The day started like any other normal Monday. The birds chirped away happily and pale clouds were partly blocking the early morning sun but it didn’t stop the sunlight giving warmth to the earth below. Even though it was a cold and crisp start, even in June, it was an unusually clear and sunny day in London. A blonde haired man stirred in his sleep, groaning as he heard the familiar and annoying melody of his phone alarm.
“Time to wake up! And start your day,"
"And go to school! An-”
Okay, that’s fucking enough.
Still yawning as he practically smashed his phone shut and swung his legs over the side of the bed, the Caucasian man dragged himself to the bathroom and begun his daily morning routines. He glanced at himself in the oval mirror on the wall and squinted at his blurry reflection.
Alright. Not looking too bad today. Just clean yourself up and get to work.
With that mental thought, he reached for his toothbrush, toothpaste and hopped into the shower. A half hour later, he was dried up and dressed for work at Ella's, a cute, hipster cafe located on the University of London campus. Nothing too exciting, just a sky-blue shirt with a beige jacket and black jeans paired with white converses. His tiny gold earring caught the gleaming sun as he walked over to his nightstand.
With final checks at the mirror, he ruffled his blond messy hair, with some parts sticking up in places. He grabbed his comb and brushed it just the way he liked it - a deep parting with his fringe hanging over his light, honey-brown eyes.
“Hello?” he spoke.
“Liam! Hey, are you here yet?” a female voice sounded on the other side of the line. She sounded rushed.
“Hey Jade, nah, just leaving now. What about you?”
“I’m almost there but I could possibly be late by a few minutes. Would you please tell Diane for me?” Jade said hurriedly, the sound of bike pedaling appeared in the receiver.
“Sure thing. I think I’m running a little early so I’ll tell her.” he replied, grabbing his own keys, phone, backpack and bike lock.
“Great! Thanks man, I owe you,” she exhaled, relieved.
“We’ll see about that. Anyway, catch up with you there.” he said with a sly grin to himself.
“Okay, see you in a few!” Jade said, cutting the call and pedaling as fast as she could.
Liam chuckled to himself. Jade was a very hard-working girl but a little bit of a scatterbrain. But it was cool that Diane kept her on since she saw how hard she worked around the Ella's. Walking outside into the crisp and cool air, he shivered a little as he unlocked his bike from the nearby storage shed. Liam pulled out his trusty bike, got on and pedaled away to work.
Minutes later, he arrived at the trendy little cafe and parked his bike on the other side. He rushed inside and greeted the baristas who came in earlier, who were either polishing tables or cleaning the machinery over the counter. A few regular customers were already here too as they individually nodded in his direction or gave him a wave. Liam smiled politely at them in response and went over to his manager’s office. A plump round woman at a desk surrounded by paperwork and a computer in front of her noticed Liam and beckoned him in. Opening the door, Liam stepped inside.
“Morning ma’am.” he greeted Diane who sighed and brushed her bushy hair out of her eyes.
“Hello Liam, dear.” she smiled at him. “Had a nice weekend?” “Ah, nothing too crazy, haha!” he replied cheerfully.
“Uhm, I just wanted to inform you that Jade is running late by a couple of minutes.” he told her. “Ah, she’s okay for now. Caleb hasn’t got his classes until another hour so he can cover her until she gets here,” Diane nodded understandingly.
“Great, I’ll tell her when she gets in. She was just on her way when she called anyway,” Liam said. “Brilliant, thank you Liam. Abby’s shift will finish in a few minutes so you can get started and your break will be at your usual time.” She said, sorting out a bunch of papers.
“Thank you ma’am. See you later.” Liam said, excusing himself out. “Thank you, dear!” she called.
Getting back onto the cafe floor, he pulled down his uniform from the peg above; a black apron with a white logo of a steaming cup of coffee. He pulled off his jacket and tied the apron on by his waist and joined another brunette-haired man and a dark-skinned girl behind the counter.
“Hey! Morning man!” Caleb greeted him happily, his blue eyes twinkled at the blonde barista.
“Morning guys, busy shift?” Liam asked his two co-workers. “Nah, nothing too busy, just a couple of regulars, you know how Monday mornings go.” Abby replied with a grin as she stepped aside to clean the coffee machine.
“Tell me about it. At least this place is nice to work at, right?” Liam smiled to himself, cleaning some mugs and spillages.
