Excerpt from Smooth Like Latte
Love sees through all differences and no matter what the situation it can strike the heart of any soul at any given time.
Simple delicacies like donuts and coffee can bring two people together no matter what their differences and when love comes into play, it can make for a very satisfying experience.
In these two stories, Cupid shoots his arrows at four men, drawing them to one another through chance encounters that instantly grow into something more.
Smooth Like Latte
Brendan Walsh likes money and because of this, he is willing to deal with his irrational, homophobic dad who has threatened to disown him if he comes out gay to the world. This puts Brendan on edge and alert at all times, leaving little to no time for him to build a steady relationship with anyone.
Davori “Latte” Jenkins is a happy go lucky barista working in the Walsh building. Born and raised in North Carolina, Latte possesses extremely good looks and charms the pants off anyone in his path using his Southern boy attitude.
When Brendan visits the shop Latte works in, they’re immediately drawn to one another. Latte makes him a caramel latte with something extra and because Brendan isn’t out of the closet, they keep their thoughts and flirtations silent. Once they start dating, Brendan gets the courage to come out publicly and the relationship goes into overdrive. Still, Latte desires something more to define their relationship.
With the cold wind whipping around him at high speeds, Brendan headed into the Walsh Towers on North Michigan Avenue. Instead of fighting the traffic from his condo on Lake Shore Drive, he decided to take a taxi cab and let the driver do the dirty work.
If the temperatures hadn’t dipped below zero, he would’ve walked to the building.
On the way up, he noticed people braving the temps and jogging along the shores. He couldn’t understand how anyone would willingly walk anywhere in Chicago during the harsh winters.
“Good morning, Mr. Walsh.” A security guard greeted him, opening the door.
Brendan nodded politely and walked in. “Good morning—Angelo is it?”
“Yes, sir.” He smiled wide and gave him a mock salute.
Brendan walked past and continued on his way to the elevator. Though he wasn’t in the best of moods, he tried his best to give off a positive vibe to everyone who worked in this building, unlike his father who scowled at everyone. Brendan didn’t want to be perceived as an ogre, so he made sure to keep a pleasant disposition in front of all his employees.
“Good morning, sir.”
More people saluted him on the way over, and he bowed his head, speaking back to each one.
“I could use some coffee.” He removed his gloves and eyed his wristwatch.
Brendan was due to meet with his father in the office for the eight a.m. morning conference call with the other three offices, but he needed something warm to drink before he headed up to the Walsh Towers for the boring meeting. Unfortunately, with the weather as bad as it was, Brendan wouldn’t be walking out the building to his favorite java joint across the street.
Sighing, he turned on his heel and eyed the escalator leading to Vicella Court. Named after his late mother, the lower level’s colorful surroundings contrasted the gray marble walls and white floors that made up the main lobby. He boarded the escalator, smiling at the colorful mural dedicated to jazz and rhythm and blues musicians. Instead of the drabby white under his feet, the floors were a rich hardwood, leading to the center where tables with chairs, and counters along with black and blue couches filled the space.
Though Vicella passed away from breast cancer when he was ten, Brendan knew her to be a very, vibrant woman. She had loved live music, and her wardrobe could have rivaled any starlet in Hollywood with the bursting colors and plunging necklines.
Knowing his mom, Brendan still found it unbelievable that she and Alexander loved each other as much as they did. His father was nothing like her, and yet, they stayed married until she lost her battle with the disease almost seventeen years ago.
When Brendan made it to the bottom, he headed to the left side, eyeing Cathy’s Coffee Corner by the bookstore. He knew the owners, Cathy, and her father, Bill who’d bought the smallest spot in the corner after he’d become president. The place was always pretty busy, but Brendan hadn’t recalled a long line like the one he saw now.
What’s going on?
Free donuts? Coffee?
Brendan repositioned his shoulder case and headed over to the shop to join the other customers. Though over six feet, he couldn’t tell what all the fuss was about. No signs, no extra fanfare. Still, people didn’t seem to mind waiting for a cup of Cathy’s coffee. Brendan decided to use his position to get ahead of everyone else.
“Excuse me.” Brendan walked around a group of people, who greeted him as he walked by. Doctors, lawyers, and other top businessmen who owned space in the Walsh Building called him by name, telling him good morning.
“Yes, good morning…” Brendan continued to go down the line until he arrived at the front near the glass. He eyed Cathy, one of her workers named Derrick, and another man he hadn’t seen before.
Who is he?
Brendan drew up his lips and focused on the young, handsome light-skinned man with what looked to be green eyes and a slender body. He watched the man make coffees at top rate speed without losing his concentration or stopping for so much of a breath. Brendan couldn’t help being impressed with his work, but his appearance drew him in a lot more.
Curious, Brendan tapped one of the ladies in line. “Um, excuse me, are you all waiting for just coffee?”
“Yes, we are, Mr. Walsh. Latte makes awesome coffee and he’s a pretty nice guy,” she answered.
“Cute, too.” Another blurted out to a chorus of female squeals.
His name is Latte?
“Thanks.” Brendan shook his head and walked toward the exit, hoping Cathy would take pity and give him a caramel latte macchiato. Besides that, he hoped to get a closer look at everyone’s new favorite barista.