Mr PlumBuylinks: Amazon | All Romance ebooks
Each morning, Dave gets his morning coffee from the tiny coffee shop on platform 4, whilst he waits for his train. One morning he notices that the man in front of him gets the cup with plum-coloured sleeve, which matches the stripe in his tie, earning him the name Mr Plum. Plum is Dave's favourite colour. He notices details like that.
With the unsubtle help of Kai, the barista, a gentle romance starts between Dave and Mr Plum, aka Tom. A romance conducted in front of the commuters of the 8:50 to London Waterloo.
Whenever Tom told the tale of how they got together, he started with the story of the laundrette and the boxers.
Dave used to smile and pull him into a hug, but Dave never told Tom he was wrong. Well, there are some things you sacrifice for the sake of a quiet life.
It actually started with a takeaway coffee cup two months previously. If Dave was going to be totally accurate, he'd point out it was because of the cardboard sleeve of the cup, the one they used to stop your fingers burning, but then Tom would say his OCD was showing and tell him to shut up.
It was the colour of the sleeve Dave noticed, a deep plum that matched the stripe on the tie the guy was wearing. Dave always noticed things like that. He had a keen eye for detail. Dave was green with envy; he had never been given that sleeve. Plum was by far and away his favourite colour, and yet the world and the coffee shop on the station had never seen fit to give him a plum sleeve on Dave’s morning drink.
He didn't get it this time either. His was red. It was a deep red and it wasn't bad, but it wasn't plum and it made Dave grit his teeth in frustration. He could hardly demand that Kai, the barista with a huge smile who made him industrial strength coffee every morning at no extra charge, hunt through cardboard sleeves until he found a plum one. Yeah, he could just see how well that would go down with the queue of bleary-eyed commuters behind him. So he just smiled thinly and, clutching his coffee, followed Mr Plum, for want of a better name, out of the tiny coffee shop on platform four, to await the 8:50 to London Waterloo.
Mr Plum wandered farther up the platform than Dave normally stood, his nose buried deep in his Kindle. He didn't seem to notice the covetous glances Dave had been casting at his coffee cup.
The train arrived and they both got on, Mr Plum in another carriage. Dave was lucky enough to find a seat, and he sat, sipping at his coffee, with the crimson sleeve around his cup. If the coffee tasted a little bitter to him, maybe that was just an added dash of sour grapes—plum coloured, of course.
Two days later, Dave swore miserably under his breath as he staggered up the stairs to the platform.
Having been off work the previous day, enduring the torture of root canal work at the dentist, Dave was not in the best of moods. He was grumpy and hurting like hell, despite painkillers the dentist had sworn would fell an ox. It had taken him a long time to get moving that morning, his whole face and jaw aching with the pain. It was 8:48 and he was too late to get a coffee. With the best will in the world, Kai couldn't move the line that quickly.
Miserably, Dave moved to his usual spot on the platform, waiting for the train to arrive. Lost his own world, Dave wasn't prepared for the cup of coffee thrust under his nose. He looked up to see Mr Plum smiling at him.
"Kai thought you might be in be in need of this," he said, holding out the cup.
When Dave didn't take the cup immediately, his smile started to wobble. Dave noticed that Mr Plum had a really nice smile, in fact he had a really gorgeous face. Warm, dark brown eyes and olive skin, framed by a crisp, dark-red cotton shirt. The tie had a red motif the same colour as his shirt. This guy knew how to coordinate.
Mr Plum started to withdraw the cup as the train pulled into the station. "Maybe I got the wrong person," he said uncertainly.
"No!" Seeing his caffeine disappearing, Dave made a grab for the cardboard cup, "I'm sorry, I'm not feeling so good this morning." Their fingers tangled briefly as he took the cup.
Having handed the coffee over to him, Mr Plum's smile returned. "Kai said that. Hope you feel better tomorrow." He moved down the platform to his usual spot with a brief goodbye.
Dave stared after him for so long he almost forgot why he was standing on the platform and had to make a hasty scramble to get in before the doors closed. As he sat down, clutching his coffee in one hand and the free newspaper in the other, Dave mentally made a note to thank Kai and settle up with him on Monday. It wasn't the first time Kai had given out a free coffee if he felt his customer was in need, but Dave didn't like to take advantage of the generous barista.
He took a sip of the strong black coffee and for the first time, caught sight of the cardboard sleeve. The plum-coloured cardboard sleeve. For the first time since he'd got up, a smile curved Dave's mouth as he traced his fingers over the cup.