“Hi! How can I help you today!”
“Do you guys have Pumpkin Spice yet?”
“Oh, good. I’ll have a tall one of those, and a cinnamon straw. Do you guys know when you’re getting your Egg Nog Lattes in?”
“Beginning of November, ma’am. That’ll be $4.15.”
“Perfect. Can I have your name, please?”
“Uh, yes. It’s Miriam.”
“All right Miriam. Thank you so much! Have a great day!”
“One tall Pumpkin Spi--”
“Yes, Tim, thanks. I can read what you’ve written on the cup,” Jon muttered. He scratched at his beard with the hand not holding the cup and passed it to Frank. “Hurry up Lero, you’ve got about ten of these waiting.”
Frank sighed and pried his eyes away from the espresso machine. “Don’t exaggerate,” he said. There were only five cups sitting in a neat line. “Anyway, I’m going as fast as I can. The machine’s slow today.”
“It’s Monday morning, what did you expect?” Jon asked. He was pouring the coffees and teas, because neither of them trusted Tim with the task. On his first day, he’d dropped four coffees and two teas, and all of them on either himself or Frank. Jon had made an executive decision and had taken over the job while Tim moved through customers like they were air.
“I think it might be jammed,” Frank muttered, fighting the urge to rub the side of his neck where he knew his scorpion was hiding beneath a patch of silicone that camouflaged itself with his skin. Ray had invented them a few months ago to hide earpieces, microphones, cameras: anything that needed to be placed on the skin and not seen. So he hadn’t made them specifically for Frank, but Frank had maybe been the inspiration. Frank’s “visible fucking tattoos”, to be exact.
It was irresponsible, Ray had said, getting tattoos when they were “secret fucking agents”, but lucky for Frank, Ray was the best person in the world. Frank now had a sleeve of the Skinpatch material on both of his arms, and now he was thinking about getting his knuckles tattooed, too. He didn’t know if Ray could make the material small enough to cover the skin on the back of his fingers, or if Ray would have a heart attack when he came home with more ink, but Frank mostly just didn’t care.
In regards to his more current problems he heard Jon sigh.“Again?” Jon asked. He sounded mildly irritated, which meant that he was super frustrated, basically. Jon was the most chill guy Frank knew. And he made everyone else chill by just being in the same room as them.
Frank shoved his glasses up on the bridge of his nose and nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Don’t worry, just keep doing Tim’s hard work, I’ll fix it.” He already knew what the problem was, anyway. At the base of the machine there was a coupling that had mysteriously gone missing after Frank had maybe stolen it to fix the leaky kitchen sink in his apartment a few weeks ago.
He bent down to access the cabinet under the machine, held out his hand and concentrated. After a breath, a bright spot of energy shone around the corner of the pipe. It solidified into a hollow circle of metal that tightened itself around the empty space.
“Darn machine stopped working after you left yesterday,” Jon said, scratching the back of his neck. “Weirdest thing.”
“I think there’s a part missing,” Frank said, as he straightened up. The machine was humming on the counter, and Frank sighed. He’d forced Gerard into sleeping last night, which was probably why his connection to the coupling he’d manufactured had broken. Gerard tended to pull a lot of energy when he was asleep: Frank had woken up with his mental ship beached and the ocean all but dry.
“I’ll check it after today’s shift,” Jon said. “Did you like, tape it?”
Frank licked his lips. “Uh, yeah,” he said. He threw a quick glance at the coupling and made it tape instead. Tape that Jon could peel away and throw out and that Frank could break his connection to in the morning. “I, uh, found some...under the cabinet.” He wiped the bridge of his nose and settled his glasses back down. “Think we’re good to go for now. You should probably get a new one by tomorrow though.”
“Well, good job. Double time, then Lero,” Jon said, snapping his fingers. “Let’s get these customers happy.”
Frank cracked his neck and got to work. Making drinks here was repetitive and soothing, and even if it was seven in the morning, he found that he didn’t really mind. It sucked when the store was super busy but after years of Gerard’s morning training sessions everything else seemed like a piece of cake.
