“Thank you,” Colton said as he dropped some change into the tip jar and took two hot coffees from the barista. She paid him no more attention as there was a long ling behind Colton in the café. He held the coffee close to him, weaving in and out of the people waiting for their own, and finally made his way back to his table.
He sat down handing one of the coffees to the woman sitting across from him. She took it, nodded her thanks, and took a sip looking at the crowd gathered in the coffee shop.
“You come here all the time?” Ingrid asked.
“Every day.” Colton replied with a proud smile. “I like the workers here and I don’t know why, but being in a coffee shop always helps me think.”
She turned to him and smirked. “A buzzing, obnoxiously loud coffee shop helps you think?”
“My apartment is too quiet, I guess.” he shrugged.
Ingrid gave him a small shrug of approval. She took another sip and hummed to herself. “Well, I can certainly see why people come here for the coffee.”
“Told you,” Colton replied taking a sip of his own.
The sat in silence for a few minutes. Ingrid watched the people roam around the cramped café while Colton watched her. She was new to town, new to the state. She moved halfway across the country to go to school, get her license, and get a job here. Why this particular spot, Colton had no idea; Ingrid was quiet and wasn’t too keen on opening up about her life. He understood that; neither was he. However, Colton wanted to get to know her as much as possible now that they were partners.
Colton wasn’t brand new to the force. He had been working on cases for almost a year now. However, there were some officers in the department who still considered him a rookie. His older partner moved up in the ranks and a lot of people were shocked to find out that the chief had assigned Colton a newbie as a partner. Some people called it, “the blind leading the blind,” but Colton knew that wasn’t the case.
He knew that wasn’t the case. He had a year’s worth experience and learning a lot from his previous partner. Sure, he was surprised to be assigned a new partner who was fresh out of the Academy and finishing up a college course, but he knew Ingrid wouldn’t have gotten the job if she wasn’t good. Colton knew there was a lot he could teach her and believed there was a lot she could teach him. He wasn’t worried about it at all.
“So, yeah,” Colton broke the silence capturing Ingrid’s attention, “since we’re partners, we’re probably going to be coming to this café a lot. I’m glad you like it.”
Ingrid cracked a small smile. “No, this is a nice place. I only hope I can get used to the noise like you are. I prefer quiet when I needed to think.”
“That’s good to know.” Colton replied. “What else?”
“What do you mean what else?”
“Tell me about yourself. How come you moved all the way out here to be an officer? What made you want to be an officer in the first place?” Colton rattled off a couple questions just to get her started.
Ingrid blinked at him and took a sip of her coffee. He could tell she was stalling on her answer. It was clear she didn’t have a good enough answer or she just didn’t want to tell him. He bit the inside of his cheek realizing his questions sounded like he was interviewing her for the job all over again.
“Are you allergic to anything?”
Ingrid narrowed her eyes at him in confusion.
“I mean, I brought you to a place with food.” Colton tried to explain himself for the random question. For some reason, he felt odd explaining that he just wanted them to get to know each other.
“I’m not allergic to anything.” Ingrid replied.
Colton nodded an approval. “Okay, good.”
“Allergic to anything? Ingrid asked.
“Oh, no. I’m not.”
“Good,” Colton said. He cleared his throat and took another sip of his coffee. Well, it was more like a big gulp. Why did he feel so awkward around her?
“We’re going to be working for a long time, I hope.” Ingrid stated.
“You hope?” Colton asked raising an eyebrow.
“I like you. You seem like a great guy, someone who knows what he’s doing. I think I’ll learn a lot from you being your partner.” Ingrid said nicely.
Colton held up his coffee as a cheers. “I know I’ll learn a lot from you as well.”
Ingrid smiled genuinely. Finally, he had said something right.
They went quiet again as did the buzz in the coffee shop. Colton checked his watch and realized they needed to get back to the station soon. He stood from his chair at the same time Ingrid did, clearly having the same thought. She chuckled at each other and Colton waved her on allowing her to lead the way.
As Ingrid passed him, she said, “My favorite color is blue.”
Colton nodded with a smile. It was a start.