Most people came here for the coffee — it had one of the best reputations in the city and it produced great quality espresso. Some came because of the wonderful range of Italian pastries and gelati, always freshly made on the premises. I come here because of Marissa.
Marissa has been making my coffee every day for six weeks. I remember when she started — not just because of her rare skill of mastering the machines with her first perfect cup, but because of that smile.
Before Marissa arrived, my latte was always excellent, always served with efficiency, yet always with that strained smile she'd been forcing on her customers since 7am. June was a great barista and she ran a fantastic café, but she needed to remind herself how to be more sincere.
Marissa changed all that: there was no hint of nervousness as she pushed my hot glass across the counter the first time and that soft smile was more rousing than anything the coffee could do, more arousing than I thought possible from two seconds of parted lips. I had often stopped by on my way through but not every day — until Marissa arrived, and then I made sure I always got my daily fix here, sometimes more than once.
Today was no exception — I was still nervous approaching the counter and seeking recognition from her: she knew my order now and I was rewarded with a more familiar smile. She spoke with a slight Italian lilt: "I'll bring it over" then her deep brown eyes locked onto my twitching blue ones. I held her stare for a second longer than was polite but I couldn't pull my eyes from hers — and when I did, she was the one reddening with embarrassment, pretending to focus on steaming the milk.
I moved to my usual table and admired her with new found bravado: my crush on Marissa was lustful and fanciful, and I thought only one sided — but with the blush still evident on her cheeks and a smile not quite across her lips, she dared to flick a glance or two my way when she thought I wasn't looking — I always was.
All too soon, I was watching her pretty body move elegantly towards me, placing the glass on the table and without catching my stare, gave me a smile that threatened to break into a giggle.
"There you go Matt"
That smile would have been enough to floor me, but she knew my name! I know I was a regular, but we had only ever engaged in idle conversations about the weather, how quiet or busy each of us was that day — never introducing ourselves. I only knew hers through the name badge. I watched her moving body accentuate the sex that now lay thick in my head — and other areas of my body — then she disappeared back into the steam of someone else's cappuccino.
"Are you ever going to say anything?" a soft voice said towards me. My focus shifted from where Marissa had walked to see a woman sat directly in my sight. My instant embarrassment forgot the conversation instantly, but she persisted: "You can turn up here every day and stare, but surely you want to do more than that?"
Slightly more composed, I looked up at the woman trying to engage me.
"You think you're subtle, trying hard to maintain an excuse to be here other than to see her".
My first thoughts were to respond angrily, to question why she thought she could talk to me like this, but first, I was worried that this would give Marissa the wrong impression, and second, she was right. I just smiled, trying desperately hard to think of an appropriate response and just got my mouth open when she continued:
"I know you want to do more than just look at her — the lump in your pants tells me that..." and even though I could feel it, I couldn't help but look down to see how visible it was. I was alarmed to find it was obvious to anyone — and when I glanced up to where Marissa was grinding more beans, I was mortified to see her smiling back at me.
The woman had now got up and sat down next to my steaming coffee. Her hand covered mine on the table and she stopped talking, replacing her words with an enigmatic smile and a sparkle in her eyes. Finally, she whispered:
"So what do you want to do about it?"
Surprisingly, I found my words:
"What can I do? I just come here and drink her coffee. I'm just a customer. I'm..." but she leant in and quietly interrupted me.
"You can say something: tell her what her smile does to you; tell her how much you'd like to take her home; tell her what you'd like to do when you got there"