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Mugged my heart

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It was like any other day in the coffee shop, busy as always, all bustle and noise with its usual comforting atmosphere that anyone who sat foot in there enjoyed. All the unintelligible chatter and spontaneous laughter, that happened now and then, coming from the customers were comforting to Michele's ears as he worked behind the counter making another foam latte.

"Wow, Mickey! Is that a bunny?" Emil, his younger coworker, exclaimed admiringly. He slid casually in beside Michele just as he finished his handy work. "You're just so good at this."

Michele put down the pitcher with milk and smiled satisfied at his cute little creation peeking out from the coffee cup. "Well of course I'm, do you have any idea how long I've been doing this? You on the other hand haven't improved a bit since you came here, you still suck at blending and get all the orders wrong."

"Hey I work really hard, if anything I should be nominated as the most excellent employee at the amount of time I slave away here alone," Emil replied indignantly. "Besides I'm improving, aren't I... Mila?" He asked as he handed her, her order.

Mila sipped it thoughtfully and her face instantly brightened as she moaned with pleasure. "See?" He gloated triumphantly.

"That's so low dragging your friend into this," Michele argued as he delivered the foam bunny to its owner with a courteous 'enjoy' which earned him a few giggles. "When you know damn well she's going to vouch for you."

"Really, Michele?" Mila raised her eyebrows inquiringly. "Is that how low you think of me?"

"Well I don't know, Mila," Michele replied as he went on to blend another order. "Are you or are you not his best friend?"

"Best friend is a bit of a stretch," Mila grimaced as she put her drink down on the counter.

"Mila! I trusted you!"

"Eeeh?"

"Are you guys seriously on about that again?" Sara exclaimed exasperatedly as she emerged from the back of the shop. "Cut Emil some slack, he works hard and he's definitely improving lately."

"Finally someone who agrees with me!" Emil grinned triumphantly as he reached for something behind Michele. He playfully poked Michele in the side in the process. Michele just swatted him away, undisturbed not missing a beat in the coffee he was blending. "I knew Sara would understand. She's just as clever as she's beautiful."

"Hey, what did I say about hitting on my sister?" Michele scowled at him. That scowl immediately turning into a soft smile as he handed another customer their coffee. The scowl turned back on once the customer was gone and he had the liberty to glare at Emil again.

"Don't worry Michele I think you're way hotter than your sister," Emil winked at him. Michele rolled his eyes dismissively at the obvious sarcasm as he went back to tending to the customers.

"Mickey, you say all that but I distinctly remember you praising Emil about that latte he made you last week," Sara said as she started filling up display up with sweets. "You seemed very pleased about it."

"Sara!"

"No way!"

Mila just stage gasped at the revelation making other customers who were also standing at the counter as well as herself laugh.

Michele gave her a dirty look. She ignored it and then bought herself a muffin before she went to find somewhere to sit. As entertaining as it was to just stand there and watch them bicker, her legs were starting to get tired. She plopped down on the nearest seat and took out her phone to keep her company as she ate.

"Really Mickey," Emil was standing behind him and had to lean down to get a better look at Michele who was purposely avoiding making eye contact with him. "Did you enjoy the latte I made you last week?"

He sounded so smug that Michele had half a mind to just smack him. He probably would have had if they weren't currently on the clock.

He couldn't really blame him for getting so smug about it though considering how hard he has worked ever since he came to the cafe. He had promised to do his best and he had delivered, not taking a single day off. Michele had to give him credit for that.

Michele really had enjoyed Emil's latte and he was actually starting to crave it right then and there but he managed to restrain himself. Emil really was a good employee so maybe it was about time he told him as much.

Michele glanced sideways at Emil who was still wearing that infuriatingly smug look on his face. It was endearing in a way, like he was some kind of oversized overexcited puppy who just wanted to receive praise from his beloved master. But then again compared to Michele he really was just a kid despite his stubble that made him way older than he looked.

The excitement oozing out of him brought an involuntary smile to Michele's face and without really thinking about he reached up to ruffle the taller man's hair. "Fine, your latte was really good and yes you're a hardworking employee, now get back to work before I change my mind and decide that you're useless after all." Michele said before softly shoving him out of his personal space.

