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Jul
2
2013

Fiction Short: Latte Love

in Romance, Short Fiction

love coffee

Photo by ladysianna on www.sxc.hu

By request, here is another free flash fiction romance. You can read more samples in my Short Fiction section. Enjoy!

 

As Sara focused on writing another email rant, she was oblivious to the other coffee connoisseurs. She copied and pasted, “Please pay the remaining balance within 14 days so no further action is necessary.”

As she hit send, she heard a snicker and looked up and found a man watching her.

“What’s so funny?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare,” he said. “You know the computer can’t actually hear you, right?”

“What?”

“You’re saying every word you’re typing,” he smiled. “If you could send that facial expression, I bet that recipient would pay in a heartbeat. You look downright hostile from here.”

She rolled her eyes. This is why she hated working from coffee shops. But her office was flooded and she had no internet at home. This was the only place she knew of with free wifi.

But a coffee shop with free wifi in mid-workday is a beacon for overly ambitious underachievers.

“I’m glad you found that humorous, but I have work to do,” she replied. “Now if you’ll excuse me.”

She tucked her hair behind ear and focused on her balance sheet.

“So tell me, what is the further action you spoke of? Are you sending a hitman?”

“Legal action if you must know,” she said. “We will sue to get our money if the client doesn’t pay.”

“Why don’t you just say that? Why not be specific with your threats?”

“Statistically, people respond better if you aren’t specific. Their imagination runs wild and they are more likely to pay,” she argued. She rolled her eyes again and popped her knuckles in frustration. “Why am I explaining this to you?”

He walked over to her table with his book and coffee in hand. “May I?” he said, and then he sat without waiting for a response.

“But what if they don’t have an imagination?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“What if the recipient doesn’t have the imagination that lends itself to reading between the lines?”

“Look, this is just the way it’s done. We start subtle and then move up to threats. Most people will respond to this subtly and it saves the working relationship if they do.”

“Interesting,” he said as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“Why do you care?” she asked.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he extended his hand. “I’m James Oden.”

“The author?” James had written 20 bestsellers that she could name off the top of her head.

“You’ve heard of me?”

“Heard of you? I’m a huge fan.” She felt like a giddy schoolgirl at a boy band concert. She wondered if her face was as red as she felt like it was.

“That’s good to hear,” he said. “So what do you do?”

“I’m in accounting at Luther and White.”

“That’s interesting,” he said as he sipped his latte.

“Not really, but it pays the bills.”

“On the contrary, I do think it’s fascinating. I always love learning about people’s work and what makes them tick.”

“So you come to a coffee shop, eavesdrops on people’s conversations, and then use that knowledge to write more books?” she pushed. She was half frustrated and half impressed that he would find her interesting enough for character research.

“Sometimes,” he said. “And then sometimes I come to a coffee shop to mind my own business, enjoy a latte, and read a book,” he said as he crossed his long, surprisingly tone, legs.

“And today?” she asked.

“Today I came to read, but then I got distracted.”

“By my email rant,” she interrupted. “Sorry about that.”

“Actually I was distracted when you walked in and set up at the table across from me. Then you kept tucking your hair behind your ear. You’re a very distracting woman. Your husband is a fortunate man.”

Sara could feel herself blushing. She had never learned how to take a compliment, but to get one from a handsome celebrity was mind-blowing. Based on what she had read about him, he wasn’t a playboy either.

“I’m not married,” she said.

“Boyfriend?”

“No,” she said as she unconsciously tamed her curl behind her ear.

“Dinner?”

“Excuse me?”

“May I take you to dinner?” he repeated. “If you decline, further action may become necessary.”

She thought for a second. What did she have to lose?

“Under one condition,” she smiled.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t kill me off in your next novel.”

He laughed. “I make no promises, but I don’t foresee a situation in which I would kill you off either in real life or in fiction.”

“In that case,” she said as she glanced at her watch, “how about brunch? I keep getting interrupted here anyway. Too many distraction.”


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