A Sip of Coffee

Getting a cup of coffee helps a young businesswoman relax into a trendier persona.

Eight bucks was far too much for a cup of coffee. But eight bucks here as compared to five at the place down the road--Tiffany figured she saved the time it took to walk to the parking lot, drive out, park, and drive back. The new gourmet coffee shop was two minutes from the front door of her office as opposed to the ten minute drive to the cheaper place.

Sixteen minutes for three dollars, which came out to about twelve dollars an hour--and she was definitely getting paid more than that, so on the whole, it was worth her time. As long as the coffee was good.

Tiffany took a seat at one of the small tables and set her black brick of a business laptop in front of her. She flipped it open and checked her reflection in the screen before it turned on. Her pale fur, combed; her black hair, pinned back into a bun; her charcoal suit jacket, sitting crooked on her shoulders. She sat up, straightened her jacket, pulled her blouse flat, then swept her charcoal skirt beneath her thighs and sat down again.

She had work to get done. Judging by the laid-back, flannel shirt, well-off, twenty-something look of everyone else here, she was alone in that. It wasn't a big deal to her, though--if she was working, what did anyone else's fashion matter?

The businesswolf turned on her laptop and opened up her email. She started typing out a letter she'd been meaning to write all day, while waiting for her coffee to cool down to a drinkable temperature.

After a minute, the steam wafting from the lid of the coffee cup had softened to a slow wisp. Tiffany took a small sip to test it, and gulped down a small splash of vanilla blend. The vanilla flavor wasn't sweet itself, but it softened the bitterness of the coffee, like a sip of water while sitting in the warm sun.

Tiffany let out a low sigh between her teeth. She hadn't expected to like the flavor so much. Normally, she just popped one of the K-cups into the machine at work and drank that, but the creaminess was enough to make the three extra bucks almost worth it.

Underneath the table, hidden from her sight, her sheer stockings thickened. The fabric grew tougher, less wispy, and it darkened. The dark fabric poured up her legs, smoothly shifting like ink drawn uphill. Silken stockings became thicker leggings, opaque and black, without the gloss that highlighted her shapely legs.

Tiffany took another, longer sip. The coffee and vanilla flavors swirled between her teeth, warm and sharp and cool and milky all at the same time. She had stopped writing in the middle of a sentence, and couldn't think of how to continue. The whole thing was a mess of carefully couched business-speak, courteous and impersonal. She deleted the last sentence she'd typed and started again, trying to be clearer and more sincere.

Where her new leggings touched her sensible business shoes, the interior of her shoes turned purple, and then pink. Like a sprouting flower, her shoes spread up past her ankles and the tongue began to droop forward. Black faux leather became black canvas, while the pink interior peeked out, giving her shoes a flash of color. White laces rolled out along the top of her new sneakers, criss-crossing and slipping into the holes made just for them. Tiffany tapped the toes of her new Converses on the floor as she thought about what to write.

The whole email just wasn't working for her. What was she even asking for? A follow-up on an inquiry about contractor information? She needed to clear her head and approach it with a fresh perspective, so she got out of her seat and took her cup of coffee over to the Flavor Station. She'd been eyeing the set of brass sprouts across from the registers for the past minute, and while her coffee was good, she didn't want to pass up the chance to sweeten it up a bit. She opened up the lid, tapped the lever for Sea Salt Caramel, and caught the spurt of golden syrup in her cup.

A twitch of her canine ears pulled her hair out of its bun. It unfurled smoothly, pouring down her back with barely a shimmer. Her bangs fell down, brushing the sides of her cheeks, but they stayed out of her face. Really, she only put her hair up to look more professional in the office, and even with it down, she figured she looked the most professional of anyone in here.

The taste of the coffee with the caramel syrup added in was even richer--now creamy, bitter and sweet all at once. There was a sugary stickiness in between the vanilla bean and the coffee.

As she walked back to the table, her pencil skirt brushed against her thighs. With each step, a new fold opened in the tight fabric, loosening its grip on her legs, allowing the skirt to flare out. As her skirt unfurled into something that could flow and bounce, the black drained out of it, and color seeped in. First, a dim tan like khaki, but as the heavy-knit fabric grew finer and thinner and more loose, it gained color, brightening into a sunflower yellow.