Emil immediately went back to work but not before beaming at him and giving him the most happiest smile he had ever seen. He felt his heart skip a beat at the sight of it but dismissed it as surprise at seeing so much happiness on the younger man's face. He knew he was his senior but he didn't realize that his praise and approval meant that much to him. It came as a pleasant surprise to him though. There was just something deeply touching about having someone looking up to you like that. And Michele loved the feeling.

Michele turned back towards the counter to service the customers and was chiding himself for getting distracted when he noticed that his line had gotten longer. Wow great role modeling right there.

He was about to start taking orders again when he suddenly noticed the shit eating grin on the person placing the order's face like they had just witnessed something deeply hilarious. His brows contorted in confusion. "I'm sorry but is there something wrong?"

"No, no of course not," they hastily replied. "Can I have..."

They calmly listed down their order like they weren't just laughing at him just a minute ago and Michele took it with a frown. He had been in a pretty good mood just a few seconds but it already went down so fast. He really didn't appreciate it when people made fun of him. It brought back all sorts of unpleasant memories of his bullies from middle school and his baby sister's crying face.

That was what bad customers did to him which made him hate the service industry at times despite how much he liked the cafe he was currently working at. It just goes to show how you can simultaneously love and hate something.

Michele was just going through customers as fast as he could so he could finally take a breather when Emil's sounds of distress reached his ears. Michele had to put real effort into stopping himself from laughing out loud when he saw the flustered look on his colleague's face. He was frantically tried to deal with a difficult customer. At least he wasn't the only one who was having a hard time today, he thought, before he took a pity on his poor junior and helped him out.

Of course as a result Michele ended up teasing him about it for the better part of the day. Even he as mature as he was, did enjoy poking fun at people now and then. It was all in good nature of course. Michele would never go out of his way to purposely bully someone. Not after what he and his sister had been through, not after what he had been through.

It took some time but eventually the buzz in the shop slowed down and with just a few customers about, the three of them finally had the time to take it easy.

Emil ended up leaning against the counter to play candy crush on his phone taking the very few orders that came his way while Sara made her way towards Mila who had remained in the shop this whole time.

She had graduated from using her phone to finally start working on an assignment on her laptop. She had been procrastinating about it for quite awhile so she needed to get it done. Even so she didn't hesitate to quickly push it aside when Sara placed her bum on the table she was sitting at, in favor of chatting with her instead. Sara was really going to cost her her grades wasn't she?

They had a lot of liberty alright. All thanks to their manager who was away on an errand. Otherwise there was just no way a good employer would let his employees laze off like this. Which was why Sara and Emil had decided to take full advantage of their situation.

Michele on the other hand continued to work. Being the most productive one of the trio he didn't waste any time on neither electronics nor needless chatter. They just weren't his thing.

Instead he decided to wipe and clean the tables before anymore customers came in, letting his thoughts wander in the process. He was just deliberating some important plot points in his recent favorite tv show when suddenly he heard someone mention him by name in hushed tones. He looked up and saw while lost in thought that he had ended up getting most of the cleaning done. Now he was just standing a table down from where Sara and Mila where. Just within earshot of their hushed conversation. Now Michele wasn't big on eavesdropping but he couldn't help but overhear them since they really sucked at keeping their voices down. And the fact that they were probably talking about him behind his back didn't exactly make matters any easier.

"So when are you going to tell him," Mila whispered, grinning mysteriously.

"I'm not gonna tell him, Mila," Sara deadpanned. "The last thing I need is an uncomfortable and awkward workplace, so no thanks."

"Aw come on," Mila pleaded with that shit eating grin of hers. She seemed like she was really enjoying herself for some reason. "At least tell Michele. He deserves to know."

"No."

Mila seemed to deflate at the rejection and gloomily ate the straw in her now empty coffee cup. "Fine, it's your loss."

Sara just rolled her eyes at her in exasperation when she suddenly heard someone clear their throat behind her. She swirled around and was startled to see her older twin brother towering over her.

