“Another day, another dollar”, Pam thought wryly to herself.
She lived her life one day at a time like everyone else who had managed to live on the Earth. However unremarkable her life may have seemed to others, it was everything to her. A year before her twentieth birthday, she had gone to the movie theater with her friends and seen You’ve Got Mail. It sparked interest in her to do something similar like Kathleen and open her own bookstore. Or maybe not open it, but at least run one. It seemed like a calm alternative to the boring office job that made her gag just thinking about it. She had no idea what that took though, but Pam now felt like her purpose was staring at her in the face.
While in college pursuing a business degree with a part time job in the library, she walked by the independent bookstore in town to see a “now hiring” sign. She stepped in and applied. Five years later she found herself in an unusual predicament of owning the bookstore. It was everything and more that she had found herself dreaming of. The business degree was coming in handy while learning how to stay financially stable and creating a marketing campaign of sorts that would bring customers in.
Pam couldn’t deny that the sweet aroma of older books and rustic seating around the bookstore added to its charm. It was the cozy atmosphere that she found brought in new customers and led the regulars to keep coming back.
As the new shop owner, her plan was slowly coming together. She’d always imagined the shop with its floor to ceiling bookcases, moss green furniture, and slow jazz music to be something more. The five years she’d spent learning about the business had taught her one thing, people come for the product, but stay for the experience. While she was positive opening a Starbucks affiliate would bring customers in, she didn’t want that kind of vibe. The store oozed potential for an independent coffee house (rather section) of sorts. It was above self-serve and Starbucks was far too commercial. The project had begun in May and opened in October.
The store had been renovated to accommodate the bookstore meets library meets coffee ambiance. The moss green walls were updated to an emerald green, brushed gold accent lamps were placed strategically around the shop to create that “lived in” feeling she hoped it would be. Rows of books were separated with navy loveseats for those who wanted to read together. Pam’s favorite part though was the intimate coffee bar at the back of the store (strategic in its placement because she was still a business owner). She had hired four baristas. Two would work a shift together. The back area around the bar had tables with outlets near by for customers to work or read while they sipped. The lighting was set low to add to the feeling of serenity. Pam had insisted that they add more windows to the space here to 1) open it up and not feel so stuffy and 2) she loved to see the activity going on outside. It was no surprise to those who knew her that this would be her one request and that October had been the reopening . She had always loved Fall in the Northeast. Pair it with rain, a good book, and some tea and she was set for the day.
Truly it was the coffee shop of her dreams. She imagined sitting in here reading her own books, sipping on some sweet, warm tea while the rain sprinkled outside at night. The street lamps illuminating the sidewalk and giving her the illusion that she was somewhere far more glamorous than Scranton Pennsylvania.
The reopening date came and went, the local newspaper giving her some positive press and within a month she found that her little dream had become the sweetest reality. She could walk through the shop at any given moment and watch students type furiously at their laptops while energizing themselves with Americanos or see couples reading novels together in the loveseats. Pam loved that the customers or rather guests did this. It was everything she had envisioned.
A month after the reopening, Pam was preparing to close the store when the most handsome man she’d ever seen walked in her store. He wore a maroon quarter zip sweatshirt, rolled towards his elbows, and his hair looked like it had a mind of its own due to the lack of restraint it had to stay put in his gel.
He swiftly opened the door, looking a tad frazzled. “Hi do y-...” He stopped short and Pam cocked her head, confused. He looked at her like he was in shock and she wouldn’t lie, her blood felt like it was rushing everywhere all of a sudden.
The stranger cleared his throat before starting again, this time quieter and his voice came out as smooth as silk, “Hi, do you all serve coffee here? I heard this is the best new coffee shop and wanted to check it out.”
The baristas had left an hour ago, but this man was HOT. “Uhm, yeah we do.” she squeaked out, silently cursing herself for not being as suave as this guy was. “Follow me!”
Pam led him towards the back hoping he wasn’t a Ted Bundy type. There was no one else in the store and that within itself made her a tad concerned, but his mere presence put her mind at ease. It was an odd feeling she’d never felt and couldn’t place entirely.
She prayed that the baristas still had the instructions for each type of coffee listed otherwise she was screwed.
“What would you like?” she asked, her confidence slowly coming back.
“Just a black coffee with some creamer.” He smiled back at her, a small laugh coming out at her immediate relief. “I take it you’re not the usual barista?” he joked.
“How could you tell? Was it the look of panic on my face or the shifty eyes looking for instructions?” She grinned, laughing back after her response.
“Yes?” the stranger replied, running his hands through his hair.
She found herself momentarily distracted as she set up the coffee pot with the illy medium coffee.
“I’m actually the owner of this fine establishment” she winced fearing she sounded like a dork and hoped he wouldn’t say “alrighty thanks, dork” and immediately leave.
His kind smile said he was thinking otherwise. “That’s really cool. You must really love books to open this type of business. I love books, but I don’t know the first thing about running this type of business. My name is Jim by the way.”
She felt her cheeks straining at how much she’d been grinning at him. He was rambling. It was adorable.
“I’m Pam” She stuck out her hand towards his and felt a shiver run down her spine in the best way when their hands connected.