The other cashier kid was able to pour coffee and tea but he was nervous as all fuck, and he messed up drink orders every two out of ten times, like clockwork. So even though Tim was way too bubbly in the early morning, and way too clumsy at every other waking moment, Frank much preferred to have the kid at the counter.
“Vera!” Frank called as the first two drinks were done in quick succession. He swirled whipped cream over both and slid them onto the pickup counter. “Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte for Vera! And a second Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte for Lana!”
“Thank you!” both ladies chorused, taking their drinks at the same time. They were the same ones who’d been giggling and staring at him while he’d been fussing with the machine. He smiled at them, which elicited another chorus of giggles and a low whistle from Jon. He glared at Jon and moved on to the next drinks, the espressos for which had already finished pouring.
They were supposed to get a fifteen minute break every few hours, but Frank found that they were generally packed full of people from when the Starbucks opened at 6 until the rush died down at 10.
He was just finishing the toppings on a tall Gingerbread Spice latte when Tim slid an empty cup onto the counter next to Frank. He was grinning, and even though his mouth was small, the action lit up his whole face, right up to his bright red hair.
“Grande wet caramel,” he said, with an over-obvious wink.
It was that time of the day.
Frank slid the latte to the little japanese woman who’d ordered it, and tapped the side of his glasses twice to turn them on.
The frames had been...a gift. From Mikey. If you could call something that was more annoying than not, and that he only got to use for work, a gift. The wiry man had marched up to Frank when he’d been filling out his application for Starbucks, had pushed a pair of glasses onto his face, and had said “Happy Birthday”.
It hadn’t been his birthday at the time. And the glasses were always sliding down his nose when he least expected it. And he hated them.
But they worked just like Mikey had said they would. He’d explained them as being halfway to telepathy. They read visual things and spat them back at Frank, displaying the information through the lenses and storing it in a little hard drive somewhere in the arm. The text output that hovered above the subjects Frank was observing told him where their clothes were from, where they worked, and two features that were actually useful: a surface-level analysis of their thoughts based on body language and facial cues, and their name.
They were pretty cool. Except for when the person he was supposed to be reading was a man whose brain-text always read some kind of variation of “I wonder what his ass looks like”.
“Frank!” the man (William, the text above his head read). “I’m so glad you’re working here today! Yesterday it was that girl barista again. Horribly disappointing.”
“Sorry about that,” Frank said, forcing himself to smile naturally and not to grimace as the air typed Those hands would look better around my-- “That was Sarah. She’s...new.”
“Will she always work the Sunday shifts now? Or can I look forward to your cute smile on my weekends as per usual?” William leaned on the counter, his long hair in his face. “It really brightens up the place.”
“You know I’m taken,” Frank said, trying to see if he could make himself blush.
“Of course, of course,” William said, sighing dramatically as Frank drizzled caramel on the top of his drink. “You’ll call me when you’re single though, won’t you? You know I just work a block away from here. It’d be very convenient if you ever wanted to duck out on your lunch break and...I don’t know, take a trip to the top floor.”
Frank made his eyes wide. “The penthouse?” he asked, fiddling with his glasses.
Half an hour is enough time to fuck him over my desk, I’ll bet. “In an office building, we just call it the 64th floor,” William said. He glanced down at his watch. Turn around, turn around, maybe he’ll have to refill the milk and I’ll get to see his ass in those tight pants. “Well,” he sighed. “I’ve got to go back. Busy, busy, busy. You know me.”
“Of course,” Frank said, beaming. “Have a great day, sir.”
“Oh, please, I come in here often enough,” William said, fitting a lid over his drink. “It’s William. Could you just grab me one of those drink-top-stopper sticks? The green ones. Be a dear, would you?”
Frank gritted his teeth and turned around to grab one of the sticks. When he handed it to William, he saw Oh yeah in the air. The man smiled. “Wonderful. See you tomorrow, Frank!”
He left, and Jon nudged Frank’s shoulder. “You know, if you’re uncomfortable, I can always have him reported.”
“Ahh, fuck,” Frank said, jumping. He’d forgotten about everyone else in his effort to memorize the details he’d seen floating beneath William’s graphic thoughts. “No, it’s...it’s fine. I’m just. I do have a...partner.”