"Well hello there ladies," please tell me he didn't hear what we were just talking about, please tell me he didn't hear what we were just talking about, please-"so what exactly was it that you were talking that I deserved to know but then suddenly decided weren't going to mention to me ever." Goddamnit!

"Nothing, just something stupid," Sara said a little too quickly. "Not really worth mentioning."

" 'Stupid' 'not really worth mentioning' if anything I think it's endearing and cute and not to mention a good business strategy," Mila interjected earning her a glare from Sara. "I mean good job! It really reeled in a crowd!"

"I still have no idea what you're talking about?"

"Well I don't know if you have noticed but the cafe has gotten so much popular lately," Mila said. "Do you know why?"

"Good customer service?"

Mila chuckled at his innocent response. "Oh no no. Rumors has it, that it's all thanks to you and Emil relentlessly flirting with each other," Mila told him giving him a thumbs up. "Seems like the customers really like watching you two. They think your flirting is cute."

It took a moment for him to process what she said and then he frowned indigenously. "Emil and I don't flirt,"

"Then what do you call what you were were doing earlier?"

"Bickering? Banter? Insulting and making fun of each other?" Michele listed off of his hands. "You can call it a lot of things but definitely not flirting."

"Is that what they call it these days?" Mila sighed dramatically while Sara just gave him a disconcerting look.

Mila saw the serious look on his face and just flailed her hands in exasperation. "Dude, seriously, that's literally the definition of flirting."

"Nope, I don't see it."

"Mickey, he flat out called you hot just a few moments ago," Sara finally injected. She had enough of seeing her twin denying the obvious when the evidence was right there.

Michele opened his mouth to argue her point but then he quickly closed it again, his eyes widening. "Oh."

"Yeah," Mila snickered unsympathetically. "Oh indeed."

Michele felt the world collapsed around him a little as the realization sunk in. He remembered all those giggles and stares that were directed at him whenever he talked to Emil or was anywhere remotely near him. He had always assumed that whenever someone came up to him asking whether Emil was around or not, that they favored him or something. And their silly commentary about how hard work must be without him, he had just assumed that they were exactly that, silly commentary. Not that they had been turned into some kind of attraction. "That explains so much."

"Mm-hmm," Mila nodded as she supported he head in the palms of her hands. She looked very amused. "The only reason your dear sister hasn't told you any of this yet, is because she was afraid of how you would react but you're taking this surprisingly well."

Sara made a disgruntled noise of disagreement but they both just ignored her.

"So you're saying Emil have been flirting with me this entire time?" Michele asked the disbelief clear in his voice.

"Pretty much," Mila stretched her arms lazily over her head, her grin broadened as her eyes focused on something behind him. "Look he's checking you out right now."

Upon hearing her words Michele turned a little towards the counter and sure enough Emil had abandoned playing games on his phone. He was now leaning his elbows on the counter, his head snug in the palms of his hands as he watched them. Michele felt a shudder run through his body and his heart pound a little faster at his intense gaze. There was something very dark and fierce about it that Michele couldn't quite decipher but it made him gulp down his saliva fast.

Once Emil noticed them staring, the intensity abandoned his eyes and they sparkled with their usual excitement as he enthusiastically waved at them, devoid of any indication of what Michele had seen earlier that he could have sworn that he had just imagined it.

"Ooooooo," Mila started cracking up once she noticed them staring at each other. Sara just shoved her with her elbow making her let out an indignant 'Oof' before crossing her arms to stare at her brother in exasperation.

"That's enough, can you please go back to work? The tables aren't gonna wipe themselves." She hopped off the table to stand, the increase in height giving her words and glare a little more authoritative impact.

"Okay I will, sheesh," Michele raised his hands slightly gesturing for her take it easy and calm down. He glanced one last time towards the counter where Emil had started serving customers again, before picking up the cleaning where he left off.

Sara sighed heavily already not liking the outcome of their conversation. "You just like seeing the world burn, don't you?"

"Me?" Mila splayed her hands across her chest, mocking disbelief coloring her features. "I would never."

"I really am not liking you right now."

