Fritz Josef Bittenfeld sat in the corner of the coffee shop, typing away vigorously at the company laptop he had been given along with his promotion. However, with promotions came even more work, and now, as he worked on his 47th spreadsheet that week, he was beginning to grow haggard.
As he pulled at his hair, fussing it up even more than it had been before, he wondered what he'd done to deserve this hellish punishment. He had been so excited, practically running all way the home to Mumsie, bouncing about in his chair while she made him french toast and related the story to her. 'Good Job, Fritzy!' She had said in such a cheery voice.
However, now that he had worked so hard, he was beginning to wonder if it was all worth it. Supervisor Oberstein wasn't the easiest man to work with (most of the staff hated his guts) and it hadn't been the first time Bittenfeld had flipped his lip, screaming obscenities at him and threatening almost comical levels of bodily harm. He secretly knew the supervisor wanted to purge him from the company ranks, but CEO Lohengramm would always let them stay, for whatever reason Bittenfeld could never discern.
So, as Bittenfeld sat there, typing away furiously, he became unaware of the passage of time, and suddenly there was a shadow hovering over him. He looked up and instantly found himself locked in a gaze with the barista. The coffee shop was empty. The barista placed a saucer down next to him and smiled slightly.
"I see you've been working very hard. Why don't you take a break?" Bittenfeld stared down at the cup of coffee that had been given to him. It smelled wonderful to his frazzled senses. It even had whipped cream and cinnamon garnish. Without him noticing, the barista sat down, resting his chin precariously on delicately curved fingers. Bittenfeld smiled slightly as he placed his laptop off to the side. There was nothing between them now, simply the cup of coffee and a comfortable silence. The barista was moderately handsome, as far as Bittenfeld could have gone to consider, even though he was simply wearing the same drab uniform everyone else wore. The only difference was a regular brown apron. Bittenfeld even managed to notice the small pile of coffee beans in the front pocket.
So that's why he smells so good.
"Is it closing time?" Bittenfeld nervously inquired, lifting the coffee to his lips. It was as delicious as it smelled, and the whip cream was just right, the temperature difference between the two contrasting perfect.
"Shit, this is great." Bittenfeld cursed without thinking. The barista laughed and tapped one of his fingers against the table.
"Yes, well, I suspected that after 4 straight hours you seemed to have been working, you might need something. Might I add, that's a special blend you know. Those beans are imported from halfway across the world."
Bittenfeld grew pale. "Oh, I, um, How much do I—" He had taken out his wallet and would have thrown down what he could, if the barista hadn't touched his hand. "It's on the house, just for you."
Bittenfeld flushed and looked away. "Thanks—" he glanced the Barista up and down. His name tag read Ernest. "Thanks Ernest, really, it means a lot."
Ernest smiled at him and ran a hand through his hair, before licking his finger and leaning in.
"You've got a little—" He mumble as he pinched Bittenfeld's cheek, wiping away some of the whipped cream he has smeared across his face in his earlier attack on the coffee. Bittenfeld flustered at the sudden contact but didn't shy away from it. He knew it was crazy notion, but for just a moment this kind barista, Ernest, had reminded him of his mother.