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Here's the start of a new story. Same drill. I'll write and edit it a bit more each week until it's done, but I went and did something different this time. I actually wrote the ending first, so I know where it's going to end up. Or at least I do if I don't change it. If you have any comments or feedback, let me know and I'll try to edit accordingly.

The line shuffled forward a few steps and Kaitlin shuffled with them. She felt like she might have forgotten how her knees worked. Was she being awkward? Maybe? Oh god, she was. She absolutely was being the most awkward. All she had to do was walk a few steps and not act like a doofus. Hundreds of times, many hundreds of times, she had stood in this same line in front of this same counter in this same coffee shop waiting for the same low V-neck wearing barista taking his slow ass time. Sometimes she felt tired, or irritable, but never awkward. Now she was feeling judgmental and anxious. Did it show? Could Malcolm tell? He totally could. How could he not? Anxious was leaking out of her pores. She pressed her arms a little tighter to her sides so the smell of anxious couldn’t escape from her armpits.

“Busy this morning.”
Malcolm's voice sounded so calm and easy. How could he be so comfortable when she couldn’t remember how to stand like a person. And he smelled so good. Just a simple clean soap smell with maybe a touch of wood, like sawdust. His smell this close to her made her tongue feel dry. How was that fair.
Kaitlin felt the words “Yeah, right?” croak from her throat as she looked up at his face. Malcolm's bright half smile, the deep brown of his cheeks, and those gorgeous almost black almond eyes. Not. Fair. At. All.
The line shuffled forward again.
“I’m glad you- we- could, you know, finally make it out- get together.” Malcolm sounded a little less smooth just then. Kaitlin could feel her heart slow to a manageable rhythm. At least some part of him might be close to her level. Stumbling over a few words didn’t stop him from being so damned pretty though.
He added “I mean Medicine is pretty demanding, right? Like timewise and workwise.”
“I’m only first year, but yeah I guess so. Engineering can’t be so super easy either.”
Kaitlin could feel her cheeks warming. She just hoped against hope that she didn’t look like a frickin tomato. This was the longest she had ever talked to Malcolm without any of their friends around. When Maggie had told her that if she asked him to go for coffee, that he would “for sure say yes”, and then she had gone up and asked him, well her and two beers had gone up and asked him at Janice and Dean’s house party, Kaitlin hadn’t been sure that it was real. But here they were, saturday morning, standing in line for coffee. Together.
“We just play a lot of basketball and memorize a few equations.” He said, laughing it off and looking up to the menu board.
“Same. Well, except it’s tennis and anatomy for me.”
“Tennis? I tried badminton, but I never played tennis before.”
“We should!” Kaitlin felt her voice jump in volume and she wrestled it back down. “I mean, if you wanted to try it out sometime, I could- I would be happy to teach you” Kaitlin fought back images of long brown legs and short white shorts long enough to close with a weak smile.
“Maybe for a second, or third date?” Malcolm had replaced that half smile with a sly sideways look.
Maybe this wasn’t going as badly as Kaitlin had thought. Of course, if she didn’t look like a tomato before, she sure did now.
The line shuffled forward and they found themselves in front of the counter. Together.
Captain V-neck barely focused on them and tossed off a bored “So what’ll you have?”

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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