(Now that I’m back and settled, I’ll start posting these! Slowly-ish, so as not to spam your feeds. =) )
Hawke was never using that stupid weather app on her phone again.
That day’s forecast had been displayed in graphs, charts, and statistics, which were all very fancy and impressive but didn’t help for shit if you didn’t know what they meant.
Worst $1.99 she had ever spent.
Needless to say, the sudden torrential downpour that had attacked them as they strolled down a posh-looking street with artisanal everything stores had reduced their date from a Meg Ryan movie to Michael Bay in an instant. The one thing to her advantage was that areas like that were inevitably populated with kitschy gourmet coffee shops, and she pulled them both into the nearest set of doors.
They were already soaked, top-down. Hawke would have been grousing about it more had it not been for the smell of pastries, warm and sweet and fresh, greeting her from every inch of the place. She wasn’t particularly one for sweets, but the fumes from the coffee roasters were what she thought heaven would smell like, and the orange-peach walls and upholstered chairs were adorably inviting.
Also, why were there always birds painted on everything in these places?
The Arishok had already taken a seat by the window, fanning his dripping suit jacket across the back of his chair.
“Sorry about the rain,” she offered as she joined him. “When I asked you out after work, I checked my phone. Not a word about rain.”
His phone buzzed in his pocket. As he checked it, he made a noise in his throat. “There is a flood warning in effect,” he informed her, “until further notice.”
She groaned, pulling out her own phone and switching it off. “Moscow rule number nine.”
“’ Technology will always let you down.’ ”
She smirked, leaning back in her chair to study him a bit. “Why am I not surprised that you know the Moscow Rules?”
“I could say the same about you.” He crossed his legs, folding his hands. “You continue to prove… interesting.”
“Is that why you agreed to see me again so soon after I slept with you?” she asked. “I thought at least a few days of radio silence was pretty standard.”
“I have no reason to adhere to such arbitrary rules,” he said flatly. “You invited; I accepted. I consult nothing more than my own desire to see you.”
His last words plucked at something in her chest, and she smiled. “Even though seeing me entails drenching a five thousand dollar suit?”
“It is easily replaced, if necessary.” He stood, even more impossibly tall from Hawke’s seated perspective. “Tell me your order and I will place it.”
She reached for her bag. “A black coffee and something with oatmeal in it, thanks.” As she dug out her wallet, however, he was already at the counter.
Hawke wasn’t one for that bullshit chivalry, and she told him so when he returned to the table, purchases in hand.
“If I can easily afford to replace a five-thousand-dollar suit,” the Arishok reminded her, “coffee is of no consequence.”
“Fine,” she conceded. “Then you won’t mind if I steal some of yours.” As she plucked his cup from his hand, she lifted it to her lips. “What’d you get?”
The first sip sent her sputtering. “This isn’t tea!”
“Chai is an Indian tea.”
“No, I know that, but there’s so much sugar and milk and vanilla in this–” She raised an eyebrow. “You’re basically drinking hot melted ice cream. And eating…” She cocked her head, staring as he freed a piece of beautifully-decorated perfection from its wax wrapping. “A double-chocolate butterscotch fudge brownie rolled in chocolate chips.”
He frowned, the expression making his severe face fearsome as he waited for her to replace his cup. “I was not aware you made a habit of policing food on dates.”
“I’m not policing!” She leaned her elbows on the table, hiding her grin behind the rim of her coffee mug. “Having a sweet tooth is so out of character for you. I mean, I assumed…” With a snicker, she bit her lower lip. “It’s adorable.”
“Assume nothing,” he growled, “and banish that word from your vocabulary.”
She smirked. “Roger that.”
And they stayed in that little hipster coffee shop until well after the rain had passed.