Yawning she blinked away the sleep that threatened to overtake her, Beth had been up late talking with her boyfriend over webcam and then after that she spent the rest of her night studying until the clock read close to three am and then it was time to crawl in bed and let the covers surround her, swallow her up like tidal waves in some dark and distant ocean. But sleep never lasted nearly long enough for a college student who also worked for a living. She didn't need the money really, her parents promised to always pay for her college but Beth prefered to not burden her parents so much with her own wants in life, so to afford her CDs or the occasional article of clothing, she worked, setting aside always at least twenty percent of it to give to some charity.
Six am came too soon and as she dressed in a simple pair of black slacks and a white tee shirt she pulled her golden curls back into a high ponytail and slipped her iPod into her pant pocket before taking a walk off of the campus grounds and just down the street to a tiny but well loved coffee shop, a favorite amongst the college students and staff and even the town's people. The mad dash for the familiar bean had come and gone, every man and woman who worked for a living rather than working for the weekend came in bright and early to grab their own cup of saving grace before moving on but then the crowd began to thin and it allowed for a momentary breather before the next rush came buzzing in... or rather dragging in, they'd all be buzzing after they left with their own coffee.
One by one the drink orders were placed and the beans were ground, and espresso shots pulled, syrup flavorings added too, and whipped cream topped. Nothing forgotten and several baked goods even passed out in to-go carriers. Finally a familiar face stepped up and began to place an order, his eyes never leaving the menu board, and she noted that it were as though he might forget what it was that he wished to order if he happened to look away. She smiled softly to him, her stomach twisting in knots at the memory of their last chance encounter but Beth remained polite and professional all the while until he spoke softly for her to keep the change from a one hundred dollar bill.
"But Desmond..." She spoke his name to gain his attention, "your drink was only four, sixty five... I can't accept ninety five dollars and thirty five cents. Please... just take it, I insist." And once more she began to hand it back to him, "if you don't take it I will just give it to Jamie, the other barista who's making your drink... or to charity. It's not right...I can't." She said simply offering him the change once more.