I had to squint to read it - my husband's not a doctor, but his handwriting has aspirations of illegibility-greatness.
"Hi, uh, I'll have a skinny grande latte, extra hot, no foam, with a sprinkle of cinnamon please. Wait! I think this says ... an extra shot, too."
The barista was a cute guy somewhere in his mid-twenties, with a nameplate that said 'Tom.' He told me the damage and then grinned. I could tell he thought I was cute, too.
Instincts gone dormant in the post-salad days of marriage looked around sleepily, sniffed the air, and pushed my breasts farther out in front of me.
"First time in a coffee shop?" he asked teasingly as he flicked my credit card through his reader.
"Well, almost. I persuaded my husband to let me come ahead and get his daily order ready for him; he's running late today."
"Everybody's busy these days," he said sympathetically, as he passed the cup on to the guy next to him (of similar age but lesser cuteness) to fill the order.
He handed my card back with a strong and remarkably smooth hand – a young man's hand. "For the regulars that run late every day, we start making their drinks when we see them pull into the parking lot."
"Now that's service," I chuckled. "Even though he's running behind he didn't want me to get it for him. He said I'd probably screw it up." I didn't mean to sound resentful as I waved my scribbled instructions. "So I made him write it down."
I seemed to have drawn more of his attention. He leaned on the counter to continue the conversation. "I don't have to ask, a lot of the time. I remember people by what they order, not just their names. I think, 'here comes Mister Vente-with-room-Americano.'"
"Sounds like a good system."
"Yeah." He looked at me thoughtfully. "But we already have a gal that orders the same drink you did for her husband every day. I guess you'll have to share her name in my head. Unless you tell me your real name of course," he added, with faux innocence.
"That was smooth. It's Diana," I said, feeling girlish as I extended my hand to be gently shaken.
There was an awkward pause.
"So another woman orders the same drink as my husband?" I felt a guilty compulsion to include my spouse in the conversation somehow.
"Yeah, everybody thinks their drink is unique, but there's only so much you can change. People get kind of oblivious to the fact they're having the same thing, over and over - if you know what I mean," he said, holding my gaze.
It felt like my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth for a moment as I looked back at him.
"Here you go." He passed me the cup with its insulating cardboard sleeve.
"I guess that's true for a lot of things," I said, biting my lip, admitting to myself I was enjoying the banter. "Well, I'd better get out by the curb for the handoff as he screams by."
His co-worker nudged him, nodded to the parking lot, and murmured something in his ear.
"Whoops, there's the guy that drinks the same thing as your husband. I guess his wife couldn't make it today." He grabbed a cup and scribbled the order down on the side, and set it on the work-space by his partner behind the machines. He got an odd look in return.
"He's a hottie," I observed, my eyes drilling into the man that got out of his car and looked around. He'd parked next to my Miata.
"I guess that's why his wife gets him coffee every morning."
"How do you know they're married?"
He shrugged. "I can see she's got a wedding ring on when she orders, and he always gives her a big kiss as she gives him the drink out there."
"You're pretty observant. Maybe I should fill in for her today."
"Hmm. Probably not a good idea," he chuckled.
"Well it was nice to meet you, Tom," a said, my voice sounding fawning even to my own ears.
"You too, Diana. I hope to see you again."
I smiled and gave him a finger-curl wave goodbye.
I walked away and headed towards my car and the man who'd just arrived. I thought about Tom's description of some other woman bringing him his coffee every day - after I'd kissed him goodbye at the house - and somehow managed to resist throwing the cup in my husband's cheating face.
He raised his eyebrow at me as I approached him.
"They sent me out with your usual drink, sir, with the barista's compliments," I said with lips stretched tightly over my teeth.
He smiled, looking a bit guarded as he took the cup. Maybe I looked a little flammable as I struggled against making a huge scene in the parking lot. "Well, thank you," he said.
"Did you know he agreed you're a hottie?" I asked.
He chuckled. "It's usually women they're after. The young guys they hire here would probably hump a table leg if it was shaped nicely enough. But thanks, this was nice of you. I gotta run, though." He turned away.
As he grasped his car door's handle, I asked, "Don't I get a kiss?"
Did I sound sarcastic?
He looked back with a surprised expression. "What?"
"I was told it's the usual reward for the daily delivery service."
For the fleetest of moments his eyes widened. Then he seemed to recover.
"Yeah right, lady," he drawled. But he deigned to give me a quick peck on the lips. He pulled the door open and climbed in. I stepped aside as he pulled out and roared noisily away. I waved, but he was already talking on his phone.
"See ya," I muttered to myself. I made a mental note to get my husband's muffler fixed. Right after I got him fixed.
As the sound of his car faded the barista came hustling out the door with another cup in his hand.
"Damn, I missed him," he said.
"'S'okay, I gave him mine. Same drink, right?" I said, my lips curling like I'd sucked on a lemon slice.
"Oh! Well here then, take this one for your husband."
"Are you sure that was the guy you were telling me about?" I asked. "He acted like he usually comes in and gets his own drink."
"No, his wife's cute and a good tipper, and their kisses are pretty steamy." He looked at the cup in my hand. "But even though I know my customer's drinks, I don't learn everybody's name and all – just the beautiful ones."
In spite of myself, I smiled at him. "I'll bet you say that to all the women that come here."
"Nope – just the..."
"I know, I know," I said. The steam coming out of my ears from learning my husband was having a daily kiss-and-go with another woman surely had to be visible.
"Well, it looked like you could use a compliment."
"It's that obvious?" I said, sobering.
He reached over and carefully placed his hand on the small of my back. I tensed at his touch. He leaned down close to my ear.
"That was your husband, wasn't it?" I nodded jerkily. "Is this the first time you've ... caught him?" he asked sympathetically.
Just like that, his voicing it made it real. And his phrasing jolted me - how long, and with how many, had it been going on? I saw red.
"I'm so sorry. It looked like you didn't call him on it, though?"
I stood there stewing and fuming. I didn't know why I'd felt like I needed to wait before confronting him.
"Maybe ... you should get even first," he said eventually.
It had to have been the 'mad' thinking for me next. I looked at him, actually considering. It had been fun flirting with him before ... I'd show that cheater!
"When do you get off work?" I asked.
As soon as I came through the door, I felt cheap. "I've changed my mind," I said, looking out the window. If I looked out I didn't have to look at the furniture that could have been in any budget motel room in the world. Why do people think orange is a good color scheme?
"I understand," he said, coming up behind me. I felt his hands gently rest on my hips. "You've got a lot on your mind."
"Yes. And you're young enough to be my son."
"True. But I'm old enough." His chin nuzzled my hair out of the way, and his lips brushed against my neck. My thighs quivered.
"Stop that," I breathed, again instinctively squaring my shoulders, projecting my chest forward, feeling my nipples hardening against my bra. I tried to remember what kind of underwear I'd put on that morning, but couldn't. "I need to go."
"Of course," he murmured. He waited a few moments before his hands moved up my sides to cup my breasts. His fingers felt through the material for the points of my growing arousal.
God, it had been so long since I had been seduced, so long since I'd known for certain that someone wasn't just flirting with me, but really, seriously, wanted to get between my legs and fuck me. I was practically melting.