The opening bars to Crazy in Love begins for the fourth time in a row, and Fitz immediately decides he regrets ever buying Daisy a radio for her birthday, and he definitely regrets agreeing to let her put it in the kitchen of Tremors, their coffee shop.
“Yes, it's so crazy right now, most incredibly, it's ya girl, it's ya boy-” Daisy sings, appearing by his side to pass off a cup of black coffee and a to-go cup of earl gray to Mr. Coulson and his wife, Melinda.
Coulson smiles a little quizzically as Daisy keeps singing, but he thanks them both and May rolls her eyes and, unless Fitz is seeing things, taps her fingers against her jeans to the beat of the song.
Fitz fixes Daisy with a look that plainly says ' are you serious right now ’, and she blows him a kiss in response and flits away, still singing. He rolls his eyes even as his lips upturn into a smile.
Agreeing to open up this shop with Daisy was easily the best decision he’s ever made, of that Fitz is certain. Okay, so he’d been a little wary of opening up a coffee shop in an extraordinarily small town where he knew basically no one, but he needed to get away from the city after his mum’s passing, and Daisy grew up in Providence and assured him it was a good, peaceful place to settle down.
And she was right. Sure, Fitz thought some of the townspeople were a bit... odd, and he might’ve been branded by the town’s grump, but he loved it here. It was picturesque, right down to the white gazebo in the center of the town.
The next few hours go by as a blur of coffees and teas and hot cocoas, and Fitz challenges himself to name at least two or three bands off Daisy’s mixtape. He manages to recognize Coldplay, AC/DC, and Nickelback, but quickly realizes his and Daisy’s tastes in music vastly differ, until at last, a song begins that he both recognizes and likes: Drops of Jupiter.
It's at that exact moment that the front door opens with a chime and a burst of chilly wind, and a woman steps in with a baby on her hip, and Fitz’s life changes forever.
He doesn't pay much attention at first, busy with topping off Hunter's cappuccino with too much whipped cream, until the woman says in a melodic, achingly English accent: “Can I get something caffeinated? Coffee or tea I'm not picky.”
Fitz stops what he’s doing and slowly turns around, mouth agape. When he actually sees her, he’s stunned further into silence. She’s young, like he is, maybe nineteen. Her features are soft, a small nose, and curling brown hair, but her eyes are sharp and inquisitive.
In other words, extremely pretty .
“Coffee?” Fitz repeats dumbly, all but forgetting his previous task.
The woman blinks in surprise, but recovers quickly. “Yes, that will do. I guess I don't have to worry about your tea being awful, you’d know how to make it properly.”
Fitz furrows his eyebrows, properly confused now. “What?”
“Your accent,” the woman continues. “Scotland has good tea, my father took me to Glasgow when I was a child once. Some of the best tea I've ever drank. I'm Jemma, by the way.”
Jemma Simmons, he realizes. The single mother who just moved here with her two year old daughter, who managed to nab a job at the Providence Inn.
He realizes he hasn't answered her yet, and is instead staring at her creepily, and he wishes the ground would split beneath his feet and pull him under.
“Fitz - that's me. I'm Fitz.” He points at his chest, and quickly drops his hand altogether, wishing he could pull it together.
To his own dismay and relief, Jemma chuckles . “Nice to meet you, Fitz.” She holds her hand out, and he takes it, giving it a quick shake, deciding that he likes the way she says his surname.
When Jemma pulls away, she motions at the baby who has eyes the same shade of brown as her. “And this little trouble maker is Charlotte.”
Fitz smiles at the baby, and gives a little wave. “Hi there, Charlotte.”
The baby smiles back at him, and Fitz’s heart seizes. Jemma beams, her eyes crinkling as she does so, and honestly, Fitz should have realized right then that the Simmons girls had his heart.
But he didn't. Instead, he makes faces at Charlotte, who smiles even wider and even laughs at him.
Jemma smiles down at her daughter, before turning back to Fitz. “How much is your coffee?”
Fitz reaches for the cappuccino behind him, and pulls a sharpie out of his pocket. “Today? It's on the house.” He writes the name Jemma on the to-go cup with a flourish (more than the hastily scribbled, almost unintelligible “prick” he would've written for Hunter), and hands it to her.
“Welcome to Providence, Jemma.”
The smile she gives him as she takes the cappuccino is so infectious that he doesn't stop smiling until many, many hours later.
And although she steps out of Tremors a few seconds later, she doesn't step out of his life.
Daisy appears at his side with raised eyebrows, startling him out of his thoughts. “Who was that?”
“Jemma Simmons,” Fitz answers, privately deciding he likes how her name sounded on his lips. “And her daughter, Charlotte.”
“Oooo, the girl from the inn, right?” Daisy comments, stepping up on her tippy toes to get a glimpse at Jemma’s retreating figure. “Yoyo’s told me about her, says she’s magnificent .”
“Yeah, that sounds about right.” Fitz agrees without thinking, and completely misses the “ oh, really?” look Daisy throws at him, which quickly turns into a face of confusion. “Hey, where’s Hunter’s cappuccino? I gotta deliver it in five.”
A blush creeps up on Fitz’s cheeks and he manages a shit lie about getting distracted by the radio, before excusing himself to quickly remake the drink.
Meanwhile, across the street in the town circle, Jemma Simmons takes her first sip of a Tremors’ cappuccino and falls in love.
And that's where our story begins.