Slipped and Fell for You
Day 1 of the Carry On countdown via prompts from @carryon-countdown
Day 1: Coffee Shop AU
The overhead lights buzz with the old 80s music playing in the overhead speakers as I stand at the counter, bored out of my mind. It’s only been a few minutes since the last costumer, but it feels like it has been ages since I’ve seen anyone. My coworker, Agatha, is in the back “stocking.” I know she’s actually cramming for her upcoming geography exam after the break, so I don’t bother her for attention.
About 10 minutes pass before I’m ready to groan up at the ceiling in boredom for the third time today when a costumer walks in. The little bell on the door has my head snapping up and pulling me into character of the happy-go-lucky barista I am meant to portray.
The guy who walks in is unfamiliar, which is surprising this far into the semester. By now, most of the other Uni kids have come through the on-campus Starbucks in serious need of a caffeine boost or a calming tea. He has long black hair that looks extremely soft (seriously, what conditioner does this guy use?) and a sneer that could ward off anyone that dare try to talk to him.
“Hello,” I say cheerily, my voice cracking when he looks at me, sharp grey eyes boring into mine. “What can I get for you?” Mr. Death-glare glances up at the menu bored, then back to me. He looks tired, or maybe he always has bags under his eyes. Some people just look like that. “Coffee, black. Shot of espresso,” he mumbles. His voice is gravelly and low, and a weird feeling blooms in my chest. As scary as he looks, this guy is kind of…hot? I don’t know. Beauty concepts created by our society is weird, so who can really judge what is “hot,” right? Steaming milk is hot, for sure. He’s giving me a funny look and I realize I’m blushing.
“Sorry,” I mumble.
I don’t remember telling him the price or him handing me money, I only remember his fingers slightly brushing against mine as we exchanged currency for goods. He nods and begins to shuffle over to wear the coffee is usually delivered. “Wait,” I say, outreaching a hand in more of a gesture than an actual attempt to grab him, but he seems to flinch anyway. “I need your name – for the coffee, I mean.”
“Oh,” he says, and his sneer softens to more of a tired scowl. “Basilton,” he says and turns away to go sit and wait for his coffee. Basilton – what a name. I have no idea how to spell it, and I doubt he would be okay with being bothered again, so I just shorten it. No one else comes in while I make his coffee or when I put it out on the counter, but I say his name anyway, wanting to know how it would sound coming out of my mouth. “Basilton,” I say. His head snaps up and he tucks his phone into his jacket pocket.
As he reaches for his coffee, I pull it away, a lame attempt to – well I’m not sure what I’m attempting to do, but I’m doing something. His sneer is back and his eyes seem to go from daggers to swords as he looks up at me. “What,” he spits. “Erm. I- I didn’t know how to spell your name, so I had to shorten it,” I stumble over my words. What was I doing? More importantly, why was I doing it?
His face doesn’t soften like it did before. His brows knit together in angry confusion at me, and I swallow in attempt to get rid of the lump forming in my throat. His eyes flick to the movement of my Adam’s Apple, or is that my mind playing tricks on me? I don’t know and I don’t care. I feel like a nervous wreck and my palms are sweating from the heat of the coffee – at least, that’s what I tell myself.
I scoot the coffee toward him and he glances at it, almost seeming surprised by its presence – like he had forgotten about it.
“E-Enjoy,” I say.
He grunts and swoops the coffee aggressively off the counter, turns, and heads out the door. My heart is racing and I catch myself lingering my gaze on him until he turns a corner and disappears. Agatha comes out from the back, stretching her arms toward the ceiling and looking like death but beautiful as always. Her eyes widen when meeting mine, “Whoa, Simon, are you feeling okay? You’re completely red and look like you’re about to pass out.” She reaches out to touch my forehead but I swat her away. “’M fine,” I say. “Just hot up here, is all.” I make my way to the back and sit down. For some reason, this guy was in my head and wasn’t leaving. I can’t figure out if I like it or hate it.
I feel kind of bad for treating Simon so horrid, but today is not the day to fuck around with Tyrannous Basilton Grimm-Pitch.
Firstly, I had to pull an all-nighter with Niall, the git not being able to understand the simple basics of Psychology.
