“So… I do like a girl, but I don’t think anything can come of it.” Penny grumbled into her coffee.
“She’s straight?” Her friend Hannah replied, with a sympathetic face that most queer women will recognise.
“Nope. But she does control my supply of caffeine and I think that’s an unreconcilable power dynamic.”
“...You’re going to have to explain this one from the top.”
Penny sighed, taking a sip of her drink. “I go to a coffee shop every day I’m in work, and the Barista there is absolutely gorgeous and fascinating. But...”
“She’s at work?”
“Exactly. Hitting on people at work is shitty, so I can’t make anything of it.”
“But you’re going to gush about her anyway?”
“Well, I wasn’t going to, but if you’re inviting me to...”
Penny smiled, “She’s beautiful – the kind of femme that makes even me want to be femme. Always interesting, always has something to say about whatever topic I bring up, relentlessly cheery with a truly wicked sense of humour. I know a lot of that’s going to be the fact that she’s at work and kinda has to be cheery, but...”
“That is quite the crush you’ve got there.”
“Oh no, that isn’t even the best of it. You know that kinda playful dynamic you get with people sometimes? We have that in spades. Like… I used to order the same drink every day, so she started pre-empting what I was having, so I started mixing up my order, and then...”
“She started just telling me what I was having.”
“Like, just giving you it?”
“I mean she used to ask initially but, um, yeah.”
“That’s… pretty gay.”
“I know right. I even know she’s not straight, an ex-girlfriend came up in conversation one time.”
“Entirely naturally, of course?”
“So you entirely unsubtly dropped in a mention of an ex into a conversation then?”
“Mm. But as you say, not much you can do about the workplace thing.”
“I can pine.”
“You are pretty good at that.”
“Excuse me,” came a familiar voice from behind Penny, “I couldn’t help overhearing...”
Penny slowly looked round, a blush startitng to spread across her cheeks. “E-Esme, hi.”
“Hi,” She replied, a small smile on her face. “So you were saying about this girl? She sounds fascinating.”
“O-oh. She is, yeah.”
“But you don’t want to ask her out when she’s at work?”
“Would it help if she asked you instead?”
“You know, I think it might.” Penny replied, now a little more composed than she was before.
“Come and have coffee with me this weekend.”
“I’d love to.”
“Here, Saturday at 2pm?”
“I’ll see you then.”
“Yes you will,” Esme replied, before briefly turning to Hannah. “I’m sorry for interrupting.”
“Oh, be my guest.” Hannah said, smirking.
Esme smiled. “I’m heading home, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Without another word, Esme left the two of them at their table. It seemed like ages until Penny finally broke the silence that fell over them.
“So that was outrageously hot, right?”
Penny arrived outside the coffee shop fifteen minutes early and began to anxiously pace up and down. She had been interested in Esme for a long time – she’d been frequenting that shop for about a year now, and she still remembers the first time she stuttered out her order while trying not to blush.
It wasn’t too long until Esme showed up, smiling warmly as she approached. “You’re early!”
“Just on time, apparently.”
“Shall we head in?”
Penny nodded, and followed her into the shop. “So, do I get to choose what I’m having today?”
Esme flashed her a small grin, “Do you want to?”
“I...” She began trying to formulate a reply. “Why break with tradition?”
Esme ordered, and the two of them exchanged a few words while they waited for their hot chocolates (with cream for Esme, and, as usual, no cream but marshmallows for Penny.)
“So,” Penny said after they had both taken their seats. “Tell me about yourself.”
Esme raised an eyebrow, “I suppose this is a first date, so I’ll play. What do you want to know?”
“Well, what do you do?”
“I work in a coffee shop and I’m doing a part-time masters degree by research.”
“Wow, you must be busy. You must get some interesting customers as a barista?”
“And sociology is really fascinating-” Penny began.
“I never told you I was doing sociology, did you Google me?” Esme asked, mock offended.
