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Would You Like a Cold with Your Coffee? (Bonus Chapter - COMPLETE!)


meepsy

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<< Author's Note: Hey guys! I am returning with a little original pre-xmas cold fic I've been working on. Before that though, I just want to say that I am really sorry about once again dropping of the face of the planet. I get really antsy about this site sometimes, and have a past of abandoning previous works very suddenly. Buuut, I can pretty much promise you that this fic will, in fact, be written to completion, mainly because it's nearly there already! ;D anyway, here is the first part. I hope you all enjoy it -- sorry again about my flighty bs! >>

~o~

Part One

Aaron sighed, wiping his nose on the wrist of his sleeve as he filled the espresso beans. Today had been grueling to say the least. Working at a coffee shop in the heart of a busy college campus was no picnic, and now, with only 20 minutes to close, Aaron felt on the verge of collapse. At least now – with the cold December night settling in – students were less likely to venture out of their apartments for their evening Double Mochas, which was just fine with Aaron. He wasn't exactly a people person, despite his current choice of occupation.

“huhh…” He tensed, feeling an annoyingly familiar wave of hazy anticipation come over him that could signal one thing – an impending sneeze.

“huhhh… hhhh…” he waited, frustration building, his only comfort was in knowing that no one was in the store to hear his hitching breaths.

“hhh… hhh! Hhhaaa-TTCHhugh!" He just barely had time to register the tinkling sound of the front door’s bell, indicating a customer’s presence, before another sneeze took hold of him.

“hha- TTCHuggh! Hhhh! … HuuAAATCHugh!!” He sneezed forcefully into the crook of his arm, hating (as he did every time he sneezed), the drawn out, ostentatious nature of the expulsions, as though his body was insistent on embarrassing him as thoroughly as possible. He sniffed back the repercussions and rubbed his nose into his sleeve, attempting to make himself presentable for the new mystery customer.

“Woah, bless you! Jeez, do those sneezes come with a weapons license?” Oh my god. Aaron didn't even need to turn around to know who was standing behind him, nor did he want to. But he did, resenting the moment for all it was worth…

Tobias. Of course. Somehow, his roommate Remy’s best friend - who was a frequent presence in Aaron’s apartment, as well as his day-to-day life - never seemed to pass up an opportunity to get under Aaron’s nerves. The philosophy doctorate student was a textbook extrovert – relentlessly friendly, aggressively outgoing; the sort of person who facebook friended people he only met in the smallest of passings, and who considered it his personal mission to make sure everyone was always having a good time. For Aaron, who found interactions even with his closest relations awkward and grating, it was hard to believe that he was even from the same planet as him, let alone be able to tolerate his company.

It didn't help that the guy was like effortlessly good-looking either. Aaron could never decide if he found the taller man’s chin length brunette locks and perpetual 5 o' clock shadow lazy or attractive, if the black plastic rims that framed his eyes were complete hipster trash or actually kind of fetching. This uncertainty, of course, only served to increase Aaron’s agitation. He tensed, feeling blood rush to his cheeks.

The grad student greeted him with a warm smile. “How’s it hangin’, A-ro? Anything new in the world of coffee?”

Aaron did his best to hold back the growl in his throat. “Nodt really,” he replied dismissively, dismayed by the slight congestion that had entered in voice. “Whadt are you doing here?”

The bespectacled man’s grin took on a wry quirk. “Well, I was hoping to procure a hot beverage for my travels. I’m thinking you might be just the man for the job.”

The barista inhaled deeply, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “Okgay, whadt do you wantd?” His question was met with an amiable shrug.

“I dunno, anything. Surprise me.”

Aaron glared. “Seriously?”

“Yeah!” the brunette replied jovially. “Whatever you feel like making, I’ll drink.”

For a solid beat, all Aaron could do was stare indignantly at the taller man, before finally relenting. “Okay, fine,” he huffed, and turned toward the espresso machine. At first, he considered just giving Tobias a cup of hot water out of spite, but he was too tired to put up with the banter-filled rebuffs that would surely follow such a gesture. He ended up settling on making the cayenne mocha special he’d come up with that day, partly because he was bitter that it hadn't sold very well, and partly because if the guy didn't like it, it would serve him right for not picking out his own goddamned drink in the first place.

He prepared the drink, feeling agitated as the brunette watched him from the counter stool he’d seated himself in, and passed it over, punching the price into the register as he did so.

