The Coffee Pact☕By☕Rachksnaps
The only thing high schoolers Jake Carpenter and Mia Hope have in common is a mutual love for the coffee served at The Coffee Pod. But when Jake – Artwood High’s most popular quarterback – learns he’s failing English, he knows he needs to pull his grades up or risk being kicked off the team.
He strikes a deal with the elusive Mia – the quiet girl with secrets. If she can’t go without a single cup of coffee, she has to tutor him for free. If she can he’ll pay her triple, and with Christmas around the corner, there’s nothing Mia needs more than money.
But as the pair grow closer, Jake learns the real reason for Mia’s bad habit, and what starts as an innocent bet between enemies grows into something more serious. Can the pair survive the next two months with their hearts- and secrets-still intact?
The Coffee Pact☕By☕Rachksnaps🥂 Is brought to you by 009 Corporation.
1| I like my men how I like my coffee: hot and bitter
L egend has it that 9th-century goat herders were the first to notice the effects of caffeine. When a goat began to “dance” after eating the Coffea plant, a local monk made a drink from the fruit and found it kept him awake; thus was born the first caffeinated beverage and my only bad habit: coffee.
My poison of choice is an espresso, black. I take a sip and then cradle my cup, sparking some life into my hands. It’s early October, the ground outside the coffee house layered in snow–my least favorite kind of weather.
I stifle a yawn with my hand. The Coffee Pod is the only coffee house in Artwood to stay open past midnight, making it the perfect sanctuary for insomniacs like myself. Aside from me, there are three other customers here at this time. I can’t help but wonder what brings them here so late, whether they’re just desperate for coffee, or if something is keeping them awake.
In the corner armchair is a tall, skinny man in his early twenties, half-hidden by his laptop. Two empty coffee cups sit neatly beside him, and a third is on the way. I lean forward in my armchair, watching him type. Maybe he’s a secret agent, working hard to decode programs for some top government mission, or maybe he just needs to use The Coffee Pod’s free WiFi.
A woman is sprawled across the old leather couch, her nose stuck in a hardback as she clutches a cappuccino. From the way she is dressed, she looks like a businesswoman or maybe an accountant, someone who could probably afford their own upscale coffee machine.
That isn’t what this place is about, though. No home coffee machine can satisfy these people, because it’s not about the coffee at all: it’s the atmosphere, being surrounded by people while still being alone. See, that monk didn’t just create a drink when he discovered coffee; he created a community.
I wish I could say that’s what brings me here, but it’s not. I don’t come for the WiFi or to feel a little less alone; I’m here because I hate falling asleep. The roaring fireplace, the countless shots of espresso–they help to stave off the darkness for that little bit longer.
Before I can examine the third customer, the door swings open. A blast of cold air follows the figure inside, and I rub at my arms to keep them warm. By the time I look up, he’s over by the counter. I watch him while he orders a coffee, certain he’s a newbie. He’s tall, with dark hair and broad shoulders. He’s got his back turned so I can’t see his face, but from the way the waitress, Amelia, is staring, I know he’s good looking.
I turn to study the final customer, an old man with glasses, thinning white hair, and red-rimmed eyes. He looks at least sixty, and he possesses the kind of withered blue eyes you see in old movies–the kind that has seen too much and done too little. Maybe a war veteran, or one of those old guys who make bad choices, and then spend the rest of their years regretting them.
He looks up, and for a second I think he has noticed me. His eyes soften. He isn’t looking at me at all, he’s looking past me, at the moon.
I focus on my coffee again. I wonder what people would think about me if they were to ever notice me: Mia Hope, seventeen-year-old girl, dark hair, darker eyes, and a sketchbook glued to her hand. No interesting story, no defining characteristics–just a girl who blends into the background.
The guy at the counter turns with his coffee, and our eyes connect. I let out a gasp, because in a sick twist of fate, Jake Carpenter, the most popular guy in our senior year, is in my coffee house.
He takes a seat in one of the armchairs. His eyes bore dangerously into the depths of his coffee cup, and his jaw is clenched tight into a sharp, narrow line. Whenever I’ve seen him walking the halls, he has always been smiling, but tonight, he’s pissed off.
“What ,” he says suddenly, without looking up, “are you staring at?”
My cheeks grow warm, and I thank my lucky stars I can’t turn red. “Nothing,” I say, clutching my mug. “Just wondering who spit in your coffee.” It is a brave thing to say to someone like Jake Carpenter–far braver than I would usually be.
He turns his attention back to his coffee as if I’d never spoken. I’d expected as much, but I still feel the sting of his brush off all the same. I look at my cup, ignoring the tight little knot in my stomach. It should come as no surprise that he doesn’t recognize me. I am quiet for the most part, and Jake is far too self-absorbed to notice anyone outside of his circle.
I finish the rest of my coffee, torn between ordering another and going home. Usually, I’ll order at least four by the time I am ready, but Jake’s presence is disrupting the equilibrium. I dither for a little while, willing myself to get up and leave, but the thought of the nightmares I’ll be having tonight keeps me frozen in place. Out of falling asleep and being near Jake, Jake is the lesser evil.
Reluctantly, I head back to the counter and order a coffee to go. When it’s ready, I bypass the sugar station and take my seat again. I figure if coffee is going to be my bad habit, I am not going to pair it with powdery white poison.
Jake’s pale eyes watch me as I take my first sip. It is clear from his expression that he’s in an awful mood, and even though it’s not like me to draw attention to myself, I find myself turning to face him.
“You don’t even recognize me, do you?” I ask.
He watches me carefully, no sign of recognition in those pretty blue eyes. “Should I?”
“We go to the same school,” I say, hating the rejection in my stomach. Jake Carpenter not knowing me should be a blessing in disguise. “You’re in my English class.”
I know I should stop talking, but it strikes me as odd that he’s hiding away in a coffee house. He isn’t the type to be spotted alone; I’m curious what’s got him so moody.
He raises an eyebrow, looking as though he might say something cutting before decisively going against it. He turns away from me without bothering to respond. Just like that, I’m invisible.
I shake my head and get to my feet, bracing myself for the cold. “And just as big of an asshole as always,” I say, slamming the door shut behind me.
Hello guys, I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
What country are you reading from?
Do wish for this story to continue 009 Corporation?
Please drop your Message.