Rating: M (just in case for language)
Summary: A nervous Emmett has a crush on Rosalie who works at the café down the street from his office. Can he work up the courage to ask her out without screwing it up? Humor/Romance
A/N: This was originally written for the 30 Days of Emmett Challenge. Many thanks to Lee723 for planting the idea in my head and to HMonster4 for editing. Big huge hugs and thanks to HMonster4, AccioBourbon and TheHeartOfLife for hosting The 30 Days of Emmett!
Sitting at my desk, I clutched the sides of the humongous structure so hard I was surprised that I hadn't cracked it. Just the thought of walking into the café made me an anxious, wired ball of nerves. My stomach was in knots and I hadn't even left the office.
And this was one of my better days.
I jumped at the sound of Angela's voice through the intercom.
"Calm the hell down," I told myself before pressing the button to reply. "What's up, Ange?"
"Are you leaving this morning?"
Ange knew my routine. Every morning at nine o'clock I left to get a cup of coffee and something to eat down the street at the Downtown Express Café. It was now quarter after nine and I was still glued to my desk. I wanted to get out of my chair, stride confidently out of my office, and walk into the café without my stomach in knots. I wanted to say more than an awkward 'hello' to her, the prettiest woman I had ever laid eyes on in my entire life.
But here I sat in my office, feeling like a huge pussy and trying work up the nerve to get out of my chair.
"Boss?" The nickname was Angela's way of being in full work mode. No matter how many times I told her, she wouldn't call me by my first name at work, unless she wanted something—like a paid day off. I rose from my chair, crossing the room and pulled the door open with a quick burst. It ricocheted off the wall with a loud bang, causing Angela to jump as she swiveled in my direction. "Boss!"
"Sorry, Ange," I apologized, closing the door to my office; I made my way toward the exit. "You want anything?"
Angela chuckled loudly. "Only if you don't run into her and make it back here within a decent amount of time. Otherwise, screw it."
"I'm going to fire you one day."
My trusty assistant laughed at me. Maybe I should have listened to my mother years ago. She always thought Angela and I would make a great couple, but I never saw her that way. Instead, she was more like another younger sister. I even stood up for Ange when and ex-boyfriend tried to bully her into seeing him again. One raised brow and a dirty look in his direction and the idiotic pipsqueak pissed his pants. I was a tad disappointed that I hadn't gotten to intimidate him any further. Not that my height wasn't intentionally alarming enough. I towered over everyone I knew, even the local basketball players who always tried to get me to join them. Funny thing was, basketball wasn't my sport of choice.
Angela pressed her elbows into her desk, placing her chin in the palms of her hands and smiled widely. "Oh, Boss, you're so sweet to me."
Leaning against the outer door, I pushed it open and stood halfway outside. "Don't spread that around. I got a rep to keep you know."
"I know." Angela had a glint in her eye that reminded me of my sister Alice. She was always planning or plotting something, but I never knew exactly what. I didn't have the time to mull it over if I was going to get my ass to the café. "As the most lovable Boss ever."
"Hey!" Although my voice was a deep baritone, I sounded as threatening as Zach Galifianakis.
"Go get her," she winked. "Make her yours."
My face felt hot, sweat beaded at my temples. "You're embarrassing me."
"I know," she said, giggling. "Don't you know by now that I love to embarrass you? Drop the cuddly teddy bear routine and slap on the Prince Charming outfit."
"I'm no Prince Charming." Realizing I had been absent mindedly turning the doorknob back and forth, I stopped and balled my hand into a fist. "I'm just… me."
Angela sighed. "You are a gigantic, charming, lovable man with a heart of gold. That could work to your advantage if you don't intimidate her. No slinging her over your shoulder on your first date or anything like that. Now, go woo your woman!"
"You need to stop hanging out with Alice."
"Over your dead body. Now, get your ass in gear and good luck." She raised her hand and showed off two crossed fingers. "'Cause I know you're gonna need it."
Angela was behaving so much like Alice it was as if the two of them were twins, which was impossible since Angela was half Hispanic and Alice and I were very obviously not.
Slowly I walked down the block, silently giving myself a pep talk as the crisp autumn air filled my lungs. Everything from "You can do this" to "Atta boy" floated through my head. When I reached the front door to the café I was no more confident then when I'd left the office. No more nervous, but no more courageous either. I was there so much that most of the regular employees knew my name and vice versa. Although we never said much to each other, her name was the first one I learned. As I made my way into the café, my eyes immediately darted toward the registers. She was there, behind the counter, smiling cheerfully and as pretty as ever.
