Will Solace was a man of action. At least, that’s what he told himself as he took a wet cloth to wipe down the counter. It’d been a little over a year since he started working at Half Blood Cafe; a year since meeting a certain Italian named Nico di Angelo. Just behind him, di Angelo worried at the coffee pot, cursing under his breath as he smacked at the machine. It’d been giving the Cafe quite a few problems lately, and Will had the sneaking suspicion that they’d need to replace it soon enough.
The foreign words went over Will’s head entirely, but Nico’s furious tone was easy to interpret. Will’s lips quirked before he could help it. Nico’s impatience with the pot was routine now and never failed to amuse Will. (Not to mention the Italian language was beautiful on Nico’s lips regardless of meaning.)
Not that Will was paying attention to Nico’s lips. Not at all.
Will’s eyes rolled heavenward. Actually, yes, he was. And it was about time he accepted it. He had accepted it. Blowing it off was also routine, though, but Will was working on that. It was hard for Will to admit to himself that he’d had a hard time coming to terms with his bisexuality. Sometimes he still wanted to disregard any indication of attraction to the man beside him, to the handsome men that walked into the shop.
But not anymore.
He knew he was attracted to Nico. He knew it was more than simple attraction.
He knew it was love.
Six months of working beside Nico di Angelo was all it took.
“Accidenti!” Nico swore, Will guessed by the hiss of his words. Will barely held back his snicker before leaving the cloth on the counter and turning towards the boy. He stepped forward and lightly pushed Nico out of the way, and began to work at the coffee pot.
“It can sense your impatience, Sunshine,” Will teased, checking the pot’s water levels before pressing the ‘start’ button. Immediately, the pot released a few sighs and began to work. “See?” Will turned and raised a brow.
Nico squawked, crossing his arms. “Whatever, the stupid thing needs to be replaced.” He turned to grab the cloth Will abandoned and made his way to the empty tables to wash them off before opening. Will checked his watch. Five minutes ‘til.
Five minutes to finally tell Nico that he was in love with him. Right.
Will resigned himself to watch Nico clean instead. His black hair fell in his eyes as he leaned over the tables and Will fought the urge to let his gaze wander. He was beautiful, that much was obvious, and Will sighed. He couldn’t do it.
Before long, the five minute timer Will had given himself had run out and he took the keys from his pants and unlocked the front door. It wouldn’t be long before the customers came trailing him, and Will planted himself back behind the cash register.
Will startled, then calmed at the sight of Nico in front of him. He leaned against the counter in front of him, worry evident in his eyes. “You okay?” Nico asked.
Will nodded, pulled a smile to his lips. “No worries, Sunshine. I’m always okay with you by my side.” Easy, effortless. Flirting with Nico came so naturally, but all attempts fell to deaf ears when it came to Nico. Indeed, he shook his head and stationed himself behind the counter as a male customer walked in. Nico took his order and immediately set to work, leaving Will to his thoughts again.
He had to tell him. He had to. He’d promised himself, and, Will reminded himself again, he was a man of action.
He was going to tell him.
Determination filled Will’s body and before he could stop himself, the words tumbled from his lips in a desperate mess. “Nico.”
Nico paused to give Will a confused look before turning away to call out the man’s name for his order. Then he turned back to Will. All his attention settled on him and Will felt all of his previous confidence deflate. He couldn’t do it.
He was going to do it, anyway.
“I have a crush on you,” he blurted, his words a little too loud in the quiet coffee shop. The words’ affect on Nico was immediate, his cheeks blossoming into a red puddle. He turned to the only customer in the whole shop, and it was clear by the way he stared intently at his phone that he’d heard.
He scrambled to apologize but before he could, Nico took a step forward and mumbled, “How long?”
Will hadn’t been expecting that reply. Maybe, “What?” or “So?” or even the heartbreaking, “Well, I don’t like you back.” But not, “How long?” Dare he consider that a good sign?
He looked down at his hands. “Six months.”
Nico sucked in a breath and raked a hand through his shaggy hair. “I...I have to go in the back.”
Will nodded, silent. He watched Nico disappear into the back room and ran his own hand through his hair. Why did he decide to tell him today? In front of an audience, nonetheless? Will buried his face in his hands, embarrassed.
