There should be a limit to how many times one checks their phone whilst waiting for a date. More specifically, there should be a limit to how many times boyfriends can skip out on date night due to the fact their frat mates called it Halo night. Specifically, your boyfriend. As usual, you've arrived early for the date, gotten the table reserved for Thor Odinson, waited for Thor Odinson, and now, every five minutes, the waitress checks up on you with doe eyes, sad eyes, as if to simultaneously say are you sure a Thor Odinson exists? and poor girl.
You don't want sympathy tonight.
Tonight, you were going to make it your night. It was always about his achievements - and now you wanted to tell him yours. You wanted to tell him you'd just gotten your dorm sorted out for uni, were up for a promotion at the little bakery you slaved away half your waking hours at, and got ninety eight in one of the early exams.
It wasn't like today was a big night or anything.
It was just...Thor and you never talked that much anymore. He was so busy having fun with his new-found friends on the university's football team (Go The Warriors!) to speak with you.
"Since he isn't coming, how about dinner on the house?" the server asks you. Her voice is dripping with sorrow for you. She's probably been in your position too. Statistically speaking, many have.
It's then the door to the quaint little restaurant slams open, and a lithe figure darts inside. Your heart stops - is it him? Did Thor actually separate himself from those people who had turned a gracious man into a bullheaded one? Did he remember?
He did not.
"Sorry I'm late, babe," the man seats himself before you, running a hand through his messy hair, tying it into a loose bun. You've never seen him before in your life. "Traffic's crazy this hour, forgive me," he ad-libs, and looks to the waitress, who gives him the largest look of scorn, "We'll be ready to order in just a moment."
You're dead silent, watching this man with reluctant curiosity. Do you know him? Does he know you? What kind of crazy, long-haired, two piece suit wearing man rushes in to save a broken relationship?
Apparently, this one.
"...I'm Loki," he whispers to you over the menu, "Thor's my brother. I'm sure he never told you about me. Just go along with it, okay?"
So you do.
"So, bucko, what'll it be? A serving of disappointment with a hint of well deserved break up?" A different waitress asks, siding up to the table. Her jaw is set, ready to fight tooth and nail for your honor. It's lovely to think she'll do it, but this isn't Thor. He needs that speech, not his supposed brother.
Loki takes a deep breath. "I was actually wondering if there were any vegetarian agnolotti remaining?" he cooly replies, "As for my reason why I was late, I was kept back at the office," he reads the waitress' badge, "Helena."
Helena cocks her head, chewing on her lip, "There's agnolotti, yeah, but are there any feelings in your cold heart? What kind of guy leaves his date waiting for nearly an hour? And because of work? If you're married to your job, don't have a significant other!"
You feel your neck heat up with the fires of embarrassment. The flames of fear. You hoped they'd swallow you up, just to get you away from this situation. Gods, this Loki was only being nice actually being here, and now, everyone's defending you like an estranged wolf pup to a foreign pack.
"It's okay, I don't want to start anything," you tell her quietly.
Everyone in the restaurant seems to have decided your table is the evening entertainment - even the soprano playing violin on the little stage has paused to listen in.
"Don't worry about it, hon," Helena shrugs your words away. "But pray tell, flyboy."
"I'm a volunteer for a halfway home for troubled teenagers," Loki replies slowly, "And there was a mishap at the main building. I texted _______ I would be late, but it seems I've been accidentally texting my mother's old mobile that message since seven o'clock." he says. "So, I'll be having the vegetarian agnolotti, _______?"
You take a deep breath, "I'll have the, uh, same. Thanks. And water."
Helena nods, scribbling it on her pad. "You're lucky you have a decent excuse, dude," she says without looking up, "But your date eats free tonight."
The night flies by easily after that moment, with the attention of all the restaurant goers ebbing away every passing minute. Helena's true to her word, and pays for your portion of the pasta, which you're both grateful for and deeply ashamed by. You can't help but wonder how the night would have gone if Thor had come as he promised - talk of his life, his achievements, his father's company's great name...and if there were time, for you. The trophy girlfriend he seemed too uncomfortable to show off to his family. Well, at least his family have heard of you. There's evidence of that before you.
