“I’ve got his,” she said to the girl at the register, and placed the drinks on the counter. “He’s a regular. It’s three bucks, and he never takes his change. Sixteen ounce chai and an ice water, not too much ice?”
“Well obviously, but is the chai hot or cold—that’s the real question” the two-dollar tipper replied, with a cocked eyebrow and a crooked grin that revealed a couple of even more crooked teeth.
Sara faked deep thought and responded, “Well, it’s Thursday, which would indicate cold, but it’s misting outside, so I’d say hot, although it is the ninth, isn’t it? And you seem to have some absurd fascination with the number nine, and you got a cold one yesterday, so…”
“So which did you give me today?”
“Look at the cup. Definitely hot, with a bit of extra foam, but not so much that there’s only a shot of chai underneath a cup full of bubbles. Don’t you hate it when they do that?”
“Hot? You gave me a hot chai? And I was so hoping for cold. I’ve been looking forward to a cold chai all morning, and you made it hot?” He sighed with mock despair, and continued, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to reclaim my two-dollar tip from the very lovely—although rather confused—girl who’s still trying to figure out which button to push. New, are you, Gorgeous? About a week?”
Sara interrupted the half-formulated answer, “Oh, ignore him Hannah, he flirts with everyone. But I don’t think he’s ever really forgiven me for going and getting married to someone else, have you?”
“Forgiven you? When you give me a hot chai even though I wanted it cold? When you find fault with my brown mare and won’t buy my high flier?”
“And what’s that from?”
With a deeply injured air he responded, “Sense and Sensibility, the Emma Thompson one. Although that would make you Colonel Brandon. You might look good in a giant, floppy hat. Do you by any chance play piano?”
“Wait—isn’t Willoughby the one that says that?”
“You do know it—I’m impressed." He grinned. "You know I’ll never forgive you now, don't you? Isn’t your husband tall? So terrible: already a shortage of short girls for me to choose from, and then you go and marry some six foot two behemoth. It’s not natural; you obviously were intended to marry someone who was right around five six or seven. God will judge you for your rebellion. Unless Hannah there is wearing three inch heels.” Peering over the counter, “No chance of that is there, Freckles?”
The white skin of her face blending into her rusted hair, Hannah assured him that her shoes had no heels at all.
He sadly sighed. “And a red-head, too. Tragic.”
“Oh, go sit down and read your book. I’ll take my break in twenty minutes.”