"Nah, you love me," Mila joked, grinning brightly up at her. She then leaned her head snugly against Sara's hips that were right beside her.

Sara just shook her head at her and her silly antics before walking off without warning causing Mila to almost fall out of her chair. Sara just laughed at the look on her face as she went back to work. Mila didn't really care that she almost face planted her face on the floor and nearly lost her teeth. She was just glad that she was able to make Sara laugh. As they say love makes you do stupid things.

-

As Michele continued to wipe and clean up the tables, picking up trash some of the ruder customers hadn't bothered to pick up, he kept stealing glances at Emil who was obliviously humoring customers, smiling and grinning right and left (having no idea how this affected Michele). As he was doing this he realized that he actually wasn't outrageously grossed out by the fact that his fellow coworker had apparently been shamelessly flirting with him in his workplace, attracting lots of business in the process. If anything he was incredulous.

He just couldn't believe that was actually the case. He had always seen their playful banter as harmless and just part of Emil's overwhelmingly friendly personality. His usual quips about how hot and cute he thought Michele was, were just taken as sarcasm. Michele thought that he was genuinely just messing around. Never, not even for just a millisecond had it occurred to him that Emil might just be hitting on him. And now that he was conscious of this he was finding it increasingly difficult to look at Emil let alone work beside him.

Maybe I should just take the rest of the day off. He was seriously contemplating doing just taking off as he tapped his chin with the washcloth when Sara called him back to the counter. Seemed like the number of customers were starting to pick up again.

Michele returned to the counter. Washing his hands before he went back to handling the customers. And of course he just had to stand beside Emil as always and man could he already see multiple ways this could go wrong.

He had half a mind to just ask Sara to switch places with him. He would have but his pride wouldn't allow it. He couldn't bring himself to tell her that he couldn't stand beside Emil just because he might have a crush on him.

That was something an awkward and inexperienced adolescent boy who didn't know any better would do. Michele knew better than that, he was a grown man for Christ's sake. He could take on a silly crush which was definitely not making funny stuff to his heart and stomach. Nope not at all.

And that's how he ended up standing beside Emil almost burning his hands several times in the process.

Normally working besides Emil was like a breeze, okay maybe not a breeze considering how he messes up quite a bit but that never fazed Michele before considering how he was competent enough for the both of them. Capable of fixing any screw ups that came their way. Today however wasn't as breezy as it usually was.

Michele was suddenly hyperaware of Emil standing right beside him. He yelped whenever their hands touched, almost letting out squeak when he reached behind him making Emil give him an odd look. Emil was suddenly sizzling hot to the touch. Michele almost had a heart attack whenever they accidentally touched or if Emil looked his way a little too long. Which he frequently did considering how weird Michele was acting. He was such an idiot, what was wrong with him?

He suddenly found himself tuned into Emil's every movement just to avoid too much contact. From the way he carefully mixed the blend. And how he poured the hot coffee ever so carefully into the cup, quirking his eyebrows cutely as he concentrated on pouring just the right amount. To the way he dazzled the customers with his smiles once he gave them their order.

Michele's heart flipped at the notion. The thing about Emil's smiles were that, unlike the other baristas who only faked and forced their smiles, his were almost always a hundred percent genuine. He was just always so happy and that happiness was so contagious that anyone he smiled at always returned his smile. Even Michele who didn't like smiling unless he had to, always smiled back.

One of the many reasons that the customers loved him so much.

Michele always wondered how he could keep all that enthusiasm and cheerfulness all throughout his shifts. Even Michele had a hard time keeping up and he had been there way longer than him. It was one of the few reasons why Michele admired and respected him, he was even a little envious of him for it.

Michele was now enviously watching Emil direct that heartwarming smile somewhere else. Some part of him was wishing he directed it his way instead when he suddenly felt a searing pain in his right hand. He stared down at it in alarm only to realize that the cup of coffee he was pouring had overflowed. The coffee he was supposed to be making for a customer was now burning his hand. Wow, way to go, Mickey, he thought bitterly. Just daydream on the job, why dontcha?

