Nine times out of ten I walked to class. Really, I lived way too close to warrant keeping a car on campus but if it was raining or it was time to get groceries or, in this instance, I woke up with the mother of all hangovers it was worth paying for gas and oil and all the other spare parts you inevitably need when you own a piece of shit car.
There was an added bonus in driving my Bella-shaped hangover to class: time for a trip to Starbucks. Even if my stomach was threatening to eject all intruders Starbucks had its very own chemical makeup that allowed my body to absorb it gratefully and fuel my basic motor functions until I became capable of digesting a pop tart.
It was with this promising mindset that I shuffled through the doors, eyes half closed and UGG boots dragging. I placed my order, thrusting the ten dollar bill at the barista's face to try and block the bright light reflecting from her teeth, before hobbling to the end of the counter to impatiently await my salvation.
It was then—surrounded by commuters, looking like a semi-fashionable tramp—that a level five vomit alert hit my nervous system like a blow to the back of the head. I sprinted—as well as anyone can sprint in ill-fitting, furry boots—to the single toilet at the back and nearly KO'd a woman with a small toddler in my haste to get into the room they were emerging from.
Finally, head hanging over the ceramic bowl, I coughed and spluttered and nothing came up but some drool and about a teaspoonful of bile. Of course, I managed to get both caught on the ends of my hair.
Five minutes of scrubbing the ends with moulting, cheap toilet tissue and I surfaced with sour breath and a reverse case of dandruff.
Slowly, I approached the counter to an exasperated barista calling my name.
"Bella? Venti, extra-shot, iced-latte for Bella? Bella?"
I quickened my pained shuffle in anticipation of the medicinal qualities of high quantities of caffeine and sugar mixed together but then—as I was half-way across the room—a guy stepped forward and grabbed the cup from the woman in the little green apron. He had been half-way down the queue waiting to pay when he sidled out and made a b-line for my drink.
"Yeah, that's mine. Thanks."
My swollen eyes opened slightly more than half-way in my incredulous rage.
"Hey!" I grunted.
For a split-second he looked over at me. His eyes flickered from my dishevelled, lumbering body to the cup in his hands. He looked back at me and then—without remorse in his eyes—he turned straight ahead and ambled nonchalantly toward the exit like he wasn't a coffee-thieving bastard.
The line in front of the register had grown and was now cram-packed with grumpy, under-caffeinated people. I pushed my way through, elbowing indiscriminately in my quest to stop this coffee-related injustice befalling me on what was already a highly shitty day.
Finally, I reached him. I grabbed a fistful of hoody by his arm and yanked him around to face me. I had no idea where the power to do this came from but stories of parents performing inconceivable acts of strength while their children were in danger flitted through my groggy mind and I decided this must be similar. Adrenalin was on my side.
"That's my coffee."
"I don't think so," he replied calmly.
My sarcasm was dialled all the way up. "It says Bella on it. Your name is Bella?"
"It's for my sister."
"Your invisible sister?"
Granted, it wasn't the best comeback but I was teetering on the edge of despair so I let it slide.
"That's my coffee," I repeated, despair creeping into my voice.
He had the nerve to smile while he took a sip and I could see the ice cubes sloshing around deliciously in all the coffee-infused two percent milk. When he swallowed I wanted to punch him in the throat just so he couldn't enjoy it.
I seethed. "You're an awful, awful person."
I could barely see the boy in front of me through the red haze of anger he was responsible for. The fury was almost completely eclipsing my vision, possibly aided by the lumpy day-old mascara that was drooping from my lashes. What I did see was annoyingly attractive and that made everything worse. I felt like a troll telling him to get the hell out from under my bridge. We were out on the sidewalk now and I was sure every passerby thought I was some desperate hobo trying to fence his drink. If only they knew the truth.
Pretty Boy shrugged at my accusation and dug in the front pocket of his jeans with his free hand. He pulled out a disgustingly crumpled bill and waved it in my general direction. I grabbed it as he smirked at me, pulling his sunglasses down and giving me a little wave before he slipped into a car that was worth approximately as much as my college degree. If I owned that car I would also have to live in it.
When I looked down at the little ball of money in my fist I spied an unexpected number and flattened it out just to be sure. The smug bastard had given me fifty dollars.
In that moment I decided I was going to buy ten coffees, then I was going to hunt him down and throw them at his face. I let the plan wash over me for one glorious moment before I stumbled back inside.