“Here. Idt’s 3.49,” he informed with a slight sniffle.

The taller man fished a five out of his wallet. “Keep the change,” he replied with a playful wink. Aaron accepted the money with a muttered “thanks”, and completed the transaction, before turning his attention toward rinsing out the steamer, (while also trying to keep the encroaching blush off his face.) He sniffed again, and wiped his now-running nose against his sleeve, knowing he should probably use a paper towel or something, but not wanting to draw any more attention to himself than was absolutely necessary.

Nonetheless, he couldn't help but watch from the corner of his eye as the grad student took an experimental sip.

“Oh my god, this is completely amazing! What did you put in this?”

Aaron blinked, too taken aback by the brunette’s honest appreciation of his drink to maintain his grumpy facade. “Um, idt’s jusdt sombe eggnog, chocolate and cayenne pbeppber. Ndothing special really.”

“It’s seriously blowing my mind right now. I can’t believe-”

“hhh-TTtchguu! …HHATTchugh!” The two sneezes crept up on Aaron before he could do anything about it. He turned away, catching them in the crook of his arm, but the resulting mess was too much to sniff back. Full to the brim with self-loathing, he grabbed the roll of paper towels sitting on the counter, teared off a long sheet, and folded it over his nose, wiping under and around, resisting the tantalizing urge to blow.

“Wow, bless you,” Tobias offered as Aaron continued to tend to his nose. “You sick or something?”

“Ndo,” Aaron snarled from behind the paper towel. “Whadt’s idt to you?”

“Just asking, dude,” the brunette shrugged, brushing off the venom in the barista’s tone. “It sounds like you might be coming down with a cold, that’s all.”

“Well, thankgs for the condcern, budt Im’b perfegctly finde,” Aaron grumbled, despite the now-quite-apparent congestion in his voice. The taller man did not seem convinced.

“You sure? You look a little flushed to me.”

“Pbostive!” Aaron snapped, his temper boiling over. “And if you dond’t mbind, I actually kind of have tdo close the stdore ndow, so-”

“Okay, okay, sheesh,” Tobias interrupted, holding his palms out in mock defense, “No need to bite my head off. I’m just looking out for your well-being. ‘Tis the season, after all.”

“Idt’s ondly December firsdt,” Aaron muttered, taking up his former mantle of passive petulance.

“Well, it’s never too early to get in the spirit of Christmas, right?” the taller man replied, standing up to re-zip his jacket. “Anyway, I’ll let you get back to closing. Thanks for the latte, it really is delicious. I think you might have a gift.”

“Oh, greadt. I’ve findally found mby life’s callingg,” Aaron replied, not without a small, begrudging half-grin.

“You should be proud of your talents, Aar. It’s way better than I could do,” the brunette assured with a final smile. He reached the door and turned to look over his shoulder. “Hey, take care of yourself, okay? Don’t work too hard – it’s bad for your health.”

“I’ll keepb thadt ind mind,” the barista replied noncommittally, watching as the grad student pulled open the door and exited the coffee shop for good. He breathed a sigh of relief, and returned once more to closing up the store so that, at long last, he could finally go home...

~o~

(More to come soon!!)

Edited by meepsy
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Ohmijesus!!!! Where did you come from?????

Can I please just worship you and will you be my mentor???

Holy smokes! You are a fantastic writer. I feel Aaron's annoyance with Tobias. I am not fond of those types of people myself.

I can just picture Aaron being sick in his apartment with his roommate and Tobias comes over and Tobias is trying to be nice and give Aaron a sympathy smile but Aaron just gives him the death stare and goes back to his room!!

Eeeeepppp can't wait until the next part!!

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This is really adorable and also well-written. Also, I know how you feel about being paranoid posting. I want to post some writing here and I'm scared people from outside the site will find me out.

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Great job on the environment, the emotions, the descriptors, all of it! Great work, tell me you're already working on the next installment...? Pretty please?! :)

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I worked at a preschool over the summer where if the kids wanted something extra they would say "more ____, please." Therefor, I believe that the technique must work so, (thank you toddlers!) "more story, please!"

