“Hey, Rose.” I turned to the pigtailed barista as she put the cappuccino mug back on the rack and moved to join us. “What’s this?”
“Your coffee, obviously.” Rose rolled her eyes, tutting at me like I was an idiot. It was a good front, but I heard the waver in her tone. Was it… Concern?
Rose has good friends in the Fishers, friends who help her grow her little library. Occasionally those friends call her for help with things, like when a suicidal old man had blazed past a checkpoint and made for the water.
She must have already heard how that story ended.
I cupped the mug in both hands and drew in the aroma, searching her face for signs of anger or disappointment.
If there were any they had nowhere to hide. Rose never used more makeup than an eyeliner could provide and thought this made her plain. Every time I looked at her adorable dimples, perfect olive skin and her deep hazel eyes I had to disagree.
She leant on the bar, the sleeves of her black work shirt sliding up to reveal the blue rose tattooed on her right wrist, and aimed an evaluating look of her own at me. The wrinkles of worry that had started this whole episode crept from the corner of her eye.
“So you can make good coffee here?” I peered suspiciously into my refilled mug, hiding my relief. “You’re just full of surprises, Rosie.”
“You don’t know the half of it, babe.” The worry wrinkles vanished. “For instance, if you keep up that ‘Rosie’ stuff I’ll take you out back and smack some respect into you.” Her tone was deadpan, her face was straight. But for the slight flicker of a smirk I’d have been sure she was serious.
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