I was pondering about what the pocket full of sunshine could mean when I got a text. "Excited about discovering the best cup of coffee in town, Kinga". I saved his number. Kinley rushed in and hugged me. "Thank you bestie! I knew I could count on you. You are so amazing", she screamed. "I know I am. Now get the signatures!" I said hugging her back. She waved the form in front of me. "Already done! I just need to submit it to the RA."
I groaned. If she could really have said that earlier, I wouldn't have had to ask Tshering for an authorization. I breathed in deeply. I still had time to figure out what he meant. I went on my insta to check out his profile. It didn't show up. Tshering was probably popular and it was surprising that he didn't have an insta. But... that was none of my business. My single life would come to an end and for some reason, I really wanted to date.
I went on to Kinga's profile again. There was a new photo. It was a picture of the blue sky captioned: "It makes me happy to think that we share the same sky". It was truly corny. I couldn't help laughing at it. I liked it anyway because he had liked all of my pictures. I got a DM: "You should look at the sky :)" I shook my head. "You're so cheesy that you could probably supply cheese for pizzas", I texted back.
"I thought girls like cheese? ;)"
"Not all girls - some are lactose intolerant."
"Are you lactose intolerant?"
"No. But I like my cheese where it belongs - in food, not cliches."
He seemed to be typing for a while but there was no response for some time. While I was waiting for his reply, I got a call from Namdrul who wanted to talk about the project. "Can I see you around 5:00 tomorrow?" He asked in a monotone. "Isn't tomorrow Saturday?" I asked back. "Is there a problem?" Of course there was a problem! I was meeting Kinga but Namdrul would probably look down on me for choosing a date over the project. "Not really but I have a prior engagement?" There was a pause before he said, "I will wait for you till you're done. We should get a start on it because fish populations evolve." I laughed nervously. It wasn't like there weren't any other projects! "Do we have to do fish populations?" I asked. "You don't want to?" I looked at my blank planner. "It's not that. It's just that it sounds more difficult."
I started doodling on my planner. "If you don't want to, I understand but it would be beneficial to choose this topic. Other groups won't do it for sure and I know that the effort will be worth it." Well, there was no arguing with that. "Okay", I agreed even though I dreaded having to collect samples in this weather. "See you tomorrow." I grunted a response and cut the call.
I had thought Namdrul would be easy to work with, him being smart and all. Who would have thought that he would be a slave driver!
There was a message on my phone. "Cheese in food not cliches, got it." I smiled. Kinga... I really couldn't wait to get to know him better.
The anticipation was worth it. He didn't keep me waiting. He was already in front of the cafe. He waved at me when he saw me. He was wearing a navy blue overcoat and it suited him perfectly. He grinned as I came closer. "Is this the famous coffee shop recommended by the beautiful girl?" He teased. "I thought I was a person not a coffee shop", I answered back. He laughed. "I can't compete with you. But..." He gave a mock bow. "Losing to you is no dishonor."
He opened the door and gave another mock bow. I pretended to search for a tip as I walked in. "Here's a tip: you should be yourself today", I said solemnly. He came closer and I smelled an ocean scent on him. "Madam, I return the tip to you", he whispered. I couldn't smile. "That's a nice perfume", I said weakly. "Oh... glad you like it." He stepped back and I could breathe. It was a nice scent but for some reason, I didn't want to breathe it in. It made me sad.
"Oh, check it out, they have sparkles on the cupcake, perfect for you...", he said pointing to a cupcake on display. I took a deep breath. Was I ovulating? Why was every god damn little thing making me feel upset? I turned away and followed him to a booth near the window.
"I don't know about the coffee yet but I like the view" he declared. I looked out the window. There was nothing particularly special about the view - the tinted window just showed the streets below as people went about their ways. I turned back to him to tell him so. That's when I realized he wasn't looking out.
