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Latte Hottay and Depresso

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Paul was on his usual way to Beanie’s during his lunch break. He would much rather go alone, like he always did, but this time Ted came along. Paul opened the door and Ted quickly came in and turned to the other man.

“So where’s your latte hottay?”

“Shh!” Paul shushed him.

Then he nodded to the barista at the desk.

“There she is.”

Ted squinted to see the girl. He frowned.

That’s the girl you like?! Bruh, that ain’t a latte hottay, that’s a crappuccino.”

“Shh.”

“Depresso.”

“Ted, shut up.”

Paul confidently walked towards the barista with Ted following behind him. The woman saw them from afar and smiled when she recognized Paul.

“Hey.”

“Hey.” Paul repeated, modestly waving his hand.

“Paul, right?” The barista leaned on the counter.

“Emma” Paul nodded then quickly corrected himself. “I meant as in ‘You’re Emma’, not ‘I’m Emma’. I’m Paul.”

Emma chuckled.
“I got it.”

Ted, still waiting in the back, rolled his eyes. Paul has never been good with women. Too shy, too kind. Nothing like Spankoffski obviously. Ted wasn’t just good with women, he was amazing. Ted the lady killer.

“So what can I get you?” Emma asked.

“A cup of black coffee. And this is for you.” Paul put a five dollar bill in the tip jar that said Tip for a song.

“Oh, would you like a song, sir?” Barista smirked.

“That would be terrible.” Paul smiled back.

“A cup of black coffee coming right up.”

Emma turned around to grab the kettle and that’s when Ted started talking to Paul.

“You’re bad at this.”

“What do you mean? I think she likes me…”

“Is she in your bed? No? Then no, she doesn’t.”

“You’re awful, Ted.”

Emma came back with a cup of black coffee. Paul smiled at her, taking the cup and looking into their eyes a little too long.

“Thanks.”

“Come back again.”

Woman’s gaze switched to Ted and their smile disappeared. Emma didn’t even bother to ask him what he wanted, just looked at him, raising an eyebrow.

“Chai iced tea.”

“Mhm.”

Right before Emma turned away, Ted threw a couple of quarters in the jar, but she seemed to ignore it. Spankoffski cleared his throat and when he caught Emma’s attention knocked his knuckles on the jar.

“Oh. Thanks.”

“Sing.”

The woman let out a tired sigh.

“I’ve told this to a thousand of people a;ready but ‘kay, listen. Singning would just be awkward as fuck. And a tip isn’t really a tip if I work for it, right? Surely you understand.”

“Well, is it my fault that your coffee shop has this offer? I’m just a customer, alright?”

“A customer who I hope is smart enough to understand he’s not that important.” Emma got visibly angrier.

“It’s literally my right to-”

Paul was about to interfere, but was interrupted by an unknown voice behind him.

“Emma, is this man bothering you?”

All three of them looked at the man coming from the restrooms. Suddenly he pulled out a gun from the inner pocket of his blazer and pointed it at Ted, who immediately got scared and put his arms in the air.

“Ah, I swear she started it!”

Emma ignored his words and turned to the man with the gun.

“It’s okay, professor, just a rude customer.”

Supposed professor looked at Emma, back at Ted, at Emma again and slowly lowered the gun.

“He’s on thin ice.”

“Professor, please don’t bring weapons here again. You know what happened last time.”

The man rolled his eyes.

“It’s just a mean of protection, Emma. And that lady was acting suspicious.”

“That was a manager who came because people saw you having a gun.”

Paul stopped listening to them, clearly having no idea what they were talking about.

“You can lower your hands now, you know.” he said to Ted.

Ted did just that, still cautiously eyeing the professor. He was already drinking the latte Emma made him.

“You still need your tea?” Emma asked.

Spankoffski nodded.
“And a cup of hot chocolate.”

Soon enough the barista handed him the cups. They and Paul exchanged goodbyes and he and Ted left the building.

“Didn't know you drink this.”

Paul pointed at the hot chocolate in Ted’s hand.

“Not for me. That’s for my brother. He has very low blood sugar.”

***

Their mom, with whom his brother lived, was too busy with work today and couldn’t pick him up from school, so Ted had to do it. Oliver hated buses and would rather take a ride in a familiar car. Not that he spent a lot of time in Ted’s Lada Kolena. Oliver didn’t even spend enough time with Ted himself especially after he moved out. But his car was way better than a bus full of screaming stinky teenagers. Even though Ted was a dick. And kinda stinky too.

Ted stopped the car near the school's sidewalk where he saw his brother. Spankoffski opened a car door and Oliver soon sat beside him.

“Hey, lil’ shit.” Ted handed him a cup of hot chocolate.

“Ted.” Oliver accepted the drink.

The older brother stepped on the gas and the car moved.

“So how’s life?”

Oliver sighed kind of sadly.

“Well. I guess, at least I’m alive.”

“That’s something.”
“Thanks for the chocco.”

“Yeah, I poisoned it.”

Oliver rolled his eyes.

They spent the rest of the ride in silence. The younger brother was never a big talker and Ted was aware of it, so he just allowed him to stare out of the window and think about something.

Ted stopped the car near the house.

“Boom.”

“You can stay for dinner, you know.” Oliver said, opening a door.

“Nah, I’ll pass. Go do your homework. Don’t die.”

Older brother lightly punched the younger one’s arm.

“You too.”

And then Oliver left.

Spankoffski made sure his brother successfully entered the house and only then sighed and dropped his head on the wheel. God, he was so tired. It’s not that the work was hard today. He was just tired. It’s been like that for a while. Ted tried to ignore it. The feeling will go away one day.

The phone beeped. Spankoffski unlocked the screen and saw a message from Charlotte. Sam is working at night tomorrow so she’s free. She invited him.

Ted hoped that meetings with her would stop draining him and agreed.