Dates and Deal Breakers- Coffee Shop AU
So, I promised @takemeawaytocamelot that this would be finished by the end of the week, and I always keep my promises!
This is a continuation of “Two Sugars, Extra Cream” which you can find here under Coffee Shop AU . Enjoy!
Chapter 2: Dates and Deal Breakers
It was 6:30, and I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror contemplating what in God’s name I should do with my hair. Steaming milk for 6 hours did wonders for curls, and not in the good way. The only way to fix this was to shower, and I simply did not have time for that.
“What do you think Adso?” I turned to the small pile of gray fur in the doorway. “Is it acceptable? Oh, gross!” He was licking his nether-parts. I wasn’t sure if he did that for business or pleasure, but it was disgusting either way.
Adso turned at my exclamation, green eyes bright in his charcoal face. He stared unwaveringly, making me super uncomfortable after his previous activity.
“I’m going to take that awkward stare as a yes, and assume I look all right,” I told him. He meowed happily, and rubbed himself in a figure-eight around my legs. “Okay, don’t trip me Addy. It’s one thing to have messy hair on a first date. It’s another to have a broken arm.”
He continued his rubbing, anyway. Obviously, he didn’t care about my feelings whatsoever. But, what cat ever did?
I pivoted to face the full length mirror on the door, and surveyed “The Outfit,” bottom to top. Black boots, black tights, black dress. Black on black on black.
My eyes made their way to my hair. Wild as ever, dark curls springing in every direction. There was no hope for it.
Maybe I should put a headband or something in it…
A headband? What are you, Beauchamp? Eight?
I ran my hands through it, zooshing it up a bit.
Shit, that made it worse.
Before I could destroy my hair further, Adso startled me by yowling at the door.
Shit. Is that him?
And then the doorbell rang.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Jamie drove an obnoxiously large, obnoxiously red truck.
“Compensating for something, my lad?” Jamie had my hand in his, carefully assisting me into his monstrosity vehicle. He gave me a pointed look and slammed the door, but otherwise did not acknowledge my hilarious joke. I watched the top of his red mane float across the windshield before he appeared fully on the other side.
“Nay, ‘twas my godfather’s. He sold it to me fer a guid price.” Jamie heaved into the truck using his grab handles. He wiggled a bit in his seat, before buckling up.
“And what did your godfather need a truck this large for?”
“I dinna ken. Tae hold his big balls, most like.”
Jamie whipped his truck into the parking lot of a place called Iggy’s Steakhouse.
“Well, I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not a vegetarian…” I said, wrestling with the seatbelt. Jamie had already unbuckled and magically appeared at my side, opening the door for me. He held out his hand, and I used that as leverage to hop out of the truck.
“Aye… Perhaps I shoulda asked…”
“Perhaps. But you’re lucky. I eat meat like nobody’s business.”
“Good.” He placed a hand gently on the small of my back (!!!) and started leading me to the entrance. His hand was large, and probably took up half the space on my back. But it was warm, and his thumb was make tiny, almost imperceptible motions against my dress. I could melt, and would happily be the small English puddle in his life.
Despite the name (Seriously, what kind of name is Iggy? Is it short for something?), the inside was lovely and proper. Small tabled were arranged in rows, each with a candle and a white tablecloth. Small chandeliers littered the ceiling, creating a charming, dim ambiance. I heard, amongst the chattering of patrons, quiet orchestral music. This had to be the fanciest first date I’ve ever been on, and I told Jamie just as much.
“Wow. This place is wonderful! I’ve never heard of it before.”
“Well, it’s not a huge place, ken. My mate Angus owns the place. That’s how I knew about it,” Jamie responded, as we stepped to the hostess. “Two under Fraser, please.”
The woman guided us to our table. A table with a card on it that read “Reservation” in calligraphy. I suppose it pays to know the owner. Speaking of the owner…
“So,” I began, as I shimmied out of my coat. “Your friend’s name is Angus. And he owns a steak restaurant… I can taste the irony, and it tastes like cow.” Jamie chuckled, teeth sparkling in the candlelight.