“Right,” Jon said, nodding. “Of course you do.”
“I do!” Frank exclaimed, snatching the next drink from Tim’s hand. Tim was smirking too. Frank was probably beet red. Fuck everybody. “He’s super hot, I’ll have you both know.”
“He probably lives in Canada, eh?” Tim asked. Jon snickered.
“You both suck,” Frank muttered. He glanced at the cup. “Pumpkin Spice. Again”
“All winter long,” Jon said. “Look forward to it.”
“Yippee,” Frank muttered.
He had to have Gerard in here one day to show these guys who could definitely get a super hot older man to date them.
“And Frank,” Gerard said, frowning down at the file on the table in front of him. He was chewing on the end of his pen again and his mouth was going to be all blue later when the pen inevitably exploded. And then he was going to want Frank to kiss him and he was going to have a gross blue mouth. And he definitely hadn’t showered for at least three days. Everything about Gerard was gross. “Did the subject come in again?”
“For the hundredth fucking time, yes,” Frank said. He let his head fall back on the arm rest of the couch, preparing himself for another recitation of the day’s events. “He came in, looking like a completely normal person, ordered a grande wet caramel latte with two shots of espresso and caramel drizzle on top, said my smile was cute, and went away.”
“Did the glasses work?” Mikey asked, sitting up, at the same time as Ray said, “Don’t say fucking on the record, Frank.” Gerard squawked, “He said you were what?”
Mikey waved them off. “I mean, I re-calibrated the software last night, so they shouldn’t short out like they used to, and the face-rec should work better now too.”
“Yes, they worked just fine, but he was a hundred percent a normal skeevy human. Also, the glasses don’t go into their brain and collect evidence on illegal activities? So I just get a bunch of stats on, like, where their clothes are from, and what this guy thinks my ass looks like in my uniform pants. It turns out, he gets his clothes right from Italy.” Frank smiled when Gerard stiffened in the corner. “I also got some intel on everyone else’s clothes, including all the girls that come in around noon and compliment my eyes. I think the glasses might have given me a phone number for one of them, even, though I’m pretty sure I also got about five of those scribbled on various receipts. You can have them,” Frank said. He ignored Gerard’s gaping mouth and his fish eyes and focused on Ray, who frowned in an appreciative sort of way.
“Is it the short blonde one or the other, shorter blonde one or the redhead?” Ray asked. He shook his head and stuck out his hand. “Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Don’t have enough time to get numbers on my own, I’ll take it.”
“Why are all these people coming in and ogling you?” Gerard grumped. He was hiding most of his face behind his file, which meant that he was currently: throwing a hissy fit. “Don’t they know you’re trying to work?”
“Yeah,” Mikey muttered. “Frank works real fuckin’ hard.” Frank kicked him. “I mean, Frank’s a model employee. He’s practically the face of Starbucks by now, probably. Regional manager or something. CEO? Do they even have one of those where you work?”
Frank dug the girl’s phone number out of his apron and slapped it in Ray’s palm. “Okay, I’m going away from you idiots to take a shower now.”
“Aw,” Gerard muttered.
“I am not going to encourage your gross bad hygiene habits,” Frank said.
“But you smell like coffee,” Gerard practically whined. He looked Frank up and down and opened his mouth.
“No,” Frank said. “I am not wearing the apron during sex.”
“GROSS,” Mikey shouted, clapping his hands over his ears and squidging his eyes up. He started chanting something under his breath that looked like it was taking all of his concentration to say.
Gerard just pouted out his lower lip. “Come on, just one time,” he said.
“I have to wear that to work, Gee! I have to give coffee to people while I wear it!”
“Come on, it’d be fun!” Gerard said. “Like a sexy game.”
“Do you guys know I’m here, or,” Ray said.
“No,” Frank said, pointing at Gerard. “Sorry,” he said, pointing at Ray.
“Don’t really need to be privy to your weird sexual encounters is all.” Ray shrugged.
“Frank, you have to wash it anyway!” Gerard called after him as he walked to the shower.
