How about a drink? Denmark and Reader:
You wished the coffee shop had stricter rules, especially along the lines of co-workers. The revelation had hit you the night before. You had to practically drag yourself out of the bed in the morning, legs heavy with dread and eyes misted with worry, reluctant to start the work day and feeling slightly stupid for not noticing it earlier.
He was a nice guy; he was tolerable on good days to the other co-workers, cheerful, a bit obnoxious, and usually smelled a bit like beer. His appearances matched his personality perfectly with sandy blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a strong jaw. It would be easy for him to get a girlfriend. Actually, a lot of teenage girls came in just to flirt or check him out. But he wasn’t interested, oh no, there was only one person who you were sure he had his eyes on, the only person he was genuinely “kind” to and actually listened to, and that was you.
The thought of it made you queasy and dread boiled in your stomach when you pushed the café doors open. The smell of freshly ground coffee and warm pastries greeted you and calmed your nerves a little. That’s until you saw the familiar spikes of blonde hair.
You already knew he would be there, but seeing him intensified the reality of the situation. Your boss had come to you at the end of work the other day and said you would be sharing most of your shifts with Matthias Kohler, the spiky haired co-worker.
The day had started out simply enough. You were tired and would have no patience for unruly costumers or co-workers and would probably be using your employee discount to get a large coffee.
You analyzed the shop with a cool eye and went behind the counter, grabbing your apron off of a nearby hook. Your tired brain didn’t work with your fingers and you had trouble tying the knot. The sudden smell of beer and fresh raspberries suddenly heated your neck.
“Let me get that for you,” Matthias said. His cheery smile was infectious and you managed to smile warily back.
“Thanks,” you said, your voice a bit chipper and brushing it off as a kind gesture.
“No problem,” he said.
The whole day was like that. At lunch hour he took care of most of the customers and even bought you the large coffee and a cheese Danish, and during the slower part of the day he struck up a conversation.
“Have you ever been to McArthur’s Pub?” he asked, sipping his own latte’ and leaning against the counter.
You shook your head, “No. Is it any good?”
Matthias grinned, “It’s great, there’s a half-priced happy hour, a heavy metal band night, and a bunch of pretty girls to serve you any kind of beer.”
You grinned and chuckled a bit. There was probably a waitress there that smelled like raspberries that had been there the night before. A bit of guilt twisted your stomach. Had he really been there all night? Did he actually have a place to go? Maybe that explained his attitude that other workers griped about.
“Maybe we can go sometime,” he suggested.
Your body went rigid. Had he just asked you out? It could’ve just been a suggestion for a friendly drink, and it meant nothing beyond that. Maybe he was just trying to get good work relations or maybe he was just a little bit lonely. Sadly the last bit of uneasiness hit at the end of your shift.
Your boss had come up to you and mentioned that you had an extra shift coming up and you would be working with Matthias. Through the corner of your eye, you watched Matthias pull on his coat with a smirk on his face.
With a fanciful turn Matthias looked at your boss straight in the eye and said, “I’ll take the extra shift.”
Your boss was clearly surprised with the sudden interruption, but probably more surprised by Matthias’s kindness. Maybe the rumors were true and he was an obnoxious jerk who failed to listen. Your mouth also hung open and Matthias winked at you.
“You can thank me with a drink,” he said.
You were slightly taken aback and you could feel the daggers being shot at you from the teenage girl customers and the kind-hearted older women and the much younger girls giggling. You were already feeling uneasy and slightly pressured, but there was no way you could go out with him, and it really didn’t help that an old lady leaned over and whispered.
“Take it, sister.” You gave her an equally shocked and slightly appalled look and you knew the whole café was watching and waiting for your answer.
“I’m sorry, I-I can’t,” you said and rushed out of the building, quickly digging for your cellphone to call someone who would understand.
There was no way you could date him and you didn’t WANT to date him in the first place. You felt slightly guilty, knowing the pain of rejection, but also irritated. It was like he did all of that nice stuff just to guilt trip you into a date, but that wasn’t even the beginning of the long list of GOOD reasons why you couldn’t date him.
Now you tried to maneuver you way to the apron rack by the door. With nervous shaking hands you tried to tie the knot.
“L’t me get that f’r you,” a voice muttered.
You gasped and turned to see Berwald, a grin spread across your face. “What are you doing here?”
A slight smile graced his normally monotone face. “T’ take c’re of a f’w things.”
You wondered what he meant, but still smiled and gave him a quick peck on the lips. For a moment you weren’t concerned about what he had to take care of, until he took a hold of your hand and walked you to the counter.
Matthias turned away from one of the many coffee machines, a fresh latte steaming in his hands, instantly frowning when he saw you and Berwald.
“Can I help you?” he asked irritably.
Berwald found his reaction slightly amusing, but expected. He had been the one you called the other day and explained the situation. He smiled and squeezed your hand. You could feel the cold metal of his wedding ring against your fingers and it brought some reassurance.
All happiness drained from his face, leaving him with an overbearing look that could scare away a grizzly bear, or in this case, a flirtatious Dane. “Stay away from m’ wife,” he grumbled.
Matthias’s eyes bugged out, and you held up your left hand, a gold wedding band paired with an elegant engagement ring. Matthias started to stutter and set the now shaking coffee cup down. It seemed he hadn’t seen them the other day, and after gaining some control he apologized. Maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy.
“Thanks for scaring off Matthias,” you mumbled sleepily, pulling the covers over your head.
“No one touches m’wife,” he mumbled, wrapping an arm around you and pulling you close.