“Oh, you just have the look of someone doing sociology.”
“Nice save – and I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“It definitely is.”
Esme seemed more relaxed than normal – Penny figured it was being out of work, and being able to let her hair down (in every way but literally – her hair still being up in an unshakingly perfect bun, as normal.)
What Esme definitely still had, though, was the same ability to throw Penny off balance with just a few words.
“So, how long have you had a thing for me, anyway?”
“I-I, well…” Penny stuttered. “A while.”
“Oh?” Esme said, slightly tilting her head. “You don’t have to share, of course.”
Penny blushed. “A few months. Maybe… six. Maybe a bit more.”
Esme smiled, “Oh, wow, you really can pine.”
“H-how much of that conversation did you hear, anyway?”
“First I heard, you were talking about your drinks orders.” Esme replied, “Why, what were you saying about me before that?”
“You make a good latte..., that kinda thing, really.”
“What else could it be?”
“Well, the word “beautiful” may have been mentioned...”
“About the latte, naturally.”
“...and something about a wicked sense of humour.”
“Must be the other barrista you’ve been crushing on.”
“One of them, at least.”
“You’ve been getting coffee from other women?”
“A girl has needs.”
Esme looked her dead in the eye, flashing her that familiar mischevious smile. “Do you, now?”
“I’ll order again, if you’d like.”
Jumping on the chance to regain some kind of composure (although rather enjoying being without it), Penny nodded.
“Back in a minute,” Esme grinned.
After a couple of minutes, with Penny not-so-inconspicuously watching Esme head to the counter, she came back with a pair of lattes. Penny grabbed hers from the table and sipped it.
“Sated?” Esme asked.
“Well, then. Given we’re still getting to know eachother for the very first time… What do you get up to in your spare time?” Esme asked, “Other than coffee shops, that is.”
“Well,” She began, “I work three days a week – boring office job. Then the rest of the time I’m doing freelance art, and when I’m not doing that I write and read fiction. Or just curl up with trashy Netflix, depends on the kind of day I’ve had, really.”
“Oh, I know that one. What kind of things do you write?”
“...it varies, really.”
“I did like the bit of it I’ve seen.”
“But we only just met today.” Penny replied, grinning. “Did you Google me?”
Esme raised an eyebrow. “Nice.”
“Thanks. So, what about you?”
The time flew by – the conversation flowing effortlessly through another two drinks.
“Penny,” Esme began. “Far from it for me to be forward...”
“That would be unusual.”
“Would you like to come back to my place? It can just be coffee, if you like.”
“And if I don’t like?”
“Then I’ll see what else I can whip up.”
One fourty minute bus journey of desperately attempting to keep their hands off eachother later, Esme was leading Penny through the door of her flat. A small and simple place: with a bedroom/lounge, a kitchen, and a bathroom, but with a spacious feel - even with most of the surfaces being scattered with books.
“Make yourself comfortable,” Esme said, gesturing to the sofa. “Drink?”
“Please.” Penny replied, taking a seat. “It’s a really nice place you have here.”
“You should see it when I didn’t tidy it this morning.” came the reply from the kitchen. “But thank you.”
“You mean you were planning to bring me back here all along?” Penny asked, mock offended.
“Only because I knew you’d say yes.”
“I’d feel insulted if it wasn’t true.”
“There are much better things to feel, anyway.” Esme replied, coming through the door, a glass of orange juice in each hand. She placed the glasses on the coffee table and takes a seat ever so near Penny on the sofa.
“Are there now?”
“May I kiss you?” Esme asked calmly, looking Penny straight in the eye.
Esme smiled, gently lifting Penny’s chin with her finger, planting a delicate kiss on her lips, followed by another, and another…
“Don’t tease.” Penny murmured weakly.
Esme grinned, slowly wrapping her hand in Penny’s hair, throwing her leg over her so she was straddled in her lap. Holding her firmly in place, Esme set about firmly kissing her, drinking her fill after months of want and longing.
