All my life I had wished I could be one of those people who always seemed to know the right thing to say in any given situation. Someone who was quick-witted and funny in a good way, making people laugh with them, instead of at them. Because that was what seemed to be my greatest talent: Screwing up in any situation that required wit or just plain common sense.
If I had a superpower than it was always doing the absolute wrong thing in any situation where it counted. Today was a prime example of it – and the fact that it was Monday just made it even more ridiculous: As soon as I left the bus I had gone straight to the coffee shop located nearby. While standing in line, still half asleep because it was barley 7:30 in the morning, I realized the guy in front of me looked oddly familiar.
The next thing my foggy mind had realized: It was none other than sexy Swede and yes, at the same time I remembered seeing him here before from time to time. But before it hadn’t meant anything. Now, after everything that had happened last Thursday it felt kind of awkward just standing there, saying nothing.
So without really thinking this through, I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind: “Hey, you drink coffee, too?”
Of course, there was no black hole swallowing me in sight, but instead he turned around, eyebrows raised and then started grinning when he saw me.
A real grin, teeth and dimples and sparkling blue eyes and all. Way too much for my pre-coffee mind on a Monday morning.
Everything inside me froze while he said: “Seems that way.”
After the embarrassing exit I had made after lunch on Thursday, I’d promised myself not to freak out again – about anything – if I ever happened to bump into Gustaf at work again.
I had also spend this weekend in front of the TV doing a “The O.C.”-marathon and watching some silly movies. No drinking, no going out – well, a bit of singing and dancing though, but only in the kitchen to the radio.
My two flatmates had been away for the weekend – one was on holiday and the other away for a weekend trip with her boyfriend so I had had the whole flat to myself. And surprisingly, I didn’t freak out. For the first time in a very long time I had just done nothing – except maybe obsessing a little too much over an encounter with a certain Swede – and it actually had felt…well not good, but okay.
So to put an end to the whole obsessing thing, I’d managed to convince myself, that the whole lunch-thingy had just been a coincidence, nothing that was likely to ever repeat itself. After all, I’d gone weeks without even seeing Gustaf before. Now though, it seemed like the universe was playing some kind of joke on me. Why else would he turn up in front of me at the coffee shop?
And I’m staring at him.
Yeah, another brilliant remark.
At least I had recovered from the effects of that smile – sort of.
It really was so fucking unfair that the guy looked that damn gorgeous to begin with and then topped it all with that freaking smile. It was truly devastating and I suspected that he knew the effect it had on me. Why else would he always be looking at me with that greatly amused expression on his face? An expression that made me even more embarrassed and unsure.
I knew that talking to other people in general wasn’t one of my strongest suits. I somehow always ended up saying something stupid. Or offensive. Or just something wrong in the given situation. And it got worse with beautiful men. I always got tongue-tied and ended up making a total ass out of herself. So why had I thought it was a good idea to talk to sexy Swede?
And in that moment I realized I was just standing there, still staring while he was smiling, none of them saying anything.
Heath crept up my face.
Great – now I’m a staring weird mute tomato.
“So uhm…how are you?” Maybe next time I should just keep her mouth shut.
“Fine, bit early though”, he answered.
“Yeah”, I agreed.
Then I was saved by the fact that it was Gustafs turn to put in his order, so I just decided to leave it, grab the coffee and go.
Except he actually stood near the entrance when I finally got her coffee.
“So does Blondie still give you trouble?” he asked when I approached.
It took me a second to progress the question, I was too stunned by the fact that he’d actually waited on me.
“What? Oh yes, but she’ll grow up someday.” Hopefully soon, because this whole staring and sneering got on my nerves.
They moved out of the shop and down the road towards the office buildings. It was about 10 minutes by foot.
So get yourself together and don’t do anything stupid!
The thought kind of felt like famous last words.
Gustaf sighed, cutting off my dreaded thoughts. “Yeah, I’m kind of hoping the same.”
Wait, what? What was he talking about?
Before I could ask though, a guy suddenly appeared next to Gustaf.
“Flashy! You were gone so fast!”
Gustaf sighed again and then replied dryly: “Yeah, I wonder why?”
