Someone asked me on Tumblr about Min and Gemma getting together in an alternate universe. Since I love AUs, here’s an idea I wrote in 20 minutes. It’s an AU trope, because I love tropes.
Most people can make a reasonable coffee, right?
Yeah, well, I’m not most people. I can tell you the exact temperature the milk needs to be, I can calculate the exact volume of milk in your cup and I can draw a graph of how long it takes your coffee to cool to the optimum temperature to drink it, but when it comes to making it? I’m hopeless. I’ll burn the hell out of it. I will spectacularly ruin your coffee in every way possible.
This is a particular problem because, having been fired from my last job for—surprise, surprise—screwing up, my Dad’s sister took pity on me and got me a job as a barista in the atrium of a huge corporate office in the city.
As if they could find somewhere worse for me to fuck up coffee, they put me smack bang in the middle of a high-pressure corporate environment where people treat their coffee like some sort of holy sacrament. I’d only been working there two days and I’d never been yelled at so much in my life.
You can’t imagine what it’s like to have a backup of 20 receipts and have 20 millionaires checking their thousand-dollar watches and staring daggers through you while you spill everything and screw up their orders. I’d probably have been okay if I could’ve just taken it slowly while I was figuring everything out, but ‘slowly’ wasn’t a word that was in Frost International employees’ vocabularies. They were too important.
“You are a disgrace,” one of them told me to my face on my first shift. On my second, someone else told me after I’d mixed up his order twice that he was surprised I was redhead, because he could have sworn I was blonde.
On my third shift, I handed what I was sure was the worst soy latte ever to a slim Asian guy in an incredibly expensive suit, expecting him to blast me for how long he waited, so I braced for it.
“Thanks,” was what he actually said.
I was so stunned I stopped in my tracks and gaped at him.
He flashed me a boyish smile. “And I thought I had it rough. At least I get paid appropriately for people to yell at me and get away with it.” He smiled again, his eyes dipping to my name tag. “Thanks again, Gemma.” With that, he left with his terrible latte.
I watched him and his expensive suit walk away, still gaping, and it was only when another customer clicked his fingers in front of my eyes that I realised I still had four orders to go. I sprung back into action, knocking the milk jug onto the floor with loud clatter as I went to pull that last guy’s receipt off the machine.
I took a second to glance at it before I dealt with my catastrophe. Min, it read. I wondered if he was a regular here.