Your hand holding onto the gear shift is sweaty and pale, knuckles drained white from the pressure of your life halting death grip around the small foam top. A hard swallow creates an uncomfortable crackling in your eardrums as you watch the harsh red lights from the car ahead of you start to pull forward and then almost immediately slow down again. The constant stop and go has you nervous and itching to switch gears. But it’s Thursday.
Thursday means you’re a little late to getting coffee like always
Thursday means the red and blue AMC Gremlin is parked in the employees only lot like always
Thursday means the crush of your fucking life is working the drive thru at Coffee Crossing like always
And this Thursday, very much not like always, you’re gonna finally work up the cajones to ask him out
The car ahead of you pulls up to order and your heart makes a tearing break for the back of your teeth, where it sits heavy and pounds against your ears, jaw clenched tight. The car pulls up, and you sneak into the empty spot it left.
“Hi, take your time, order whenever you’re ready.” His voice is raspy and tired through the tiny box speaker, his bass-line growl behind all the sharper syllables gives you goosebumps. Just as perfect as you remember.
“Hi babe,” you say with all the confidence and chill you in absolutely no way feel.
A very pained, very audible sigh crunches through the microphone and you grin. This is what you come here for.
“Fucking great, at least you’re consistent I guess.”
“Aw Kitkat, I would never miss a chance to see your smiling face.” You yourself smile wide at the thought of seeing him smile and it’s such an unfamiliar gesture for your face that you can feel every muscle of your cheeks rounding and eyes squinting and holy shit he does some weird magic to you because you’d like to get used the feeling. Then in a complete 180 you remember what you have planned and your brain goes into hyper panic mode and your face flattens out into the cold facade of death to come.
All this happens in about two seconds.
“Shut the fuck up Dave. Regular shit?” You should probably answer him, and you would, if it wasn’t for the terminal case of cottonmouth that just so happens to have overtaken your entire face.
“DAVE.” He barks and your head snaps up to the little metal box with its tiny offensive screen and hundreds of pin point judgmental holes. The speaker dares you to make your fucking move. Your hands tighten around whatever they’re holding onto. The one on the steering wheel gives a gentle squeak.
“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?”
“Are you on the menu today?” As soon as the words leave your mouth, you regret them. The silence that tears through the speaker is deafening.
“Dave.” He says, then takes a moment that in all honesty takes about a million fucking years to pass so you push out a small “Yes Karkat?”
“I Swear to fucking god himself I will rip you-” his voice cuts off with the crash of feedback and you hear a very soft squabble come from his end. The sounds of low angry words and a slight hissing lisp sneaks through every few seconds. You’re laughing despite the fear curling in your gut.
Another voice comes through the speaker as your soul fights to free itself from the embarrassing situation you’ve dug for it.
“Regular it is, pull up to the window you know the drill.” It’s Sollux. You like Sollux. He owns that piece of shit Gremlin the the front of the building. Karkats Best Friend. One of yours.
“Yeah okay.” You concede and brace yourself to face the love of your life who has no idea that he holds that unfortunate title.
“Yeah?” you say.
“Good luck,” he says. You can hear the smile in his words and you’re both mortified, and strangely encouraged. You don’t respond to him, not that you’re able.
You put pressure on the pedal and move up to the next window.
The window opens up like the pearly god damn gates themselves and he’s right there. Two feet and a brick wall separating the two of you. His hair is messy and disheveled more than usual, probably where Sol wrestled the headset off of him. His skin is the same sun kissed tan it always is, a little flushed, and the name tag on his shirt is knocked crooked. He looks pissed.
He squints those chocolate brown eyes at you, and thrusts out his hand, not a word spoken.
You look at his hand, then back up to his face. He probably can’t tell you even did that because of your shades and thank fuck for those because you’re terrified right now and you’re sure your dinner plate ruby peepers would throw your sorry ass to the dogs. Not cool. You’re cool. Be cool.
You open your mouth and
Karkat flips his hand over quick as a flash and points a steady finger at you.
“NO. DON’T. $4.78” He says, flipping open his palm again and leveling you with a glare. You swallow hard and turn to get your wallet. Any other day you would already have it ready, but you’re not exactly your regular awesome self today. Who knew that confessing your true feelings for another boy in a drive thru window could lay you so low.
You open your wallet, pull out a five and turn to get correct change out of the center console, all the while your mouth is shooting off words one after the next in a staggering show of pure unadulterated idiocy, straight out of your foolish love drunk mind.
It goes something like this
“So I was thinking about you the other day, I mean like not “about you, about you” just like generally you’re on my mind a lot, shit that’s creepy, uh. I mean. I was thinking maybe if you’re not busy you might want to like go out with me sometime you know like bro’s. Or not like bro’s like we don’t gotta kiss or hold hands or anything not that I don’t want to kiss you, who wouldn’t your hot as shit. But I mean if you’re not into that it’s fine we could just do bro stuff, sans sloppy make-outs, just do our thing together see where the night takes us. I’m open to whatever you’re into. Uh, in like a super non sexual way, unless you’re into that in which case I am definitely into that but no pressure I’m a modest girl Karkat come on, no tongue until the third date.”
