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"Just a coffee," I said.
The barista smiled at me. "What size, sir?"
"Oh, yeah ... I keep forgetting." I looked up at the menu board behind her. "Um ... what size is the grande?"
Her smile faded slightly and she held up a cup. "This would be a grande."
"Okay, I'll take one of those."
She handed me the cup. "That'll be two dollars."
"Put that on my bill," said Eb.
I backed away so Eb could move in closer to the cash register. "... and I'll have a venti white chocolate mocha with a shot of espresso."
The barista's smile broadened again. She was obviously glad to be dealing with a customer who knew the drill. She punched on the register and said, "That'll be seven dollars and forty cents, sir."
Eb handed her a twenty. I shook my head, but stifled the desire to said something about the cost while the young lady made change for him.
She wrinkled her nose as she handed him the cash. "Your order will be ready shortly, sir."
I stared at my cup.
Her smile faded again as she said to me. "You can fill you cup from the containers along that wall, sir."
"Oh, yeah ... I keep forgetting ..."
"You'll catch on eventually, Chris," said Eb.
He accompanied me over to the large coffee thermoses. I picked out the house blend and started to fill my cup. "Well, thank you for the coffee," I said.
Eb patted me on the back. "It's the least I could do ... I mean you driving me and all."
I finished filling the cup and looked for the lids. "You know I don't mind ... this book signing is a big opportunity for you."
Eb handed me a lid. "Well, I enjoy doing these signings, but I'm not sure this is any more important that any of the others."
I took the lid. "Thanks ... you know Perry Shire is going to be there."
"You said that ... he's the reviewer from Bookread dot com, right?"
"Yep ... and a notice from him would be big."
Eb blushed, "That would be ..."
"Your order is ready, sir," said the barista.
Eb seemed relived for the interruption. He walked over to retrieve his drink. When he returned, he said, "Did you want to drink these here or take them with us?"
"Let's take them with us." I lead the way to the door.
An entering customer saw us and held the door open. I thanked him and then said to Eb as we crossed the parking lot, "When will you car be done?"
"It was finished yesterday," he said.
I stopped walking. "But Becky
said you'd need a ride today ... I thought ..."
Eb put a free hand on my shoulder. "She didn't want me to be alone ... just yet."