Humans logo

A Drop Among Other Things: Chapter 2

After the door incident in front of "Mr. Handsome," I couldn’t even think about what it would be like working there.

By Shelby BakerPublished 6 years ago 13 min read

It took me a long time to fill out my application to the coffee shop. When I say a long time, I mean a week. After the door incident in front of "Mr. Handsome," I couldn’t even think about what it would be like working there. I imagined all of the spilt coffee, all of the times I would probably say something stupid to a customer, and the dirty looks I would get from cheerleaders.

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, after a dull day of school, I finally went back into the coffee shop. The rain seemed to have washed people out from the street and into Brew'n'Cup. There were more people there than the time I came to get my application. Five people in the line. I released a breath that I didn’t notice I was holding in and stood there awkwardly behind an old man with a huge mole on the bald spot on his head.

“Hey! Are you just returning your application?”, a voice from behind the counter said. It was the girl who had given it to me last week.

“Oh, yeah,” I muttered, “just the application, no coffee.” She motioned me to the side of the line and I handed my application to her. The barista looked it over very quickly, probably too quick to even read my birthday.

“When can you start?” She looked up at me and smiled.

“Oh uh, whenever, I guess.” I wasn't expecting her to ask me that. My anxiety kicked in even worse than what it was.

“Great! Can you come in tonight after we close to start training?”

“Uh yeah, that’s 9 o’clock, right?” No interview? I know they need help but damn, that was quick.

“Come a little after nine,” she leaned in a little closer and hushed her voice, “We have a lot of stragglers at the end of the night.”

“Okay. Um, thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.” I sounded like a robot saying what I know I should say.

---

I was in a parking spot in front of the Brew’n’Cup at 8:50. For as close to nine as it was, through the windows I could see there were a lot of people in the shop. There wasn’t a line, surprisingly, but there were ten people sitting at tables. Two couples sat and sipped on their drinks while inaudibly talking, and the other six people each sat alone at random tables, staring at either a laptop or a phone. Man, she was right about stragglers.

I sat in my car scrolling through my phone for another five minutes. Not a single customer had walked out yet. Fuck it. I checked myself in the rear-view mirror to see if any makeup had smeared under my eyes from the rain. While I wiped a smudge of black away from the outer corner of my eye I thought to myself, You don't need to go in. You don't need this job. But I got out of my car anyway.

I went into the shop and the same worker said, “Sorry we’re closing, you’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow.”, without looking at me as she wiped a counter with a small, black cloth.

“It’s just me.” I said shyly. She looked up and apologized.

“For some reason people absolutely can’t live without decaf at this time of night.” We both laughed a little. “I’m so sorry, it’s been a busy day, as it always is. What’s your name again?”

“Maia,” I said and reached out my hand.

“Pretty name,” she smiled. I was jealous of her smile. She had perfect white rectangles for teeth and her lips were smooth and were proportioned nicely with her face. “I’m Tori.” She shook my hand gently. "Come around and we will get started."

For what seemed to be hours, I followed her around behind the counter as she told me what stuff was and how to use it. It was a lot of information at once. “Hey Tori, you don’t expect me to remember all of this in one night, do you?” She looked at me blankly.

“You’re telling me that this is too much for you?” she said sternly. Tori put her hands on her hips.

“Um, I-I can remember. I’m sorry.” Holy shit, is she serious? She was just super nice a second ago. My heart pounded and I could feel my hands getting sweaty.

Laughter erupted from her and she put a hand on my shoulder. “Oh my gosh, I’m sorry! I was totally kidding! It took me months to remember how to do everything.” I smiled in relief. “Don’t worry, kid. Stick with me and you’ll do just fine.” She called me kid even though she seemed to only be about two years older than myself.

Tori continued to teach me “How to be an okay barista.”, (as she put it) and the last man out of the ten people left the shop. I let out a big yawn and looked at the clock. It was ten-sixteen. “Why do you let them stay after closing for that long?” I asked her.

“The owner, Wilson, told me, ‘You don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives. They know when we close, and if they choose to stay longer, so be it. Everyone is welcome here.’ So I let them stay.” That made me smile.

“I remember Wilson from when I used to come here. He’s such a nice old man.” I was putting sugar packets in plastic rectangles while we talked. If this kind of mindless work was all the job entailed, then it wouldn't be so bad, except I kept reminding myself that I still hadn't dealt with a customer yet.

“I’m assuming you used to come here when it was a chill place?” Tori raised her eyebrow.

“Yeah, exactly.”

“I moved here after 'The Explosion' happened, but I have heard all about that girl and how she…” Tori put both hands up and did air quotes, “put this place on the map.”

“The Explosion, huh?” I asked.

