elementary AU minific #7/22 – candy barred
Joan already knew that the machine in the doctors’ lounge on three never had any good candy by the end of second shift. The one by the family area didn’t either. The army of machines nearest the ER were wiped out within hours of being filled on a Friday like today.
It made her feel a bit mercenary but she had a pretty good idea where she could find some chocolate. There was a tiny room – a closet almost – off the waiting area on seven. The coffee machine there saw plenty of service but the families waiting for word on that floor did little more than stare blankly at the candy machine. Some well meaning friend might buy something but chances were high she’d be able to find a better selection than a severely overpriced York Peppermint Pattie or “Dexter Raisin Bar” – whatever the hell that was.
She ditched her white coat and borrowed a pink cardigan from her favorite nurse. She’d bring Markéta a Snickers and a bag of pretzels as a thank you. There was no way she wanted to walk through the tense faces she’d find on seven with that on. Her scrubs would make things bad enough for anyone paying attention.
She pulled the soft pink knit around herself like a shield and walked purposely through the sitting area, carefully avoiding eye contact. She made it to the vending alcove, currency clutched more tightly in her fist than she’d realized. What really surprised her, though, was the police officer awkwardly crouched in front of the candy machine – his arm clearly stuck further into the machine than the collection tray at the bottom.
She checked over her shoulder and was relieved that they were entirely blocked from the waiting area’s view.
“What are you doing?” she hissed.
The young man – and he was very young or maybe anyone caught with their hand jammed into a candy machine would seem exceedingly young – startled at her voice. His eyes were wide with surprise but his bottom lip was still caught in his teeth from concentrating on reaching for his snack. Then his dark, handsome face was overtaken by a devastating smile.
For one flash of a moment Joan’s entire reaction was a single, small, “oh.” But it was an “oh” that erupted from rogue, subterranean place inside her. It was instantly shut down with a flash of anger at herself that she could be so disarmed by a charming smile.
“I’m, um,” he shifted, trying to withdraw his arm, “it… uh. It took the last of my change.” His obvious embarrassment pleased her. His attention turned back to the machine as he struggled for another moment. “Actually, I think I’m stuck,” he added with another tug on his trapped arm.
Joan carefully stepped around him, trying to get a clearer view of his predicament. “Try twisting your hand to the right but moving your wrist left,” she instructed. Tilting her head, she studied the situation. “I think if you just fold your hand a bit you should be able to… Yeah, there you go.” She stepped back, giving him room to stand now that he was free.
“I’d offer to buy you a candy bar as a thank you but this thing already wiped me out,” he said, his face displaying a return of that damn smile.
Joan looked at the creased bills in her hand. Maybe Markéta wouldn’t mind just the pretzels.
“How about I’ll buy you one and you owe me?”
His head dipped when he laughed. “Deal. But stay away from E-4.”
(candy barred AU from this list of AU prompts. Track or block “22 worlds in 30 days” if you would like to see or avoid these posts.)