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filling my cup with you (and only you)

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January 20th, 9:40 AM. 

 

Saijou Claudine never found mornings appealing. The sound of her alarm blaring in her ears is enough to make her groan. Sunlight peeks through her curtains and shines on her now scrunched face, hands gripping the bed sheets and pulling them over her head. However, as always, it doesn’t do much to stop the annoying buzzing. After about a good minute of trying to pretend the alarm isn’t there, Claudine sighs. 

 

Keeping her eyes closed, her left-hand moves up to cover her face while she extends her right arm to turn off the alarm by her bed. She was never a morning person anyway. 

 

Getting up is always a challenge and when she stumbles over to her closet to pick what to wear, she just grabs the first few things she sees (which really consists of a pair of grey sweatpants and a black hoodie) and throws them on. Looking back at the clock on her nightstand, she immediately sighs. 

 

If she wanted to still grab breakfast, she had to go right this instant to get to class on time. Her eyes keep flickering between the clock and the door for at least thirty seconds. 

 

Fuck it. 

 

The idea of a small snack and coffee was just too good to resist. 

 

The crisp, cool air is the first thing that Claudine notices when she steps outside. It’s refreshing at first but by the time she walks outside and down the street to her favourite cafe, it’s the one thing that absolutely annoys her. 

 

Too cold. 

 

Pushing the door open, the familiar ring of the bell sounds and she’s greeted by the warmth from the heater and the smell of pastries and coffee (thank god). 

 

Another good thing about coming somewhat earlier in the morning (is 9:55 still early..?) is that this cafe isn’t as crowded as the others. Falling in line, Claudine doesn’t even need to look at the menu and simply waits for her turn. She always orders the same thing every time: a tall double-shot soy latte. 

 

As time passes by, the soft music playing makes her feel more awake and much less grumpy than she had been a few minutes ago. In fact, she was so absorbed in the music that she had nearly missed the cashier calling her over. 

 

“Oh-- Sorry.” Claudine says, striding towards the counter. She locks eyes with the barista and is surprised to see someone other than Maya working the counter. 

 

“Hi there!” The new cashier chirps, flashing her a bright smile. How could anyone be this happy at 10 in the morning? “What can I get for you today?”

 

Claudine’s gaze moves down to the nametag resting on her uniform. Nana. 

 

So that was her name. Pretty name for a pretty girl. 

 

She realizes how awkward she’s being when she feels Nana’s gaze on her and clears her throat. “Sorry, um. It’s just that Maya’s usually the one at the counter.” 

 

“Oh! Yeah, She’s on a break right now.”

 

“I see.” Claudine nods her head. “Can I get a double shot soy latte please?” 

 

“Tall or grande?”

 

“Tall.” 

 

“Can I get you anything else?” Nana asks as she punches a few things into the cash register.

 

“Ah, no. Thanks.”

 

“Cool! That’ll be $4.50. Can I get a name for the order?” 

 

She blinks. “Claudine.”

 

Nana gasps but doesn’t stop grinning. “That’s such a pretty name!”

 

Her response startles her, to say the least. “Oh. Um.. thank you.” 

 

Claudine slides a five-dollar bill over, knowing that she would literally only get like two quarters back. So, she opts to place the change (and a little bit extra) into the tip jar when Nana seems to look away from her. 

 

It seems to go undetected since the cashier only looks back at her with a smile and nothing else, “Thanks. Your order should be ready in a little bit.” 

 

Once again, she nods and steps over to the side to wait for her drink. From where she was standing, Claudine could see Nana turning around and getting to work on her drink. Normally, she would see Maya stay at the counter but it really did seem like the older girl was on break. Not that it mattered; the cafe wasn’t exactly busy at the moment. 

 

Eventually, Claudine ends up scrolling through her phone. Her fingers mindlessly continue to reveal more of her Instagram feed, filled with random photos from friends, family, acquaintances, and.. weirdly timed ads about dog food? She won’t ask. 

 

“One tall double shot soy latte for Claudine?” 

 

She perks up. 

 

Turning to face the counter, she’s once again greeted with the sight of Nana smiling brightly and holding her drink out to her. 

 

“Thanks.” she hums, taking the warm drink from her. 

 

“Have a nice day!” 

 

“You too.” With how nice Nana is being to her, Claudine dares to shoot a smile her way before heading out the door. When she holds the cup up to take a sip, her eyes land on what appears to be her name in Nana’s neat handwriting and a smiley face. 

 

Cute. 

 

Claudine doesn’t give it too much thought. However, panic does fill her veins when she sees the time on her phone. 10:15?? Oh, God. She had 15 minutes to run back onto campus to get to class. 

 

Yeah.. no. Claudine isn’t going to run. 

 

X

 

When she finally arrives back on campus, she sees that it’s already 10:30. Claudine stares at the time on her phone for a second or two. Should she just go and see if being late won’t be awkward or should she just go back into her dorm and catch up on some anime that Kaoruko recommended on her laptop? 

 

Yeah. She’d rather watch that anime. That thought on its own is enough to get her to get walking again.