Afterward, Loki is resolute on walking you to your dorm on the campus, but you don't want to go back yet - not when the world smells of fresh rain and the stars are out for once in this city. It's warm enough to go without holding hands, but you can't help but slip your hands into Loki's. He's not domineering like his brother, he's quiet, he's there.
"Could we just stay here for a while?" you ask him.
Loki agrees, and leads the walking toward a nearby park, where he found a bench with a glorious view of the park fountain's night lights. It's so perfect. So wonderful.
So why are you crying?
"Did I do something wrong?" Loki wonders, and you can't help but cry harder. "Gods, I did. I'm so sorry. I overheard Thor yesterday on the phone to his friends about your date, and how he couldn't make either event because of his make up test. Or something. I'm not an eavesdropper," he adds, a blush taking his milky face by storm. "Even if I am, I'm more than half glad I did because you'd've been eating alone."
Through your tears, you see Loki's hands quake in movement, unsure of whether to grasp your knee or not for comfort.
"Does - does this happen a lot with Thor?" Loki's voice is barely more than a whisper.
You're afraid to answer.
"My brother is the type of man to have it all, yet not understand what he has collected in front of him," Loki tells you quietly. "He believes he can play the roles of the good son, the beloved brother, trustworthy lover; the star student, yet he can't balance them." Your breath turns to hiccups, and trying to not seem puerile, grabbed Loki's hand. "He doesn't deserve you." He set his jaw.
"He mightn't, but I do," you whisper, shaking your head. "I'm sure it's just a rough patch he's going through. It's only been like this since school started again -," you pause to take a breath, "It'll get better."
"The night's lovely, though," Loki diverts the conversation, and points to the midnight sky that blanketed the world. "There's the first star of the night."
You frown. "Isn't that an airplane?" You wonder.
Loki chuckles. "So it is."
"...so, he totally blew you off again?" Your friend, Virginia huffs. "If I wasn't so wrapped up in the Stark apprenticeship program, I'd come down to your city and kick his ass. You know what, I'd kick his ass twice, while still wearing these stupid mini-heels."
You wipe away your tears with a little smile at Virginia Potts' repertoire.
Loki had delivered you home to your dorm without a trouble not too soon after crying in front of him, and promised to keep an eye out for you. What did that mean?
"Gin," you laugh, "you're 5"4, and Thor's defiantly taller than 6"6. Pure muscle. There's no way you could take him on."
She huffed. "Maybe if I took him off guard..." She schemes, and hypothesizes, "Okay, scenario. Thor's sleeping, and we tie him up to a tree and keep him there until he admits he's a downright douche. There'll be duct tape and ropes and we can shave off that weird beard of his. Make it into mutton chops or something ugly."
You think about it, skeptically. "Sounds good, but how would you make him stay asleep for it though?"
Virginia snorts. "You got me there, genius," she sighs. "Bruce would know. I can't believe you don't know him, you were in homeroom together for four years of high school! You haven't met up with him yet?"
"I'm a nurse, as in medicine, in training," you remind her. "And from what you keep telling me about this Bruce Banner, he's a biochem slash physics prodigy. Not my kind of lab." You pause, and add an afterthought, "I did make a new friend, though."
You hear her line crackle. "Loki Laufeyson, right? Date saver. You already said! You said he looked like - oh Saint Nick, I gotta go. It's twenty to eleven and I have to be up early to get my pretentious new boss his coffee tomorrow."
"You'll warm up to Anthony Stark, I'm sure." You hum. "Talk tomorrow?"
Virginia's eye roll could practically be heard through the the phone. "Me and Tony Stark, friends? That'll happen when something freezes over. Can't wait to hear from you tomorrow!"
The phone clicks, and yet again, you're left without someone. As much as a single room meant less rent, living on campus in a little room was more than lonely. You'd hoped Thor would have come back with you and he would have -
Forget about that, your subconscious tells you, get to sleep. Don't stick with thoughts that just hurt.