“That’s what every other worker has called it. Wilson calls it a miracle.” We laughed.

“Where did you move here from?” With each minute passing I started to become more and more comfortable around Tori. She was a sweet girl.

“We moved from Connecticut. Long ways away, I know, but my dad loves his job, and loves us. He couldn’t leave us behind and honestly, I’m glad we came. Oregon is beautiful. Oh shit, I forgot, will you go fill up the mop bucket in the back for me?” She was too busy training me to remember that she had to mop the floor before we left. Perfect timing, too. All of the sugar holders were full.

“Sure thing, boss.” We grinned at each other.

In the back room, as I filled the mop bucket with a long hose that was connected to a sink, I heard the bell of the front door ding. It startled me a bit, especially this time of night. The paranoia set in and I began to think, 'What if it's someone coming in to rob the place?', but once I heard a voice I started to settle down.

“Hey, sis, you ready?” A faraway voice said. It was a guy. Obviously Tori’s brother.

The bucket was almost full. “Not quite, we still have to mop the floors.”

“We?” he asked.

“Yeah, we. I’m training a new girl, and she seems pretty cool, especially compared to the other monkeys working here.”

“Cooler than you?” The guy then made ooh-ooh-aah-aah noises that made Tori laugh and made me smile. The bucket was full, probably way too full, but hey, it was my first time. I turned the hose off and gently pulled the bright yellow bucket to the doorway. Thank Jesus that thing had wheels.

I was focused on the mop bucket as I walked through the doorway. “Maia you don’t have to fill that thing that full!” Tori laughed.

“Yeah, well…” I looked up.

There he was. With those blue eyes and that perfect dark hair, and that chiseled jaw. I tripped over… something? I’m still not exactly sure how it happened. The floor was flat and there was absolutely nothing to trip over. I fell on my ass and a huge splash of water from the mop bucket covered the vast majority of me. The water was warm, but luckily not too hot. So embarrassing. AGAIN. First I run into the door in front of this guy and now this?!

“Oh my gosh, are you okay?!”, exclaimed Tori as her and her brother rushed towards me.

“Ye-yeah I’m fine. I just wasn’t paying attention.” Tori grabbed my arm and helped me stand up. I looked down at myself and felt like a homeless dog that had been left in the rain. I don’t know if it was because of my anxiety, or if I was just absolutely amused, but I busted out laughing. Tori and her brother laughed along too. "Ahh, shit. This is going to be a fun drive home,” I said as I looked down at my soaked clothes.

Tori’s brother said, “I have a hoodie in my car if you want it. I might have sweats in there too. You never know when you need a change of clothes with all this rain. Or... when mop buckets get spilled.” His voice was deep and soothing and his smile was soft and kind. He read my face well—I was bewildered. “Oh, I’m Parker, by the way, and you came here last week, didn't you? You, uh, ran into the door?” he said with a small chuckle. Great, he remembered... Wait, he remembered?'

“I’m Maia,” My voice cracked. "And yes, unfortunately, that was me who ran into the door, and clearly I'm a mess." I grabbed onto my wet shirt as if to say, "Here's the proof."

“And Maia is very wet and I’m sure she's very uncomfortable. Go get those clothes, doofus!” Tori gave Parker a nudge and he smiled and went out the front door.

“How. Embarrassing.” I said.

“You’ll be alright, kid. At least it’s just us.”

Yeah, just us. Just me, you, and your insanely gorgeous brother.

Tori took the mop bucket and wheeled it to the back to empty some of the water out into the sink. I stood there not knowing what I should be doing. Wet homeless dog. Parker came through the door holding a red hoodie and black sweatpants. His eyes locked on me and I could see the pity in his face.

“These might be too big, but at least you’ll be comfy and warm," he said while handing the clothes to me.

“Thanks, Parker,” I looked up at him and gave him a half smile. “I’m just going to, uh-” I pointed in the direction of the bathrooms.

“Wait! Here, take this with you,” Tori came out of the back holding a large, black towel and a plastic bag. “I was never sure why Wilson kept these around because we never use them. He always insists we wash them every week, even if they don’t get used. So don’t worry, it shouldn’t smell like dust or anything. This,” she gave me the bag, “is for your wet clothes.”

“Thank you, we’ll have to tell Wilson that his big, seemingly meaningless towels finally came in handy.” We shared a laugh and I walked away.

In the bathroom I took my clothes off and started to dry myself. I didn't bother locking the door or even going into a stall since it was just us three in the shop. It's a good thing I have a chest that's small enough to get away with not wearing a bra, because that was soaked, too. If I were to put this hoodie on over it, I would end up having a bra-shaped wet spot for everyone to see.

