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Café à la Mode

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It was a hot sunny morning in NYC.

Emma tapped her fingers against the car as she timidly called her boss. She felt her nerves spark up as she desperately hoped that he wouldn't be mad at her. She was running late for work and by the look of the long queue of cars, she wouldn’t be making it in for another hour or two.

The dial tone was soon cut off by a stern voice. She cleared her throat and spoke shakily.

“Hey, Mitch?” Her boss hummed in response, showing no particular emotion. She gulped, he sounded annoyed.

“Yeah, sorry boss, I'm going to be late today.” Emma stared at the shining cars, practically feeling the heat reflecting off of them.

Someone behind her honked their horn loudly and yelled a few expletives that she would rather not repeat. She heard Mitch laugh down the line.

“No worries Emma. How many times do I have to tell you not to be afraid of me? I'm not a monster.” Mitch’s voice was akin to children’s laughter in a playground. She could practically hear him smiling.

“I know, I just feel bad that I'm tardy, I guess.” She heard him laugh again.

“Don't be.” She sighed and nodded to no one in particular. Still feeling guilty, she offered to make amends.

“Is there anything I can do to make it up?” There was a slight pause before he spoke.

“You really don't have to, but if it makes you feel better, how about you get me a large cup of iced coffee? I could really use a burst of energy right now because I'm practically falling asleep on these files over here.” Emma laughed knowing the feeling all too well. Work could be brutal sometimes, especially when it’s as mundane as hers.

“That actually sounds good. I'll see you in a bit.” Emma heard someone call for Mitch on the other end of the line.

“I gotta go, bye.” He hung up, leaving Emma to deal with the traffic.

Emma exited out, off of the highway and made her way to a small, local coffee shop. She’d heard plenty of rumours about celebrity regulars, if anything, it was a must-visit for them.

She replaced her spectacles with sunshades as she made her way out in the sun. It shone brightly, its harsh rays beating down on her. Escaping the fiery ball of light in the sky, she entered the shop. The little bell atop the door chimed in with a pleasant sound to the ears.

She looked around after moving her shades to the top of her head. There were only a few customers in the quaint little shop enjoying the ambience.

“Hey, can I have a large cup of iced coffee?” The girl behind the counter tapped in her order and Emma paid.

“Keep the change.” The girl behind the counter smiled, nodded, and turned around making her way to the coffee machine. The whirring of the machine filled the former quiet shop with the smell of coffee beans.

Once she had the drink in hand, she turned on her heel and took a step forward when the unthinkable happened.

She tripped someone and they fell flat on their face, spilling coffee everywhere.

Emma, with a horrified expression, watched the scene in front of her unfold. At her feet was a man with long dirty blonde hair, face down on the ground.

“Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!” Emma quickly placed the drink back on the counter and crouched down. She placed her hand on his shoulder when he pushed up off of the, now coffee covered, ground. She quickly retracted her hand and started a long chain of rambling.

“I'm so sorry! I'll buy you another drink, let me go get you some napkins to dry off your clothes.” The man’s clothes were soaked in his former beverage, now spill, of coffee. Emma continued to babble until she saw who it was.

Her eyes widened to the size of the moon. Before her, was the, one and only, Tom frickin’ Hiddleston.

The first thing to run through her mind was “well, it’s safe to say he looks hot even drenched in coffee.” The second was, “I, Emma Oath, the clutz of the family, just tripped the Tom Hiddleston, the trickster himself.”

In shame, she looked over at him. He was now in a sitting position, on the ground, with her. He was covered in coffee and red-faced with a grimace. He gingerly moved his face and rubbed his nose.

“Ow.” Her jaw dropped as she felt tears of embarrassment start to well up. She sucked up her fears and swallowed her tears before trying again to speak.

“I um, I'm-” She choked on her words, completely unsure of what to say. After all, what exactly do you say when you’ve managed to trip, not only your idol but a man the height of six feet, or taller.

He turned to face her and that's when she shut up. The scowl which had previously adorned his face soon softened when he saw her look of distress.

By now, all eyes were, discreetly, on them. Emma helped Tom to his feet as he brushed himself off.

He frowned as he peeled the wet cloth away from his skin, standing like a scarecrow. He does look pretty good in a wet t-shirt. Emma’s cheeks reddened at her risque thoughts. She looked at the floor and mumbled yet another apology.

“I'm so sorry Mr Hid-” She immediately shut her mouth, hoping that he didn't hear what she was about to say. She saw him smirk as he shook his arms off. A few coffee droplets hit her in the process.

