Morning coffee, let’s be real. Morning coffee shaped the world these days, Jacob’s morning was absolutely no different. If anything, he was the exact example of what ‘running on caffeine’ meant. Every day, Jacob returned to the same place every morning, ordered the same coffee and muffin. With that came familiar faces. It wasn’t just Jacob in the small shop, there were tired moms, busy college students, groups of receptionists, and more.
However, an unfamiliar face in the crowd created some disturbance in Jacob as he waited for his regular order to be made, his eyes nonchalantly observed his surroundings. A quick glance to his eyes caused him to stare more than usual. Was this man really falling asleep in this cafe? An eyebrow raise, Jacob couldn’t help but scoff at the sight. What was this man thinking? As his order came up, the guy took it from the counter and sighed.
He couldn’t drink this coffee, not while another man was embarrassing himself by passing out in a public place. After thanking the barista (then requesting another order he’d gladly pay for again) and tipping, Jacob headed over to the sleepy man. With another sigh, Jacob roughly placed the coffee cup onto the table, then the muffin. “Looks like you need this more than me,” Jacob announced, sighing through his nose once again.
"Hm?" His breath came, first, sharp and sudden as he snapped back into it. Out of it. Whichever. Keith blinked. He could feel the hair stuck up on the side, where his palm had slid through; quickly, the mistake dawning on him, he smoothed it down. Fucking Christ. Really? In front of everyone?
He must have looked awful. He must have looked homeless, he thought, before remembering his careful button-up and the way his watch fit his wrist. The guy across from him certainly wasn’t sparing any scrutiny, he could see that just fine—Keith reached possessively for his own coffee as if to say no, see, I have, but there was no warmth through the styrofoam anymore. And there was the fresh cup with steam coming up like a smoke signal through the lid.
"Long night," he muttered. Poor excuse. But his fingers folded around the new coffee, anyway, and that first swallow was hot on his tongue. He tried to soothe it against the roof of his mouth. "How much?" Keith didn’t do charity. He absolutely did not do charity.
They’d made the lights brighter since the last time he was here. Keith could see them in smudges behind his eyelids as he leaned back in the booth, fingers light on the side of his coffee and then slowly sliding down. He had half a mind to complain, you know. A café with ceiling lamps like gamma rays; it wasn’t right. He had half a mind to—well, to—
Once a month, Keith had to pull an overnight at the observatory. It was usually the best night of the month, for him: the quiet, the darkness, the sky spread out and lit up and ready, raw data, his eyes, his hands. And he always made it home the next morning, easy enough — under an hour on his bike, if you counted the stop for a bagel on the way.
Except this morning, he couldn’t get up from the booth. His palm slid out from under his chin and dragged up against his cheek, eyes closing again, all his air coming out in a slow rush. If he were conscious, he’d kick himself awake. This was embarrassing. But he was slipping, as he leaned over the table, and before he could catch himself, he was flat against the wood. Asleep.