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Hot Chocolate & Harry Potter

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Ah, Sunday mornings! Is there any finer day?  Well, apart from Fridays at 4pm when you get to go the fuck home after five long, tedious days at work. 

But Sunday mornings are your favourite, especially in the winter because it means that thanks to the rather frosty starts in London, your favourite coffee shop is practically deserted, even at 10am.  Most people don’t know that the place has outdoor heaters which you are convinced were designed by BASA because when you flick the hidden switch, they pump out enough heat to rival the sun.  It means that you get to sit outside, nice and toasty in your many layers of knitwear, and watch the world go by from behind your sunglasses as you sip your coffee and read a book.

When you arrive that morning, there’s no-one but you so you park your backside in your chosen seat just as Lucy comes out to ask if you want your usual.  You grin back at her and say yes and she disappears back inside.  Leaning back in the chair, you slide your hand down behind the planter next to your table and find the hidden switch for the heaters.  They spring to life as soon as you turn them on and it doesn’t take long for your little spot to warm up nicely.  It’s even warm enough for you take your gloves off.  Lucy comes back with the biggest mug of hot chocolate in London, topped with whipped cream, sprinkled with cocoa powder and an entire Flake nestled on the saucer for good measure.  You pull your book out of your bag and settle in for a delightful morning of losing yourself in Harry Potter for the millionth time, and ordering a seemingly never ending supply of hot chocolates.

****  ****   *****    ******   ******   **** 

“Excuse me, ma’am?  Do you mind if I sit here?” A voice cuts through your world of potions classes and dementors who knows how long later and you grunt a yes without taking your eyes from the page.  Fuck knows how many times you’ve read this book, it still sucks you in and you’re annoyed that someone interrupted.  You hear a chair scrape and a coat rustle along with the clink of a spoon against china.  You frown a little but it doesn’t take long to be sucked into the wizarding world.  You burrow your chin deeper into your Gryffindor scarf and carry on reading.  Occasionally, you fumble blindly for your cigarettes, your eyes never leaving the book.  You’re vaguely aware that the invader from earlier is still at the same table but pay them no mind.

“Ma’am? Sorry, me again! Can I get a light?”  The voice cuts through again just as Sirius is asking Harry if he wants to go and live with him.  It gets you every time and you don’t care that there’s tears in your eyes when you shove your lighter across the table.  “Hey, you OK there?”

“Fine,” You sniff, swiping your fingers under your eyes to get rid of the tears.

“Sure ‘bout that?”

“I’m FINE!” You grind out, annoyed that you’ve been interrupted again, and by the same person.

“Geez lady, I was only askin’!” The voice sounds amused as well as little exasperated.  You hear your lighter click into action and then it’s being slid back across the table to you.  You catch it and put your book down with a sigh: the moment’s gone.  You know you should apologise, seeing as the owner of the voice was only being polite, but you’re a little peeved.  You look around and there’s no-one else sitting outside.  There are 3 other tables, all empty and you’re pretty sure that they’ve been empty since you got there as you don’t remember being aware of anyone else other that the interloper sat next to you.  You frown and turn to say something to the person next to you.  When you see who it is, your eyebrows take a running jump into your hairline and whatever barb you were about to throw at Mr Polite dies in a rather embarrassing display of open mouthed staring.

It doesn’t take long for your no brain-to-mouth filter to kick back in and decides that just because he’s a twice Oscar nominated actor doesn’t mean he can get away with interrupting one of your favourite parts of one of your favourite books.

“Mr Renner, I apologise for being abrupt but I was rather deep into this book when you interrupted.  Do you often go around invading people’s quiet time or is it just today that decided to be particularly annoying?” The words are out before the rational part of your brain can catch up and you feel your cheeks burning, even as the rant continues to spew forth.  “And why, pray, did you decide to sit here when there are 3 other tables to choose from, all vacant and all with their own heater?”

Now it’s Jeremy’s turn to gape at you as you carry on like some irate housewife from Surrey writing to the Daily Mail about how much you dislike Jeremy Paxman’s beard.  You stand up and start shoving your book and cigarette packet into your bag, suddenly realising that its the Hawkeye messenger bag that a friend got you as a present last Christmas.  You feel your cheeks flush further and that just seems to make the word vomit worse.

“Do you just make a habit of annoying people who only want to enjoy their hot chocolate and book without being interrupted every 15 minute by some jumped up, self important, oh my god, would you stop fucking talking you ridiculous woman!!” Ah, there’s your brain-to-mouth filter.  Way to go on being late to the party.  “Fuck, I am so, so sorry!  How fucking embarrassing! Jesus, I should not be allowed to talk to people like, ever.  And I’m still talking! OK, I’m just going to leave now before I make even more of a tit of myself.  So yeah.  Sorry about all that Mr Renner and can we just please pretend that this never happened because I have never been more mortified in my entire life and I would just like to forget that this ever happened and thank fuck there was no-one else here to witness that because god, I am such an idio......”

Your next tirade of embarrassment is stopped when he reaches out a hand and grabs hold of yours where you’re twisting the end of your scarf around your fingers.

“Will you just shut the fuck up for a second?” Jeremy laughs, shaking his head and wiping his eyes on the back of his hand.  “Stop apologising and sit down.”  You do as you’re told and plop back down in your seat, bag at your feet.

“I was going to get pissy back but that was all just too funny,” Jeremy grins and you stare at your knees wishing that the ground would just open up and swallow you whole.  You’re just contemplating whether or not you’ll be able to make a run for it when you notice him pull a book out of his own bag. 

You absolutely do not wheeze out the words “sweet Jesus crumpets” like an asthmatic steam train when you see that it’s a battered and much loved copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

“Now, I’m going to sit here, order a coffee and finish my book,” Jeremy says as he gets comfortable in his chair.  “I’m also going to order you another one of whatever you’ve been drinking and you’re going to do the same.  The reason I sat at your table is because I noticed what you were reading and because I like quiet company.  Turns out you’re not actually that quiet but I can deal with that.  Plus, you’re tremendously funny.”

You have no idea what to say to that so you say nothing and just watch as a coffee and yet another hot chocolate appears.  Jeremy doesn’t say anything else, just opens his book and starts reading.  You follow his lead and pretty soon, you’re both lost in the last few chapters. 

 ****   *****   ****   *****   ****   *****

“Yo, Gryffindor!” You hear Jeremy say later on as you finish the last few lines of the book.

“What?” You sniffle a little as you put your book down with a sigh.

“Wanna go grab some lunch?”