I felt my face heat up. I quickly put up the menu. "What would you like to have? I am particularly fond of the latte here", I said trying not to show how flustered I was. "I will have the latte too", he said without looking at the menu. "And the Oreo cake - it's yummy if you like sweet things", I rambled on. "Okay, I will have that too", he said. He didn't even touch the menu. I put down my menu. "Don't you want to check out the options?" I asked. "I like what I think I will get", he said.
Were we even talking about coffee and cakes anymore?
Zam came by to get our order. "Two lattes and two Oreo cakes", I said trying to ignore Kinga's obvious staring. She nodded and glanced at Kinga. She turned towards me and winked. I was grateful he didn't see it.
"So..." I started. I was terribly bad at conversations and I usually waited for the other person to lead. Kinga didn't show any signs of completing my sentence. "Did you know bears get cavities?" I blurted out. He raised an eyebrow. "It's true. They love sweet things and they get cavities... it's interesting, isn't it?" I fumbled for things to say. He started laughing. "You're so cute", he said and leaned forward to pinch my cheek.
"Well, you're not exactly making an effort to keep this conversation going on", I said. "Well, you're good at keeping the conversation going. I am not the best at it", he said. Zam placed the coffee in front of us. "Two lattes and two Oreo cakes for our two lovebirds", she said teasingly. "We are not..." I started but Kinga cut me off, "thank you for the hearts on the latte. It's perfect."
I looked at the crudely drawn heart on my latte. I had always received a leaf whenever I had visited this cafe. It was the first time I had got a heart. I looked at her. She made an approving gesture. This time, Kinga saw her. I mentally facepalmed. He had an even bigger smirk when I faced him. "Looks like I just got approved", he said gleefully. I rolled my eyes, "You don't exactly help in clarifying." He scooped a spoonful of the Oreo cake. "What's there to clarify", he asked and swallowed the cake. His tongue flicked out for a tiny second to lick the corner of his lips. There was something sensual about it.
I quickly grabbed my coffee and gulped it. Tears pricked at the corner of my eyes as the latte scalded my tongue. "Sometimes, what we love tends to hurt us", he teased. He was right.
"Since you are tongue tied, let me tell you about me. Now, I was told that I should probably let girls do all the talking. Girls love a listener... or at least that's what all my friends said when I told them I am going on a date with the most beautiful girl. Of course, they then proceeded to try and get your number after that." He smiled and leaned forward. "Now, I don't think that will work with you. I just know that..."
Well, I didn't get to find out what he knew because my phone rang. "You can take it", he said and started drinking his coffee. "I don't have to", I said but glancing at it, I wondered if the project with Namdrul was worth the interruption of my date. "I don't mind. Take it", he egged on. Grudgingly, I took it. "Hi, it's Namdrul. I just wanted to let you know that I talked to the professor and she was willing to let us switch topics. Let's meet up to choose one... if you're free", he said. I glanced at Kinga who was watching me. "I am actually busy", I said. "Oh... then, let me know when you're not." He ended the call before I could apologize.
I felt guilty as I placed my phone back on the table. Kinga smiled and edged forward. I could smell his perfume. I was instantly hit by a myriad of feelings. I really couldn't stay. I would end up crying at this rate. "I have to go, it's a... uh... emergency... the... um... professor has made us switch projects and..." I stammered.
He raised a brow but didn't question my weak excuse. "I am leaving, okay? I am so sorry... let me pay for today's coffee as an apology"? I said standing up. He stood up too. "It's okay. We can always do this again. I always knew it's hard to get a cup of coffee's time with you, Pelgyi." There was a note of bitterness in his voice. I must have imagined it because when I looked at him, he was smiling brightly.
"Let me drop you", he said. I shook my head. "I have already informed a friend to pick me up", I lied. Namdrul wouldn't appreciate what I was "busy" with if I showed up with him. "Another cup of coffee next time", I promised. He just nodded as he paid the bill. Zam looked at me questioningly. I sighed. I needed to find another coffee shop to go to for dates.
I am not sure if anyone is reading this but if you are, sorry for the late update. I am actually traveling so it’s hard to type (I am using my phone). Love ya.
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