Secondly, my father thought it would be a grand idea for me to stay at school over the break rather than come home so that I could “focus on my studies,” and he had no problem paying for me to stay. I know the real reason is because he cannot handle having an openly queer son at his event, but it’s not like I mind all too much. I just wish I had the option to stay with my aunt in London instead, but he thought that worse than me attending his event, thinking she may be a bad influence on me. Right, because the only thing worse than a gay son is a gay son with a rebellious attitude toward the government.
And now I think I’ve just offended my crush of over a year by being moody in the worse possible way. Seeing him close and personal with his blue eyes staring at me so kindly made me feel like shit. How dare he be even cuter up close, bronze curls elegantly disheveled and eyes darkened from the shadows. What’s worse is that I’m sure he is straight. I have no chance with him, but it’s nice to fantasize about the boy who sits 4 rows in front of me in Literature Lecture. Well, more like torturous. Not nice. Crowley, I am a fool.
As I round another corner, I remember Snow telling me he had put a nickname on my cup. I force myself to not trip over my own two feet as I look at the horrible hand writing that reads “BAZ” in black sharpie. My heart quickens and I can feel myself blushing. Hearing him say my name aloud felt impersonal, surprisingly, but the nickname scrawled in horrible chicken-scratch feels much, much more personal – almost friendly. Did he want to be friends, or am I reading into it? Then there was the teasing with my coffee earlier. Was that flirting or him being spastic? Honestly, I have seen him around campus enough to notice the random spurts of energy he gets, dragging a very reluctant purple-haired girl with him.
I shake the thought from my head, reminding myself that it was his job to be friendly – hell, he didn’t even know who I was, although I can’t say I blame him. I have always kept to myself in the back of the room, never wanting to alert any sort of attention.
Suddenly, I am no longer walking. Instead, I’m on the ground, boiling-hot coffee spilled all over me and seeping into the cracks of the concrete, edging toward dry leaves scattered about the ground. My arse hurts like hell and I don’t know what happened. I try to stand and realize the ground is more slippery than usual. “Fuck,” I huff. I maneuver myself onto a safer part of the pavement, avoiding the ice and my coffee as best as possible. ‘This makes 4,’ I say to myself, adding onto my list of why my day is absolute shit and why I have every right to be mean. I look back down from where I came, defeated, and start to head back toward the Starbucks.
Maybe Simon will pity me enough to give me a free coffee. Or at least a discount.
The bell rings and I come up front, ready to put on the smiling face everyone expects me to have. It’s harder this time, now that I know who Baz is. Agatha explained to me that he was in our Lit class and came from an extremely high-up government family, but wasn’t going home during the break because his father was embarrassed of him. I can’t imagine why, since he has the highest scoring in our school and literally speaks 5 different languages fluently.
I start to remember seeing him in class, seeing him before everyone else was seated in the room with his nose crammed into a notebook, or in the front arguing with the professor in a hushed tone over the reading material. I don’t know why I had never noticed him before? Maybe he didn’t want to be noticed. Whatever the reason is, I can’t help but to think about how he and I will be one of the few people stuck on campus during break. But I need to stop thinking about him because there’s a costumer and-
This was a bad idea. A horrible, terrible idea. I thought that coming back to the coffee shop would give me the chance to clean up and regain some form of dignity. I had kept my head held high the entire way here and practiced my lines for when I came in. Simon was to say, “Hello.” I was to ask for the toilet, calm and cool, and he was to point in its general direction. Then I would clean up, say my thanks, and leave. I hadn’t even thought to buy another coffee to replace the old one, adrenaline having woken me up.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, Simon is looking at me like I had just walked out of the apocalypse with a massive wound I’m casually ignoring and called me Baz. I felt my breath hitch at the sound of him using the nickname. “What happened? Are you okay?” If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he was genuinely concerned that I had gotten mugged or something – my coat is covered in a giant coffee stain and my hair is windblown everywhere, so it’s understandable. I tried to say something witty, but his eyes were so full of concern it makes me feel sick.
