He poured the coffee into his cup, his eyes still bleary from lack of sleep. The aroma of the brown liquid assaulted his nostrils as he raised the steaming mug up to his face.
“Rough night?” her voice pierced his brain like a needle puncturing an all too soft balloon.
“Shhh.” was all he could manage in response, attempting to silence the noise by scrunching his face and eyes closed.
She pulled the chair out from the table, the wooden legs dragging across the tiled floor, the stick-slip grunting echoing in the small room. She let the back legs thud, and then aggressively sat down, causing more raucous noise to fling through the air. As her body plopped, she dropped a large binder onto the desk, causing the utensils to clang against the china ware in a cacophony of ringing. All the while, he just sat, breathing in the coffee and squinting his eyes.
“Sorry about that. Clumsy me.” Even without looking, he could tell she was reveling in his misery. He pained a grimaced look onto his lips, his eyes barely breaking open. As she settled, he dared to take a sip of the hot liquid and immediately regretted it as the slurp and the heat were much more intense than he was expecting. He grunted his annoyance as he set the cup back down on the saucer with a hard clang.
Bowing his head, he ran his hands through his hair, supporting the weight of his cranium with his palms. “You realize, you are getting way to old to keep doing this to your body, right?” Her look of mild annoyance giving away that this was a scene she was too familiar with.
“Why are you in my home this early in the morning?” His words cut out of him like stone being chiseled from mountain and falling to the floor, his eyes finally opening as he looked across the table at her. She was dressed in grey slacks, a solid color blue blouse and wore a dark jacket over the top of that. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail, giving her the look a stern librarian as she looked over the top of her narrow glasses at him.
“Because, for some reason I have yet to determine, the universe is punishing me and seems to be doing it through our boss.” He words with accentuated by the pounding of her hand on the book in front of her.
“Bev… cut me some slack. Quiet with the noise.” He rubbed his temples to calm his own pounding in his head. “I’m tired. I might have tied on one too many last night. I might be a bit irritable right now.” his voice trailed as a pain racked through his skull. “And all I want is to enjoy this cup of coffee.” He placed his hand on the cup again. “So… if you would please be quiet for the next five minutes… I will give you $100.”
She sat quietly, her glare boring into him. After several seconds she closed the book and stood up. “Fine. Five minutes. But I want my $100 bucks when I come back.” She headed toward the door, her footsteps heavy on the wooden floor. She stopped momentarily as she opened the door, “The boss wants an update on the case by 10am. And Joe, you’re welcome for making the coffee.”
He stared at the pot of coffee and the closed book in front of him. As he sipped from his cup, he thought to himself, “So that’s where that came from.”