I held Parker’s red hoodie in my hands and put it up to my face. It smelled so good! I wanted to smell that some-sort-of-cologne scent for the rest of my life. Parker was right, the hoodie was big on me, and the pants were very baggy. The sweatpants were the kind that had cuffs on the bottoms that fit around your ankles. It looked like I had a huge diaper on underneath them, though. At least I was dry and starting to warm up.

When I walked out of the bathroom, Tori had already mopped up the water I had spilled and was mopping the rest of the floor. When the bathroom door closed behind me, Tori and Parker looked up at me. “Feel better?”, Tori asked. I looked at Parker who was studying me wearing his clothes.

“Yes, I definitely feel better. Thank you. Both of you,” I put my bag of clothes and the towel on a table and sighed. "I can mop the floor if you want me to."

Tori looked up at me while still mopping. "I got it, thanks for the offer though. You're already a lot easier to handle than the other people that work here." Thinking about the days to come, I thought about the possibility of me not getting along with any of the other baristas.

"I pick Tori up every day after work. Next time you're here, just bring the hoodie and pants back, but it's no rush," Parker said.

I was about to speak when Tori said, "You'll have to just drop them off. I don't know if I can let you work here since you spilled water on the floor," Without her smile and the tone of her voice, I would have believed her, but I knew she was kidding.

"When should I come back?" I asked. She was almost done mopping the floor.

"Tomorrow night, but let's shoot for eight so you can get some practice instead of me just telling you how to work the machines."

I waited with Parker as Tori closed the shop, but we didn't talk. I was too anxious and he was on his phone scrolling through something. When we were leaving Brew'n'Cup, Parker opened the door. As he pulled the door open, he looked at me with a grin. I grinned too and rolled my eyes.

Outside, we all said "good-bye" and "see you tomorrow" as we parted ways. I watched them drive away in Parker's new-looking SUV. On the drive home I kept replaying the events of the night over and over in my head. I hated myself. I wished I had never gone into that coffee shop. A couple of times, while driving, my intrusive thoughts butted in saying, Just crash into that tree. Luckily, I was sane enough not to do so, but the weight of embarrassment must have been pressing down on some button in my head that turned these intrusive thoughts on.

Arriving home safely, I walked quietly around our house to the back where I usually smoke. When I reached into my purse to grab my pack of cigarettes, I realized that I probably shouldn't smoke in Parker's clothes, even though I intended to wash them before giving them back to him. So instead of smoking, I went to my bedroom, and laid on my bed, exhausted.

---

I woke up the next morning to my alarm blasting in my ear. Half asleep, I turned off the alarm on my phone and rubbed my eyes. I usually only have a couple notifications from Facebook from family, but this morning I had two new friend requests; one from Tori Keller, and one from Parker Keller.

I smiled and clicked accept on both, then went to Parker's page. I clicked on his profile picture which was a picture of him and another guy, who appeared to be the same age, standing together at what looked to be a music venue, the both of them doing the 'rock on' sign with their hands.

As I was scrolling through more of Parker's profile pictures, an incoming call popped up on my phone. It was my dad. Why is he calling this early in the morning? My dad lives forty minutes away in a different town. I don't see him very often, but I know he's there when I need him, and I'm there when he needs me. I answer.

"Hello?" He could probably tell that I had just woken up since my voice was raspy like it always is in the morning.

I was expecting my dad to say, "Hey, sorry I'm calling so early," but instead he let out a huge sob. "Dad, what's wrong?" I sat up, becoming scared and shaken in an instant.

Another sob, then, "Baby girl," followed by more sobbing and crying sounds. Tears flowed from my eyes. I didn't know what was happening.

Panicking, I yelled, "Dad! What's wrong?! You have to tell me what's wrong, you're scaring me!" My face was wet and my body was shaking more and more as each second passed.

"It's Laura. Sh- she was in a car accident last night." He began to cry louder than before, which I didn't think was possible. I cried harder too. Laura was his girlfriend, and the best one he'd ever had. She was by far the best woman in his life.

"No! How?! Why?!" I yelled and bawled. Even though it was intrusive, the thought I had last night about crashing into a tree while driving crossed my mind and I imagined him crying like this because of me. This made me cry even harder.

My mom quickly opened my door and rushed in, which caught me off guard. Without her asking what happened, she took the phone away from my ear and put it to hers.

"Jerad? Calm down. You need to breathe. Listen, breathe with me." Mom stepped out into the hallway calmly. I could hear her taking deep, slow breaths, and even though it wasn't directed to me, I followed along with her.

literature

About the Creator

Shelby Baker

Hello there! I am a 20 year old suffering through mental illness who's an aspiring author. A Drop Among Other Things is my first teen coming-of-age book, written as I go.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For Free

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    Shelby BakerWritten by Shelby Baker

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.