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Wow! Thank you guys so much for your lovely comments, I'm so glad you're so interested! blushsmiley.gif Here is the next part! (bit of a mess warning here, just fyi)

~o~

Part Two

“Combe ond... combe ond...” Aaron muttered to his steering wheel, turning the ignition, praying desperately for the engine to turn over without any sort of hassle. His nose was running like a faucet now, enough that he was forced to wipe it every minute or so (his lack of tissues meant that his sweatshirt sleeve was suffering rather heavily as a result). That, added to the headache that had settled itself into his temples over the last hour, as well as the fact that he couldn't remember the last time he’d felt so thoroughly exhausted, were all combining to put him into a deeply foul mood. If truth be told, it seemed to be becoming pretty apparent that he was, in fact, coming down with something, but the thought of being sick was so repulsive to Aaron that he immediately shoved it to the back of his mind, choosing to instead concentrate on getting his car to just #@%&ing start already.

Finally, after the tenth or eleventh try, (as well as a lengthy string of curses), the ignition turned and the car roared to life. Aaron cranked the heat and flipped on the headlights, a shiver escaping him as he composed himself for the twenty minute drive home…

~o~

“hhhTTCHUUgh! Hhuh-TTXCHuugh! *snnff* Nnnggh…” Aaron coughed a bit as he turned his car off and dug around his glove apartment, looking for a stray napkin or tissue that he could use to tend to his traitor nose. Those last two sneezes had been as messy as they had been energy-sapping, and his sleeve was just not cutting it anymore. As much as he hated to admit it, he needed to blow.

After coming up dry, Aaron finally settled on ripping a piece of paper out of the notebook that sat on the passenger seat. He folded the rough piece of paper over his nose and proceeded to blow thickly, wiping and folding over to a new dry spot in order to blow again, until at last his nose had some semblance of order about it. It was an overall tasking and pretty gross experience, and left Aaron feeling kind of like an animal, but it was either that or go into his apartment with a hand over his nose. He gave a final gurgling sniffle, stuffed the soiled paper into his coat pocket, and stepped out into the frigid night air.

As he approached the door, his thoughts turned to his encounter with Tobias. He half-expected the grad student to be in his apartment already, despite the high improbability of such an occurrence, considering it was a Wednesday night and Tobias had made no mention of coming over. What was most surprising was that this possibility did not ignite the typical feeling of annoyance that Aaron expected. In fact, he found himself almost hoping for the grad student’s presence, although why such a feeling would come over him was nothing short of a mystery.

He turned the doorknob and walked into the apartment, expecting a wash of warm air to give him reprieve from the harsh winter night, but was instead met with an apartment that somehow seemed even colder than the air outdoors.

“Hey, man,” Remy called from where he and his girlfriend, Julie, were huddled on the couch beneath a pile of blankets. “Heat’s on the fritz, so I would bundle up if I were you!”

“Is idt on the fritz or did you forgedt to fill the oil againd?” Aaron snapped, finding it very difficult to contain his fury. Julie gave him a sloppy, hushing hand wave.

“Oh, shoosh, Aaron, come cuddle with us!” she called, patting the spot beside her. “We’ll all share our body heat and you won’t even notice the difference!” She and Remy broke into a fit of drunken giggles, and Aaron found that as hard as he was trying, his glare would not be sufficient to set the two of them on fire.

“I thinkg I’ll pass,” he muttered, tight-lipped, and made his way across the living room to the hallway which led to his bedroom, without bothering to take off his jacket.

“Oh, don’t be such a Grinch!” Julie called after him, to which Aaron replied with an infuriated “Idt’s ondly December firsdt!”

He closed his bedroom door, and leaned back against it, groaning. It looked as though he had two options: 1.) Try and get some work done on his screenplay, while trying not to freeze, or 2.) Attempt to go to sleep, while trying not to freeze. Given the fact that he had a hard time sleeping even under normal conditions, Aaron decided upon the former option. He settled at his desk, pulling the comforter off his bed and wrapping it around his shoulders, mulling over the thought of making some tea in order to keep his hands warm, but in the end deciding that he just did not have the energy for it. He sniffled and shivered, pulling his hands inside his sleeves for warmth, and began to read over his draft, making small editing changes here and there, but not being able to give anything much focus. His mind drifted again toward Tobias. He thought half-subconsciously of what it might be like if he were sick, and Tobias were to… do something, like touch the back of his neck, maybe put a hand against his forehead, or smooth the hair back from his brow… This train of small fantasies surprised and disturbed him, (for a good number of reasons), but it also sent a rippling rush of tingles down his spine, and though he was not even fully conscious of it, Aaron began to feel just the slightest bit warmer…

