"Two cappuccinos, both with cinnamon, and a regular black coffee, please." Merlin nodded his head swiftly and turned to the coffee machine and proceeded to bash the old coffee beans out of the grinder and began to make two fresh coffees for the present customer. Pressing the correct buttons to release the amount of coffee needed, Merlin wiped his sleeve on his forehead before steaming the milk. He poured the customer his two cappuccinos, foaming the milk perfectly, before pouring him a mug of coffee from the filter jug.
"That's £4 exactly then, please." He calculated quickly in his head before politely holding his hand out for the gentlemen's change.
"Thanks." He replied, taking his tray of coffees before returning to the table with what looked like his wife and possibly son.
Merlin allowed his eyes to wonder to the customer's table – they were the only customers in the café – whilst semi-consciously wiping up some spilt milk, and tidying the front desk. The gentleman he served was sipping from his own cappuccino whilst passing his wife the other. The other man at the table, Merlin guessed he was the gentlemen's son, as they looked quite similar, however couldn't have been much older than Merlin. He had a pale, smooth skinned face and his dark hair almost covered his eyes which, sensed being watched, flickered up to meet Merlin's.
Merlin looked away quickly, trying to make himself look busy by constantly wiping the same spot on the front desk as though the milk had stained it or had become corrosive – Merlin was highly aware of how ridiculous he was making himself look, yet he couldn't help but look back to the table. The boy was still staring at him, though this time Merlin could see through his hair to his striking blue eyes. Merlin smiled weakly, and the boy looked away.
Rolling his eyes at himself, Merlin turned around to begin cleaning the coffee machine, it was half an hour away from closing, and with his boss, Gaius, having gone home sick less than an hour into the day, Merlin had to keep the café going by himself all day and that means cleaning it at the end of the day too. He was too busy banging coffee out of the coffee grinder he used for the cappuccinos he hadn't noticed someone standing at the front desk. Once he turned round, he almost jumped out of his skin at the sight of the boy standing there.
"Sorry, I did not mean to frighten you." He held out a hand, open as though it was a sign of peace and apology. His voice was smooth, enchanting almost.
Merlin shook his head, wiping his hands on his apron, "No, no. It's no worries, I mean – you didn't frighten me, I'm fine, I should have known-" Well aware that he was mumbling, he felt his cheeks flush and stopped talking. "Can I help you?" He finally asked, "Is everything okay with your coffees?" He glanced over to the table where the man and woman sat, chattering.
"No, I mean Yes, everything is fine with the coffees." The boy smiled, his eyes sparkling – or did Merlin just imagine that? Dimples imprinted on the boys cheeks as he continued. "I was just wondering if I could have a small bit of milk, for the regular coffee?"
"Oh!" Merlin laughed, wondering why he was acting like such a prat in front of a stranger – a strangely attractive stranger yes, but a stranger none the less. "I thought it was a black coffee, of course I'll get you some milk." Merlin turned, opened the fridge and grabbed the milk out before pouring a small bit into a silver jug.
"Yeah, sorry." The boy continued. "My Father's mistake. You'd have thought he'd order milk with it, you know, just in case." He nodded humbly.
"Yeah, just in case. It's not a worry." Merlin pushed the jug across the counter towards the boy and couldn't help but notice the boy staring at his chest, and more specifically at his name badge. "Yes, my name is Merlin." He stated, a little more impatiently than he had meant to and instantly felt apologetic. "Sorry." He mumbled.
"No, my apologies! I didn't mean to stare." The boy laughed.
"Well, now that you know my name, I believe it's only fair that I know yours, right? Just in case?" Merlin smoothly stated, hardly believing him self. Flirting at work? Flirting with a stranger? Flirting with a stranger that it is highly likely to be completely straight? Merlin was suddenly glad that Gaius was not here to witness this.
"Just in case, eh? I'm Mord-" The boy stopped himself, scrunching his face in thought only slightly, quick enough for Merlin to hardly notice, "Michael." He said convincingly.
"Mord-Michael?" Merlin joked, "almost as bad as Merlin."
The boy smiled, and Merlin felt himself chuckling along as well, almost contagiously. "Just Michael." He nodded, taking the milk from the counter. "Thanks, Merlin." He smiled again, locking eyes with Merlin once more before turning back to his family and joining them with their coffees.
