The first time Caio saw the new barista, he didn’t bat an eye.
It was around hiring season anyways, and many workers came and went whenever they pleased, switching shifts between one another. He’d been supposed to work with Leo that night, but the boy admitted that he wouldn’t be able to make it. Caio grudgingly accepted picking up the other’s slack. He had swallowed two Tylenol pills in preparation for manning the shop alone.
It was twenty minutes into his shift when a sunny boy entered the shop, making a beeline for the register. He flashed Caio a nervous smile before dropping his bag on the coat rack and blending into the atmosphere like he was created to belong between the coffee bean shelves and hanging plants.
For the first few minutes, Caio just stared. No one had told him there was going to be another person joining the staff – three new workers had already been hired this past month. Sunny Boy took people’s orders with the brightest smile, spending no more than a minute to prepare the coffee – and wow, if this was the guy’s first time working in a setting like this, he was absolutely killing it. His foam art turned out better each and every time.
He looked like he fit right in, too. Jeans two times too big; a red shirt; a mop of hair gold enough to conquer the blood of gods. Each movement of his was energized, as if there were nerves buzzing underneath his skin, preparing for the chance to jump out. In short, he was the personification of a golden retriever.
Honestly, the café had been starting to lose its peppy energy. Maybe this new guy wouldn’t be so bad to transform the atmosphere.
“Excuse me?” The snappy woman at the register clears her throat, and Caio turns around just in time to catch the barest imprint of a scowl on her face. Right. Caio couldn’t just gawk at the new employee all morning; he had a job to do.
“Sorry,” he blurts. “What would you like to order, miss?”