~o~

(more to come! <3)

Edited by meepsy
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Hey friends, I'm back with Part Three! Thank you for your comments and support -- it really means the world to me smile.png (Some swears in this chapter, fyi)

~o~

Part Three

“Huhh… huhh… hahh…” Aaron struggled with a stubborn sneeze as he flicked on the light switches of the coffee shop, thankful to be some place warm at last. He had managed (after donning a comforter, an electric blanket and several layers of clothing) to get a few hours of sleep, only to wake up with a sore throat to match his running (and now completely congested) nose, as well as a breathy and irritatingly shallow cough. There was really no denying it anymore – Aaron was definitely in the throes of what was hopefully only a mild winter cold. Still, he would deny it. Maybe not to himself, but definitely to anyone who had the audacity to ask.

“hhh… hhhuhh… hhhg-TTTSHUugh! Hahh…GXTCHUugh! ..mnngh” He wished his sneezes weren’t so debilitating – he didn’t know how long he would last if they kept up this way. He made a note to himself to get some Dayquil after his shift, but then he remembered that his rent check was still in cashing limbo, and he really didn’t have the means for any extraneous purchases, not until payday at least. He coughed into his first, and switched on the coffee grinder, hoping the morning would show him some mercy and be slow…

About an hour later, as the first hints of the sunrise began to peek out, and Aaron prepared to open up shop, his phone buzzed in his pocket. He flipped the device open and read the waiting message, a cold feeling of dread taking hold of him:

From: 555-6698

hey aaron its sam. i woke up really sick so i just wanted to let you kno i cant make it into my shift today. sry about the late notice!

Holy fucking god. Honestly, today of all days! Aaron bit down on the insides of his cheeks, trying to swallow back his mounting rage, and unlocked the front door, already feeling the stress growing roots in his neck and back and arms. He didn’t even bother trying to text for a replacement, knowing that covering Sam’s shift at this hour was a lost cause. He was just going to have to do it all himself, or die trying. Frankly, Aaron was putting his money on the latter.

~o~

“Four soy lattdes and a… hhg’TXCHugh! … and a double cappbachindo!” Aaron called out hoarsely, trying not to look at the line as he turned around to work on the next order. If anything, the morning was busier today than usual, and with only one person on counter (a person whose current work performance ability was questionable at best), things were starting to get pretty chaotic. Aaron coughed into his shoulder, wishing desperately for the whole world to just melt away and disappear, when he heard a familiar voice beside him.

“Holy cow, it’s a nuthouse in here, huh?” He turned to see Tobias, leaning his forearms against the counter top, looking as gorgeous and infuriating as ever.

“Yeah, mby co-workger called oudt sigck,” Aaron replied, perturbed, despite everything going on around him, by how indicatively awful his voice sounded.

“Seriously?!” the grad student asked. “What about you? You look like you’re ready to drop down dead!”

“Im’b finde,” Aaron snapped, refusing to admit defeat.

“Yeah, sure you are. And I’m Captain America,” Tobias replied coolly, cocking wry eyebrow. “Hey,” he began, turning around to give the line of customers another look. “Do do want me to help you get through this rush? I can take orders and do the register, and all you’d have to do is make drinks.”

“Ndo,” Aaron objected immediately, despite how appealing the offer was. “Idt’s against the rules, and andyway, I’mb sure you have better places tdo be thand this hell hole.”

“Nope! My class doesn’t start for another hour, so I’m free as a bird,” the taller man replied, than pressed further when the barista offered only a tense sigh in reply. “Oh come on, Aar, no one’s going to mind. I’ve worked at enough food places to know how the system works, the customers will get their coffees faster, and you won’t have to go off the deep end. Everybody wins!” The brunette smiled his bewitching smile, and - whether it was because he was stressed to the point of complete breakdown, or perhaps because he was too exhausted for rational judgment- Aaron, after taking a long, steadying breath, (coughing a bit as a result), let his barricades fall, and nodded.

“Okgay, finde. Budt please dond’t scgrew anything up,” he added as Tobias threw off his jacket and wheeled himself around the counter over to the register.

“Don’t you worry, kiddo. I got this,” Tobias said, giving Aaron a small, reassuring shoulder squeeze, (sending a fresh wave of hot tingles rushing though the barista in the process), and turned to face to first customer. “Hi there, what can we get for you today?”

