“Hi, I’m Laurel,” she smiles and offers her hand.
The other shakes it while saying, “And I’m Kiera.” A smile pushes at the edge of her mouth.
“So Kathie tells me we should meet, thinks it would be what she called–”
“A fun exercise for character development,” Kiera finishes the other’s sentence as she sits in the chair opposite Laurel, tucking her purse in onto her lap. They both share a chuckle, Kiera’s more reserved, Laurel’s shuts down when she senses Kiera’s unease. Kiera’s eyes scan the coffee shop where they’ve arranged their meeting, then locks onto the handwritten menu board up behind the barista’s work station.
With an awkwardness matching the tension between them, Laurel lifts the heavy oversized cup first with one hand, finger through the handle, then lifts the other hand for support. She leans forward and sips. The froth adheres to her upper lip which she can’t remove until she settles the cup back into the saucer.
Purse still in her lap, Kiera holds her arm across it, squishing it to her abdomen as she rises. “How is it?”
“Good,” Laurel says and then flashes her a smile. She hasn’t gotten all of the froth off. Kiera taps a finger to the mirrored spot on her own lip. A deep blush rises across the sunkissed cheeks of her new friend who immediately rubs a paper napkin over her mouth.
“Can I get you anything?”
“No,” Laurel says from the shield of the napkin. “I’m good.”