Chapter 1

It couldn't get any worse.

At least, that's what Georgia Locke had thought before the rain came. It was pouring, the fat droplets making loud splat sounds on the plastic of her umbrella. Despite her hot anger, she was shivering, and she chided herself for not going with her mother to get warmer clothes the day after they moved to New York. Cold weather was so not her thing. She was used to hot, sandy beaches, warm saltwater, and light breezes. The winds she was being subjected to today, though, were definitely not the soft breezes she was used to. She sighed. Just frickin' fantastic.

Her mom had already kicked her out today, and she usually went to Lulu's house afterwords, but she was in New York, with no beach houses with lots of land like she was used to, and even worse - no Lulu. So here she was, sitting on a bench outside of some kind of shop whose doors were closed to keep the rain from blowing in. She knew she couldn't just stop in the store and wait out the storm- she didn't know how the owner was about loiterers, and she wasn't dressed like someone you would want in a shop anyway. A baggy hoodie, ripped jeans, and combat boots were the warmest clothes she had, and she had noticed that she looked more like a thug or punk than anything else. So the store was out of the question.

At least, that's what she had thought until someone tapped her shoulder. She whirled around to face them and was met with a steaming cup of coffee. She hadn't even heard the door to the shop open. The boy holding it couldn't have been any older than her, maybe seventeen at the oldest. He smiled at her as she took the styrofoam cup out of his hands.

"You looked cold. I wasn't sure how you would like your coffee, so I brought it to you black. If you want, you can come inside and I'll have my cousin make it the way you want."

Georgia had been conditioning herself to drink black, cutting back on the creamer and the sugar every time she drank coffee, but a sweet, milky, warm drink sounded really good right now. She breathed in the coffee bean scent from the cup and shot a smile at the unnamed boy.

"Sure. Thanks for the offer." He held open the door for her as she stood up, shaking the rain from her umbrella as she walked underneath the awning. As she stepped inside, though, a voice came from behind the counter.

"Sonny, I swear, if any of that godforsaken rain gets on my counter-" She looked back at the boy who had opened the door for her, who was letting it close slowly while he walked over to who she presumed was the cousin he had spoken of. He chuckled as he took the umbrella from her hand and placed it on a rack by the door. How had she not noticed that?

"Chillax, cuz. It's just water." The man behind the counter looked like he was about to say something to the boy- Sonny, she remembered - before realizing she was there. Sonny took the coffee from her and handed it to his cousin before turning and asking her how she liked her coffee.

"Uh, one creamer, three sugars, thanks." She stood there awkwardly while the man made her coffee.

"You like cinnamon? I think it honestly makes the coffee better." She was taken aback by the question. The coffee shops in Hawaii made the coffee as ordered, no questions, no added anything. It took her a second to answer.

"Um, yeah." He smiled and took a small shaker from behind the counter, sprinkling just a bit into the cup before stirring it and handing it back to her. She took a tentative sip, all while eyeing the boy, who had jumped up to sit on the counter and was popping peanut M&Ms into his mouth one at a time. As the coffee hit her tongue, flavor burst inside her mouth. It was creamy and milky, but the slight bitterness of the coffee still peeked through the sugar. And, he was right, the cinnamon added just the right amount of spice to the drink, perfecting the flavor. Warmth flooded her cold body, all the way down to her toes, and she couldn't tell if it was from the coffee or from the hopeful smile of Sonny, who was looking straight at her. Georgia pulled her hood further over her neck, feeling a blush creep into her face.

"You like it?" The question came from the man behind the counter, snapping her out of her Sonny-and-coffee induced haze. She nodded vigorously before taking another sip. "I'm Usnavi. I own this place. That goofball who brought you coffee is Sonny, my cousin. Sorry if we bothered you, but you looked cold." She started to shake her head to assure him that no, they didn't bother her, just the opposite, but he kept talking. "You new around here? I don't think I've ever seen you around the barrio before." She swallowed her drink of coffee before answering.

"Yeah, my family just moved here from Hawaii. Just this weekend, actually, so I haven't been here long." Sonny was the one who spoke up this time.

"Hawaii? Why'd you want to leave from there?" Georgia shrugged, closing her eyes in what she hoped would be taken as a, I'm not sure, my mother's absolutely crazy. He seemed to get the gist of the gesture and changed the subject. "How long did you live there?"

"Since I was three. I'm fifteen now, so... seven years?" He leaned forward, listening with wide eyes.

"What was it like?" She smiled, the memory of her old beach town washing over her like the salt water she always swam in. She closed her eyes to lock in the feeling.

"It was warm, and there were so many palm trees..."

During the course of the conversation, she found herself sitting on the counter next to Sonny and eating Skittles. They sat there for at least an hour and a half, talking about Hawaii and coffee preferences and Why don't you like peanut M&Ms? (a horrified question from Sonny) and Georgia's nut allergy. The sky was already lightening from the aftermath of the storm when she realized how much time had passed.

"Oh!" She checked her phone. Alaska was supposed to text her and tell her when it was safe to come home, and she already had three messages from her twin brother. "Sorry to leave so suddenly, but I have to get going." Sonny waved off her apology.

"It's fine. I was probably annoying you anyway." He laughed, and she started laughing because of the ridiculousness of his statement.

"You weren't annoying! Anyway, thanks for staying and talking to me for so long." He waved at her as she grabbed her umbrella from the stand and, pulling her hood over her head, opening the door. She smiled and waved back as she let the door close behind her, stepping out onto the street. A few steps down the block, she turned around, hoping to catch one last glimpse of Sonny before he started working again. What she saw made her smile beyond what she thought she could.

Sonny was still waving.

Author's Note:

Hello ! I'm Avery, and this is my first story. I'd really like some feedback (constructive criticism, support, etc.). Thanks for reading!