- Genre: Romance
- Status: Ongoing
- Language: English
- Author: Rainbowonhiatus
There is no guideline or recipe for falling in love. There is only one rule, and it states: “You should never fall in love with one.” It’s a simple rule, but rules are made to be broken and are always broken when it’s laid out to a stubborn heart. And this — this becomes the genesis for every encounter.
My alarm rang, spiraling my brain into motion as I swung the steaming hot coffee at the man who had just spanked my ass, quite rudely, if you may ask, and without my permission. Of course, he had done it with a lot of girls and had gotten away scot-free. Unfortunately for him, there weren’t a lot of girls. I was Sapphire Watterson, the girl pleased to see his genuinely shocked expression.
He didn’t even bother to address the hot coffee on his face, which I’m sure was stinging. A good number of the customers at the shop stared open-mouthed in horror. They hadn’t seen what had transpired that led to his coffee bath.
“Sapphire, what the hell?” a man yelled from behind the counter. I turned to him, giving him the most innocent expression I could muster.
“Your customer tried to sexually harass me, Boss. I had to do something to such a weasel,” I reported. My boss, as you already figured out, was the man behind the counter. He threw a glaring look at the said weasel, who cussed out.
“This bitch…” he trailed off when he saw I had raised my arms. I paused midway, using my other hand to take the tray.
“I’m sorry. Did you say something?” I asked with a smudge look on my face.
He shook his hair, getting to his feet and mumbling about how he would deal with me later. He was all talk; I knew he wouldn’t do anything because, for one, the boss made sure that we were protected from assholes like him, who made our work life more hectic than it already was.
“Everyone, the show’s over… please enjoy your coffee,” Amelia, my coworker, announced. She had that encouraging smile and demeanor that made you think there was peace from this day henceforth. I smiled at her in acknowledgment as my boss came over to me.
“Come on, let’s get you cleaned up,” he said, guiding me through the changing room that was located at the end of the counter, where we changed into our work uniforms and back.
Amelia was busy wiping out the remaining coffee on the floor and the table for the next person when a girl with strawberry wavy long hair, wearing casual jeans and a top paired with sneakers, bounced in. She looked at the mess on the floor, shaking her head.
“Uh-uh… whatever happened here doesn’t smell like an accident,” she said, plopping her black tote bag on the counter and blowing me a kiss.
“Hi, sis,” I blew her a kiss back before placing the tray back in its usual spot.
She smiled widely when the boss walked in, asking if I was okay. I was fine, nothing had happened to me except spilling coffee on someone, and I didn’t even get to clean up the mess because, well, Amelia was doing her job. Not that I was complaining. If anything, I was grateful not to have to go from being a badass barista to a disgruntled cleaner.
The boss gave me a quick nod in belief and said, “Can I have a word with you after work?” It wasn’t a question; I knew he wanted to speak to me. And I knew what it was about since today wasn’t the first time. There were times when he would say,
“Sapphire, use your words, not your fists.”
“Sapphire, I just bought that glass, and it was too expensive to smash it just because you’re annoyed.”
“Okay, can you please reduce the use of your words? Maybe make it subtle?”
“Sapphire this. Sapphire that.”
Here’s the thing: I am not a violent person, and I would never consider smashing a glass on someone’s head, maybe except on some appalling individuals who ought not to exist. Like the young tattooed guy who mistook the coffee shop for a club and deemed it essential to call Amelia a slut because she wouldn’t give him her digits. I don’t go around fighting battles that aren’t mine, but this was Amelia. And as sweet as she was, she was soft, and her first instinct would always be to cry. But then, in retrospect, I only smashed the glass at his feet in a way that made sure he had a small cut on his cheek.
The boss had unfortunately seen that and was displeased, saying there were a million and one ways to handle assholes. There’s only one way for me, though; you fight them off as best as you can. I could use my fists, or I could cuss them out, and I always went for whatever worked for me. You know the saying, “You do you.” Anyways, none of this was going to justify my reason for baptizing a man in a hot latte today, and that was the trouble I was in.
I nodded when the boss asked me to see him. There wasn’t anything I could say after all except the obvious questions and my nonchalant replies, which I tried to mask up with an innocent expression. No one blamed the angel they always knew because, as far as they could tell, the devil had always been the bad guy.
“I could bet my trust fund that this man is the most gorgeous to walk the face of the earth. Have you seen him smile?” Yolanda Bakers, the strawberry-haired girl who was as good as my sister, being my best and only friend in this whole wide universe, gushed.
I followed her gaze, which landed on my boss, who was busy attending to other customers. He smiled at the teenage girl who was getting two cups of creamery coffee.
I averted my attention back to Yolanda. “Did you walk from your residence to come to drool over a man, or did you come to see me?”
She didn’t seem to get my question, or maybe she pretended not to because she had this dreamy look etched in her eyes that could as well be replaced with the heart emoji.