He was way busy chiding himself for losing focus on the job (especially after he chided Emil about the exact same thing just the day!) that his reaction to burning his hand was extremely delayed. Instead of crying out like a normal person he just stared at his hand disapprovingly. His customer, the one who he was making the order for, wailed on his behalf about how painful it must be (which it honestly was, the pain just hadn't caught up with him yet) which of course attracted Emil's attention.

His big blue eyes widened in horror the moment he spotted the big red blister forming on Michele's right hand and he gasped. His face immediately contorted with worry as he cried that silly nickname he'd come to love "Mickey!"

He dived for his wounded hand to cradle it gently in his tenderly. Michele was startled at the sheer affection and care Emil gave him as he gingerly handled his burn. He didn't fight the blush that suddenly covered his cheeks or smack away Emil's hands, telling him he was just overreacting. He probably would have done as much had it been any other day. Instead he relished in the warmth that transferred from Emil to him and the jolts of electricity his touch shot through his hand. He found his touch so weirdly comfortable considering that his heart was beating a mile a minute because of it. He didn't even feel that guilty for enjoying it.

He didn't even bother telling him that just covering his burns in a soothingly wet tissue he wasn't going to really help. And decided to just let him dot on him.

And so he did. That was until Sara told him off. Michele hated her just a bit for that especially when he saw the heartbroken look on Emil's face. The hurt look in his beautiful eyes made Michele really want to berate his sister untill he saw the look in her eyes, now he just wanted to get the hell out of there.

"I knew something like this was bound to happen after Mila told you about that stupid thing," Sara said exasperated as she moved him towards the sink and away from Emil. "Please just tell me you didn't do this on purpose to get him to fuss over you."

"What? No!" Michele exclaimed fixing her with an indignant look. He would never be stupid enough to do something that stupid. Though he didn't complain about the outcome. "Why'd I do something like that?"

"I don't know, maybe because you have been making goggly eyes at him for the past hour?"

"I was not!"

Sara let out another exasperated sighed. "I don't have time for this, go restock the back, will ya? Emil and I will manage somehow, I don't want you to stupidly burn yourself again."

Michele was about to defend himself but then he saw the tired look on her face and felt a pang of guilt. He really was making things more difficult for her today, wasn't he?

He usually went out of his way to do anything but that. Now he was forcing his baby sister to take charge because of his own stupidity and he felt so ashamed for doing so. He shouldn't be doing this to her. He should properly take responsibility for his actions. "I'm sorry, Sara."

Sara saw the sincere look in his eyes and some of her irritation died down. "It's fine, I know you can't help it. Just don't go burning yourself again, I don't want to have to take care of you again."

Michele felt a flood of relief wash over him as soon as he heard her forgiving tone. He really hated making things difficult for her. He needed to sort himself out and he felt being exiled might just help him in doing that.

Michele smiled apologetically. "Sure thing sis."

"Erm," Emil called over his shoulder as he tried to go faster so he could serve more customers. "I seriously need some help here."

The twins laughed at the panicked expression on Emil's face before they split, Michele towards the back and Sara towards the counter.

"Okay," Sara said cracking her neck. "Let's do this."

-

Being exiled to the back of the store really did give Michele a lot of room to think and it helped him come to the inevitable realization that he probably had known for quite some time, deep down in his heart. He, Michele Crispino, had somehow along the way fallen in love with his coworker without even realizing it. The realization didn't even come as a shock to him especially after how he acted inside the cafe. If anything it just felt natural like it was something he had known for sometime now, which he probably had. Subconsciously. It still distressed him though.

Michele, what are you doing? He took a quiet break from heaving boxes up on shelves to distractingly run his hands through his hair. Messing it up in the process. This is going to make working with him so haaard!

He didn't even bother holding out hope that what Mila and Sara said earlier might be true. There was just as high a possibility that they might have been reading too much into it. And Michele was not going to take a leap at that. It would be nice tho, if he liked me back.

He sighed like the lovesick idiot he was before chiding himself and going back to sorting through the boxes and checking out what they might need to restock on.

Once Michele was finally done, he went back out into the shop and saw that Sara and Emil really had managed to manage without him. The shop had quieted down once again and the two of them were just hanging out by the counter now.

