The Ashamed Fern

“Almond milk, please?” she gives her coffee order. 
“Name?” the young barista askes without glancing up. “Freya. F-R-E-Y-A.” 
The barista scrawls a few letters as Freya thinks, that won’t be my name. The barista confirms the price, and Freya waves her phone over the machine.
Freya waits by the collection point. When the cup appears in front of her, she looks at her name with a sigh: F-E-R-N. Well, at least they got the ‘F’ right. 

She walks quickly, balancing her coffee, bag, and umbrella. She pauses in the doorway of her office building’s lobby, perches her coffee on the side while she closes her umbrella. Fishing out her pass, she picks up her coffee and hurries in. She catches a lift as the doors were closing.

“Hey!” said the man in the lift as she steps in. “Fern.”
Freya looked down at the cup in her hand and scowls. 
He laughs. “Happens to us all.”
“Yeah? How do they mess up Sean?”
“One said ‘shame’ once. I dwelled on it for the whole day. I swear I lost a deal because of it.”
Freya smiles. She glances at the floor numbers counting by. 
7
“How’s your deal going?” Sean asks.
“Good, I think. Should hear today.”
10
“Ah, that’s great.”
11
“Hey, do you-,” Sean starts.
PING
“Never mind. Good luck!”
“Thanks! See you.”
They walk off in different directions. 

After the meeting, Freya walks her clients to the lift. 
“Great job, Ms Ward. I look forward to our partnership.”
“Thank you, Mr Lewis. Take care!”

She goes back to her desk and finds a folded note. 

Well done, Fern! 
Dinner tonight? 
From your unashamed admirer

She looks over at his desk — empty. She quickly grabs a piece of paper. 

Dinner — yes!
But first, let’s grab a coffee and get you a better nickname. 
Yours,
Fern

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