“Don’t touch my apron with your dirty sex fiend hands!” Frank yelled back.
Fucking Gerard, man.
Showers were a gift from the fucking heavens.
Gerard was too, sure, but he was less so right after Frank came out from the hot spray, still dripping and wet, and pressed Frank up against a wall.
“I just showered,” Frank mumbled, not really objecting, but, well. They did have to pay their own water bill. Gerard could at least hold off for five minutes before he smeared his dirty self all over Frank’s body.
“What the fuck ever,” Gerard muttered, from where he’d buried his face in Frank’s neck. “You were probably going to take another shower later tonight anyway, might as well have sex first.”
Mikey shouted “GROSS” from the living room, which Frank ignored. Gerard, on the other hand, sighed dramatically and pulled away.
“He’s right, we should really go into the bedroom before we have SUPER NAKED SEX.”
Frank giggled when Mikey shouted something incomprehensible that was probably a Way-invented swear word.
“Fuck you!” Gerard shouted back. “Remember that time Pete was here? You didn’t even go into a bedroom! I can never sit on that end of the couch again!”
Ray cleared his throat from the end of the hall where he had apparently been standing since Frank had emerged from the bathroom, clad only in a towel. “Okay, seriously. I live in this apartment too. I’m like, a permanent fixture here.”
Frank pulled a face but Gerard straightened up. “Um, right. Sorry, Ray. We’ll go into the bedroom.”
Ray sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “When you come out, can you both be wearing pants, please?”
“I will make no such promises,” Frank said.
“Underwear, at least?” Ray asked, pleadingly. “I have a headache from reviewing spycam footage all day.”
The unspoken Frank you stared at a lot of breasts today at work, I saw the evidence in your spy glasses hung in the air when Ray glared at Frank, so Frank snapped a quick salute. “You are a gentleman and a scholar, Ray Toro. Your will shall be done.”
“Thanks,” Ray muttered. “Gonna go get some pizza with Mikey before he has an aneurysm.”
“Remind him of November 21, 2013,” Gerard said.
“You’re a DICK,” Mikey yelled. He had to walk past them to get to the front door and he stomped the whole way there.
“See you in forty-five minutes or our money back,” Ray said, grabbing his coat and hurrying after Mikey.
Gerard waited until the door was shut before he jumped on Frank again. “Your hair smells so good,” he muttered, leaning down to press his lips to Frank’s.
“Mmf,” Frank muttered, opening for Gerard. He sucked Gerard’s tongue into his mouth and let his fingers twine through Gerard’s greasy hair before he tugged sharply, eliciting a surprised moan from Gerard that Frank swallowed. “It’s called shampoo, look it up,” he murmured, pushing Gerard away when he started to push his thigh between Frank’s legs. “C’mon, you said bedroom.”
“Yeah, but that was when the others were still here,” Gerard whined. He planted his hands on the wall and squared his shoulders, effectively trapping Frank with his entire body. Gerard was taller than Frank, and though he wasn’t really any stronger, Frank couldn’t use any of his energy tricks to push the man away. Stupid Gerard and his stupid superpowers.
Gerard reached down and fiddled with the towel, which was resting just below Frank’s swallows, and Frank thought he might burst. “No,” Frank said, letting out a whine when Gerard hitched his leg up. He grabbed the collar of Gerard’s old, stretched-out t-shirt and looked up into Gerard’s eyes. “C’mon, not fair. I want you to fuck me, I’ve been waiting all day.”
“All day, huh?” Gerard asked, eyes darkening. “You should have said something earlier.” He stepped back and grabbed both of Frank’s hands so that when he stepped away from the wall, Frank couldn’t stop his towel from sliding the rest of the way to the floor. Oh well, there wasn’t anybody else in the apartment, and they were about to get naked anyway. “Come on, can’t we just fuck here?”
Frank wrinkled his nose. “You make me work all day and you aren’t even going to use lube? Fucking uncourteous. I mean, sure, I want your dick in my ass, but remember that one time we did it in the hall and Mikey almost killed me?”
