First Impressions

Riza looked around the small café. Serving chocolate and coffee was never enough to keep her busy, so with her extra time, she opted to observe the customers. Unfortunately, with the amount of regulars, this often proved to be as boring as serving.

Though the café was decorated for the holidays, the patrons hardly noticed and kept mostly to themselves, some reading books, some carrying on private chats, others just dwelling on their coffee. The door would be pulled or pushed open occasionally, letting the frigid air and snow swirl in. Some would glare, others, laugh in surprise. The snow on the floor would melt, and Riza would put down another set of rags.

Just as she was walking by the door to bring coffee to a table, the door was pushed toward her and a stranger stumbled in, knocking into Riza, who fell into a table and dropped the coffee, shattering the mugs on the floor.

A regular couple, Gracia and Maes, ran for towels and helped Riza gather the pieces.

As Riza scrambled, she bumped into someone. "Sorry," she murmured.

"I believe that's what I should be saying," a low voice responded.

Riza stopped. It was the man who had opened the door! "Are you alright?" she asked.

The man dropped the pieces in the trash bin and sighed. "Please, don't act like it's your fault."

"I'm not!" Riza snapped, embarrassed. "In fact, I was going to require that you pay for those mugs, so forget about offering to seem more gentlemanly—you're not!" Despite her harsh words, she took the offered hand to get to her feet.

"You're bleeding," the man noted.

Riza bit back a curse and grabbed a paper napkin to stanch the trickle. "Anything else you'd like to point out? Maybe that my pants now need dry cleaning? That I must be poor, to need to work here?" Her eyes were filling. "What did I do to deserve a day like today?" she whispered, sinking into a chair.

"Riza, are you okay?" Rebecca, who usually had the shift after Riza's, had come in. She marched up to the man. "Listen, buddy. I don't know what you did, but I can guess, and if you don't want me pressing charges, you'd better start doing something right!"

The man sighed again, more heavily this time. "I'm already paying for the cups, but if you'd like me to cover the dry cleaning, too, I will." He pulled out a business card and set it by Riza. "But if you'll pardon me, those folks never got their coffee, and I'm thirsty, as well." He pulled out almost twice the amount of money for a cup of coffee. "Keep the change."

Later, after Rebecca got to work, the man sat across from Riza. "What a mess," he murmured. Looking at her, he asked in a sincere tone, "Is there anything else I can do?" He shook his head. "I walk by here every night and the one night I try to get your attention, I make it so you never want to see me again."

"Pardon me?" Riza asked. "My attention?"

The man nodded. "But I tend to have what my friends call a 'Darcy complex', thus my arrogant piggish-ness, intended or not."

"You're not helping your case," Riza pointed out.

"Attempting that failed," he explained. "Now, I'm just hoping that you'll take me as I am. There's something about you that makes me better than I am most of the time."

Riza shook her head, not wanting to accept, but knowing that she was going to. "I must be crazy, but I'll give you another chance." She held out her uninjured hand. "My name is Riza Hawkeye."

The man shook it rather gently. "My name is Roy Mustang. I was wondering if you'd like to join me for dinner some evening."

Riza nooded. "I'd like that, I think."

Roy chuckled before looking out the window. "Can I drive you to your house?"

Nodding again, Riza called "Good night!" to Rebecca, and left with Roy.

On their way out, they found themselves beneath the mistletoe someone had used as a decoration. Roy looked bewildered. He had already screwed things up once…

Riza bit her lip, then carefully leaned in and kissed him lightly on the cheek, watching his face break into a rather silly grin as she drew back.

Maybe he's not so bad after all.

A/N: I chose the title after the working title of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (non-ownership disclaimer obviously applies), which I even made an allusion to in the story! I feel so proud of myself!