Each time Esme kissed her anew, Penny whimpered delicately, her arms holding Esme against her – each time her grip weakened and she sunk further, securely held in place by her hair and by Esme pressing down on her.
“You okay, beautiful?” Esme asked, breaking off after who knows how long.
“Mmmrmf,” Came the contented reply, with a weak nod as Penny slumped against the back of the sofa.
“Want a break?”
“No. Well, maybe, in a way...”
“Well...” Esme said, slowly tracing her finger across her face. “Ask for what you want.”
Penny blushed, “But-”
“Yes?” She asked, gently lifting her chin so she could look her in the eye.
“W-what if it’s something you don’t want to do?”
“Unlikely, and does it feel like I do things I don’t want to?” Esme asked, twisting her fingers in her hair to punctuate the point.
Penny gasped, her eyes widening. “Your fingers on my clit. Please.”
“Oh, Penny, of course.”
A few seconds of awkward manuevering later, Esme was sat astride Penny’s lap. “May I?” she asked, resting her finger on her jean button. Penny nodded, and Esme set about making just enough of a gap for her to slip her hand down.
Esme began to ever-so-gently stroke Penny’s clit; she whimpered gently with each pass, desperately trying to move her hips to push against her fingers, but each time Esme matched it, keeping her touch tantalisingly light.
Her whimpers soon turned into moans - of pleasure and frustration in equal measure, her eyes wide and breathing heavy as she weakly murmured “Harder, please.”
“Now you’re getting it.”
Esme grinned, her fingers now firmly rubbing against her, helped along by Penny squeezing them with her thighs with each deep groan. Esme lent in to kiss her, only breaking off to let her catch her breath. Until Esme felt Penny shiver, her mouth wide open but silent for a moment, until she sunk into the sofa with a satisfied murmur.
Penny nodded weakly, smiling gently as she removed her hand and slid off her lap, Esme wrapped her arm around her, pulling her to rest on her chest.
“Worth the months of pining?” Esme asked.
Penny murmured a reply, nuzzling further into Esme’s arms.
“Esme?” Penny said, who knows how much later. “Esme, I think we fell asleep.”
“Mmmrf?” Esme replied, opening her eyes for a second. “Oh, so we did.”
“Five more minutes?”
Esme yawned and pulled her closer in reply.
“Or maybe ten.”
Waking up an hour later, Penny managed the unenviable task of extracting herself from Esme’s arms, and snuck to the kitchen to make a pair of coffees. She placed them down on the table (next to the completely untouched orange juices from earlier), and kissed Esme on the forehead. “Hey, Esme.”
“I brought coffee.”
Esme opened her eyes slowly and smiled. “Isn’t that my job?”
“It’s nice to switch things up once in a while. How are you?”
“Doing okay.” Esme picked up her drink and took a sip. “Hey - this isn’t bad.”
“I’ve watched the best in action.”
“Penny, it was never my coffee making that you watched.”
“I mean...” She replied, taking a slightly oversized gulp of her own. “Most of the time no, but...”
They chatted, as much of their bodies touching as they could while still letting them awkwardly take sips of their drinks every so often. Sadly though, it wasn’t too long until Penny had to go.
“I’m sorry, I really want to stay, it’s just I have a commission to finish up and I have work tomorrow and...” Penny waffled, standing at the open door, her face an inch away from Esme’s.
“...and however much I want you, I’m not going to distract from that.” Esme smiled. “I had a great time, too. Want to do something again soon?”
“Yes!” Penny replied, with a burst of enthusiasm.
“Well… I’ll see you tomorrow, we can schedule something then?”
“Tomorrow… Oh! Yes.”
“Unless you don’t want coffee. Maybe I could find another way to kickstart your morning.”
“Just seeing you will be enough.”
Esme giggled. “Really?”
“...Okay, that was probably too cheesy.”