The world goes deathly silent as you tighten your noose one last time.
Karkat is so stunned by your heinous rambling that he’s just standing there with his mouth open and eyes wide. When you go to hand him your change it falls straight to the ground. You both watch it fall and you immediately start praying for the sweet merciful embrace of a quick death. But obviously, it’s gonna be a slow embarrassing one.
“Shit, Karkat I’m sorry” you mutter those four words in random order as you open your door to get the change. Unfortunately you slam your driver’s side door straight into the wall of the building and it bounces back and catches your ankle. You try again.
This time you put the change in his hand and wrap his fingers around it. You hope to fucking Christ himself that he couldn’t feel how bad you’re shaking. He looks at this hand full of gravel change, then back to your scarlet face. You’re not sure you’re not making a face. You hope not.
The car behind you honks twice.
“Yeah, you know what. Forget all that, I’m a fucking idiot.” When in doubt, self deprecate.
You throw the car in third and pull forward, your car makes a shitty noise of discomfort and dies. You restart without looking up, and you’re gone. Five minutes down the road and a lot of nasty words with yourself later you realize you didn’t even get your drink. Should you go back? Is that caffeinated saccharine monstrosity worth it?? You know Karkat always makes it. You really don’t want to give him another reason to hate you. Fuck. Go back? You get a text, your phone pings and brightens up in your passenger seat. It’s Sol, he says come back. Shit.
When you pull back in, you can’t even raise your head up to meet him. A moment passes not altogether too uncomfortable, since well you pretty much made it physically impossible to out show the social catastrophe you just committed mere minutes ago.
You can never come back here. You’re not okay with that.
“Is that… is that a tiny foam ass?”
You are very confused.
You look over to your gearshift. Yeah, that’s the smuppet ass topper Dirk made you. He didn’t think you’d use it, but you fell in love with the tiny rump immediately and threw it on there.
“Sure is,” you reply, looking at the tiny tookus like it’s the only thing going to save you from the trash fire you’ve made your romantic endeavors into.
“Dave.” He says it so softly that you can’t not look at him to see the face he’s making. It’s somewhere in the house of sort of pissed off, confused, and something you don’t quite recognize. He looks at you for a moment and seems to come to some sort of decision.
He lets out a decently loud sigh, and turns to grab your drink. When you reach up for it, he puts his free hand around yours, around the drink. His hand is warm despite the chilled beverage in your palm. It sends sparks down to your shoulder, and you swallow hard. The crackling is back.
“If you ever ask me out in a drive thru window again, I’m going to force your entire body into your own anus until you’re swallowed up into paradox space. Do you understand me, Dave?”
You are both excited, terrified, and slightly turned on but nod your head all the same.
Words aren't’ happening.
“Cool,” he says like he’s just sentenced you to your death. You’re not sure he hasn’t.
“Dave.” If he says your name again you’re going to fucking scream or combust or possibly both at once. He’s still got both your drink and your hand hostage. The blood is draining out of your arm due to the windows height advantage and it’s getting a little uncomfortable. You also don’t want him to ever let go.
“Yeah, Karkat?” You look at up at him, and hope he couldn’t pick up the strain in your voice. You’re a little freaked out right now and you just might cry as soon as you pull away.
“I uh..” the pause makes you perk up. He squeezes your hand, more so for grounding himself, you think. Whatever helps him, you’ll give. You would squeeze his hand back if it wasn’t filled with a drink that would surely explode between you and ruin the moment. You wait.
“I get out of here at 3 if you wanted to like, hang out or something. If you’re busy that’s fine too, I mean I don’t have fuckall to do today so it’s up to you but uh.. Fuck, here.” He lets you have your hand back, turning into the window to write something down on a piece of receipt paper. You put the frosty abomination in the cup holder without ever looking away from his handsome profile. He writes like his pen will break free of his hold and go for his jugular if he lets up his grip in the slightest. It’s the most endearing shit you’ve ever seen.
“Here, text me if you want, asshole. I can’t answer until I’m off the clock, but I’ll answer eventually.” You look at the paper. His handwriting is exactly as upper case and aggressive as you thought it would be. You put the chumhandle in your wallet so you don’t have a chance of misplacing it like the other numbers you’ve gotten before his.
Your heart is pounding in your chest and you’re so giddy and tired form this roller coaster of a fucking HOUR that you think you might horf if you say more than three words.
You lift your shades up onto your head and smile at him, wide and toothy and you feel your cheeks round and your eyes squint and you’re fucking delirious when he looks shocked and blush creeps across his cheeks. You can hear his tiny gasp.
“Thanks, Kitkat. I’ll see you later,” six words. More than you were expecting without vomiting.
You wink at him and drop your shades back down, putting the car back in gear and pulling out of the drive thru with your crushes digits in your wallet and tears in your eyes.
You watch Sollux smack the back of his curly head in your rear view as he shuts the window to prepare the next drink. You’re pretty sure you’re already in love with him, but you’ll wait to say it.
You’ve got his number now, so you’ve got time. You’ve got time and a yes from the boy of your dreams. You sip your drink and hope he likes Chinese food.