The alarm woke Anna at the usual time, but instead of hitting the snooze button, she swung her legs out of bed and sat up straight. She felt a bit disorientated, as if she had been interrupted while doing something important. It took her a second to understand she had been dreaming. The dream had gone as soon as her eyes opened, leaving her only with a vague impression. Whatever it had been, she felt good about it. She felt like kicking ass and taking names.
What day was it today? Oh right, Tuesday. Meeting day. Anna pulled the black suit out of her closet that she always wore when she met with clients , along with whatever was within reach on the clean folded stack of tops. It turned out to be a wine colored camisole of a silky material. She smiled. Not exactly work attire, but if she kept her suit jacket on it would do fine. Ron would certainly approve. Inspired by that bit of rebellion, she grabbed her long black boots as well. Her suit came with a pencil skirt and it was cold enough for her legs to need a bit more coverage. If anyone had a problem with them they could fuck right off. Now that she had her outfit sorted, she headed to the bathroom to wash up and get ready.
The day was much brighter and sunnier than it had any business being, considering the temperature. It looked like the weather would stay clear but Anna was still glad she was wearing her trench coat over her suit. She needed that extra layer. When she got to the bus stop and checked her phone she noticed she was fifteen minutes early. The cold air was already stinging her nose and cheeks. Standing still for fifteen minutes for a bus didn't sound very inviting. Anna decided she would walk and stop by the coffee shop on her way to the office. If she kept moving fast enough to keep warm it was almost a pleasant walk.
She had just reached the shop when her phone rang. The word ‘office’ blinked on the screen. A little annoyed she brought the phone to her ear. “Whatever it is can wait until after I had my coffee” Anna announced to the person calling her as she pushed the door of the coffee shop open.
“Relax girl,” Ron’s voice sounded from her phone, “I’m calling to say your 8:30 canceled. And the next meeting isn't until ten. Meanwhile the network has issues ..” Ron was telling her something about the guy the IT department had send down to check the cables, but Anna wasn't listening any more. For just a moment her breath had caught in her throat.
“That’s great,” Anna interrupted her coworkers story with a voice that didn't let on her heart was suddenly pounding in her chest. She had locked eyes with Sean who was sitting at ‘their’ table with a laptop in front of him. “ Because I have to take care of something first, I’ll be in before ten.”
Anna wasn't sure how she wanted to react to finding Sean in the coffee shop, so she took care not to show much reaction at all. She broke eye contact, put her phone back in her purse, took her coat off, hung it over one arm and walked briskly to the counter to order her coffee. As she moved she could feel Sean’s eyes burning into her. She didn't look in his direction. She made sure her back was straight, her shoulders back and kept her face in what she hoped was a perfectly neutral expression. She didn't want to show she had been taken off guard. Meanwhile her heart and mind were racing.
Sean’s work seemed to be mostly online. So logically he could work from anyplace with an Internet connection. The shop did have good coffee and free Wi-Fi. But the Wi-Fi wasn't all that great and prone to dropping the connection, and between here and Leah’s place were at least 3 other coffee shops that offered the same service. The only difference was that he knew she frequented this shop. He must have chosen it in the hopes she would come in today.
Anna did feel a little flattered he had taken the effort to go out of his way to see her, but she didn't exactly feel happy about it. She had meant to get in touch with Sean today. To send him an text on the number Leah had given her. She had been thinking about, but not settled on, the wording of it. She had meant to send it out during her lunch break, so they might have met up after work. And now he was here. Only it wasn't really a chance meeting and she had known that the moment she laid eyes on him. He was denying her the chance to make contact on her own terms.
And that made her, what? Not angry, exactly. She felt… ‘violated’ wasn't the right word. Annoyed? She felt a little annoyed that her plans and intentions had been thwarted, but no…
She put her thoughts aside for a moment to order her coffee. The college aged kid behind the counter was one of the regular baristas. He was acting nervous today. Even responding with “Yes, ma’am” to her order. In the two years he had served her coffee he had never once called her ‘ma’am’. Anna raised her eyebrows at him. He lowered his gaze and quickly got to work filling her order. “Weird,” she thought and then forgot about it, letting her mind return to the situation at hand.
‘Displeased’. That’s it. Sean had displeased her by showing up before she was ready. It had been her move to make, and he had acted out of turn. He probably wasn't even aware he had stepped out of line. Maybe he even thought it was cute to just show up, looking all hot and desirable, and demand her time.
The kid handed her her coffee. With the cup of hot liquid warming her hands and the great smelling aroma making it’s way up to her face she felt like she was regaining some control over the situation. A good cup of coffee always made everything better. Anna turned towards the tables and finally looked at Sean again, who was still staring at her. With big pleading eyes. Despite wanting to keep a blank expression, Anna could feel the corners of her mouth pull up in a tiny smile. So the guy made a faux pas, it was alright. He could start working to make it up to her. She started walking towards him.
As she got near Sean started to get up. “Sit.” Anna said. it came out a bit harsher than she had meant it to be. Sean promptly sat down again. “Yes, ma’am”
She had been in the motion of pulling a chair out from under the table for herself. She froze to look at Sean. “Did you just call me…ma’am?”
“Miss,” Sean corrected himself quickly “Yes, Miss”
She cocked her head to the side slightly and narrowed her eyes a bit, trying to decide if he was pulling her leg. Sean looked at her for a moment then moved his eyes to the laptop in front of him. She thought she could see a red color starting to flush his face. “How would you prefer to be addressed?”
Addressed? She sat down at the table wondering what had gotten in to people today. “How about ‘Anna’?”
“Yes, Anna” echoed Sean.
She looked at Sean without a word. She was half waiting for this otherwise confident man to come to his senses, half looking for a clue as to what in the world was going on. He had trouble meeting her direct gaze. His eyes kept looking into hers for just a fraction of a second to return back to his laptop. After a few seconds it was Sean who broke the silence. “Should I not have come?”
“No, you shouldn't have. Not before work, without telling me you’d be here.” Anna responded. She took a sip of her coffee and then leaned back in her chair “What am I going to do with you?”
She saw Sean swallow and shifted in his seat. The sort of shift guys make when suddenly their trousers weren't comfortable. He also seemed to be trying not to grin, and failing.
Things started falling into place, almost as if in slow-motion. It wasn't Sean who was acting out of character. Nor the barista for that matter. It was her. She had been feeling different since this morning. Sean was pretty clear about identifying as a switch. He had probably picked up on the energy she was sending out. Before today Anna had only enjoyed the idea of having a dominant side. She had never really felt it. No wonder it had taken her a while to catch on. Now that she understood, she was starting to enjoy herself.
“I think I should teach you not to inconvenience a lady when she should be working.”