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Somehow the subject had never come up before now. Maybe they were all a little preoccupied with the Mazikin and trying to stop their classmates from getting possessed, and then there was the whole Mazikin city ordeal. But now that they were in college, coffee was a necessity.

“How long has it been since you’ve tried coffee?” Lela asked, the realization beginning to dawn on her that Malachi’s first life had ended when he was 19, and for years before that he hadn’t had the chance to do anything but survive, until….

“I suppose it’s been about eighty years. I remember my father letting me try some when I was young. He and my brother drank coffee every morning.” He had a faraway look on his face, but it wasn’t sad. It was happy. He knew exactly where is his family was, and it truly was a better place.

They stood in line at a small local coffee shop near the URI campus. Lela had explained all of the different types of coffee there were, and made a mental note to buy a coffee maker for Malachi’s kitchen soon. He didn’t usually prefer sweets, and had no idea of his caffeine tolerance, so Lela had recommended starting with a regular coffee and then going from there. The barista handed them their coffee cups and they walked over to the bar laden with cream, sugar, and spices. Malachi took a sip.

“Hmm.”

“Hmm? How is it?”

“Bitter. But also nutty?” He looked at all of his choices of additives. He poured in a dash of cream, tasted it, added a few shakes of nutmeg, and tasted it again. “Mmmmm” he hummed and sipped his coffee, enjoying the warmth. Lela smiled.

“Welcome to the caffeinated life.”

Malachi smiled and looked around the shop before they walked out the door. He no longer felt like a man out of his time. With each new experience was something to learn, and he thrived on information.

“What do you like to drink?” He looked at her cup curiously.

“I usually just get black coffee. It tastes good but I mostly need the caffeine to help me stay awake.”

Malachi nodded thoughtfully. “What about tea? I used to drink tea when my mother made it.”

“Boy, there are so many types of tea I can’t even explain them all. I only like it iced though. Diane drinks tea.”

“I’ll have to ask her for advice then.” He said, stopping on the sidewalk and pulling Lela into a kiss. “Mmmm yours tastes caramelly.” She snorted a laugh.

“Looks like I’ve created a monster.”

The next night Lela had come over to Malachi’s house, it was filled with the warm scent of coffee. He had done his research, and bought a French press, a coffee grinder, and a small tin of loose leaf tea.

“I’ve been watching videos about how to make them.” He said sheepishly. Lela was actually impressed- it was like having her own personal barista. “Here I made this for you.” He pressed a mug of coffee into her hands and gave her a lingering kiss, twirling a curl of her hair around his finger.

“Thanks, this should help with the studying.” They were both gearing up for finals, and not unlike his training habits, Malachi would study until he could memorize every page of his textbook. They sat down at his kitchen table and Lela took a sip of her coffee. “Oh my god.” The first sip was incredible. The second sip was even better. She could taste every nuance and flavor, like caramel and oak, and swore it had a chocolatey after taste.

“I’m glad you like it.” Malachi said, beaming. Of course he knew exactly what she would want. He knew her better than she knew herself. He had probably gone back to that coffee shop to see which roast she ordered so he could find one just like it.

“You’re incredible, you know that?” She looked at his face and could almost see him blushing under his caramel skin.

“Anything for you, Lela.”

He leaned over for a sweet kiss, then licked his lips. “I must admit to being slightly selfish. I wanted to taste it on you again.” His hand went behind her head and buried itself in her hair. He kissed her deeply, sending warmth down to her toes. She touched his face with one hand, tracing his jaw, the other on chest.

“And are you satisfied with the results?” She no longer had any interest in studying, buzzing with heat and coffee.

“Hmm I might need further investigation.” With that, Malachi picked her up and carried her off to the couch, all thoughts of studying left behind.