He asked if they needed someone to relieve them but Sara just waved him off, telling him that he was the one who had yet to take his break and that they were fine. She obviously didn't look fine and he told her as much but she was having none of it, and she chased him off into the staff room. He grumpily accepted her terms, promising her that he was gonna be back like some kind of vindictive cartoon villain. Emil just laughed the entire time.

Inside the staff room he let out a shuddered breath and felt the tension leave his body as he blissfully sank into one of the many chairs that adorned the staff room. He had an awfully long day so maybe Sara wasn't exaggerating when she told him he needed a break. Now that he was finally sitting down he could feel just how much his body had ached this entire time and his burned hand that was now covered in bandages pounded painfully. It was almost unbearable. He was finally relaxing, purging all his Emil related problems from his mind and just sat there, resting, cooling off without a care in the world. The silence within the staff room was sort of therapeutic in the sense that everything was just so chill and the atmosphere was undisturbed putting Michele's troubled mind at ease. He was so just relaxed, the only thing he needed to complete the experience was his favorite blend and some ice for his aching hand.

As if reading his thoughts Emil suddenly popped his head into the room with a concerned look, carrying those exact things in his hands. Needless to say Michele was beyond pleased to see him, his cheeks heating up, his heart pounding and some irrational part of him wanting to escape through the wall out of sheer nerves. Michele ignored all of those things and tried for a smile.

"Hey, Mickey," Emil greeted softly which was so unlike him as he carefully entering the room. "How you doing?"

"A lot better if you hand me that ice and coffee," Michele replied holding his hand out to him.

"Yes, of course!" Emil sputtered flustered and quickly handed them to him.

Michele couldn't help but chuckle at that which made Emil smile back at him. Michele's heart skipped a beat. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Emil said as he pulled a chair up beside Michele, so close that their knees were touching. He felt a jolt of electricity course through him from where their knees were touching. Now that he was fully aware of his feelings, every touch was like an electric spark; both exhilarating and shocking at the same time.

Michele did his best to maintain his composure as he placed the ice on his burned hand and hissed in satisfaction as how blissfully it felt. Now that was the stuff. He sank back into his chair, raising his cup and taking a delicious sip that melted in his mouth. He was returning to his relaxed zone, Emil's presence bringing him a sense of comfort.

But then he noticed that Emil was being exceptionally quiet. Which was very odd, scary even considering his usual bubbly personality. He peered suspiciously at him over the rim of his cup and saw that he was watching him carefully with a smug expression on his face.

Michele raised his brows at him. "What?"

"How is it?" Emil eagerly asked, leaning closer.

"Hmmm," Michele tapped his chin thoughtfully. "I don't know." He then continued to sip the deliciousness that was Emil's creation.

"Aw come on," Emil whined. "We both know you're enjoying it, why won't you admit it?"

"I don't know, Emil, why won't you let me enjoy my coffee in peace?" Michele retorted, his lips not leaving the rim of the cup.

"Aha!" Emil suddenly exclaimed startling Michele, almost causing to spill coffee for the second time that day. Fortunately, he was able to hold onto it. "You are loving it, aren't you?You just said with your very own that you were enjoying it."

Emil looked so pleased with himself at his discovery. Michele on the other hand just rolled his eyes as he continued to sip his coffee. "Fine." He said as he gave into him. "Your coffee was molto deliziosissima. Happy?"

"I'm just going to assume that you said it was delicious since I heard something like it in there somewhere and I don't know any Italian at all." Emil beamed at him. "And yes I'm happy that you're finally willing to open your eyes and recognize my talents. I finally got through to you." Emil said in a mockingly sorrowful tone as he wiped away an imaginary tear.

Michele put his coffee down to use his hand to push Emil and his stupid melodramatic antics away. The action made Emil let out a hearty laugh that warmed Michele more than any hot cup of coffee ever could.

"So anyway, how are you really doing?" Emil asked seriously, he rested his hand nonchalantly atop Michele's thigh. The action was so sudden that it almost made Michele jump out of his skin but he managed to restrain himself and soon enough he found himself leaning into his comfortably warm touch. "You had been acting weird all day, I've never seen you spill coffee all over yourself like that before."

