I stared at the cup of coffee in front of me. For the fifteen years I've known Tommy, he had never offered me coffee.
Coffee was a drink on a pedestal in Tommy Pickles' house. Everytime someone came over, Tommy's mother had a cup of java waiting for her guest. Coffee and its many forms were very important to everyone I knew - myself included. I work at Java Lava, after all.
I had dreamt of Tommy inviting me to his house for some coffee. Looking at the steam rise from the black liquid, it wasn't the coffee I had in mind. My eyes wandered over to his.
"What's the matter, Chuck?" Tommy asked. He was smiling away. I gulped nervously.
"Nothing," I replied and brought the cup to my lips. He leaned forward across the table, watching with excitement. I pulled the cup away with a start.
"What's in here?" I tried to take a whiff of the coffee, but I couldn't really tell the difference in aromas even if something was planted in. Sinuses and allergies and the occasional cold do that to your sense of smell.
"Nothing!" Tommy leaned back in his chair, laughing nervously. I frowned and brought the cup back to my mouth. He leaned forward again. If I didn't drink, we were going to be playing this game all day. I spread my lips apart slightly and let the hot liquid pour into my mouth slowly. It was divine.
Then the aftertaste came and the burning liquid down my esophagus that left a lasting impression. I hacked and coughed and grunted. A wave of agony swept over Tommy's face. I put the cup down, trying to gain my composure. What a way to look attractive!
"Chuckie, are you okay?"
"Yes, yes!" I sighed. "I just don't like actual coffee."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I just figured that since, you know, you worked at a place that sells java..." His voice trailed off. I grinned weakly and slid the cup over to him.
"You want me to finish it?" Tommy smiled, taking the cup and pressing the side I used to his lips. I flushed and thought about how incredibly sexy this moment was for two supposedly heterosexual men. This could really be my chance to tell Tommy about my feelings for him.
"No!" I blurted out. "That has my germs! It's disgusting. You need to pour that cup out and wash it very well. I hear the flu's been going around, and I haven't been feeling too well, after all." Oh, what a dork I could be without thinking about it! I expected him to look disgusted and throw the cup in the sink. Instead he downed the coffee, his smile not fading for a second.
"I brewed this just for us, Chuckie," Tommy said.
"You did?" I asked.
"Yeah," Tommy flashed an even dreamier smile than what he was already wearing. "When you're interested in someone, you invite them to have coffee, right?"
"Tommy, there's a difference between a cup of coffee and having coffee," I replied, amused. As soon as those words left my lips, I realized what my best friend meant. He was interested in me just as much as I was in him. I looked at the floor, blushing furiously. My glasses were slipping down my face.
Tommy inched over, taking my glasses from my face. He apologized for not knowing the difference in the meanings and asked me to explain it to me. I blushed even more. How could a fifteen-year-old not know the difference?
Oh, wait. Explain to him what having coffee means.
"Tommy, I don't think that's such a good idea!" I fumbled for my glasses. My fingers brushed against his hand. He seized my hand and squeezed it gently.
"Or you can show me," Tommy kissed my cheek. He kept kissing, bringing his lips closer to mine. He got pieces of my hair in his mouth, which I felt awkward about. I finally lifted my head and met his mouth. I could faintly taste the coffee.
Coffee had never tasted so sweet.