Someone cleared their throat and Will looked up, said audience standing in front of him. The man’s sheepish expression made Will want to find the nearest cliff. Instead, he put on his Public Servant Smile and asked, “How can I help you?”
Will supplied the man with his refill and scone just as Nico came back out. Will pretended to be busy at the cash register but he’d never been the best actor. Nico sidled up beside him and, ever so softly, said, “Will?”
He looked down just as Nico’s hand found his cheek and Will froze at his cold touch. Nico looked up at him, brown eyes warm as melted chocolate. Will had no warning for Nico’s sudden presence in his face, or for the press of his lips.
Nico was kissing him.
Will’s eyes fell closed and he leaned into Nico’s embrace, his hands finding the path to the back of Nico’s neck without direction. Nico responded well, his own hands tugging at Will’s uniform to pull him closer. The tug brought Will back to reality, back to work. He pulled away, hand lingering at Nico’s neck.
Nico’s cheeks and neck and ears glowed and Will delighted in the sight. He was beautiful. Nico didn’t look away as he told Will, “I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I’ve always had a thing for you.”
It was Will’s turn to blush. “Really?”
Nico smiled and hummed as he played with the blonde locks of Will’s hair. His hand fell as he turned away and faced the customer. “Do you mind if we head to the back real quick?”
The man smiled gently and told them to take all the time they needed.
Nico found Will’s hand and led him to the back, ignoring Will’s weak complaints about professionalism. “Will, shut up.”
Will quieted considerably when Nico’s lips found his again.
But he had to break the kiss once more. This time, he asked. “How long?”
Nico blinked, a complicated look of amusement and irritation warring on his face. He pretended to think about it. “Ever since you started working here.”
Will gaped. “What?”
Nico’s hands found Will’s face and pulled him into another chaste kiss. “Mhm.”
Will couldn’t believe his luck. He’d waited six months to make a move, and yet Nico had liked him all along. Will leaned back against a shelf and stared dumbly at the boy in front of him. “No kidding?”
Nico rolled his eyes and held Will’s hands between them. “No kidding, Will. I really like you.”
“Why didn’t you make a move?” Will whined, letting his head fall on Nico’s shoulder. “I almost chickened out again today!”
Hands pulled Will out from his hiding spot and Nico laughed. “I’m happy you didn’t.” Nico kept their hands intertwined as he pulled them back to the front. The man was still typing away at his phone and Will couldn’t help but wonder what he was doing.
Will also couldn’t help but ask, “Are you?”
Nico gave him a blank look and Will clarified. “Happy. Are you happy?”
“More than you know,” Nico said, and Will’s stomach flipped pleasantly. Nico went about making drinks for them and Will sat at the stool behind the register. He couldn’t wipe the giddy look from his face and he stopped trying to when the man sitting at the table returned a happy smile.
Nico sat beside him, pushing the cappuccino towards him. Will looked at him in awe and said, “I’m happy, too, you know.”
“I know,” Nico said, reaching out and squeezing his hand.
Minutes passed with no one in the shop saying a word. The man still tapped away at his phone, acoustic music played softly over the coffee shop’s speakers, and Will couldn’t remember a time ever feeling so content. Finished with his drink, he took Nico’s empty cup and went to wash them, but not before planting a quick, discrete kiss to his cheek.
An impulsive need to check the customer’s reaction told Will it wasn’t all that discrete.
Sheepish, Will plucked a muffin from the rack and headed over to the man, who was back to typing away at his phone. Will was more than a little curious at this point, but he ignored his need to know and stood at the edge of the table. He offered the muffin to the man and said, “Thank you for dealing with . . . all of that.”
The man outright grinned. “No worries. It’s not everyday you witness something so precious.”
“Oh,” Will said, speechless. He rubbed at the back of his neck and glanced over at Nico, who was watching the exchange with an amused glint in his eyes. “Um, thanks.”
“No, thank you ,” the man said, standing. He held his hand out for a shake and Will obliged. He nodded at Nico, and then the man was gone.
Will looked over at Nico and briefly thought, And then there were two .
Smiling to himself, Will headed back to the counter where Nico waited. With a now empty shop, Will didn’t hesitate to initiate another kiss with Nico.