While staring uncontrollably in her direction, a mild pain shot through my lower back. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw the door shut behind me and a man stepped forward. He looked up at me, eyes wide in surprise, and started to apologize profusely. I thought he was going to offer to buy me coffee until I finally told him that I was fine. He made his way toward the registers, looking back at me with a timid glance, before staring at the menu board.
I wished I was shorter, at least by a few inches. I'd give almost anything to be less intimidating to others around me. Someone else started to walk in through the door and this time I heard the chime from the bell. I stepped forward out of the way to avoid causing another scene. Besides, I was stalling. Moving forward, into the café itself, would certainly help my chances of speaking to Rosalie.
Wiping my palms against the front of my pants, I slowly walked forward to the line. Rosalie and Mike were taking turns at the register with the customer's orders. I calculated my chances of actually having Rosalie wait on me. There was a stoner. A mother with two kids in tow. Some Goth chick. A little old lady with bright red hair that reminded me of Lucille Ball. The guy that bumped the door into my back only moments ago.
If everything continued the way it was going, Rosalie would wait on me. I stared at the menu board, deciding on what to order and tried to think what I could say to her besides 'Good morning' that wouldn't sound forced and fake. No one else had come in and I prayed it stayed that way. Hell, the entire place could empty out for all I cared.
A piercing scream brought me back to my senses. The woman with the two kids suddenly walked out of the line, dragging what I would now consider two devil children out of the store screaming at one another.
I had no idea what had happened to cause such a commotion, but another blond would be taking my order. Since I wasn't into guys, I wasn't the least little bit excited about talking to Mike.
I wanted to duck into the bathroom and wait for someone else to get on line. Sighing, I accepted my fate. Maybe it wasn't my time to talk to Rosalie. My gaze traveled back to the board as I silently wondered what to pick up for Angela. The guy in front of me received his order and I stepped forward, still mulling over the many choices that were available. I'd forgotten to ask Ange if she was in one of her calorie counting moods or if she felt like splurging.
"Good morning, Emmett. What can I get you?"
I suddenly lost the ability to speak. My chest felt tight and my heart beat sped up as I forced myself to move my gaze from the menu board to the person who had spoken to me.
"Good morning, Emmett." She smiled at me, biting her bottom lip. "Um, we have fresh blueberry muffins. I remember how much you liked those the last time."
"Uh, yeah, they were really good." My stomach felt like there was a pile of chains in it, weighing me down. My hands felt clammy and I struggled to speak before my nervousness completely took over as she stood there in front of me. "I'll take one for here and can you wrap one up? I'll take it back to Angela."
Her gaze traveled down to the counter. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned Angela. "And what would you like to drink?"
I ordered a pumpkin spiced coffee and grabbed a seat while I waited for my order. Flipping through a copy of the local newspaper, I listened for my name to be called. Instead of hearing my name being called from the counter, I heard footsteps approach.
Glancing up, I caught Rosalie standing next to me, holding a tray overflowing with goods. Rising quickly, I caught Rosalie off guard and she stepped backwards, bumping into another customer. I reached out, one hand steadying the tray while the other gripped her upper right arm, touching her for the first time ever.
And it was no big deal.
No fireworks. No alarms. No electrical jolts.
It didn't matter. I didn't want to let her go, but I did anyway.
It only was because it looked as if she wanted to break down and cry. Not to mention we were in a public establishment. Her normally violet eyes were watery with tears. In a daze, my hand slowly slid down her arm until they reached her forearm.
"Here, let me help you with that." Not wanting to break contact, my fingers skimmed her bare skin, tracing a path that led to her hand before breaking contact. I took a plate with my muffin resting on it and a coffee cup that was next to it. "I'm sorry about startling you. Are you okay?"
"I'm okay, sorry for almost smashing into you." She examined the other coffee cup on the tray. "Wait, you've got mine, this is yours."
We both reached for the cup on the table and our fingers touched over the lid. Sadly, Rosalie pulled away first, rather quickly to my dismay. "Sorry, I'm not usually this klutzy," she apologized and handed me my cup. "I don't know what's gotten into me."
"Too much caffeine?" I reached for the cup on the table and placed it back on the tray, taking the other one left behind. "Thanks for bringing my stuff over. I didn't hear you call for me."