“Aye. I dinna ken if he did that purposely.” He took a small sip of water. “But, he’s the type that would, so…” He took another sip, this time including an ice cube. He bit down on the ice with a crunch, and munched on it happily, very much like a cow we were preparing to eat.
“Wow, Fraser. Hungry?”
“Bad habit. I’ve done it since I was a lad. Anytime I would get hot or nervous, I’d eat ice. Deal breaker?”
“No, my bad habits are much worse, just you wait,” I grinned. Jamie mirrored my grin.
“Nay, I doubt that. Ice crunching is probably the worst habit anyone could have. It’s irritatin’ and it’s bad for yer teeth.”
“You know what else is bad for your teeth? Smoking.”
“I dinna know you smoked.” I could hear the trepidation in his voice. Obviously, that was a deal breaker for him.
“I don’t. I’m just giving you a fun fact.” With that, he let out a breath.
“Yer always messin’ wi’ me, Sassenach.”
“I know. I think that’s just how I flirt.”
“Yer flirting wi’ me?”
“I’ve been flirting with you since we first met. Thanks for noticing.”
Our dinners came out perfectly arranged on silvery plates. A medium rare steak took up one half, a small salad took up the other. It looked simply mouth-watering. And I, feeling more than a bit peckish, started cutting into it immediately. Jamie, I noticed, did not.
“Oh, aye. Everything’s fine.” He waved over the server; a blond boy no more than 17. “Excuse me, sir? Could I maybe have a bottle of ketchup?”
“Umm, aye?” The boy answered, perplexed, before scampering off. I was confused as well.
“What in God’s name do you need ketchup for?”
“My steak, o’ course.” I stared at him blankly. Surely he was joking…
“What? Have ye no seen a man put ketchup on his steak before?” He seemed slightly miffed by my attitude.
“No! Never!” It was the truth. I had heard of such blasphemies, but never experienced them first-hand. “You mean to tell me that you took me this nice place, all to drown your delicious steak in ketchup. And your friend owns the place, no less!”
“Are ye mocking my food choice?” Was he truly hurt by this?
“No!” I assured. “I’m just…concerned. Donald Trump eats his steak with ketchup, and I just don’t want you to end up like that…” He rolled his eyes at me. At this time, the young server popped in to drop off Jamie’s desecration, before leaving again. Jamie squeezed the ketchup in his plate, cut into his meal, dipped it in said ketchup, and took an enormous bite. Even more disturbing was him staring at me with wide blue eyes the entire time.
“You’re killing me; you know that?”
“Aye. It’s why I’m doing it. Hope this isn’t a deal breaker either.” I thought for a second, eyes to the ceiling.
“No, but you’re pushing it.”
Dinner tasted as good as it looked, and I, thankfully, didn’t vomit while watching Jamie eat ketchup drenched steak.
“We’re ready fer the check, please,” Jamie told the boy-server.
“Aye, sir,” he responded.
“It was delicious Jamie,” I said once the boy was gone. “You’ll have to tell your friend that he has a wonderful restaurant.”
“Aye, I will, Sassenach,” Jamie replied as he took the check-holder from the server, and deftly slid his card into the designated pocket before handing it back to him. “He’ll be pleased.”
Jamie wrapped his arm around me as we left the restaurant, which left me feeling all safe and warm. He carefully maneuvered me back into his firetruck, before floating over to his side.
“Claire,” he said seriously. This caught my attention. Usually we were playful, and banter-y. This was different. He reached over, and tucked a stray curl behind my ear. “I forgot tae tell ye how lovely ye looked tonight. I should have when I picked ye up, but I was too busy staring, ken? Truly, ye are the loveliest woman, inside and out.”
