The Rousing Effects of Coffee

Note: Written for National Coffee Day, which was yesterday.


I carried my coffee into Seb’s studio, taking sips from the mug as it cooled. My boy stood in front of the easel that held his latest work, a paintbrush hanging loosely from his fingers and bare toes poking out of the bottom of his frayed jeans. Smudges of color decorated his face: blue along his jawline, a dot of yellow on his right temple, gray over the freckles on his nose.

“Hey, babe!” I said. “How’s the painting going?”

“Mm. S’good,” he said, staring at the canvas and clearly in the land of shapes and hues.

“Awesome! It’s time for lunch, though.”

“Minute,” he murmured.

“Kay,” I agreed. “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi-”

His sigh was almost perfunctory, and he turned to take the brush to his washing station with the far-off look still in his eyes. I got between him and his destination, leaning back against the metal edge of the sink and setting my mug down on the counter next to me. Then I reached forward, grabbed him by the hips with both hands, and pulled him into a kiss. It probably took up most of the rest of the minute. When I let go, he seemed dazed in an entirely different way.

“Uh,” he said.

“Hi!” I grinned at him. “With me now?”

He blinked a couple of times and then licked his lips. “Are you wearing chapstick?”

“Nah, it’s the coffee,” I said. “I put butter in it.”

“Eww!” Wiping a hand across his mouth, he gave me one of those Disapproving Looks. “Why?”

I shrugged. “It’s supposed to be performancing-enhancing, but really, it just tastes good.”

His eyebrows contracted over his nose. Cautiously, as though expecting an explosion, he leaned over to peer into my mug. “There’s a film on your coffee. Zain, that’s disgusting.”

“It’s good!”

“No,” he declared. “Take it out of my studio, and never, ever kiss me when your lips are coated in grease again.”

Sighing heavily, I picked up the mug and moved aside so he could get to the sink. He’s so strict sometimes, I swear.

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