I rolled my eyes, snapping my fingers at her. “Get it over with, girl. Men are scum, remember? Why do I have to remind you of this every day?”
She huffed aloud as though in agreement. But we both knew better; I might as well have been talking to a brick wall about boys and heartache to a girl who wouldn’t give a care in the world even after having her heart broken before. It wasn’t that serious of a breakup, I liked to think so, but Lan, as I loved calling her, thought it was everything. She said it was her first love, and I say it was just some fleeting childhood crush.
We were in grade 3 when she introduced me to him: a very pale-skinned boy with blond hair, lots of freckles, and big glasses. At first, I thought she was ridiculous. Not that I judged him to be bad-looking, but Lan had a huge interest in guys who styled their hair and, if ever to wear glasses, maybe just stylish glasses that would fit their faces. So, of course, when she introduced Bowen, I didn’t take her seriously.
Then one day, she cried and wouldn’t talk to me for days until Mom, who worked for Lan’s family as a cook, made her favorite fries and chips just to find out what was going on with her sudden quietness. She told Mom that, apparently, Bowen had overheard me say he looked ridiculous, and he broke up with her. She thought it was my fault. He looked ridiculous that day, and I was simply telling her the truth, which she laughed about because it was so funny to our younger selves — until it wasn’t anymore when she got dumped. It was still funny to me because I told her that their breakup was a good riddance to a perfect waste of time, and that was all it took to get Lan to ignore me until the semester was over.
How we got back to being friends is a complicated story. Lan came up with an excuse that she needed a distraction, but Lady was just six. Why would a six-year-old need a distraction from dating? Anyway, we would have talked about that later if she hadn’t started dating Killian. He was Mr. Popular Know-It-All, drop-dead gorgeous eye candy, and the favorite boy of the masses of girls at high school. Now Killian wasn’t as bad as Bowen because he was worth drooling over and drove a different sports car to school every day. He even played all the sports you could imagine, as long as it involved scoring a point and winning a match. He was perfect, and that automatically made him every girl’s dream, except for me, who had books to study since Mum didn’t have as much money as Lan or anyone else at school who either came from generational wealth or were nouveau riche. I had to work my ass off to maintain my scholarship. That didn’t mean I didn’t support my best friend; I did. Even Sasha Banks, the self-proclaimed queen bee and Miss Top-of-the-Class Beauty Sculpture (everyone called her that because she had a pointed nose and blue eyes that suited her dark skin perfectly), pulled Lan’s hair after finding out that Killian had been cheating on her with my best friend.
Lan had a major breakdown. Not only was her heart broken, but she had also been publicly humiliated and made into a meme for the school’s online gossip blog. I couldn’t take it anymore, so we came up with the motto, “Men are scums, boys are assholes, and the world would be perfectly sane if Romeo and Juliet never happened.” The next day, we crept into Killian’s house at night, applied Veet to both his eyebrows, and made sure to bury the goldfish he had gifted Lan in his favorite blue sports car. He came to school the next day looking like a devastated mannequin. We weren’t subtle when we laughed about it to his face, but Killian didn’t find it funny, so he stole our phones and made them ring out loud in Mr. Grumpy’s physics class. It was quite a slow revenge. We got detention anyway since Mr. Grumpy hated any kind of distraction during his lessons.
We both didn’t mind; we had been avenged, and Lan had sworn off boys. She didn’t truly swear off them because she was still lost in thought, drooling over my boss, who never had time to have lunch with anyone, let alone her.
“Do you think I should ask him out?” Yolanda asked, and I rolled my eyes back again.
“Do you think he’s your type?”
Not to diss anyone, but Yolanda, although having a strong sense of equality and equity, looked like your typical rich girl with daddy issues, and my boss looked like someone who was being threatened to be ripped off his money. He always worked.
Yolanda sighed, “One lunch wouldn’t hurt. I mean, we can figure out a way to work it around. After sales today, we can go out and have a nice time with ice cream and sunshine…”
“Yeah, because you think that’s all there is to living? C’mon, sis. Just forget about him and say something else,” I said drily. The day was almost closing in on us, and we needed to start rounding up our shift.
“There’s nothing to talk about. Have you ever felt like a good part of your brain had gone missing anytime someone’s in the room, standing with you?” she asked dreamily again. You would mistake her expression for a toddler sleeping like a world waiting at its feet.
“Yeah? If we count how many times a part of your brain has gone missing, we’re pretty much not going to find any brain cells left to count,” I teased, leaving her at the counter while I changed out of my work clothes. It was not like she came for the coffee anyway; she just popped in like she normally did, and the boss didn’t have a problem with it. She’s chill despite her over-drooling for him.
“Hello, candyman,” I heard her purr, causing me to quickly dash out before she said anything more. The boss looked amused, genuinely. It wasn’t the first time she called him candyman.
“Hey, girl, how’s it going?” he greeted. She smiled wilder than before. This was about to get more drastic than I thought. And I wasn’t wrong.