The guy just smiled and finally my tired pre-coffee brain recognized him: Elias Green, he also worked in customer support but for the English customers. He was also known to be Kyle Turners boyfriend.
“Oh well, don’t be such a prude.” He said, still smiling and then he noticed me. He frowned a bit, obviously trying to place me.
“Hi Elias”, I said softly and sipped my coffee.
How rude would it be to just keep walking and leaving those too alone?
And yeah, you’re talking to yourself.
“Sina”, Elias answered, surprising me. “You are a coffee-junkie as well?”
I frowned. “Who isn’t?”
Gustaf chuckled and it did something funny to my stomach. Something I didn’t really want to think about right now.
“So Flashy?” I asked.
Gustaf made a face, but Elias expression turned smug. “Yeah. Because he’s all fast and stuff, you know?”
No, I really didn’t but I kind of enjoyed the fact that this turn in the conversation seemed to make sexy Swede uncomfortable and so for once, I wasn’t the awkward one. It probably also didn’t make me a very nice person, but who cared?
“All fast huh?” I asked with a mocking grin.
“Well I wouldn’t know about everything…” Elias drawled, wincing.
“Are you done?” Gustaf interrupted gruffly.
Elias just smiled. “Yeah, yeah I get it – no sense of humour before coffee. But you know, you could’ve at least bought me some tea”, Elias said.
“And why would I do that?”
Elias looked at me. “Don’t bother with this one. He isn’t a gentleman. Just a bloody Viking in disguise.”
“Well then he’d be better suited with Marvel.” It was out before I could stop herself – before I could even think about it. Mentally cursing myself I waited for the usual blank looks and the awkward silence that always followed those kinds of comments.
And surely enough, Elias looked at me with the puzzled expression of someone who had never ever read a comic book before.
Gustaf however looked – well, he kind of looked intrigued.
Deciding that was wishful thinking I shrugged. “Sorry, Nerd talk.”
“So you think I should get myself a hammer?” Gustaf said one second later.
I blinked and starred at him.
Could it be he actually got my comment?
Only one way to find out. “Well not just any hammer. You need to be worthy as well.”
A slow smile spread across his face and yeah, it was still absolutely devastating. Especially with that sparkle in his eyes now. “And I better watch out for evil brothers.”
Oh yeah, he had gotten it. He truly had gotten it. “At least there won’t be any talking apes.”
“True. And lightning is so much cooler anyway.”
At that I made a face. “Don’t insult Flash, he saved my life!” Literally.
Comic books had always been my safe place when I was younger. When my parents argued and my dad got sick and grumpy and they didn’t have much money to go by, the one thing that kept me sane was reading comic books. Seeing those immensely powerful creatures dealing with problems that actually weren’t that far away from what mere mortals dealt with somehow gave me hope.
The first comic I’d ever bought was Flash and he had stayed one of my favourite characters ever since – also because Flash had been the one comic character, that me and Adam had agreed upon. Running faster than the speed of light, turning back time and entering your own world – that was some damn powerful stuff.
Well, it had also made me afraid of Gorillas but that was another story.
“Oh dear god, you found another on”, Elias said making a face. “How did you find another one?”
Gustaf just grinned.
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
“A comic book lover. Do you know how many of those things we have lying all over the flat? Drawings of men and women in spandex for fucks sake!”
I grinned and looked at Gustaf. “Oh yeah?”
He shrugged. “Not all over the flat – actually just in my room and some in the living room but he LOVES to exaggerate.”
Elias seemed unfazed by that. “I don’t, you just have so little imagination!”
Gustaf just rolled his eyes at that. “Sure. Says the one who thinks comic books are for children.”
I actually laughed at that, which earned her a grin from Gustaf and a scowl from Elias.
But what did it matter? Sexy Swede read comic books!
Could he be any more perfect?
For whom actually?
That thought put a damper on my mood rather quickly. What did it matter that Gustaf read comic books as well? It was not like they were going to be friends or anything.
Still…I couldn’t help herself. “So what are you reading?”
Before Gustaf could answer though, the reached the office building and I saw the clock in the entry. It was 5 to 8. Her shift started at 8.
“Shit, I gotta go.”
Elias glanced at the clock as well and winced. “Damn, me too. Catch you later guys.”