"Whose fault do you think that is?" Michele muttered under his breath, avoiding his gaze. It was all his fault, his stupid smiles, dorky laughs and charms. And his own stupid heart for loving him for all those things.

"What was that?"

"I-I'm fine," Michele stuttered. "I was just tired but I'm fine now. Thanks." Now that you're here and I'm drinking this great cup of coffee.

"That's good to hear," Emil genuinely said, a relieved smile grazing his lips. He mindlessly caressed Michele's thigh and it drove him crazy. "I was really worried for a second there, I mean it really scared the heck out of me."

"Mmmhmm," Michele hummed painfully aware of how Emil continued to draw circles on his thigh.

Emil's eyes flickered down to Michele's burned hand. "Mind if I take a look?"

"Go ahead," Michele told him, simultaneously feeling relieved and disappointed once he retracted his hand.

Michele watched as Emil tenderly took his hand into his and examined his hand with utmost care, careful not to hurt him. His care and concern touched him so much that he dared to think that what Mila said earlier about him was true. It might be true. He might just like me.

He didn't like agreeing with Mila but based on his behavior what she was saying had some merit after all.

It didn't matter though, whether her claims held any merit or not since he was still too afraid to directly confront Emil about it. If only he could do it discreetly... oh... Oh!

A smile widened across his face as a brilliant idea occurred to him. His used his empty cup to cover up the creepy smile on his face. What if he oh so nonchalantly brought up the rumor just like Mila did with him? He was sure he would be able to tell from his actions just how he felt about him, especially considering how open Emil was about his emotions.

"You know there are some rumors going around," Michele began pulling his hand away from Emil to gain his attention. "About how the cafe's popularity skyrocketed due to a certain something, heard anything about that?"

"No," Emil thought and then he wiggled his brows. "Was it because of my excellent customer service?"

"Surprisingly no, but it did involve you," Michele told him as he fixed his gaze on him. "They said that people enjoyed seeing us," he gestured between them. "flirt apparently."

Emil immediately stiffened once he heard the word flirt, his eyes going wide and his face became bright red.

"What?" He exclaimed in a high pitched voice as he did his best to conceal his blush with his hands and did his best to avoid eye contact. "No way!"

Michele wanted to break out in celebration at his utterly cute and adorable reaction. He wanted to thank both Mila and Sara for their incredible insight and himself for taking that extra step. There were a lot of things he wanted to do but he refrained.

"B-but!" Emil said surprising Michele who was silently contemplating his next move. "Would you have minded if I did?" He looked so nervous as he stared at him with those big beautiful eyes.

Michele lowered his cup to reveal his smile as he honestly answered. "Nope, not at all."

Emil beamed at that as he moved even closer. "So," he said sounding a lot more confident than he was just a few seconds ago and placed both his hands on both of both Michele's thigh. They tingled pleasantly under his touch. "Would you mind if kissed you?"

Michele carefully laced his arms around his neck, careful not to hurt himself, leaning dangerously close. He ignored how his heart palpitated and his breath hitched a little. He stared unabashedly into Emil's eyes. It took everything in him just to do this but if Emil was going to act bold, he was going to be bolder. Besides he enjoyed seeing how much flustered Emil got and how shuddered under his touch. He really handsomely cute.

"Nope, not at all."

Emil's lips collided with his, rough and awkward at first but as soon as they got used to it, Michele couldn't help but let out a content noise as his insides exploded with absolute joy which made Emil smile into the kiss. They broke apart to smile and grin at each other, and they do that for a long time, just content with staring into each other's eyes.

"I can't believe I-no we just did that," Emil said giddily. Somewhere along the kiss, his hand had ended up on Michele's back.

"Yeah," Michele replied suddenly feeling shy. "Wanna do it again?"

"Yes, absolutely," Emil crashed his lips into his eagerly before the words even fully left his mouth. Michele laughed and made a mental note to thank the girls after this. Mila specifically. She could be a pain in the ass sometimes but her teasing could result in good things too.