This week’s challenge? Pick one of the seven deadly sins. 1000 words.
The challenge I have for you? Tell me which one I picked.
Here we go:
* * *
Sitting in the cafe. Answering emails, trolling Facebook, playing on my phone and laptop all at once while a slough of local organic free range vegan bagel crumbs begin to pile up around me. I can feel the nagging in the back of my mind, the slow smolder that waits because that’s all it can do. Somewhere underneath the banked coals that keep me from pulling a gun in the middle of Midtown lies an ember, sleeping. I drink hazelnut coffee with extra cream and sugar, and it leaves a sort of awful tang on the back of my tongue that I can’t swallow away.
I’m not really here for the coffee anyway.
The girl is behind the counter, taking orders, making drinks, ringing up customers; she’s a onestopshop of satisfaction — no delegation here, until the line gets big, and then she calls for backup.
Her hair’s a dull ash blonde that she dyed red at some point, and then forgot about. Pulled back in a low, messy bun, it’s mostly hidden by the bandana, which is then mostly hidden by a ballcap. No nets for the hippie place; if you get hair in your food, just pick it out like you’d do in your own damn house. Her name is Staci, with not just an I, but a ‘heart over it. This is the ‘heart over the I’ kind of Staci.
I watch her, and her smile, and something low clenches in my gut, something I can’t name.
Unless it’s from all the damn coffee.
I don’t even really like coffee.
When the black-haired hipster gets to the front of the line, her face lights up — she nearly glows.
The guy is blushing, pink from his collar to the tips of his ears, and I can see now that he’s the reason I’m going to fall off the wagon; the way he’s watching her is the breath of oxygen that little ember in me needed. It flares, grows to a raging beast that wears me like a suit. It puts me on and looks out through my eyes and scents the air.
Nobody here realizes they’re prey.
He gives his order shyly, pays and steps off to the side, waiting for his drink to be made, watching the girl with his blue eyes, looking down at his hands as if in thought.
When she calls his name, I’m already up and moving — reaching for a napkin. My hand brushes his, as he takes the cup from her, his lips parting as though he’s about to ask her a question (and he is, I can tell, he is — he wants to ask her for her number, for a good time, for something, anything, he wants it so bad I can taste it). The look on his face shifts from one of interest to one of blank indifference; he takes the cup and he’s gone in a moment, leaving her standing there.
She waits there, for a heartbeat, for two, three, four. Slow motion, her eyes blinking big lashes, and I can see the bright excitement there snuffed out, dulling as she semi-deflates, as her shoulders slump.
I’m still holding the napkin, but I’m crushing it in my fingers as the heat of it floods through me — the stolen desire flooding me, and I can see, for a moment, what it was the black-haired boy saw in the girl. She is radiant. She is glorious. She is everything I’ve ever wanted. I can feel my heart beat so violently, my eyes water. I can feel my cock stiffen so quickly, I grip the counter in a moment of staggering bliss.
It’s always like this — thinking I can just get by without it, get along without it, and then I see it. There it is, right in front of me, so thick I can taste it, so pure and perfect I can’t imagine anything else but the rush of it.
They’ve all got it, and the only way I’ll ever get it is if I steal it.
Doesn’t bother me, though — I might look like I’m in pain, but in reality, I’m high as a motherfucking kite.
“Are you all right?” Her voice is uncertain, but it sounds like music. It sounds like an angelic choir — a Heavenly Host singing ‘Alleluia’ just for me.
I feel her hand touch my shoulder (Staci-with-a-heart-over-the-I is soft as cotton candy and smells just as sweet) and I reach up and put my hand on hers, and before either of us quite register what is happening, my mouth is on hers, and I am kissing her with all the desire that poor coffee-shop patron has ever known. He probably would’ve just asked for her phone number, and maybe saved the kissing for a second or third date, but I am not prone to self control or waiting, lately.
Instead, I kiss Staci-with-an-I as she has never been kissed, bowing her low with my arms cradling her carefully, feeling her eyelashes flutter against my cheek in a perfect swoon. I run my tongue over her teeth, panting against her lips and crushing her against my body.
She tastes like coffee.
I don’t mind at all.
It goes on like that (and on and on and on) until applause breaks out. It was going to be that, or some other customer grabbing me by my face and hauling me out of the shop.
I release her, beyond startled, and step back, panting, looking around — we’ve drawn a fair deal of stares, and she is blushing hotly, staring at me, lifting a hand to touch her lips in shock.
“Sorry–” I begin, the rush subsiding. “I’m sorry,” I repeat, stepping back, staring at the girl in wonderment. “I’m so sorry–” I say; third time’s a charm. I turn, knock over a chair, and bolt out the door, do left, and make a mad dash for it.
Looks like I’ll need to pick a new place to get free WiFi.