 

On days like this, Claudine would normally call Kaoruko and tell her to come over because as the girl who constantly nags her about watching these things, it’s only fair that she at least witness Claudine finally watch something every so often. 

 

However, she’s not too sure that she is free at the moment, seeing as Kaoruko has been a bit preoccupied. And by preoccupied, Claudine really means that her best friend has been chasing after a girl for quite some time now. 

 

Isurugi Futaba is all Kaoruko really focuses on these days aside from schoolwork and whatnot. Not that Claudine minds, it’s nice to see her friends happy. (Although, it also isn’t like she would really tell her that to her face or anything.) 

 

Despite all of that, she still taps on the screen and unlocks her phone to send a text to Kaoruko after getting settled inside. 

 

kuro: morning, loser

kaoruko: i am not a loser!

kuro: i’m watching that stupid anime you wanted me to watch. you can come over if you want

kaoruko: i’m being invited by THE saijou claudine? so honored. 

kuro: are you coming or...

kaoruko: yeah, i don’t have anything better to do 

kuro: case and point, loser

kaoruko: ok, whatever. i’ll be there in 10.



At that point, she just sends one of those thumbs up emojis and slides her phone back into her pocket. Claudine isn’t entirely sure why it would take Kaoruko ten whole minutes to get to her dorm if she was just at the end of her hallway. But then again, she was probably outside or something. 

 

The laptop is just barely set up with a bowl of snacks when there’s a knock at the door. Claudine, having already found a comfortable spot, just yells out, “It’s open!” 

 

With that being said, the doorknob turns to reveal Kaoruko, carrying a bag of chips and sporting a very similar outfit compared to Claudine. The sight of her makes the younger girl chuckle. “Didn’t have time to actually pick out an outfit or is Futaba just not coming over?”

 

Kaoruko rolls her eyes and plops herself down next to Claudine. “I don’t feel like going out today.” 

 

“So… if Futaba were to text you right now, would you change your mind?” It’s a useless question, really. Because no matter how many times Kaoruko will try to deny it, they both know that she will end up changing her mind.

 

“This is not about me,” Kaoruko huffs, looking over at the laptop. “This is about you finally taking my advice and deciding to watch Ponyo.”

 

“You kept bothering me to watch it and I didn’t feel like going to class today.” 

 

Her response does seem to startle Kaoruko, especially since she isn’t really the type to skip class as often as Claudine does. “Again?”

 

“I did get coffee so.. at least I woke up? Besides, that class was boring.” 

 

Kaoruko gives her a look. “You look like such a hypocrite saying that to me now, Kuro-han.”

 

Claudine rolls her eyes, “Fine. I won’t skip it next time.”

 

“Good!” Kaoruko’s smile is back on her face. “Now, let’s watch Ponyo. I promise it’s like one of the cutest things ever.” 

 

And much to Claudine’s surprise, Kaoruko was correct. The animation is a lot cuter than she expected and by the end of the movie, Claudine feels like her time hasn’t been wasted. 

 

“So..?” Kaoruko looks at her expectantly.

 

“It wasn’t bad.” 

 

The look Kaoruko gives her is almost hilarious. She was practically in disbelief and refused to take Claudine’s response as a proper answer. “You are not telling me you thought it wasn’t bad when i saw your reaction to the ending.”

 

There’s really no winning with Kaoruko sometimes. “Whatever you want to believe.” 

 

“Psh. This is exactly what I mean when I say that you can sometimes be a total tsundere.” Kaoruko says, reaching inside her bag of chips and eating one. 

 

Claudine chooses to ignore her comment and instead decides to take a sip of her--now cold--coffee. Usually, she’d be finished with the drink by now. And while there wasn’t much left inside, cold coffee isn't normal. 

 

Then again, today had been a little bit odd. 

 

“Kuro-han, I swear to god if you keep ignoring me--”

 

“Let’s just watch another movie.” 

 

Kaoruko groans. “Is this how Sakura feels whenever Naruto does something stupid or annoying?” 

 

Claudine just rolls her eyes and puts on another movie. 

 

X

 

Things have a weird way of working out. 

 

In the following weeks, Claudine finds herself waking up before her alarm. Then again, she’s been frequenting the coffee shop much more in the morning than she used to. The walk to the coffee shop has become a habit now (though if you asked her a couple weeks ago, she would probably laugh). The people walking around and the cars passing are calming and the morning air isn’t as biting as it used to be. 

 

The next few minutes pass in a blur as she’s greeted with the same smell of coffee and pastries, falling in line to wait her turn. With each moment passing, the line moves closer and closer to the counter, just enough for Claudine to hear Nana’s voice again.

 

“Thank you! Your order will be ready in a few minutes!”

 

And that’s her cue to step forward agai-- oh.

 

Her eyes might be deceiving her but Nana seems to perk up at the sight of her presence. 

 

“Good Morning! What can I get for you, Claudine?”

 

She remembered my name. 

 

The French woman tries not to get too flustered at the thought (and failing miserably, mind you) as she places her order once more. 

 

If Nana had noticed the panicked expression on her face, she didn’t say anything. Instead, she smiles and makes note of her order, switching off with another cashier as soon as she received her receipt. 