I blushed. No one had ever spoken to me like that, with such sweetness and sincerity. I wasn’t used to it, and I didn’t know how to respond.
“Thank you, Jamie. You look very handsome yourself this evening.” It was the truth. He wore a green and blue plaid shirt that simultaneously brought out the red in his hair and the blue in his eyes. His jeans were dark, and hugged his hips lovingly. But it was more than that. It was the twinkle in his eyes. The deep laugh. The small bump in his nose. The ears that stuck out just a bit. The kindness and humour that came so effortlessly to him. I was infatuated. He smiled brightly, pulling at the dimple in his chin.
“Thank ye, Claire. Not just for the compliment, but fer spending the evening wi’ me.”
“It was my pleasure.”
“Mine, as well.”
“Shit.” I wasn’t sure if I had ever heard Jamie curse, but I suppose there was a first time for everything.
“What? What’s wrong?” But I could already feel it. The truck was slowing down, with no assistance from Jamie. He veered over to the shoulder of the road. “Did your truck just die?”
“Nay. Ran out of gas.” I also don’t think I’ve ever seen Jamie angry, but tonight was a night of firsts, I suppose. His eyes narrowed, and I saw him clenching and unclenching his jaw. He jumped out of the truck, and slammed the door, hard. I know he was trying to keep his voice down for me, but I still heard the muffled profanities. Some I wasn’t even sure were real words. He circled the truck a couple times, before opening the door again.
“There’s a station, up over the hill. I’ll have to push it. You scoot over and make sure I dinna push it into traffic.”
“Jamie…” But he had already closed the door again, and positioned himself at the back. I felt the truck start to move forward, so I moved over to the driver’s side, and steered.
And that was how we spent the next hour: trying to get the truck up the hill. I offered to push while he steered for a bit, but he was having none of it. So, I sat there steering when I needed to, pushing the brakes when I needed to, but altogether feeling quite useless.
When we made it to the station, Jamie was red-faced with hair sticking to his forehead and neck. I wouldn’t tell him this, but it was kind of sexy.
“Thank the Lord!” He exclaimed after filling his truck up. I could tell he was worn. He was breathing harder than usual. Gone was the alive twinkle in his eyes. It was replaced by glassy exhaustion.
“Do you need me to drive? You’re about to pass out.”
“Nay, I’ll be fine.”
“Just let me help, Jamie.”
“That’s verra kind, but I’m completely awake. My muscles just ache.”
I could be as stubborn as any Scot, and he could see it too. I had my jaw set and my eyes narrowed, ready to be a mule.
We ended up performing an odd sort of dance across the bench seat, so that we switched places. If this vehicle seemed big as a passenger, it was completely enormous as the driver. I carefully backed out of the space, and sped to a racing crawl all the way back to my flat.
To Jamie’s credit, he did not fall asleep as a drove. He was, however, staring unseeingly at the street lamps passing by. When I parked at my flat, his reverie broke.
“Can you make it back okay?” I asked as he walked me to my door.
“Aye, I dinna live too far. Besides, I told ye, my body’s jus’ tired, no my brain.”
“Well, if you’re sure…”
“I am. Dinna worry. I’ll text ye when I get home, okay?”
“Okay, that’ll make me feel better.” Now here came the awkward part. The part I was never good at: the goodbye after the first date. Do we kiss? Do we hug? Do we shake hands? High five? Fist bump? Jamie placed a hand on my shoulder.
“I had a wonderful time, Sassenach. Shall we do it again sometime?”
“You have my number.” I winked at him. He blinked owlishly back. And then wrapped me in his arms in a crushing hug.
No, that won’t do.
I pulled away from him, and pecked him lightly on the corner of his mouth.
“Be safe, Jamie.”
Iggy’s Restaurant is a fake restaurant. Any resemblance to other restaurants past or present is complete coincidental.
Also, I did have the steakhouse written before today, but I just had to put the ketchup part in after ECCC panel. :)