Merlin let out a large sigh of breath, which he hadn't realised, he had been holding and turned again to start cleaning the coffee machine. Whilst waiting for the final grinder to rinse he flicked his phone out, checking his emails and messages. 11 emails, mostly from shops trying to sell him the summer sales, he swiftly deleted all of them before moving on to his unread message. It was from Gwen, his life long best friend.
Coming to see you, might even help you clean up if you're lucky! X
Merlin smiled at the text and just has he slid it back into his pocket he heard the tapping of feet and in bounded into his sight was Gwen. She was a beautiful girl, and pretty much the reason most people knew Merlin was gay. She was the first to know, she still claims that she knew Merlin was gay before he even did, yet the questions amongst others started three years ago, back in high school – "How had Merlin been able to keep his hands off beautiful Gwen?" "Must be gay, mustn't he!" Well yes, that would be the reason. It started off as mere jokes, and people still genuinely believed he was straight and just plain frigid. Merlin spent a long time, at least a year, wondering what would be worse – people thinking he was frigid? Or people knowing he was gay? The thinking came to an end when he was caught kissing the leader of the art club at college, who happened to be male, openly gay and absolutely gorgeous. That finally allowed people to click together the pieces.
"Hey, Gwen! I just got your text!" He smiled at the sight of his best friend leaning across the counter at him. Her brown, curly locks resting carelessly on the counter. Her eyelashes flickered, moving her fringe slightly and her face fell.
"I text that over an hour ago!" She stood up straight, crossing her arms over her chest, "and you've only just read it?"
"I….I am working, Gwen!" Gesturing to the almost empty café and realising that it didn't seem a liable excuse to Gwen, "anyway, if you sent it over an hour ago how come you've only just arrived? Your house is less than a ten minute walk away from here, I do believe?" Merlin watched as Gwen grew more and more embarrassed, unfolding her arms and reaching a hand to scratch her head suspiciously.
"I…I got distracted!" She said, smiling sweetly.
"Not by a strapping young fellow called Lance, by any chance?"
Merlin didn't move quick enough, Gwen had whipped a tea towel off the side and leant across the counter to whip at Merlin.
"Shush, you!" She squealed, before lifting the side desk and walking through the back of the counter to join Merlin.
"Hey, you're not allowed back here! Staff only!" Merlin joked.
Gwen pointed a finger at Merlin's face, "It's down to me you have this job! Now would you like help cleaning up, or not?" She folded her arms again, trying to make her petit body look as authoritative as it possibly good without bursting into giggles.
"That is not true! Gaius would've hired me – he knows me!" He looked again at Gwen's stern face and changed the course of the sentence, "Yes, please, Guinevere."
She snatched an apron from the side and swung it over her head, tying it up tightly. "Do not call me, Guinevere!"
"Sorry, my lovely. Would you prefer…Mrs…Lance?" Merlin grimaced, "What is Lance's last name anyway?"
"Will you please stop talking about Lance?" Gwen huffed, grabbing the broom from the cupboard and began sweeping. "Would you like to marry him?"
Merlin scoffed, "No." he shook his head. "Not my type." He stated. "Too much hair here," he motioned to his chin, "too prickly for me." He laughed at Gwen's face.
"Prefer your men cleanly shaven then, Merlin? Smooth skinned?"
"Exactly." He winked at Gwen then turned to the counter at the sound of a tray being placed there. The young boy, Michael, stood, looking at him. Merlin's eyes latched onto his face, look at how smooth skinned this boy was and suddenly felt flushed.
"Thank you, for the coffees." He smiled, his eyes sparkling once again – Merlin did not imagine it this time. They were truly beautiful.
"No problem." Merlin smiled, walking over to the counter to take the tray, nodding at the boys parents in thanks as they left the café.
"Here," Michael dug into his pocket, "Have a tip, for dealing with my Father's poor orders." He held out his hand, balled into a fist.
"Oh no, don't worry about that." Michael continued to look consistent however, "Thank you." Merlin smiled, shyly. He balanced the tray in one hand and held out his other to accept Michael's offering. He felt the coins drop into his hand, but clasped onto something that felt like paper also. He opened his hand, hoping that Michael had not left him a tip in note form, as that would have cost him more than the coffee's did. However, it was plain white. He looked up, to motion to Michael that he had given him some paper accidently but the boy was gone.
He carried the tray into the kitchen, and placed it down before examining the tip. Sure enough, Michael had left him two pounds tip, and sure enough he had also left Merlin some paper.
"Oh…" Merlin unrolled the paper, revealing a number scribbled onto the paper and signed "Mord-michael ;) here's my number, just in case."