Continuing from yesterday. This is from the end of Chapter Two.
Cookies are dangerous, y’all.
Prompt: Training Diets Suck.
The bell over the door tinkled as they walked and a barista looked up from where he was wiping down a counter. “Hey Harper. Heard about the new book. Congrats. Can’t wait to read it.” The man registered the sizable man beside them. “You made a new friend.”
“Danny,” Harper introduced him, “this Pietr. Pietr, Danny.”
“Wow, you even said it right,” Pietr was impressed. “Most Americans just say Peter like it is the same thing. So annoying.”
“Oh god, of course it’s not.” Even Danny sounded appalled. “What can I get you two?”
“Venti French Vanilla cappuccino with a hazelnut shot.”
“Your usual cold weather fallback then,” Danny scribbled Harper on the right sized cup. “And for you?” He looked up at Pietr.
“I always forget the sizes. Whatever a small is, black Americano is fine.”
“It’s late. Either of you want decaf?”
“Caffeine hasn’t had an effect on me in years, Danny,” Harper reminded him.
“Same,” Pietr intoned, which made Danny chuckle. Harper realized they had still been holding hands as soon he let go to pull out his wallet. He bumped them gently out of the way to hand the cash over to Danny.
Danny slid Pietr’s cup down to his co-worker and started working on Harper’s drink. There was a hum throughout the café. It wasn’t empty, plus the three baristas on duty.
“Are you hungry?” Pietr asked. “They have cookies.”
“No, but you can get one.”
He frowned. “No, I can’t. Stupid training diet.” He sighed heavily. “I can usually eat what I want in August…as long as I keep up a work-out routine. It is fucking horrible.” His expression softened. “I mean, I still cheat, but…I have game this week, so I better not.”
“It’s just a cookie,” Harper shrugged.
“It starts as just cookie, then turns into three or five cookies, an ice cream cup cake, and a big bag of Skittles. Fucking love those little candies.”
Harper couldn’t help it, their laugh sounding out again as Pietr’s expression softened, thinking about the rainbow candies.
“Here you go,” Danny set their cups in front of them. “You headed home, or you going to grab a table for a bit?”
“Uh,” Harper looked up at Pietr. “I don’t know…Um, do you want to walk me home while we drink our coffees? I’m just a few blocks over.”
“You trust me to walk you home?”
“Well, Danny knows you’re with me. I’m one hundred percent sure that Kip and Kyle saw us leave together, so… If you do something untoward to me, at least three people know who suspect.”
“Good. You’re cautious. I like this.” Pietr hummed, pleased. “Yes. I will walk you home for your safety.”
“Text me when you get home,” Danny called.
“I will,” they called over their shoulder and the pair stepped back out into the cold.
They sipped their drinks as they walked down the sidewalk together.
“So, Skittles, huh?”
“I like the Originals,” he said. “The tropical ones taste funny. You?”
“Starbursts are my weakness. I love the strawberry. I hate the cherry.”
“Da. Cherry is gross. Tastes like plastic.”
“Exactly!” Harper exclaimed. “Finally, someone who gets it.”
The pair continued their walk, chatting about candy, then food, until Harper pulled up short in front of a sort of run-down looking apartment building.
“This is me,” they motioned toward the building.
“Oh.” He looked up. “Is it nice place?”
“It’s…cheap,” she said. “But it’s not a complete shithole.”
“Can I come in and finish my coffee?”
Harper thought about it for a moment before nodding. “Yeah. Okay.”
Pietr followed them up the stoop. They unlocked the front foyer door, then led him up another flight of steps where three apartment doors lined the hall. They unlocked the middle one with another key and stepped inside.