Gerard snorted and stepped back, pulling Frank’s trapped hands closer to his chest. “Yeah, okay.”
“He held my head down and kneed me in the kidneys,” Frank said.
“Yeah, but he left me alone,” Gerard said, giggling now.
“Fuck you. Hurry up and get your clothes off,” Frank said, stretching his hands and trying to fiddle with the buttons of Gerard’s pants as they walked through the door to the bedroom. “I had to deal with William the businessman today, I need some serious therapy.”
“The one who said you have a cute smile?” Gerard asked, undoing his belt and shoving his pants down. It would have been smooth if he hadn’t tripped over them a bit.
“And a cute ass,” Frank said, digging in the bedside drawer for the lube and condoms he knew were under the pad of paper. He had barely got them in hand when Gerard pushed him down to the bed. He let out an oof when he landed, face first, in a pillow.
“Therapy, huh. How did that make you feel?” Gerard asked. The mattress shifted when he climbed on, and Frank felt his cool hands running from Frank’s shoulders down to the base of his spine. “When he said your ass was cute.”
“Hmm,” Frank hummed, getting up on his knees when Gerard tugged at his thighs. “Well, it came after he thought about bending me over his desk,” Frank said, folding his arms in front of him. “And then I couldn’t stop thinking about you, so if you’d kindly stop fucking around and start actually fucking, it’d be greatly appreciated.”
There was the sound of a cap opening and then Frank sucked in a breath when Gerard pushed a cold finger in. It was weird that, even after five years, Gerard could make shivers crawl up and down his spine with the lightest of touches. He felt like he was sweating all over and they hadn’t even started yet.
Gerard muttered something incomprehensible and added a second finger. The air was thick with tension, and Frank had pretty much been turned on since he’d jerked off in the shower not twenty minutes ago. “Fuck,” Frank choked, burying his head in his arms when Gerard twisted his fingers. Frank was just going to dispense with any formalities and grab his own cock if Gerard didn’t do something already. “Go already, go, fucking go.”
Frank practically squirmed with the waiting: he could hear Gerard tearing open the condom package and slicking himself up, and he vaguely wondered why they still used condoms except oh right doing it without them made a huge mess. Frank was about to start wondering when they’d last changed their sheets until finally, finally, Gerard drove into him. All the air left his lungs in that first thrust, and he grabbed onto the bars of their headboard to push back.
“Ah, fuck,” Gerard grunted, hands gripping Frank’s hips hard enough that there were probably going to be bruises all around the swallows’ wings. He kept moving, in and out, fast and hard, just like Frank liked it. “Thinking about you, with all those pretty girls coming in all day, it drives me fucking nuts.”
Frank couldn’t talk, especially not after Gerard grunted and changed his angle so that every time he moved, Frank’s vision whited out at the edges. He heard himself make a noise that sounded like “Ahh”, but he couldn’t really control his own mouth very well anymore. Gerard was so big, Frank always forgot just how much the older man filled him up. He felt like he might explode, and he wasn’t sure he’d even need to touch his own cock to come. “F-faster,” he panted, gasping into his arms whenever Gerard pushed in.
“Yeah, you want it faster?” Gerard asked, breathless, and he slammed in again and again until Frank couldn’t hold back any longer.
“G-gee,” he moaned, “gonna, gonna.”
“Do it,” Gerard panted, mouthing at Frank’s shoulder. He reached a hand around and fisted Frank’s cock once, twice, and then his orgasm hit him over the head. Gerard kept moving, his thrusts becoming more and more erratic, but he kept hitting Frank’s spot over and over again. Frank wasn’t sure how long he lay there, boneless and spent, before Gerard was coming, before Gerard pulled out, before Gerard curled up around him and pressed his face into the sweaty skin of Frank’s neck.
“Ah, motherfucker,” Gerard muttered.
“Fuck yeah,” Frank muttered back.
“We should...” Gerard started to say, but fell silent.
“What, get cleaned up?” Frank asked, stretching his arms behind him before wrapping them around Gerard’s head. “You hate being clean.”
“No...” Gerard mumbled.
“Good,” Frank said.
The pizza would probably still be warm in an hour.