Fitz spent his Sunday morning pacing in his small studio apartment. With his long legs, he didn’t get very far before spinning back toward the other wall covered in band posters. At this point, Fitz had already smoked half a pack and he created tracks in his stained carpet. He had to weigh his options.
At worst, the man from the shop was a total nutter. No harm, no foul. He’d met plenty of them, even lived with one after his mom was released from the ward. And really, Fitz showing up and losing a bit of pride was nothing new. At best, he would arrive at some dirty coffeeshop, buy something akin to lukewarm sludge and head home. What did he have to lose by checking the place out? It didn’t mean he’d take the job or that he was interested if it had turned out to be a pick-up line. So what if he couldn’t stop thinking about the owner. It didn’t mean.... Fitz shoved the rest of his cigarettes and a pair of shades into his leather pockets and headed for the door.
After a thirty minute bus ride across the city, shoved in like a sardine, Fitz stepped off at the closest stop. Slipping out the card to check the address once more, he took a wild guess on the direction. A few glances at the number plaques and a bad turn later, he finally arrived at 40 Type Lane and stood across from the ‘The Space’.
It was in an older part of town, the historical buildings flipped and maintained in all the ways necessary to keep it’s old-timey charm. The coffee shop itself was tucked between two much larger buildings with faded and worn bricks, which only made The Space stand out more. Instead of red, rusty brick, the coffee shop was painted a dark blue with large lattice windows staring out onto the street. Pleasant enough from the exterior, but the inside was probably one step above being a hole in the wall. Fitz waited until he saw a few people leaving with their coffee cups in hand to get up the nerve to go in.
The doors were heavy and he wasn’t expecting it to swing back, thumping hard against his shoulder. Holding back a grimace, Fitz took a deep breath and forced himself to stay cool, thankful for the sunglasses he threw on. It also helped hide the fact his eyes must be popping out of his head.
Because somehow, The Space was bigger on the inside.
It must have stretched down the street lengthwise and created an illusion of space. Sumptuous velvet chairs in deep burgundy were scattered around the room along with rustic chairs that orbited wooden coffee tables of varying sizes. By the window there was a thin bar height table with stools tucked beneath it. It should have been overwhelming and cluttered, but instead it was almost comforting knowing you could always find yourself a plush place to sit no matter how busy it got.
The walls were lined with thick, leather bound books. Rays of sunlight bounced off the golden script running down their bindings. Four small chandeliers hung from the tall ceilings which drew the eye right to the counter. Nothing like the other coffee shops with butcher block or marble tops. No, it was made of a rich, deep chestnut with a shiny glaze. The Space was too eclectic to be a coincidence, but not so overdone and over the top that he was out of place in his worn leather jacket. It was homey and comforting and gothic and—.
And then a hurried violin solo began to play on the speakers. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t the calm, atmospheric music he expected. As he walked toward the counter, he spotted shelf upon shelf of round glass jars full of tea leaves. A white woman with short, blonde hair must have spotted him and took her seat by the register. She gave him a quick smile and then continued to click away at her phone.
Fitz leaned against the counter and squinted at the chalkboard menu above. Some items were standard like an iced coffee. Pleasantly they had a few types of roasts or a customer could select whatever was on rotation that month. There were only a few lattes listed which surprised Fitz that there weren’t any other options. Then there was one menu which in small script beneath it was a massive list of teas and a slightly larger note which read, “Ask the Doctor for a custom tea blend.”
After a few minutes, Fitz realized he’d been spending far too much time engrossed in the menu. The blonde hadn’t looked back up from her phone and Fitz racked his head to find something to say beyond an ‘excuse me’. Tried to play it cool and immediately botched it up.
“So this is the kind of job you can just click away on Facebook, huh? Good to know.” Fuck. Now why’d he go and say that?
"Actually," started the woman with a terse edge. Her pale blue eyes shot him a look that could kill as she continued to type away rapidly. "I'm sending an email to organize a protest against human rights violations, but sure. Facebook.” He snuck a quick look at her name tag while Sam’s eyes scathingly roved over him once more before placing the phone into her jean pocket. “Would you like to order something or just lurk?”
Now he realized his mistake. Not only did she turn out to be a feisty, self-righteous sort, but she was also very cute too. Chances of her being interested were slim to none now. Worse, what if he had to work with her?
Switching tactics, Fitz gave an embarrassed cough and took another look over the board. His fingers ran over the coins in his pocket, mentally calculating what he could afford. "I'll take the medium-roast coffee. Black. And um...I’ll have..."
Sam tapped two times on the thin monitor and then stared at him expectantly. As Fitz did quick maths, the silence stretched and so did Sam's innocent smile. "It’s dim in here, might help if you took off the shades."
Not caring a bit now, Fitz sneered and rattled off the first thing he could read on the food menu, "Yellow jelly...cupcake. I'll take that too."
His face grew hot as he took out the coins. Nice going. Ordering a cupcake. Yeah, sure showed her who's a cupcake alright.
This was picturesque. Insta-worthy if he gave a toss about social media. He'd taken a seat by one of the windows looking out on the bustling street and autumn leaves cascading down. The coffee was steaming from a white mug that had lines of gold running throughout it.
Now the cupcake was a beast. A delicious looking one that made his back molars ache. It took up part of the plate and towered up in a swirl of icing with lemon jelly babies peeking out of the slopes.
Before he completely ruined his palate and any good sense from a sugar rush, he took a sip of the coffee.
It was just the right temperature, perfect really. Rich and earthy with notes of chocolate and cinnamon laced throughout. It was without a doubt the best cup of coffee he'd ever had.
One bite out of the cupcake and he knew an appointment with a dentist was needed. Make that multiple appointments because Fitz would be without a doubt eating one of these every single day if he could. Morning, noon, and night. Probably should see a physician too. Speaking of which….
The look on Sam's face as Fitz approached the counter was openly judgy, but he saw a spark of amusement when he placed down his empty plate and mug, and then whipped off his sunglasses.
"Looks like you enjoyed that. Want one to go?"
"Yes," Fitz said automatically but shook his head. This woman kept catching him off guard. "Well, no, not leaving yet. Actually could speak to the Doctor. Name's Fitz." Adding hastily, "He knows me."
"Does he now?" Sam asked, her arms folding over her white t-shirt, blocking the ‘Free the Kinsey 3’ logo across it. Whatever that was.
"He does." Fitz smirked and leaned against the counter, trying to radiate cool with every fiber of his being. "Offered me a job and I'd like to know when I can start."
The practiced customer service smile fell from her face so fast it would have hurt his feelings if there weren't already the strings of triumph playing in his chest at finally throwing her off.
And if Sam had questioned Fitz’s truthfulness, the way the Doctor bounded up to him, shouting his name and shocking every customer in the place left no doubt even in Fitz’s mind that he was wanted.