Cool Under Pressure

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Michaela ignored Awsten's declaration, walking towards the display counter to get the two banana nut muffins. It wasn't like she used her employee discount on herself anyways. Michaela wasn't much of a coffee person. She was positive the owner wouldn't miss eight dollars anyways. She had thought about giving him free stuff in the past, she did it for regulars all the time, especially ones that tipped well. Something was just holding her back.

"She likes flowers." Geoff spat the information out the second she was out of earshot. His lips moved quickly, as if the content was burning against his tongue. "Pink. Jewelry too. She likes necklaces best. She loves dogs. Her birthday is on the fourth of April." Geoff had no clue how he knew any of this. It must've been the money Awsten put in the grave. This was how he was supposed to help him. Awsten might've been playing a game but Geoff was his cheat codes. With his help, Awsten would have everything he needed to win over Michaela. "She works every morning except Saturdays. I don't know why but I saw a memory of her's involving peach pie and her grandma."

"How the fuc-"

"I don't know. The game." Geoff hissed to Awsten before swiftly elbowing the shorter boy. Michaela walked back towards the pair with their muffins in hand. Geoff didn't know it yet but the second muffin was for him.Their drinks arrived moment earlier thanks to another barista. Suddenly Awsten felt better. Lighter. Sure, she might've been out of his league but he had a leg up on the competition. He had an answer key to every question she was going to ask. He had Geoff.

"I need to pay you." Awsten repeated. He was rather persistent about that sort of stuff. Awsten's biggest pet peeve was owing anyone anything. If he owed someone something, they were entitled to that. Maybe entitlement was the thing he had actually had an issue with. If that was the case, debts would've been a very close second. Obligations served no place in his life. Not now, not ever.

"For these? No way. They're on the house." Michaela explained quietly, extending the two small bags out to the duo. She didn't want her entire clientele to know that she was breaking the rules and especially not her boss. He was due to come in sometime in the next few minutes. Geoff was convinced a smile permanently stayed on Michaela's face while she was working. Either way, he took the two bags out out her extended hand and dipped into the one on the right, ripping off a piece of the muffin and popping it into his mouth.

"What? No!" Geoff didn't care about Awsten and his shrill voice. All he cared about was the incredible taste of the muffin that was currently in his mouth. The flavors all swirled together on his tongue; banana, cinnamon and walnut. Instinctively, Geoff reached back into the bag and tore off an even larger piece than last time and threw it into his mouth. "Absolutely not."

"You're helping out a friend of yours. The least I can do is help you out." Awsten didn't want her pity or her sympathy. He could take care of himself and Geoff just fine. Even if his fridge was empty and he had two more days until he got paid. He really didn't need any favors. "Wait a sec. We're looking for help right now. I totally spaced." He lied. He needed a favor. He needed that specific favor. "Geoff, you should apply." A loud cough came from behind the pair again. Geoff either didn't notice or didn't care.

"Really?" He replied as best as he could with his mouth full of muffin. Seriously, what did they put in this stuff? Geoff peeled the paper wrapper off of the muffin and threw the remainder of it in his mouth. Michaela giggled at the sight. He couldn't explain it to her. If he told her this was the best, no wait, only, thing he had eaten in years, he wasn't quite sure she would believe him. He was better off to just let her think he was really, really hungry.

"Yeah. Drop a resume off. I'll set something up with my manager." Michaela wondered if Geoff was always this hungry. If she knew this is how he was, she would've thrown in a vanilla scone or something in with the muffins. Geoff thrusted the other muffin bag towards Awsten who shook his head. Geoff shrugged and started to get to work on the other muffin. Awsten had his coffee and that's all he needed in the morning. He was still trying to figure out how to stretch the last of his money over the next couple days. Even when he was supposed to get paid, he had to set aside money for rent, grab food and Geoff needed some of his own clothes. This month was going to be rough.

Game Over. Continue? // gawstenRead this story for FREE!