“You should call me for coffee.”
He worked the phrase over in his head again, musing over the meanings undiscovered beneath the words. Leon turned down the music playing through his earphones, switching his attention to the warm rumble of the cafe around him. Study groups, aspiring writers, and the occasional couple all added to the background hum.
He’d come here for clues, something that would help him ferret out exactly what Alec was thinking. Leon shifted slightly to watch a nearby couple out of the corner of his eye. The young woman played with her hair, examining the ends of the dyed strands with deliberate focus. Across the table her date, sensing her growing disinterest, was getting nervous.
Which one had asked the other out to coffee, Leon wondered. He still didn’t know exactly what to make of the phrase itself. Taken literally, the words were nonsensical. Of the many things he wanted from Alec, coffee was not one of them.
More than anything, the invitation to an invitation had come as a genuine surprise. Alec, up until some evenings ago, had seemed to vaguely dislike him. Prior attempts to coax his quarry into a game had been met with only annoyance and halfhearted avoidance. The man hadn’t even given Leon the satisfaction of actual contempt, just mild distaste. But something had changed, as he was now supposed to call Alec for coffee, whatever that entailed.
Across the cafe, the girl was leaving, muttering an excuse before leaving her unlucky date to hide wounded pride. The young man shouldn’t have worried. Aside from Leon’s cursory observation no one was paying attention to the failed attempt at romance.
Leon caught the stranger’s eye with a sympathetic smile. He received a dejected twitch of lip and a shrug in return. It could be enjoyable, Leon kept his interest hidden and considered. It could also be distracting. He still hadn’t determined exactly what was going through Alec’s head. The strangeness surrounding “you should call me for coffee” was going to bother him until he figured it out.
When the young man stood to leave Leon had already turned up his music and settled back into the chair. Nothing suited him as much as a mystery.