It had been one hell of a day.
Leon sat at Emmy's Diner, a steaming cup of coffee in front of him as well as a hot slice of pizza. Not exactly a great combination, pizza and coffee, but whatever. He needed something to wake him up for the ride home and that Coke he ordered just wasn't cutting it.
Leon sighed, focusing his grey eyes on the meal before him. He couldn't remember the last time he pulled a double-shift this brutal. He had worked all night and right before he was leaving to go home, his friend and fellow police officer, Kevin, asked him to stay and help him out with paperwork. Too much of a nice guy to say no, Leon agreed to the task. He didn't leave the police station until five pm, which he felt was a little ludicrous because his shift started at five pm the previous day. He had been working for nearly 24-hours straight.
"I'm sorry, I hate to bother you, but could you get me a glass of soda water? I'd really like the orange flavored kind please. If you've got it," a female voice said.
Leon's ears perked up, and he strained to hear her again. She sounded tired but happy, and, even though he knew one couldn't base physical attractiveness by someone's voice, she sounded pretty too.
"Sure thing, doll." That voice was Emmy, the owner.
"Thank-you so much," the girl said. "I can't wait to eat these pancakes! They look delicious!"
She sounded so beautiful. His stomach filled with something akin to butterflies, and he took a quick gulp of coffee in an effort to calm himself. He should talk to her. She seemed nice.
"Look at her Leon," he whispered to himself, wiping coffee residue off his face with the back of his hand. "Look at her. Look at the girl with the pretty voice. Act casual, play it cool. Calm down. You can do this."
But he wasn't cool and he couldn't calm down and he wouldn't do this. He was not a ladies' man. It was pretty much guaranteed he would embarrass himself, or her, or quite possibly the both of them, if he were to open his mouth.
"You had a girlfriend before, what's the matter with you? Just look at her," he urged himself. All he could do was stare at his pizza and coffee.
He had a girlfriend in the past. But perhaps the only reason he had a girlfriend was...because Stella did everything. She asked him out, she gave him the first kiss, she...never mind.
"So Claire, how long are you in town for?" Emmy asked.
"Only for the weekend," she replied. "I have a lot of work to do when I get back to the university next week. If I stay any longer I'll never return to school," she laughed. "Chris would kill me."
"You haven't seen Chris yet?"
He heard Claire take a bite of a pancake before speaking again. "Not yet. He said he'd meet me here."
"Jill's behind you," Emmy said. "I think she's waiting for him too."
"Yeah, Jill and I talked a bit before I sat down to order."
"Don't talk about me like I'm not here," another female voice chimed in. Leon assumed it was Jill. It sounded like her.
Jill Valentine was pretty. He liked her. She was friendly and nice to him when they bumped into each other at the station, unlike some people. She hung around with Chris Redfield mainly.
Leon took another sip of coffee, thinking about the association between the people having the conversation next to him.
Wait a second. Jill Valentine. Chris Redfield. Chris was coming here to meet his sister. The girl Claire was...was... Leon's thoughts were racing.
He started to cough. He put his mug down before he spilt anything and tried to regain what little composure he had. His mind raced back to the photo of Claire Chris kept on his desk. Why couldn't he remember what she looked like? He must've seen that picture dozens of times. His thought was interrupted when he heard a gasp.
"Oh my God! Are you all right?"
After his coughing subsided, Leon finally got the courage to look at her. He nearly fell out of his chair he was so incredibly astonished by her beauty.
Claire Redfield was gorgeous. Her shiny auburn hair was pulled back in a ponytail with her bangs styled to the sides. Her pink glossy lips were in a frown, obviously in concern for his well-being. Her grey-blue eyes sparkled, though at the moment weariness was starting to show around the edges. She was very fit and athletic, and very toned. She was dressed simply: short-sleeved black t-shirt that bared her flat stomach, a pink denim vest that was partially buttoned, torn blue denim shorts that would've looked scandalous if she weren't wearing a pair of black spandex shorts underneath them, and brown cowboy boots. Her hands wore black fingerless gloves not unlike the kind he wore.
"What?" he choked out, feeling his face turning red. "I'm--I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" she asked skeptically.
"Yeah, fine, fine," he cleared his throat. "Sorry."
Claire half-smiled. "Sorry for what? Being okay or coughing because you needed to breathe?"
She giggled and turned in her stool to see him better. "I'm Claire, Claire Redfield. And you are...?" she prompted.
Leon couldn't believe he was talking to her. Don't fuck this up, he thought to himself.
"I'm Leon. Leon Scott Kennedy," he gave her his best smile.
"Nice to meet you," she grinned. "So you work at the station too, just like my brother?"
"I--how did you know that?"
Claire was clearly trying not to laugh, as she covered her mouth with her hand. Her eyes were glittering, and Leon wondered what was amusing.
"You're wearing a RPD uniform and it's not Halloween yet," her laugh burst out anyway. "I think you're as tired as I am!"
Leon turned red, but he found himself laughing with her. She was a nice girl, friendly and open. He felt at ease with her and he wondered how that was possible. Women made him uncomfortable all the time. Claire Redfield seemed to be different.
"Sorry, I've been working for 24 hours straight," he apologized. "I guess you can tell I'm not exactly in a good frame of mind."
"It's okay," she assured. "I'm pretty tired too. I've been on my bike for the past ten hours. I really need a massage, preferably by someone cute and muscular."
Leon immediately pictured her in a towel, slowly taking it off and...
Oh God, she's looking at me...Oh shit what do I say? She's waiting for me to say something. SAY SOMETHING! his brain screamed.
"This coffee is getting cold."
That's it, Kennedy? 'This coffee is getting cold'? What the fuck is that? You could've said anything, but you chose to say that! his brain raged at him.
"I'm...sorry," Claire said, confused and a little disappointed he didn't try and flirt with her. She returned to her pancakes.
"Hey, uhm, I don't normally do this but...uhm, you want to go out sometime?" he blurted.
What are you doing, Kennedy? his brain was just as surprised as he was.
She smiled brightly. "I'd love to! Chris will kill me for extending my vacation by a day but...oh well. He'll get over it."
Leon returned her smile. "Okay. Give me your number and I'll call you later this weekend."
As she was scribbling her number down on his notepad, Leon was too busy watching her. He was not paying attention to the fact that Chris Redfield was banging on the window outside.
"Jill! Jill! Is my sister in there? Hey Valentine! I can't see anything...JILL!" he yelled.
Jill wasn't paying attention, either. She was too taken aback that the rookie cop was arranging a date with Claire. After her initial shock passed, she thought:
Good for you Claire! He's a good guy.
After Claire finished writing her number down, she stood up and blew Leon a kiss. "My brother is outside, acting like a maniac. I better see what he wants since he seems so incapable of walking through a door to ask me anything like a normal person," she rolled her eyes in exasperation.
"O--okay. I'll see you later then," he waved.
See, that wasn't so hard was it? his brain said smugly.
Leon wanted to tell his brain to shut up, but he was distracted.
"Claire Redfield...wow...I have a date with Claire Redfield. I owe you one, Kevin."