her face with an exasperated giggle, then put them back on her face and stuck out her tongue. She was immediately met by a kiss on the forehead and a cheek pinch from the older girl.
"Dinner will be ready in about a half an hour, okay, four eyes?" Rapunzel gestured in sign language.
"Okay!" Anna signaled, her eyes lighting up, "Don't be any longer than that because I'm starving!"
"I'll try." Rapunzel replied, disappearing into the kitchen.
Anna laid fully back onto the couch, stretching luxuriously over the pillows where she half closed her eyes and watched the clock above the kitchen door until she felt tired enough to fall asleep. The silence provided excellent comfort and as she watched the second hand tick, tick, tick around the clock, her eyelids grew heavy and soon Anna drifted off into a light nap.
Elsa and Olaf spent the rest of the day together at the store. The two got some dinner, groceries, and stopped for ice cream after they were done. Both Elsa and Olaf got chocolate fudge ice cream and sat on the curb playing the game 'yellow cars.' The sun began to set and Elsa took Olaf home where the siblings sat down and played a card game. Elsa let Olaf win of course and grinned every time he cried out in victory. Elsa's favorite thing was when her brother began to playfully taunt her with a little dance that Elsa found absolutely hilarious. When Olaf began to get tired, Elsa laid him down on the couch so he could settle down for bed. She brushed the strands of unruly platinum blonde hair out of his eyes and smiled affectionately down at her little brother. He smiled fondly up at her and whispered, "If momma wasn't gone, I'm sure she'd be a lot like you."
Elsa paused, then it hit home. Elsa's parents had abandoned her with Olaf after they ran out of money and could no longer take care of their children. They left Elsa and Olaf the house that was in seclusion and no one knew about it. They still were provided water but very little came out of the shower heads in the morning so the siblings would take turns every other day. Elsa had raised Olaf on her own working for money and food, doing odd jobs like favors for people for a few dollars just so she could purchase food for herself and Olaf. As she grew, taking care of Olaf became easier and as soon, as she turned 21, she was able to get her current job at Starbucks.
Try as she might, Elsa could never seem to do enough for Olaf. She wanted to give him a childhood he deserved instead of making him do odd jobs just like she had done in his share of providing for the both of them. But hearing her little brother say something like that meant more to her than he realized. Elsa leaned down and kissed his cheek.
"EWWW!" Olaf cried, pushing her away playfully, wiping off his cheek vigorously, "I'm gonna get girl cooties!"
"Hmm." Elsa smiled, "Sorry. Make sure you get to bed before 10:00 okay? I'm gonna go to bed."
"Sleep tight…and don't let the bedbugs bite!"
"Please." Olaf rolled his eyes, then giggled.
Anna and Rapunzel, after eating their dinner, settled down together in the living room with two bowls of chocolate ice cream to watch a movie. Anna's eyes flicked from the subtitles to what was happening on the screen and she imagined what the character's voices sounded like. She smiled at the appropriate times, frowned as well. She missed the sounds of people's voices…more than anything…
Suddenly, Anna's phone in her pocket vibrated. She fished it out, then turned it on, surprised to find that it was a text from a number she had never seen before. Anna opened the text and her eyes lit up. Rapunzel beside her jumped a bit as Anna let out a small squeal.
"Whoa!" Rapunzel laughed, looking over her shoulder to read the text her cousin had received.
Anna read the text Elsa had sent her with a grin,
"Uh…heyya! It's Elsa. You know…the girl from the coffee shop? How are you doing this afternoon?"
Anna stared excitedly at the phone for a minute, then she pointed to it and began gesturing to Rapunzel that the message was sent by the coffee shop girl. Rapunzel, gestured enthusiastically for her to reply.
Anna texted back: "I'm doing WONDFERFULY now that you texted! I was just watching a movie with my cousin before heading off to bed! What's going on with you?"
Elsa, lying in the dark of her room, staring at the ceiling with her phone on her chest, smiled broadly, remembering how cute Anna had been earlier that day. Elsa shut her eyes and waited patiently for a reply. When her phone vibrated a few seconds later she sat up in her bed, not expecting a reply that fast.
Elsa opened the message and smiled when she read what Anna had written to her. She took a moment to think, then wrote back, "Aww… : ) What movie? And I was just thinking about earlier and how we didn't have nearly enough time to talk. If you have maybe Saturday off I'd like to take you to the mall where we can just hang out!"
Elsa sent the text and Anna read it, a grin spreading across her face. She took time to reply then sent it and immediately after, Rapunzel behind her squealed and threw her arms around Anna's neck.
"We're watching Lilo and Stich and I would love to hang out with you Saturday!" Anna had written, "If you're working, I could meet you there and we can hang out for however long you want!"
The barista's smile brightened. Anna accepting to hang out with her was the highlight of Elsa's week and she fell back on her bed, staring at the words on the screen, smiling excitedly.
Anna and Rapunzel stared at her phone until the screen lit up again with Elsa's reply.
"COOL! :D" Anna smiled excitedly, "I'm so excited to see you again! You have no idea how much I want to get to know you better."
Elsa turned on her side, in her bed, letting out a small hum of happiness as Anna wrote back:
"I want to get to know you better too! Never did I expect to be noticed, much less be asked to hang out. Thanks Elsa! I'll meet you at your Coffee shop, okay?"
"Sounds wonderful." Elsa wrote back.
"Goodnight then. ;P"
Elsa curled up in her blankets with a wide smile on her face upon the promise of spending time with her new friend.
Anna laid her head on her cousin's chest and sighed slowly while Rapunzel began to braid her hair.
Both girls drifted off that night, thinking about the other.