Her day started at 6.05am. As usual.
The sound of "Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major)" would wake the brunette up from her 8 hour slumber, and her hand would reach out to stop the alarm at roughly the same part of the classical piece as she did every morning.
By 6.10 she would already be in the bathroom brushing her teeth.
It was followed with a quick shower with her antibacterial soup and by 6.30am, Madeline would already be dressed in her ironed skirt and blouse; her brunette tresses tied up in a neat bun. The next fifteen minutes would go by with her eating a bowl of cereal and flipping through the morning paper (she would start with the latest news then move on to the business section then last but not least her horoscope).
By 6.45am, the 24 year old would be out of the house.
Her ten minute walk (it would've taken 5 minutes if it wasn't for her ridiculously high heels) brought her to the station where she would take the 7am train on Platform 2. After two stops she would reach the station situated near her office block. But since she only entered the office a 7.40am sharp (work started at 8am but she preferred to be early), Madeline would stop by the nearby cafe to get her usual cup of "Cinnamon Dolce Soy Latte with no whip cream and two shots of expresso" which her usual barista, Margaret would make.
Only this morning, there was a slight change in her routine. Because the moment she entered the cafe, the brunette wasn't greeted by the sight of the warm blonde barista who was usually behind the counter. No. Instead it was a young man who had the most annoying grin on his face.
"Welcome to Starbucks. What can I get for you, miss?" Those words were uttered with the same annoying grin. His voice surprised her however. Madeline had expected it to be high-pitched or annoying, but his voice turned out...well...normal. But now wasn't the time to wonder where her usual barista was, or whether the new one had a normal voice or not. The sight of him had made her lose track of her schedule for a minute; a minute that she had wasted and could've used to do something productive.
"I want a grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte with soy milk with no whip cream and two shots of expresso. And sprinkle some cinnamon on top."
The new barista ("Marcus" was his name apparently judging by his name tag) looked at Madeline with raised brows. He had heard about crabby people early in the morning but he thought that only old people, and not pretty women around his age, fell in that category.
Meanwhile mercury blue eyes flickered up to the staring barista as she took out her wallet from her handbag. To see the boy not preparing her coffee right away thus wasting more of her precious time made creases appear between her now knitted brows, and the next words came out of her mouth in a rude tone.
"Well, aren't you going to make my coffee?"
At that very moment, Marcus's eyebrows raised even higher that it could've disappeared behind his tousled brown locks. So if this how she was going to be, then he had to give her a taste of her own medicine. After all, she was treating him like he murdered her cat or something. Such rudeness will not be tolerated.
Marcus grabbed the grande paper cup and the black sharpie, singlehandedly removing the cap and he gave her the easygoing grin he had before "And what name shall I write on this cup, miss?"
"Madeline." She replied without a please or a thank you, or even a smile of gratitude. The exact change was placed on the counter and she tapped her foot impatiently whilst waiting for her coffee, and when she didn't get it for the next few minutes, the foot tapping increased in volume and frequency. What was the stupid boy doing? How difficult was it to make a cup of coffee? This was why Madeline preferred routines. Routines meant things were kept constant and had things been constant, Margaret would still be here and her cup of coffee would be in her hand right now.
Meanwhile Marcus was taking his own sweet time when it came to preparing her coffee. If she was going to be unfriendly then so be it. The barista even had the audacity to add fuel to the flame by whistling a tune that he figured would annoy her. Judging from the incessant foot tapping, it did.
When the coffee was ready, he handed it to the impatient woman with the same annoying grin on his face. He couldn't help it really. It was just so satisfying to see the look on disdain on her face. Perhaps this moment would teach her to be kinder to baristas.
If this was some sort of cartoon, a black cloud would probably be hovering above her head as she walked out of the cafe furiously. Her expectations for the coffee he made for her had decreased tremendously due to her negative thoughts about him so when she took a sip and realized that it tasted the way she wanted it to taste like, Madeline could feel her anger fading-
Wait what was that?! Was that-? Oh no he didn't! Mandarin? That was the name he wrote on her cup? Mandarin? That sneaky little shit. Her head quickly turned to look at the barista through the window and she was met with that same annoying grin. Clearly he did this on purpose. However, it was too late to yell at him. She had to get to work so there was only one thing that she could do.
