It’s hard to meet people when you’re taller than door-frames.
wanted to try to write another sort of meet-cute scenario to experiment and practice with interpersonal interactions and just generally cute scenarios, and my friend Ruth was the perfect target, so this is what came of it.
|| Old content, Originally posted March 15th, 2017 ||
Coffee Shop Meeting
Ruth couldn’t keep his eyes off the newcomer. He knew it was rude to stare and he did his best to focus on his work, but every time he handed someone their coffee he would find his gaze sweeping over the line of people down below to the face looming above everyone else’s heads. He just wasn’t used to seeing others that towered over everyone around them. Dragons weren’t exactly common, and sure he had met a few before but they were rare enough he never saw any others in his day to day life. Yet here he was, looming head and shoulders over everyone else in the coffee shop. Granted the guy wasn’t as big as he was, not in any way that he could see.
Even for dragons, Ruth came out very near the top of the bell curve in most aspects and outright broke it in one or two others. The dragon at the back of the line was damned tall. He was easily over eight feet tall give or take a few inches, though Ruth’s lofty ten foot height still had a good head and change over him. From what he could see of the red dragon’s build, he certainly had a good bit of muscle on him but most of it seemed to run more of that lean, tightly wound sinew rather than bulky bodybuilder muscle that was more for show than use. Ruth had more than enough of both, and needed it to carry around the extra padding around his gut and hips that the dragon in the back of the line clearly did not have to contend with. Where Ruth’s massive bulk was like a walking, slightly jiggling tank, the red dragon was a lithe predator.
“Hello? My Latte?” A voice called from down below, snapping the the massive white dragon out of his examination.
“S-sorry” he stammered quickly, glancing down at the cheetah woman at the counter and finishing ringing up her drink. His girthy fingers fumbled briefly with the change in the register as he took her payment but both that and the slight slouching he had to do to offer her the change without forcing her to reach up was ingrained in his work at this point. He was used to almost everyone that came in barely being more than half his height. Through sheer force of will Ruth pushed his attention back to his work, doing his best not to let his gaze wander to the other dragon in the room for more than a second as he took the next several orders for drinks. Then, finally, it was his turn.
Ruth still had to look down, but not nearly as far as he usually did. The red dragon, on the other hand had to look up which he was clearly not used to doing all that often. For a second, Ruth could swear he heard the inevitable ‘how’s the weather up there’ joke building in the air. Most of the regulars had long since gotten bored of such shallow and easy jokes but he still got it every so often from newcomers, and from someone that almost always got that joke used on them the opportunity to use it on others was certainly almost impossible to pass up. Which made what he said instead that much more surprising.
“That is so not fair. Not gonna lie, I’m kinda jealous. I can count the number of people that I’ve met that are taller than me on one hand, and you’d still out do all of them.” He said with a light chuckle.
His voice was deep and rich, with the slightest twinges of a growl to his words. Something that most people would only notice subconsciously and which would put them slightly on edge as something deep in the primitive parts of their brain reacted to the sounds of a predator. It was something Ruth’s voice unconsciously did as well, though he had never really noticed it until he had heard it in other dragon’s or high-predator’s voices. When the dragon continued talking Ruth realized he had stood there in silence for several seconds without responding, and felt his cheeks heat slightly with an embarrassed blush.
“I rarely come to coffee shops, I don’t even like the taste of coffee, I just like the smell. How about you choose for me, just give me, like, the gayest fruitiest sweet tea that you guys have” He commented somewhat absentmindedly after ineffectively scanning over the hanging menu boards. “Surprise me.”
‘Um...” Ruth stammered for a moment, having to make a conscious effort to keep his tail in check lest it flick out behind him and knock something over (again). “Yea I can do that. We uh… we have a passion fruit mango tea that’s good...” he started to answer, then trailed off at the end when the smaller dragon smiled at him.
His lips pulled back in a full toothed smile that showed off rows of the same predatory teeth that lined his own mouth. Reminiscent of a shark with how all of the visible ones in the front were perfect, pointed triangles with near needle sharp points at the end. He couldn’t help another blush rushing across his cheeks momentarily and silently prayed that they hadn’t actually turned pink. Those teeth were meat rending killing machines evolved over untold millennium of evolution building perfect predators but rather than threatening to rip his throat out or tear chunks out of him, they were smiling at him. Ruth always had been self-conscious about his own fangs because he thought they scared people, especially when piled on top of his enormous size. But these didn’t make him afraid. Maybe it was because of the friendly demeanor behind them or simply because somewhere in the back of his head he knew for all the red dragon was Ruth was still the bigger predator, but rather than unnerving him Ruth found them almost… attractive?
