Optional Bias Scenario | Bittersweet
Summary: You start a new job at a café and meet someone that you definitely weren’t expecting to.
Word Count: 1416
He’s actually here.
Your eyes drop back to the display case, fingers pausing around the silver foil of the cupcake you were about to move. You frown to yourself, feeling silly about the way your pulse jumped when you’d seen who walked through the entrance to the café.
You sigh, pushing the cupcake into line behind its siblings before sliding the door to the display case shut. You wipe your hands against the apron tied around your waist and approach the register.
You’d jokingly thought, when you first got the job, that you’d see idols all the time given the café’s close proximity to two entertainment buildings, but you’d never actually considered it an actual possibility. There were assistants to do coffee runs, after all - but here he is, proving you wrong yet again.
The first time he came in a month ago, it had been nearing midnight and the café was dead. The only customer was a frazzled-looking university student who didn’t even bother looking up from their textbook to see who’d entered.
Of course you’d noticed.
You’d been stuck the late shift that week for training on cash since the traffic in and out of the café was more manageable and people were more forgiving late at night if you were a little slow. You’d been bored out of your mind, wiping down the front of the display case for what was probably the fifth time that past hour alone just because you were itching for something to do.
Your coworker was perched on a box behind the counter, flipping through a stack of index cards with furrowed brows, trying to get some last minute studying in for the test he had the following morning. He glanced up at the man approaching the counter and jerked his chin toward the register.
“You should know what to do by now.” His attention returned to his notes and you felt your heart fall into the empty pit where your stomach was supposed to be. You’d been manning the register by yourself all night, but it felt like day one all over again as you forgot how to even turn the screen back on from its sleeping function.
He had a camera in his hand and was speaking softly to it. He must have been filming for some reality show or something. Even though it should have looked strange, a person technically talking to himself in the middle of an empty café, he looked so comfortable and unselfconscious about it that it didn’t. He smiled when he finally reached the counter and gestured toward the small display card that featured the new latte your café was promoting.
“I’d like to try this, please.” He pointed the camera toward the card. “It looks yummy, right?”
Your hands fumbled as you tapped the screen and it came to life. Your eyes darted about as you tried to find the right buttons and ignore the way your heart was about to tear a hole through your chest because of how fiercely it was beating. Your fingers tingled as you reach the cash out screen; you were the literal physical embodiment of nervousness.
“It’ll be five thousand, three hundred won.” You resisted the urge to pat yourself on the back for not stuttering once when you spoke. He smiled again and you felt your cheeks flush as he reached into his wallet and passed you his card.
“You’re new,” he said and you almost dropped the small piece of plastic.
“I started yesterday.” You kept your eyes trained on the card machine, certain that if you snuck one more glance at him, what little composure you had would be a thing of the past.
“Ah.” The camera fell to his side. “I just got back yesterday, so that explains why I haven’t seen you before. Are you enjoying it so far?”
Your brows drew together; you were surprised that he was keeping up a conversation with you. People weren’t exactly talkative at this time, more concerned about getting through the night with a caffeine fix than learning your life story.
“Everything but the late hours,” you said and he laughed. You let your lips curve up slightly, pleased that you were able to incur that reaction, as you passed the card back. “It’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
“Thanks, no rush.”
He returned to his camera while you wandered over to the espresso machine to make his latte. You glanced at him while he was entertaining himself and you couldn’t stop the smile that grew on your face at his playfulness.
You called his name when his latte was ready and he returned to the counter with a bright smile. He accepted the drink you slid across the counter and raised it in thanks.
“See you around,” he said, before disappearing into the night again.
And you did.
You saw him every night for the next two weeks while you worked the late shift, but when you were finally done with training your manager decided to put you on afternoons and you haven’t seen him since.
You won’t lie and say that your heart doesn’t jump a little bit every time the bells above the entrance to the café chime during the slow lulls because a part of you still expects him to waltz in and order whatever drink the store is promoting that day. You also won’t say you’re not disappointed every time it’s not him, even though you feel ridiculous admitting it.
It’s not like you guys struck up the romance of the century with the small chatter you fell into while you made his coffee those nights, but you’d thought that he was a little interested, even after your coworker explained that he was usually that friendly with anyone working when he came to get his caffeine fix during his late hour rehearsal breaks. You’d stupidly let yourself be a little hopeful.
Now, nearly two weeks after your last night shift, you’d been about ready to give up that hope and settle into the reality that there’d been nothing happening there that hadn’t been built up in your mind, but there he is. And you’re not quite sure what to make of it.
The café’s pretty quiet, mostly couples sharing desserts in the late afternoon, or students trying to finish up work before their evening classes, so he has your full attention when he walks up to the register. He doesn’t look as bright as usual, wrinkles gracing his forehead while his hands are stuffed in his pockets as if he’s got something on his mind.
Your brows meet above the bridge of your nose as you eye his expression. “Everything alright?”
“Yeah, yeah, everything’s great.” His face brightens in a forceful way which makes you less inclined to believe him, but it’s not your place to pry.
“I’m surprised to see you in here in the daytime,” you say honestly. “What can I get you today?”
You expect him to point toward the little promotional card beside the register, but instead he asks for an iced americano. You bite your tongue as you ring him up and go about preparing his order. You’re considering crossing that line to ask him if he’s actually okay but he speaks before you can get the words out of your own mouth.
“Would you like to grab coffee with me sometime?” he asks, speaking so quickly that his words slur together and it takes your mind a second to process what he’s said. Your pause must make him nervous because he continues to ramble, “I mean - you don’t have to. I don’t want to put you on the spot but I’ve missed seeing you and I don’t want to distract you while you’re at work and get you in trouble - ”
A smile spreads across your cheeks as you realize why he’d seemed so worried walking into the café. You’re relieved that you hadn’t been going crazy making things up in your head, and also a little flattered that he’d been forward enough to even say that he missed you.
“I’d love to,” you say as you push the iced americano across the counter so it sits between you two. Your nose wrinkles a little as you jerk your chin toward it. “But maybe we could do something other than coffee?”
He laughs and runs his hand across the back of his neck, nodding. “Yeah, that’s probably a better idea.”
A/N: Hey guyssss, so after completely binging on all the scenarios I could get my hands on, I decided that I wanted in on the action! I use to write one shots back in the day, but it’s been a while so I’m a little rusty. If you have any specific requests (that fall into the list of what I accept on my page), let me know! I’m thinking of trying to post at least one scenario a day as a way to keep practicing my writing, so always feel free to drop by if you want me to write about something (or someone) in particular! - Fee x