Codi placed her order for a white mocha frappuccinno, even opting to have the whipped cream for a change, despite the extra calories.
She found a table and sat back to watch the small crowd of customers. Her boss had closed the law office a couple hours early today to allow the carpet people access to the building. It felt nice to be able to come inside and relax with her order, rather than using the drive-through, like she usually did on her way home from work.
At the next table, a man with curly dark hair and lively blue eyes also studied the room’s occupants. A cute little smile tilted the corners of his mouth upward, and Codi decided he qualified as eye candy. Rich, sinful, creamy caramel.
She felt a blush warm her cheeks when he turned his head and caught her ogling him, but made herself smile back when his grin widened.
“Sorry,” she offered. “I didn’t mean to stare. I’m a diehard people watcher.”
“Really? Me too.” He stood and moved to her table. “Mind if I join you?”
“I—I guess not.” She did…a little. Serial killers probably came in caramel flavor, too.
“I’m not.” He chuckled, watching her.
Had he read her mind? “Not what?”
“Not a stalker…rapist…whatever brand of monster you were dreaming up.”
“How on earth—?” She gulped. “Serial killer.”
He laughed. “You had that ‘I’m-not-sure-this-is-a-good-idea’ kind of look. Plus, it’s what I’d be thinking if I were you.”
“Oh.” She narrowed her eyes. “And I’m supposed to believe you’re okay just because you say so?”
“Sure.” He twisted both of his pointer fingers in his cheeks and grinned. “Seriously. Does this look like the face of a killer?”
“Codi!” Her name rang out over the buzz of various conversations.
She jumped up and bumped into the caramel candy dude, who headed for the counter at the same time. “Excuse me.” Codi backed up, embarrassed, and watched him pick up her white frap. “Um, I think that’s mine.”
He raised the cup and read the checked-off information. “A white frappuccinno with whipped cream?”
“Me too.” He pointed to the dark letters scrawled across the cup in black marker. C-o-d-y. “And my name is Cody.”
Codi giggled. “You’re kidding.”
He hesitated, then shook his head. “Don’t tell me. C-o-d-i?”
“Good guess, Sherlock.” She grinned. “Now what?”
He grabbed two straws and stuck them both into the tall drink. “Well, there’s only one white frap, and two of us. I’m usually pretty possessive with my coffee, mind you, but under the circumstances, I’m willing to share, if you are.”
She laughed. “You’re on.”
They sat back down, and Cody grinned as he pushed the frothy drink to the center of the table. “Reminds me of those old soda shops, where teen sweethearts shared their sodas from the same cup.”
She dropped her gaze, suddenly shy, and sipped from her straw. “Mmmm, that hits the spot.”
“I agree. Maybe it tastes better when it’s shared. You suppose?”
She raised a brow.
“You said you were people watching. So what did you see when you looked at me?”
She chuckled. “Not a chance.”
“Oh, come on. I’ve always wondered if people think the same things about me that I do about them. Be a sport.”
Codi shook her head. “Ain’t happenin’.”
“And after I shared my white frap with you!”
“Who says I’m not sharing my white frap with you, Mr. Cody Somebody-or-other?”
“Because I ordered first.”
“Codi!” The barista’s voice rang out again.
“And because that’s yours now. Gonna share it with me?” He grinned, and Codi’s heart did a ridiculous somersault. She jumped up to claim her coffee and returned to the table, where she snatched her straw out of his half-empty cup.
“Do you come here often?” She stirred the whipped cream into her drink.
“Two or three times a week.”
“Me too. Usually I just shoot through the drive-through on my way home, but I got off a little early today.”
“Lucky you. I’m just headed in to work. My partner and I are installing new carpet at a suite of law offices around the corner.” He pulled a business card from his pocket and slid it across the table and under her fingers, brushing them with his own as he pulled away.
Codi choked on her drink, feeling a bit like she’d stepped into an alternate dimension. Maybe her mother was right and there was no such thing as coincidence.
“Gonna live?” he asked.
“I think so.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and leaned back in her chair. “So. Are you a chocolate person, Cody? Or do you prefer caramel?”
by Delia Latham