“Definitely,” Abby said, tucking a dark curl behind her ear. “Hey, Pride is coming up in two weeks time, you guys are coming, right?” she asked, pulling her best puppy dog eyes impression. “Well, I would’ve liked to go with someone but I’ll see.” Liam said hesitantly, turning back to the two.
“Dude, just come. Me and my girlfriend will be there and there’s no party without you!” Caleb grinned his pink face glowing with excitement, clapping his hand on Liam’s shoulder a little too roughly.
“Well, uh…” Liam hummed thoughtfully as Abby continued to stare pitifully at him. “Oh, alright then. How can I resist Abby’s puppy dog eyes anyway?”
“Awesome! It’ll be an amazing party!” Abby cheered. “I know, right?” Caleb cut in, throwing an arm around Liam shoulder and giving a small wink. Liam chuckled bemusedly. He loved the two like family and it was never boring when Abby and Caleb were there, working side by side with him. It almost made time go quicker with the other two baristas.
“Uh, by the way, your totally hot best friend just walked in here,” Caleb said in a low voice, discreetly pointing to the entrance.
“Heh, don’t even joke like-”
“Hey Liam,” a low and sultry voice sounded behind him. Liam froze in his tracks, suddenly praying very hard in that second that it wasn't who he thought it was.
“O-oh, uhm, hi Marcus!” he replied a little too excitedly turning around to see his best friend. There stood a tanned, tall and slender man with short, dark messy hair, vivid forest-green eyes and a charming smile that made Liam want to faint.
He sported a simple grey shirt with a black denim jacket and navy blue jeans and a white backpack swung over his right shoulder. Marcus's student ID was stuffed hastily into his jean pocket but Liam still saw his photo and was a little jealous he could look so good even in that. Marcus's lucky pin was stuck onto the left pocket of his jacket, gleaming in the light even though Liam wasn't someone who believed in luck. Even when he wasn’t trying hard to make an impression, Liam found himself practically drooling every time he saw his best friend.
Marcus grinned at his friend over the counter, his dimples appearing along with his perfectly white teeth and Liam inwardly shivered. His eyes twinkled in the sunlight and his breath hitched. His strong jawline and lips practically screamed sex appeal that Liam felt his heart stop when he thought about kissing them. It was so completely obvious to every customer and barista here in Ella's that Liam Larke was absolutely and horribly in love with his childhood friend, Marcus Williams.
“Mind getting me a coffee please, honey?” Marcus ordered easily, his sweet smile never fading for a second, pulling up his backpack. Liam nearly tripped over the word 'honey' for a second but then chalked it up to his wild imagination. “Uh, uh, yeah sure!” Liam said flustered. He nervously pushed his glasses up and tapped on the cash register quickly, calculating the cost.
“Uh, £1.59 please” Liam replied, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. Marcus fished around in his pocket and paid the money with loose change. Counting the coins, Marcus leaned over. “You doing okay?” Marcus asked in a low voice filled with concern.
“Y-Yeah, I’m fine, thanks” Liam answered, handing him some change back from his coffee order, his fingers very lightly brushing Marcus's palm as he gave the coins to him.
I think I'm about to fucking die...
“Why didn’t you call me back last night? I thought we were on for video games?” Marcus asked him as he gripped his to-go cup of coffee. Liam froze. He knew the reason he bailed but it wasn’t something he exactly wanted to tell Marcus.
Nope, scratch that, let me die now!
Watching his usual smile fade to a confusion, Liam tried to think of something to say.
“Uh, well, I wasn’t feeling great last night and I was sleep-deprived from two nights ago so I needed to catch up! On sleep!” Liam answered quickly with a sheepish smile. Marcus hummed wonderingly at his response and Abby face-palmed herself in the distance where only Liam could see her.
Don’t panic. That wasn’t too bad a lie...
“Oh, I hope you’re feeling well then?” The dark-haired man asked sweetly. “Ah, yes! I’m great now!” The blonde replied a little too enthusiastically.
"Good, then you should be up for a games night tonight then.” Marcus grinned taking his coffee and leaving the little cafe. “I’ll text you tonight. Don’t bail on me now, Larke!” he called out waving to him, adjusting his bag. Liam nodded absentmindedly as his eyes followed Marcus walking back to the cafe door.
Watching the little door swing open and shut again, the tanned student disappeared across the busy street, sipping his freshly made coffee made a few minutes ago. Liam watched him go dreamily and wondered how he could be so cool and composed. And perfect.
“Ah, another video-games night. Wish I could join you guys tonight,” Caleb sighed dramatically, flipping his fringe back and raising an eyebrow at the love-struck barista.