 

“Thank you! Your order should be ready in a few minutes.” 

 

Claudine only barely manages a smile and a nod, trying her best to remain calm as she stood off to the side to wait for her order. 

 

What is wrong with me?

 

Thankfully, there aren’t many people in the shop at the moment. Less people to watch her gay panic. But unfortunately Maya is on shift this time, side eying her with a knowing smile. Curse her for being so perceptive. 

 

Claudine only scowls in return, refusing to look at the brunette as she taps impatiently on her arm. Having  someone like Tendo Maya as a childhood friend was both appreciated and absolutely irritating at times. And for today? She’s decided on irritating.

 

There’s no doubt that Maya won’t pester her for details later. 

 

Tendo Maya, I swear to go--

 

Any anger towards Maya is thrown out the window as soon as Nana calls her name out from the other counter. 

 

Her cold hands are about to wrap themselves around the cup until Claudine notices a very familiar doodle on the cardboard. 

 

The creature is tiny, almost looks like a rabbit, has no mouth, and appears to be standing under a tiny leaf. Her mind flashes back to Kaoruko. 

 

Looks like those movie sessions were good for one thing. 

 

“Is everything okay?” The sound of Nana’s voice reminds her that she’s not the only one at the counter. 

 

“I-- Yes,” Claudine has to clear her throat to ward off the incoming wave of embarrassment, “I just wasn’t expecting to see a tiny totoro on the cup. It.. looks nice.” 

 

“Really? I’m glad you think so! Most customers don’t really comment on my drawings..” 

 

“Well, I think they’re cute.” I think you’re cute

 

Nana smiles and maybe, just maybe Claudine’s doing something right. 

 

“In that case, I’ll make sure to put another drawing on your cup next time.”  

 

“I’ll be counting on that then.”

 

X

 

The days go by much quicker and seeing Nana at the coffee shop becomes more and more frequent, seeing as she was hired and helped Maya out. Claudine hums as she enters the shop for the fourth time this week, bells chiming while she opens the door. Once again, the cafe doesn’t appear to be too crowded. Nana looks at her from the counter and flashes a bright grin her way and waves. 

 

Before Claudine can even think, she’s already smiling back and raising her hand to wave. 

 

“Long time no see?” Nana almost offers, playfully raising her brows as Claudine nears the counter. 

 

She snorts in response, “You saw me yesterday and the day before.”

 

“And? Don’t tell the others but,” Nana lowers her voice down to a whisper, “you’re my favorite customer.” the cashier winks at her after that and Claudine isn’t entirely just why she feels herself blush a little. 

 

God. Get it together, Kuro.

 

Instead, she mimics her former expression, raising her own brow in response. “Do you tell all your customers that?’

 

Nana pretends to look offended, “What? I’m telling the truth.”

 

Claudine rolls her eyes. “Yeah, sure. I’ll have--”

 

“Tall double shot soy latte?”

 

Oh?

 

Claudine can’t hide the surprised look on her face, to which Nana chuckles at. 

 

“Claudine, you order the same thing every time you come. It’s not like we have very many regulars.” 

 

“I guess I just wasn’t expecting it.”

 

Nana gasps once more. “I could never forget such a simple order for such a pretty person.”

 

Embarrassingly enough, Claudine still finds herself flushing at the compliment and shakes her head. “Whatever.”

 

“Psh.” Nana looks a bit unconvinced, “Anyway, did you want anything else with your coffee?”

 

After seeing this girl talk to her for the entire week and getting complimented, Claudine feels a surge of confidence rush through her. 

 

“Well, maybe I could get your number to go? And maybe we can catch a movie or get some food?”

 

Now, it was Nana’s turn to panic and look flustered. 

 

“Oh! Ahaha.. Yeah! Sure! That’s fine by me.” 

 

Claudine grins. She was successful!

 

Nana appears to panic even more, making a few gestures to go wait by the other counter and quickly turns around to start making her drink. Thank god Maya wasn’t here. She probably would never hear the end of it. 

 

Claudine taps on the counter while she waits for her drink, savoring the moments she spends in the cafe. She doesn’t always have morning classes every day of the week but maybe… just maybe she’s started to come more often on her own even when she didn’t have to wake up early. Today appears to be one of those mornings. 

 

Nana seems to stumble over with her drink, doing her best to carefully place the cup down. Wow. Claudine really did throw her off. 

 

“Tall double shot soy latte.” Nana says before hesitating to turn the coffee cup to reveal her number alongside another cute frog drawing and her name neatly printed onto the cup. 

 

Claudine chuckles and nods her head. “Thanks.” 

 

Nana musters up the courage to look at her again and smile, “Have a nice day, Claudine!”

 

Her hands wrap around the warm cup of coffee to relieve Nana of some of her stress. She does have to get going since she promised Futaba they would go out on a jog later but she makes sure to turn back around before she leaves. 

 

“Oh, Nana?”

 

The said girl perks up a little and tilts her head. 

 

“Just Kuro is fine.” 

 

Mornings aren’t Claudine’s thing but for Nana.. she’s more than willing to make the exception.