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Spicy Pumpkins

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Kylo watched the unfamiliar redhead make his way into the shop. He had definitely never been in before; he would have remembered someone that tall, hot and angry looking. Kylo picked up a cup, made some marks and scribbles on it, then handed it off to Rose.

The man stepped up to the counter and without preamble, or even looking up from his phone, said curtly "pumpkin spice latte please." The 'please' was completely perfunctory, devoid of any actual pleasantry.

"Sorry, we don't carry that flavor."

That got the man's attention. His eyes snapped up from the phone. He turned just enough to point back towards the front door. "Your sign outside indicates otherwise. In fact, it says it's today's special."

"Oh that. Yeah, we're out. I've got some canned pumpkin I could throw into some drip coffee for you."

The man blinked and Kylo was thrilled to see he was a blusher. "What? That's not how that works. It's pumpkin Spice. Not actual pumpkin."

Kylo tried to keep his smile neutral. "Yeah it is. I could even throw in some steamed milk, no extra charge." He looked the man up and down. "Non-dairy I'm assuming?"

Looking very confused, and like he wasn't used to the feeling, the man opened his mouth and stuttered "yes, but how . . ." then closed it. Finally he said "that's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard. I want to speak to your manager."

"Sorry. He's not in today."

"Then whomever is over You. What about the owner."

Kylo couldn't help a little shiver at the terse tone. He grinned. "Yeah, he's here." He purposefully didn't turn his head at the little giggle Rose gave as she worked.

Raising a red eyebrow the man gestured expectantly. "Then go and get him?"

"Sure, if that's what you really want." Grinned Kylo. He walked back to the cooler, turned around and walked back to the counter. He looked at the man.

"Well?" The tall drink of water (not as tall as Kylo and much narrower) put a hand on his hip. He still held his phone.

"Yeah, I'm the owner."

The blush turned to something much darker. "What is the meaning of this? I can't imagine how you could possibly stay in business if you treat . . . What do you think you are doing?!"

Kylo had turned away, mid rant. He turned back and plunked a large coffee cup in front of the man.

With a smile and a wink he said lightly, "one pumpkin spice latte, on the house."

Derailed and completely flummoxed, the man looked from Kylo to the coffee, obviously trying to decide if he should storm out with or without the free coffee.

Free pumpkin spice won. He grabbed the latte, opened his mouth as if to speak, then snapped it shut and retreated out the door.

"That was mean." Rose said, but she was laughing. "You better hope he doesn't complain to everyone on campus about the service here."

Kylo smiled distractedly and folded his arms across his chest, watching the ginger scurry across the sidewalk and out of sight. "Nah." He said. "He looks like he has one friend that is used to him bitching and ignores 90%. Or like the professor everyone hates, and if he says not to come here we'll be the most popular place on campus." He cleared his throat at the thought of the hot, angry man. "Probably both."

*** **

Hux stomped all the way to his favorite bench, blood pounding in his temples. The nerve of that barista. He wondered if the man really was the owner. Perhaps he should go back in when the manager was there and report him. Just in case.

Without thinking, Hux took a swallow of his drink. It was still almost scorching, but it was also delicious. He wasn't certain what made it different from the competition, but there was clearly a secret ingredient . . . But no, he would only go back in to complain about his treatment. Then it was back to his regular coffee shop. He didn't even know what had possessed him to go in to begin with.

As he drained the last of it, he noticed there was writing on the cup. He was certain that he had never given them any kind of name. When he noticed numbers he looked more closely.

That infuriating man had written his name (Kylo, really?) and his phone number, in place of Hux's name.

Even better, if the man really was the owner he could call and complain to him directly. It would be easier over the phone when he wasn't looking at that handsome, stupid face. Infuriating man. But also kind of his type . . .

*** **