~o~

“hhheh-GTSHUugh! …huh-KTCHSHugh! Nngh…” Aaron sniffled into his shoulder, ignoring the ‘bless you’ Tobias called over his shoulder, as he spooned hot foam out into the waiting cup. He passed the finished latte to Tobias, who handed it to the corresponding customer, and exhaled, realizing the rush was finally over. He really couldn’t believe how smooth everything went, all things considered. Tobias handled the register like a complete pro – keeping the line controlled and the orders organized, maintaining a pace that Aaron could keep up with, and even chatting up customers as they waited for their drinks to be finished. In fact, the only person Aaron had to interact with the entire time was Tobias, so his running nose, sniffles and occasional sneezing and coughing went pretty much unnoticed. To everyone but Tobias, that was.

“Dang, that was intense!” the grad student commented. “I can’t believe you have to do that every morning.”

“Im’b justd glad idt’s over,” Aaron groaned, despite himself. “Thangks for the helpb,” he remembered to add. “I really dond’t kndow whadt I would’ve donde if you hadnd’t beend here.”

The taller man grinned. “My pleasure, dude. That girl sucks for calling out on you. If anything it’s you who should be the one taking a sick day.”

“I’mb nodt sickg,” Aaron grumbled automatically, despite feeling the tingles of a sneeze that would completely debunk him. “hhhuh… hhhuhA’GTSHUu! …hhg-TCHSHUugh! *snnfff*” he tore off another sheet of paper towels from the roll and dabbed delicately at his chapped nose, refusing to make eye contact, but feeling the grad student’s eyes upon him all the same.

“Bless you. Aaron, you are totally sick. Look, I bet you even have a fever-” He put his hand to Aaron’s forehead, and the smaller man, after recovering from the shock of it, found himself melting at the cool, comforting touch. “Yep, you’re warm,” Tobias confirmed, taking his hand back. “You should be in bed, resting.”

“Well,” the barista sniffled, hiding the red hot blush on his cheeks by wiping down the counter, “mby apbardtmbent dosnd’t even have headt ridght ndow, so Imb’t ndot sure thadt would be the besdt thing, tdo be hondest.”

The grad student’s eyebrows shot up. “Are you serious? This is crazy. Look, when does your shift end? I’m going to bring you to my apartment.”

Aaron looked back, horrified. “Whadt? Ndo! I’mb really finde, I pbrombise. I… hhhh… GTCHSHUgh!”

“I’m not taking no for an answer, Aar,” Tobias replied firmly. “When does your shift end? If you don’t tell me, I’ll just wait here until you try to escape,” Aaron closed his eyes, trying to rally himself for a fight, but it was no use – he was just too tired.

“…Onde,” he relented, finally, coughing into his fist.

“Okay, I’ll meet you here at one then,” the taller man confirmed. “You can just keep your car here, right? We can come back to pick it up later.”

“I thingk so. Jusdt nodt overnighdt,” Aaron sniffled hazily, feeling steamrolled, but at the same time comforted by Tobias’s taking of the reins. “You really dond’t have tdo do this, you kndow,” he added weakly, trying to save a little face.

“Already done, man,” Tobias replied, pulling on his coat. “I’ll see you at one. Take it easy ‘till then, okay?”

“Yeah, umb… thangks,” Aaron mumbled, and after struggling for a beat, forced himself to make eye contact with the brunette, before turning away again hastily – the warm concern in those hazel eyes was a bit too much for him to handle. He continued to wipe down the counter, flicking his eyes up anxiously every few seconds, until has was sure the grad student had left. He released a shuttering sigh; his head home to a whirlwind of confusing and conflicting emotions, as well as a dim (fever-induced, probably) lightheadedness. He looked up at the clock, dreading what would happen when the end of his shift finally came around, (but at the same time feeling that it really couldn't come soon enough…)

~o~

(Aaron is 24, and Tobias is 26, for those interested. More to come very soon!! Please let me know what you think so far! <3 <3)

Edited by meepsy
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omg omg omg!! This is gonna turn into m/m fic. I can feel it! and I can't wait!!

Quite honestly, I'm like Aaron and being around people like Tobias make me really uncomfortable, so IDK what I would do in Aaron's situation.

Great writing! I am so envious of your talent, sure I've been told I can write, but you my fellow author, are far superior!

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