Tiffany swept her yellow skirt out beneath her as she sat back down. She took a long sip of her vanilla-with-caramel-shot coffee, two gentle gulps, and then laid her fingers on top of the keyboard. Her small assortment of bangles clinked against the plastic of her laptop. Her fingers hovered over the keys, then slid back. She just couldn't get in the mood to write this work stuff. She needed some motivation.

While Tiffany dug her earbuds out of her messenger bag--which had been a laptop case until a few moments ago--her hair draped down around her arms. It had always been straight, but now it was trimmed into layers, and each of the layers had been thoroughly volumized to give her bangs a little bit of flair. While she had kept them parted down the middle when not tied back in the bun, now her hair spilled down from her part on the right, hanging in thick bangs that nearly covered her right eye. Every couple minutes, she passed her claws through her hair, just to keep her thick dark bangs from draping down over her brow and into her eye.

Tiffany plugged her headphones into her laptop, closed her email, and opened up her music player. With some easy-to-listen-to guitar music going on, it was easy to get on the internet and just let her mind wander while she recharged. She had to be ready to deal with...whatever email thing it was. See? She was already relaxing really well. She was great at relaxing.

She took a deep drink of her coffee and kicked her feet up beneath the table. Her business jacket squeezed her uncomfortably, so she popped open the buttons and let it drape off her.

When she gave her plain white blouse space, it was space enough to let it start changing. Thin stripes of purple and black cut across the white and grew. The buttons on her blouse vanished and the firm formal fabric softened into soft tee shirt cotton. The neck dipped down lower, showing more of Tiffany's white fur against the purple and black stripes that now filled her V-neck tee. The stripes were just slightly off-kilter, not quite parallel to each other or to the hem of her shirt.

Tiffany was not feeling like work today. Could anyone really blame her? What did she even really do at the office? She needed to take a personal day to decompress and find herself. Having a job was just too stressful compared to browsing the internet and listening to her music. She tapped her fingers on the aluminum case of her Macbook, then wiggled her colorful keyboard protector into place. She fired off an email to her boss, saying she needed to take a personal day, then closed out of her email entirely so she wouldn't get any replies. With an accomplished feeling in her chest, she turned on shuffle in iTunes and went back to the internet.

As Tiffany reached up to swipe her hair away from her eyes again, she readjusted her glasses on her muzzle. They weren't prescription--they were just reading glasses, but they had the thick-rimmed, black-framed look that told people hey, maybe she was smart--prrobably smarter than someone without glasses, right? Also her glasses said that she read books, which she didn't really do, but she was the sort of person who would read a book, so that was close enough.

With her hair propped out of her eye by her glasses now, the only thing left that hinted at Tiffany's professional status was her charcoal jacket, opened and hanging off her shoulders like a particularly odd fashion choice. Tiffany lifted the cup of coffee to her muzzle and tilted it back to drink it down to the last drop.

The tailored stitching on her jacket unwound, though the charcoal color didn't fade. It did, however, begin to glisten, like the threads were merging together, fusing into a smooth surface. It draped neatly off her shoulders, framing her choice in shirts. The material turned to faux leather, with a soft, fluffy lining that made it more comfortable to wear than a sweater. The new casua jacket hung down, baggy on Tiffany's body, but only enough to be stylish, not enough to be cumbersome.

And now Tiffany's drink was gone. She wanted another one, maybe something sweeter with a couple different sorts of syrup in it. It was fine anyway, it was coffee--no one ever got fat drinking coffee. She popped her earbuds out and got out of her seat, leaving her Macbook on the table while she got into the line to order again. One more, for the road home. Then she could kick back, lie on her couch, watch some Netflix, and not have to worry about a thing until tomorrow. Ugh, going back to work. Couldn't she just hang out every day?

“Large vanilla twist with two scoops of sugar and chocolate and peppermint," she told the cashier, ready with her credit card while the fox behind the counter was still punching in the order.

Tiffany sat down with her sugary coffee, dunking two small cups of creamer into it. She reasoned that if nothing else, going to work would let her hang out here, and this place was clearly where people like her were hanging out. At least she'd have a cool place to go during lunch.

She slung her expensive computer into her messenger bag, pulled the bag up over her shoulder, and headed out the door with a long sip from her cup.