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I step up to the counter, fishing in my pocket for the money I had been given.
“The usual?” asks the barista, grinning impishly. It’s the same man who’s here almost every day at this time, a college student, and he treats me like an old friend. He likes to tease me, I think.
I duck my head, trying not to blush. “Yes, please,” I respond quietly.
This is the first time he’s asked that, and I’m flustered to realize he’s noticed my drink order. I’m not the only one who’s in the coffee shop on a regular basis, and I don’t order anything special, just a cup of Orange Pekoe tea.
“One fifty-seven,” he says cheerfully. My whole body goes hot when I realize I must have left my dollar bill in the car when Mr. Hale dropped me off. I only have fifty-seven cents.
“Oh, darn,” I mumble, hoping it’s in my back pockets. It’s not; Mr. Hale told me to never put anything in my back pockets because it’s an easy target in crowds. I’m rarely in crowds, but nonetheless…
”Never mind, I’m sorry,” I stammer, stepping out of line. The cashier looks surprised. “I don’t have—must have left it at home, my mistake, sorry.”
My face is bright red and it takes every ounce of self-control to resist running out of the coffee shop.