Caitlin stood in the entryway to STAR Labs. She wasn't ready to go in. She wasn't ready to face Cisco, not after what had happened last night. She paced a little, outside the view of anyone inside, just in case. She fidgeted, picking at her cuticles, putting her hands in and out of her pockets. The attempt at psyching herself up to go inside was definitely not working. "It's no big deal," she said to herself. "It was just a kiss." But it hadn't been just a kiss. It was a kiss that had several months' worth of emotions and unspoken feelings all wrapped up in it. It was nice, she thought, smiling. But completely inappropriate, she scolded herself. Cisco was her coworker. But Ronnie had been her coworker too and that had worked. But this was different-there were only a few of them left at STAR Labs. There was no hiding from one another. If the relationship went south, one of them would have to leave. She heaved a sigh, frustrated. This was why office romances never worked.
"Okay...you look like you're silently arguing with yourself, and it's getting uncomfortable standing here without saying anything."
She whipped her head up. Cisco had just come in. How had she not heard him? He stood just inside the doors of the entryway, a satchel slung over his shoulder and a sopping wet umbrella in his hand. He was not clean-shaven, something out of the ordinary for him. "I was just thinking," she said, recovering quickly. She scanned her badge and opened the door, hurrying inside. She tried to busy herself with lab results and filing that had been sitting for days, but she every time she glanced up, she saw Cisco. He typically spent the first hour of the day messing around on the internet. Today he was sitting back in his chair, his forehead all furrowed. He had a stress ball in his right hand and was mindlessly squeezing it. She had to admit, he was pretty cute when he was thinking.
She suddenly threw a handful of files down on her desk. "This is too weird," she said, standing.
He dropped the ball and the stress melted from his face. "Oh, thank God. Can we talk, please?"
"Please!" They approached each other and met in the middle of the room. She fidgeted, unsure of how to begin, unsure of what to say at all.
He was silent too for a moment, and the he tucked his hair behind his ears, breathing in. "Okay, now this is awkward. What's wrong with us?"
"I don't know," she admitted. "It was just a kiss." She said the word like it was a deep dark secret that she had never intended to reveal, and now that she'd said it, she wanted to take it back. She bit her lip and shifted from one foot to the other, hoping Cisco would speak up. And luckily for her, he did.
"Do you want to get some coffee?"
She agreed and they headed to Jitters. It wasn't the closest coffee shop, but they had started going there because of Barry and, well, habits were hard to break. She folded her hands in her lap, waiting for Cisco to come back with the coffee mugs. She couldn't tell what he was feeling. He had obviously been thinking about what had happened, and it had been enough to distract him from his usual tinkering.
"Two lattes," he said, setting the drinks down on the table. They stared at each other for a moment. Caitlin held onto her coffee cup like her hands were cold. "So, we obviously need to figure something out, because we have to work together." She raised an eyebrow. This kind of candor was not normal for Cisco, especially this early in the morning.
"Right," she said. "Any suggestions?"
He looked up from his coffee cup. "We should probably work different hours, because there's no way I'm going to get through nine hours of work without kissing you." Caitlin eyed him, pleasantly surprised, and felt her cheeks burn a little. "Sorry," he said sheepishly. "That's, uh...not helping."
"No, it's…" she began, putting her hand on his. "It's sweet."
"Yeah?" He smiled at her crookedly.
"Yeah," she said, smiling back.
"So, there's this new Japanese place that just opened," he began slowly, bouncing a little in his chair.
"Yes," Caitlin said quickly.
Cisco laughed. "How'd you know what I was gonna say? I could've been telling you that I got really bad food poisoning there."
She shook her head, laughing. "I knew what you going to say." He was playing coy, but it was so cute that she didn't mind.
He took a drink from his mug. "And that is, Dr Snow?"
She smiled, tilting her head to the side. "You were asking me out," she said matter-of-factly, then took a long drink of coffee. "But I'm not crazy about sushi. There is a nice Italian restaurant close to my apartment."
Cisco narrowed his eyes. "Nice as in dress-code nice?" She crossed her arms. "Okay, okay. I'll wear a suit if you come back to my place for some epic Streetfighter 2."
Caitlin nodded. "You'll have to teach me." She set her coffee down. "I guess it's settled, then." She checked her watch. "And we'd better get back before we're missed." They walked out together, holding hands.
He pulled her hand up to his lips, kissing her. "There. That'll hold me for a few hours."