#62: Like Your Coffee

"Okay, ladies," Reggie said, setting down a tray of drinks. "We got a—"

"Cinnamon-spice nonfat vanilla latte!" Alicia announced, accepting her drink and kissing it. "Thank you much."

"No, prob." He said, lifting a small green teapot and matching teacup from his tray and placing them next to Krysta. "Your jasmine tea. You'll want to give that at least a few minutes."

"I will wait a little longer. I prefer it strong." Krysta bowed slightly. "Thank you, Reggie."

"I got ya,' girl. And, last-but-certainly-not-least..." Reggie used both hands to carefully lift an oversized and overfilled mug from his tray. "Black coffee in the single largest mug we have: twenty-four ounces."

"That'll do," Whitley said, happily accepting her drink and taking a sip with no regard for temperature. "Ooooh. Nice and strong."

"We take care of you here, and speaking of which..." He extracted a notepad from his apron and pointed his pen at Alicia. "You first. What can I get ya'?"

"Egg white omelet with an extra side of ham."


"Veggie frittata," Krysta said.

"Sounds good." He continued scribbling on his pad and didn't look up.

"Get that pen ready," Whitley said, clearing her throat. "I'll have—"

"A number four with scrambled eggs and bacon, a number five with sliced bananas and syrup on the side, and corned beef hash, a la carte. "

"Aw!" She gushed in false flattery. "You remembered!"

"I told you, I got you. Anyone else? Speak now or forever hold your—"

"Split mozzarella sticks?" Alicia asked, pointing at the sides.

Krysta bit her lip. "Tempting, but for breakfast?"

"It's brunch," Whitley interjected. "Reggie, I'll eat what they don't eat. Two orders of mozzarella sticks with a side of barbeque sauce."

"Horseradish," Krysta added.

"Ranch!" Alicia chirped.

Reggie chuckled, shaking his head. "You three are too much. Alright, I'll put these orders in for ya'."  He patted Whitley on the shoulder. "Been too long, girl. Where you been?"

"Looking after these two keeps me busy." Her companions responded with a chorus of scoffs. "You?"

"Waiting tables by day and lighting up the club by night. I'm spinning at Underwood's tomorrow night. You should come out. Bring your friends, too. I can put y'all on the list."

"You're a DJ!?!?" Alicia blurted, drumming on the counter with her hands. "That's so cool! Let's go toni—"

"I'll make it out eventually," Whitley said, cutting her off. "I promise. Just keep reminding me."

"You know I will." Reggie gave the table a wink, turned and headed for the kitchen.

Whitley took another gulp of her mug. "That freakin' guy, I swear."

Krysta grinned behind her mug, taking a sip of her tea. Alicia took a selfie, holding her drink to the side so as not to block her biceps in the shot. As Reggie disappeared into the back, Krysta spoke up. "So that is why you come here so often."

"Yeah, the food here is crazy good. Nice selection, generous portions…"

"Oh? The portions is it?" She turned toward Alicia and raised an eyebrow.

Alicia brightened with excitement. "Oh my God. OH MY GOD! Whitley, are you seeing him? Is he your boyfriend!?!?"

"What? Alicia, I don't even have a boyfri—"

"So he's your side piece? Hot."

"We're not even dating!"

I know. That's how it works: no commitment, keep things loose. Good on you! Is it an open thing? Refresh my memory; are you actually bi or is it just that Delle Donne girl?"

"Alicia," Whitley said, both hands now covering her face. "Reggie and I did not sleep together. We're not dating—"

"Well, why not? He's got a nice smile, he's handsome, kinda chubby-cute, probably around six foot, so only about a foot shorter than you."

"For God's sake, Alicia, can you talk any louder? I don't think they can hear you in the kitchen."

"—and we all know you like your men like you like your coffee."

Krysta leaned forward, partially blocking Alicia from Whitley's view. "Since you are certainly willing to talk about literally anything else right now, who are Margarida Belo and Clara Melendez?"

"Strong, black, and unreasonably la—"

"I played with them on the U18 USA volleyball team for consecutive summers. Both are solid players. Clara's better. She and I both got scholarships to Durrenburg, but she opted to go to UCLA with Margie. Didn't really stay in contact with them after that."

"From their pictures, it looks like they still play."

"They got into beach volleyball after Clara missed part of their freshman season with an injury. They stuck with it and kept UCLA in the top five for the next three years. After graduation, they placed fifth in a national competition. Now they're vying to qualify for the 2020 USA team." Whitley looked around. "Where the hell are those mozzarella sticks?"

"They're pretty big on social media too," Alicia said, holding up an image of Margarida posing in a bikini. "I followed them before I even met you."

Whitley sighed. "Yes, they have enough of a following that they're both endorsed by athletic apparel companies. Margie tends to show more skin, but Clara…"

"—has her some Melon-double-D's!" Alicia said, gleefully holding up another picture.

Krysta glanced at the picture and nodded with approval. "She certainly is blessed."

"Yes, and I'm sure the fact that Clara both posts and cares less and has WAY more followers drives Margie crazy," Whitley said, pausing to take a long swig of her coffee. "Anyways, I'm on their radar again, which is weird since the prime of my fame is mostly behind me. I mean, sure, coaching got me in the papers one more time, but it's nothing like when I was still playing."

"Whitley, you are the second-tallest woman alive and you are attractive," Krysta said, removing her tea bag. "That would explain how you went from zero to ten thousand followers in just six months. If you had started posting to Instagram when you were in college you would easily have six figures of followers by now. It sounds strategic to me; they recognize a rising star when they see one."

"Well, let's hope that's the case," Whitley said. "Koga and I are going to visit them this weekend. We've got record enrollment for High School Summer volleyball camp, and Director Sleazy—"


"—is willing to cough up cash if I can talk them into being our special guest coaches." She rolled her eyes. "I can't imagine it had anything to do with them being Instagram models."

"Another strategic choice. Their popularity will be good for your publicity."

"Yes, I'm sure that's it. All the same, but I'm dreading the visit more than I'm looking forward to it."

Krysta nodded, noticing Reggie approaching the table with two plates and a pot of coffee. "Thank you, Whitley. This conversation has been enlightening."

Whitley raised her middle finger. "Can't you just ask me direct questions like a normal person?"

"But you are so much more forthcoming this way." Krysta looked up. "Hello, Reggie!"

"Ladies, here are your mozzarella sticks." He set the two plates on the table and distributed condiments. He pointed to Whitley's mug.


Whitley raised her empty mug. "Please."

Reggie refilled Whitley's mug, gave the empty pot a shake, and tilted it upside down. "You cleaned me out. I guess that's where 'unreasonably large' gets you." Whitley put a hand over her face, while her companions snickered. "I'll be back soon with your food." He chuckled, playfully swatting Alicia on the shoulder. "I should put 'chubby cute' on a nametag." He headed back to the kitchen. Alicia's giggles grew louder until Whitley leaned over and punched her in the shoulder.

"OW!" Alicia whined.

"There's more where that came from. We are so boxing later."

Alicia scoffed. "Bring it, girlie."

Whitley turned to a still-smirking Krysta. "And don't look so smug, Smartytits. You'll get yours."

Incredulous, Krysta narrowed her eyes. "Do you intend to fight me as well?"

"I don't know. How badly do you want mozzarella sticks?"

Krysta reached for her fork. "Bring it, girlie."