She scowled back at him.
That morning, Madeline entered the office at 7.50am.
Oh how her mood rivaled satan's for the rest of the day.
This went on and on. She would enter the cafe and impolitely order her coffee. He would smile at her in that same irritating manner and misspell her name. And she could never yell at him for fear that wouldn't get to the office on the end he would simply grin at her in that same annoying manner and she would return it with her usual scowl.
In a span of one month, the names written on her cup would range from Maderine to Mureline. There were even more than a few occasions when Marcus would write a name that was far from close to hers. Heck she once brought back a cup with the name "Harry Potter" on it. That little it wasn't limited to him writing down the wrong name on purpose although that was how it was at first. It gradually shifted to snarky one-liners that then morphed into mildly serious arguments.
In a span of one month, Madeline had learned a few facts about Marcus such as the fact that he was a huge comic book fan or that he had taken a break from studying much to his parents dismay. Or that he thought she had terrible taste in coffee and should try the white chocolate mocha (his favourite). And in return, he learned a few things about her as well such as the fact that her family had high expectations of her (or at least that was what he had thought from an offhand comment that she once made about her family life) or that she was a fan of Coldplay.
In a span of one month, he went from being a change in her routine to being a part of it.
So when she entered the cafe after a month had passed since he had entered her life and was welcomed by the sight of a blonde female barista by the name of Margaret, Madeline stopped in her tracks. Dozens of questions filled her mind; questions that were verbally voiced out without a moment of hesitation.
Apparently Marcus was now working at another branch that was a few train stops stop away from where her office was.
Well this was good. Didn't she mentally complain in the beginning just how much she missed having Margaret as her barista because Marcus was annoying?
At least this time she didn't have to worry about entering her office late.
At least this time she didn't have to feel like her blood pressure was rising whenever he had said something annoying.
At least this time she could get a cup of coffee with her name spelled right.
Madeline should be happy right?
So why did she feel like her heart was breaking into a million pieces?
The dark haired boy hummed a soft tune under his breath although he didn't feel like singing at all. It wasn't like working at the new branch was terrible. Last month he would've been singing with joy for having polite customers in the morning instead of a certain prissy petite brunette. But now? Not so much.
After handing a cup of Caramel Macchiato to a large customer, he was surprised to see a familiar figure that had been previously hidden until the large customer had moved aside. He almost didn't recognize her with her cheeks that were flushed from running and the flyaway strands from her bun. But he would never ever forget that beautiful face and the fierce look in her eyes.
Confusion washed over him. It was- he took a quick glance at his watch- 7.55am. She would usually be in her office by now so why she was here he did not know. Should he apologize for not telling her that he got transferred? Would it even matter anyway? Marcus opened his mouth only to be interrupted by her next words.
"I want a grande White Chocolate Mocha. And don't bother writing any name or anything. I'm in a rush."
He would've cracked a smile had he not been a tiny bit insulted. For a moment he had thought that she was there to speak to him or that she had missed him. Perhaps she was only here because she had a meeting somewhere around the area. But that didn't explain why she ordered his favourite drink instead of hers and that thought replaced the hurt with even more confusion.
Damn it. He had no time to think about it too much. Women were so confusing. Plus there were a couple of customers waiting behind her and he didn't want to keep them waiting lest they were worse than Madeline when he had first met her so the barista prepared her drink without another word.
When he handed the cup to her, Madeline snatched the sharpie on the counter and started to write something on it. Once she recapped it, the drink was left on the counter along with the sharpie.
This...well this...baffled him of course. She came all the way here to buy a drink only to leave it without taking even one tiny sip? Marcus knew that she could be a little mad at times but right now she was acting completely bonkers.
"Miss, your dri-"
"It's not for me," Was the reply the barista received without getting even a glance from her. The wrinkles on his forehead from frowning with confusion became even more visible and he picked up the cup of coffee. Out of curiosity, he turned it to see what exactly she wrote on it earlier.
As much as she wanted to look back at him after leaving the coffee there, she had managed to gather enough willpower to not do so until she exited the cafe. Her body turned to look at Marcus from outside the window and she was met with his usual grin. A grin that was still annoying but had somehow managed to grow on her.
And in return, Madeline grinned back at him.