“Toilet,” is all I manage. He nods hurriedly and jumps – actually jumps – over the counter and starts to show me toward the restroom. As soon as we were in, I thought he would leave. But he proves me wrong and stays with me as I take off my jacket and wrinkle my nose at it. I always knew white wasn’t my color, and this is a sign confirming my thoughts.
I sigh and look up at Simon. His eyes are wide and his cheeks go from pinkish to almost red as I meet his gaze. “Do you mind,” I mutter. He blinks at me and sputters, “Oh. Right, of course. Yeah. Sorry, mate. I’ll just. Yeah. I’llbeouthereifyouneedanything.” His hip hits the sink on his clumsy way out and I hear him mutter a curse under his breathe. “Watch your mouth, we’re at work,” I hear a girl call from outside. The door closes and it’s quiet once more.
I splash water on my face and hold on to the sink, staring into the drain as if my problems could be washed down the drain with the water. But they can’t, obviously. I check my pants to make sure they’re not ruined – they’re not, thank Merlin. I plan to check for bruising back in my room – not here, knowing that Simon is outside my door and could come in any time he wished. I leave the restroom, surprised to find him not there, but instead at the register, humming to the overhead music and doing tricks with the cup as he moves about. As if nothing had happened a few minutes ago.
I attempt to sneak past him, hoping he was preoccupied enough to have forgotten about me. “Hey, Baz!”
I try to put on my sneer, not wanting to talk about how embarrassing I am to the universe. But the effort to do so diminishes immediately when his eyes meet mine. I feel my face fall as I approach the counter, feeling suddenly drained and tired and in great need of a nap. I look up at him and say nothing, knowing whatever may come out of my mouth may come off as offensive.
“You okay, mate? You really had me worried. I’m assuming your coffee spilled all over you somehow. I’ll make you a new one, don’t worry about it. Black coffee with a shot of espresso, right?” I feel my head spin as he takes off from the counter and goes for the cups to his left. “No,” I try to say, but it come out cracked and weak.
“Did I get it wrong?” he asks, stopping in his tracks and bringing his full attention to me.
“No,” I say again, firmer. “You are correct, I just do not want a coffee anymore.” He blinks at me. Once. Twice. He puts the coffee cup back onto its pile. “Oh. Well, could I at least treat you to a pastry?”
I shake my head.
“Not even a sour cherry scone?”
I look at him suspiciously from where I stand. “Sounds like that’s made up, Snow.” He cracks a smile and laughs a little. His laugh is so amazing; I don’t think I could ever get tired of it. I want to hear it again, but I can’t just tell him that. I realize I called him Snow, his last name. Crisse, I think I fucked up. I never gave away that I know him, right? Crowley, he’s going to think I’m some stalker.
But he’s still laughing and that’s good, right? My mouth tugs a little upwards, but I fight the smile. I don’t want to come off creepy – unless I already have and Simon is only laughing because he’s weirded out by me and fears what I may do to him. He stops and looks at me, eyes flicking down to my mouth and then back up at me.
What does that mean?
He smiles, just a little. It’s so small and brief that I barely catch it. I feel myself uncontrollably smiling wide at him. “Well then, it seems like I owe you a coffee. Perhaps we can get one tomorrow? Or whenever you’re available.” Smooth, Simon. Real smooth.
Baz looks at me, tilting his head in thought, his once windblown hair back to its perfect, soft style. “Will you be here during break?” he asks. I shrug, “Living on campus, but not working since we’re closed. What about you?” I don’t want him to know that I know he’ll be on campus – that would come off as weird.
“Yeah, I’ll be around. Erm… see you then?” he asks, awkwardly waving at me.
“Wait!” I say quickly before picking up a paper cup. I flip it and the marker out of habit and write my number on it. “So we can contact one another,” I say. My heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest as he takes the cup out of my hand and examines it. Without a word, he reaches over the counter and grabs a cup and plucks the Sharpie from my hand.
From here, I can tell his handwriting is as beautiful as him. He hands me the cup with elegant numbers scrawled across it and I wrap it in my hands, holding it tightly to my chest.
“I’ll text you,” he says as he reaches for the bar of the door handle blindly, missing the bar twice before finally finding it and stumbling with it as it opened. A giddy laugh escapes me as I look back down at the cup.
Did I just get a date with Simon fucking Snow?