“Lovely, but yes.”
Penny smiled, before sighing. “I should probably go.”
Esme kissed her gently, each time she seemed to break off she went back for more, each time a little firmer. Until she sighed, and whispered “Goodnight, Penny.”
Elmyra: "So are you leaning into the fact you don't know anything about coffee?"
Me: "It's not my fault, I hang out in teahouses all the time!"
"You're late. Didn't stay up too late, did you?" Esme's text message read, as Penny dashed across town.
"2 minutes away, can you make me a drink?"
Penny had been up a little later than she would've liked. Between getting distracted while doing her art and her mind wandering as she tried to sleep, it was 2am before she got to bed, and the snooze button always seems so tempting on mornings like this.
Penny pushed open the door to the coffee shop. Esme was serving a customer, but there was a take-away cup sat on the counter - noticeably a size larger than normal. "I'm sorry, I need to-"
"Take it, we'll sort it later."
"Are you sure? I-"
"Can pay later."
Penny smiled, grabbing her drink. "I'll text you."
"Oh, I know you will." Esme replied, flashing a grin that made Penny just a little weak at the knees.
“You’re an absolute lifesaver. Just made my train.”
“All in a day’s work for Coffee Girl.”
“And last night?”
“All in a night’s work. I’m a superhero of diverse missions.”
“Well, thank you, I had a great time.”
“Me too. Your coffee was good, too.”
“High praise from you. Say, I don’t suppose you’d be interested in doing something, say, Wednesday afternoon?”
“I could be convinced. What do you have in mind?”
“No concrete plan yet, but I have a couple of ideas.”
“Need to check the availability of your bedroom first?”
“I already have a reservation for the evening.” Penny replied, before hastily adding. “Uh, if you want.”
“Sure, I love eating out.”
Penny choked on her coffee, drawing the stares of a train full of commuters. She typed and deleted a couple of different responses, before Esme got there first.
“If you want to pretend your train just arrived and that’s why your reply is slow, that’s okay. On the other hand, if you’d rather admit you’re flustered...”
“As a matter of fact,” Penny began to type as her train slowed to a stop. “We have actually just arrived.”
It took Penny a moment to put it together, then started to feel her cheeks burning as memories of last night flooded to her. “I’m in public!”
“Would you like me to stop?”
“Very good. Say, you’ve got a lunch break too, haven’t you?”
“Talk to you then!”
At 12:30 exactly, Penny’s phone pinged. “It’s pretty convenient we have a lunch break at the same time, isn’t it?”
“Convenient is a word. How’s work?”
“Not bad. Lots of coffee, unfortunately missing my favourite customer. And you?”
“Meetings, spreadsheets, water coolers. Feeling like I’m in a stereotypical office drama, but like, a really boring one.”
“Aww, I’m sorry. Where were we, anyway?”
“I believe you were telling me I was flustered.”
“I actually think you were telling me you were flustered, if not in so many words.”
“Can’t we agree to disagree?”
“You can agree to agree with me.”
Penny, having been thinking about hearing from Esme all day, had the forethought to find a quite nook to sit in over lunch. Being alone, however, didn’t mean she was any less squirmy. She realised it had been a minute or two of being distracted and she hadn’t replied.
Esme got there first. “You like your girls like you like your coffee, don’t you?”
“Strong, fills you with energy, and given to you without a whole lot of choice in the matter.”
“Hey, I like to have the choice to not have the choice.”
“Nice, isn’t it?”
“Sorry to drop out of the teasing for a moment, if we would like a repeat of last night, I was wondering if we could sit down and negotiate boundaries and wants sometime soon.”
“I… would very much like that.”
“Good! In the mean time, you can just imagine all the things you want me to do to you, so you can recount them all in excruciating detail when we talk. How does that sound?”
“You’re good for the time being with this level of chatting, though?”
“Very much so.”
“Good, so, we have about half an hour left of lunch...”