She felt her heart sink. This isn't going to be good.

“Mr What? I didn't quite hear you?” He teasingly questioned her, being sure to reasonably, give her a hard time. By this point, he had a comical smile plastered on his face.

“I don't know your name! I didn’t say anything!” Emma tried her best to lie her way through the moment, but today was clearly just not her day. She didn't want to seem like some crazy fangirl.

“Right.” She heard him jocularly mumble under his breath.

By this time Tom had disposed of his empty cup and Emma was quick to hand him some napkins to dry off.

“I'm so sorry, again.” She handed him a new cup of coffee, which she bought although he insisted that she didn't have to. He chuckled and shook his head.

“Don't worry about it. Things like this happen once in a while.” He smiled politely.

“So what brings you to my favourite, little coffee shop on this fine Wednesday morning?” If it wasn't for Tom's question, Emma would have completely forgotten about work and her boss, Mitch. She quickly picked up Mitch’s order of iced coffee and rushed a response.

“My boss wanted me to get him some coffee before going into the office and if I'm not mistaken, I'm over an hour late for work.” She quickly glanced at her watch as she hurriedly got herself together.

“Hey, hey, hey. Maybe you should sit down and take a breath.” He smiled and motioned towards an empty table in the corner of the shop.

“I really shouldn't-” Before she could finish her sentence, Tom interrupted her.

“I mean it is the least you could do after soiling my clothes.” He wore a sly smile as he guilt-tripped her, motioning to his clothing. She sighed in defeat and walked over taking a seat. He smirked and sat across from her.

Tom and Emma sat and talked for what seemed like hours.

She looked at his eyes as he animatedly spoke about what he was passionate about. His irises were a mesmerising mix of blue and grey. They shone brightly when the light hit them, almost looking like the sky. His pupils dilated as he spoke about different topics. They grew larger when he got interested and spoke with great zeal.

All of a sudden he stopped talking, breaking her out of her trance. She shook her head slightly in a manner of refocusing.

“Hmm?” He smirked playfully.

“You were staring.” Emma blushed and looked down at her twiddling thumbs.

“So… what’s up with the coffee… I mean…” she trailed off, unsure of how to ask the question bugging at her mind. He raised an eyebrow and waited for her to continue.

“I mean, I thought you’d be more of a tea kind of guy?” Tom guffawed and snorted, in a very un-British like way.

“Why because I’m British and god forbid the wrath of the queen be upon me?” She smiled sheepishly and giggled along with him.

Their conversation continued as their time flew by. Tom joked about how guilty Emma still looked from the incident and Emma joked about his newest smelling cologne, ‘Café à la mode’.

Tom was a good sport about it.

A quick glance at the time alerted both of them to just how long they spent in each others’ presence. They came to a mutual agreement that it was time to part ways, for now.

They got up and Emma decided to throw out Mitch’s iced coffee. It was well past pleasurable consumption at this point. She ordered a new one before heading out.

“Hey Tom, so I guess this is goodbye, huh?” Emma looked up at him for any hint of glumness but was met with a totally different emotion. He was smirking. As if her confusion wasn't enough, to begin with, he leaned down and gave her a hug which she gladly returned. He took this as a chance to catch her off guard and whispered in her ear.

“One should know better than to lie to the God of Lies, I thought you didn't know my name.” He pulled away from the hug and triumphantly grinned down at her as if he won a competition. Emma didn't say anything, she couldn't. She felt her cheeks tinge red in embarrassment.

She was just caught lying, and out of all of the people to catch her, her idol, or more appropriately, by the onscreen god of lies. He laughed.

“You're staring again.” The colour of her cheeks just became the newest cousin of the tomato family.

Tom brushed some of his luscious locks out of his face and looked out into the distance, squinting his eyes.

“To answer your previous question, I don't say ‘goodbye,’ I say, ‘until next time.’” Emma cracked a smile at his statement.

“Well then, until next time?” He beamed and nodded.

“I’m currently on Broadway for a show called “Betrayal.” Feel free to stop by, it’d be nice to catch up.” Emma blushed and nodded, silently agreeing with him.

“I'll see you around, coffee girl and how about next time I could be drinking coffee with you and not wearing it?” Emma laughed and nodded. Before she lost sight of him, she realised she forgot to tell him her name.

“Oh, and the name’s Emma!” He turned around, smiled and nodded.

“I don’t think I have to tell you my name, do I?” He chuckled gleefully as he watched his words turn the girl red.

Until next time…