This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender Read Online (FREE)
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RIDING A BIKE IN THE RAIN WITH A BROKEN ARM IS NEVER A good idea, but I’m the kind of guy who likes to make life more difficult, so that’s exactly what I do. The rain makes the rubbery brown handles slippery, and it’s hard to hold on one-handed, so I end up slowly weaving down the road, wheels jerking back and forth, stopping whenever a car splashes by.
The coffee shop on the corner is one of the many anti-Starbucks bistro spots that’ve cropped up around Seattle. The inside is a standard hipster café: random Victorian objects hanging on wood-paneled walls, vegan/gluten-free cookies on display, Polaroids hung up around the blackboard menu, probably taken with the old-school camera at the register. Some guy’s inspecting the camera now, turning it over and over in his hands and staring at the lens like he wants everyone to know that he’s super into photography, which I sort of want to judge him for—but I realize judging him is kind of mean and unnecessary, so I stand next to him at the register and pretend I’m not embarrassed to be a sixteen-year-old guy ordering a hot cocoa.
The barista is a cute girl with pale skin and short black hair. She keeps glancing at me and looking away with red cheeks. I should do something. Ask her out. Tell her she looks nice. Wait, is that catcalling? Even if it’s inside a hipster café and not out on the street? Fucking shit. I’m a catcalling bastard. She probably doesn’t even want to talk to me. Just wants to make a goddamn hot cocoa, and here I come, strolling in and thinking I’m the shit just because a girl smiles at me . . .
“Nate?” she calls, thumping the hot cocoa on the counter.
I stumble up to the counter, mutter a thanks as I reach for the container, but I’m still not used to my arm being in a cast, so I knock the hot chocolate over. It falls, rolls across the counter, and tumbles to the ground. Delicious cocoa and still-melting marshmallows burst on the floor. Everyone turns to look at me. Conversations stop. The cute barista raises an eyebrow. Please kill me now.
The barista—her name tag says Kim—gives me a pity smile. “I’ll make you another one?” she says with a shrug.
I force a laugh, but it sounds more like a cough. “Uh. That’s really nice. Thanks.”
Conversations start up again, people glancing over. I try to act cool, bend over with a handful of those thin, square napkins to clean up the mess, but the napkins get soggy and start to fall apart instantly. Someone else bends over with more of them bunched up in his hand. It’s the guy who was fiddling with the camera, which makes me feel like an asshole for judging him, when he’s clearly a nice person. He’s got brown hair tumbling into his face, brown eyes that shine with the kindness of a thousand nuns, the kind of dimples that’d make even a coldhearted soul want to pinch his cheeks. I would know, because that’s kind of what I want to do. He smiles at me as he sops up the mess.