How We Began
Authors: Alexis Hall, Amy Jo Cousins, Annabeth Albert, Delphine Dryden, Edie Danford, Geonn Cannon, Vanessa North
Publication date: November 9th 2015
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
How does love begin? A glance, a gesture, an unexpected offer of help from a stranger…or from a good friend. A smile across a counter at a coffee shop or video store. A secret revealed in a song from another place and time. Or in a love ballad crooned at a high school dance.
In this anthology of never-before-published sweet LGBTQ+ stories, seven authors explore the beginnings of love between young and new adult couples. All proceeds will support The Trevor Project’s work with crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.
Excerpt From How We Began – A Taste of Coffee and Cream by Amy Jo Cousins
The third time she changes clothes in the coffee shop bathroom by the bus station, the boy behind the counter busts her.
“Wait,” he says when she picks up her coffee from the scratched glass case that holds purple-stained blueberry muffins and sticky Rice Krispies treats.
Her heart seizes, then pounds like a rabbit’s. She’s been so careful, never changing in the same bathroom twice in a row before today. But there are two one-person bathrooms here and the tiny blue tiles on the floor are clean, so she doesn’t worry about putting her backpack down.
The boy is holding one hand in the air. His nails are bitten down and his first two fingers and the outside edge of his hand are stained blue with ink.
“Do you even like coffee?” he asks her. She looks at him, confused. “You always scrunch up your nose and make a face when you drink it. Like you hate it.”
“I don’t really like it black.”
He holds out his hand, asking for her cup. “I can fix it. Tell me how you take it.”
She hesitates. Once, at the diner on the next block, she ordered it the way she actually likes it, and the guy there repeated her words with a leer, his lip curled like a dead leaf.
“Extra cream. Three sugars.” She stares past the boy’s shoulder while he pours out some of the black coffee. Adds cream, sugar. He hands her the cup and watches expectantly.
She sips it and smiles without thinking when the rich, sweet taste explodes in her mouth. The boy smiles back, which makes her stop. Smiles are dangerous from boys.
“Jude, right?” She orders a cup of coffee every time, and once the shop had been busy enough that he’d asked her name, writing it on the cup with a blue Sharpie. He touches two fingers to the side of his forehead. She is watching him so hard, while trying not to look like she is paying attention at all, needing to figure out if he’s about to make fun of her. Or worse.
“I’m Owen. I’ll get it right from now on. Don’t worry.”
She almost laughs but the sound gets stuck in her throat. Worry is all she knows. Despite that, she comes back to the coffee shop every time she takes the bus to this town an hour from her own. The boy never once says extra cream like it’s dirty.
He always smiles at her.