Forcing the thought from his head Ruth quickly focused his attention on the cash register instead. Deftly typing in the order with fingers far larger than what the keyboard was meant for he rang up the dragon’s order and made change for the ten dollar bill he was given in exchange. With a smile he hoped didn’t show his embarrassment, Ruth gestured for the dragon to have a seat.
“Just hang out for a minute and we’ll have that read for you” he said softly. “What’s your name?”
For a split second the whole world seemed to go absolutely silent, or at least that’s what Ruth’s mind seemed to think as it immediately began to spiral into a self-conscious panic. Before he could collect his thoughts he quickly stammered out an addendum to his question, which only drew attention to the misunderstanding he was afraid of.
“I-I mean for the drink! What name should I put on the drink! You know, so we don’t get it mixed up with someone else’s! Not that I’d mix you up with anyone else here I mean you’re almost as tall as me and everyone else here is short. Not that it’s their fault, I don’t mean short in a bad way I just mean that we’re, you know, taller and stuff…!”
Finally near the end of his little ramble did Ruth finally get control of his tongue and lock it away inside his clenched jaw, blushing furiously and momentarily averting his gaze. There was no question this time his cheeks must be visibly pink by now, how he hated having white coloration on his hide. It made it so obvious to see when he was embarrassed. When he finally mustered the courage to look back at the red dragon he saw that same toothy smile that sent a tiny electric tingle down his spine.
“Dragonien. And don’t ask why my parent’s picked that name. You can just shorten it to Drago, everyone does.”
His voice held none of the ridicule that Ruth had been fearing. If anything his tone seemed ever so slightly more chipper as if amused by the situation more than anything else. Still blushing, Ruth took the silence as opportunity to hand Dragonien his receipt and turn to the next customer before they got irritated at the delay… or he made more of a fool of himself.
Five minutes later Ruth had been able to calm himself down thanks to the repetition of taking others orders and handing them out giving him something to focus on. When the Vixen working the brew station handed the comparatively small cup of chilled fruity liquid to Ruth he nervously glanced around the shop looking for the red dragon. He wasn’t hard to spot since he was still standing up, leaned against a wall in the far corner. Ruth knew from experience the booths were too narrow and thin to fit someone of either of their sizes, and he wouldn’t bet money on whether the cast iron chairs would take even the red dragon’s weight without bending, much less his own. A quick gesture towards Dragonien beckoned him back to the counter where Ruth could offer him the fruity drink. With another of those fang-filled smiles he took the cup and, after a quick sniff of it, lifted up the cup and downed a fourth of it in a single large gulp.
“Whew!” he exclaimed a bit too loudly, several other customers glancing in his direction at the noise. “That stuff’s strong! Like being punched in the face with a fruit flavored boxing glove!” he said in a slightly more subdued tone, shaking his head slightly as if trying to physically recover from the assault on his sense of taste. “Good though! Just need to get used to that initial kick.”
With a happy expression he turned back to Ruth, eyes briefly looking the winged, ivory colored drake up and down. His eyes momentary roamed over the hints of the red coloration lines along one side of the larger dragon’s body at slightly irregular intervals. For a second Ruth swore the dragon was taking in a deep breath and holding it briefly, as if he were preparing himself for something. If Ruth wasn’t so experienced with the action, having to mentally steel himself all the time due to his self-consciousness he probably would have missed it. Then, after fishing a hand around in the pocket of his jeans, Dragonien pulled out rolled up five dollar bill. With a last, friendly smile at Ruth that looked just the tiniest hint of nervous, he carefully placed the fiver in the tip jar as Ruth watched. Then, he raised his cup to thank the larger dragon, and turned to head out of the coffee shop.
It wasn’t until Drago had been gone for several moments that Ruth turned his attention away from the door and back to the tip jar, Unable to keep a smile off his face. For all his nervousness about constant social interaction he loved when he felt that someone had been genuinely satisfied with their visit. As he looked down at the rolled up five dollar bill though, Ruth noticed something. There was a small strip of napkin seemingly rolled up in it, the tip of which stuck out of the top. Curiously, he fished the bill out and unrolled it to pull the napkin free from its prison. When he did, his cheeks turned bright pink once more as a blush overtook him at the sight of the napkin. Or, more specifically, what was written on the napkin.
A phone number.