"Oh, I didn't." Balancing the tray with one hand, Rosalie picked up a bag and handed it to me. "This is your to-go order."
"Ah, yes, Angie's muffin." I reached out for the bag, my fingers brushing against hers. "Thanks."
There were other items on the tray Rosalie was balancing and I didn't want to hold her up. "Since when did you start bringing the food over?"
"Oh, we're not," she paused, her mouth slightly agape as she glanced at my table. "I'm on my break, do you mind if I join you?"
Would I mind? Only if I was insane. "Oh, no, not at all," I said. Or at least, that's what I tried to say. My words came out in one jumbled run on sentence so I sounded as if I was speaking another language.
"Klingon or Spanish?"
I started laughing. "What?"
"Can I join you?"
I nodded in response. "If you dare."
"Oh, I dare." She smiled mischievously at me.
Where did that come from? Shaking my head, I took Rosalie's tray from her and set it on the table. As we both sat down, I prayed my heart beat would calm down. My face was hot, and probably as red as it felt. Wondering what to say to the girl I had an unrequited crush on for the last six months, I took a long draw from my cup and savored the contents.
"Wouldn't your girlfriend like to have breakfast with you?" she asked, eyeing the bag next to me on the table.
"Girlfriend?" The bottom half of my muffin, which was aimed directly for my mouth, stopped mid-air. My stomach protested with an angry growl, which sounded like it was saying 'feed me.'
"Yeah, Angela, Angie, whatever she goes by." Her eyes were glued to the bag. "Wouldn't she rather have breakfast with you?"
"She's not my girlfriend." Rosalie's head snapped up and her eyes met mine. "She's my assistant."
Those beautiful violet eyes widened surprised. "Assistant?"
My stomach started to protest again. I shoved half the muffin in my mouth and chewed quickly, then reached for my coffee, nodding before I could speak. "My assistant," I said. "I own McCarty Construction."
"Oh, I didn't know." She ducked her head and reached for her coffee.
When she placed her cup back down on the table, I reached out for her hand and brushed my fingers against hers. Where was my sudden burst of bravery coming from? "How were you supposed to know? We never got past first names."
Rosalie's gaze traveled to our hands. "It's always been about the weather or the news or just a quick hello."
I wondered why she was recapping the bulk of our conversations. Not wanting to push my luck, I removed my hand, although I would have been much happier lacing my fingers with hers.
I should have pushed my luck and held her hand, or said something else to her. Maybe ask her if she had a boyfriend. Instead, I attempted to innocently take another drag on my coffee at the exact same moment Rosalie spoke up.
"Emmett, would you be interested in going out sometime?"
I was so surprised at her question that I coughed and the coffee that had been in my mouth flew out at what could've been considered warp speed and landed all over Rosalie. Yes, I spit coffee all over the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. Brown droplets of coffee dripped from her face, hair, and shirt.
"Oh, no, Rosalie, I'm so sorry!"
The back of her hand wiped away the coffee at her mouth.
I realized that everyone was staring at us, but the sound of Rosalie's shaky voice jolted my attention back to her. "A simple 'no' would have sufficed." Her voice was low, barely audible as she looked down at her tan stained shirt.
"That's not what I meant!" Grabbing the napkins off the tray, I shoved them in her direction. "Are you okay? You're not burnt, are you?"
"No, the coffee was cooled down by the amazing velocity at which it was spit from your mouth before it met my face." She angrily grabbed the napkins out of my hand and dabbed her eyes clear. "Thanks for caring, Emmett."
Rosalie rose from her seat and ran toward the kitchen. With nothing more to lose, I chased after her. Mike saw me run past, but didn't attempt to stop me. I almost caught the swinging door in the face, and I would have deserved it, but I caught it and ducked inside. I spotted Rosalie rushing through another door and I followed after her.
"Hey, whatcha doing in here?" An older Italian gentleman with a heavy accent yelled. "You don'ta belong backa here!"
Ignoring him, I made a mad dash in the direction Rosalie had gone, finding myself in front of a door marked "Employees Only."
I knocked on it heavily, making sure she heard I was there. "Rosalie, it's Emmett. We need to talk."
"Haven't we spoken enough?" The building was old and the door was heavy. Her words were distant and hard to hear.
I knocked on the door again. "You better be decent!"
Opening the door, I found Rosalie standing in front of a locker, blotting the front of her shirt with the stack of napkins I'd given her. "You don't understand."
"Oh, I understood plenty!" She slammed the locker shut. "You didn't have to spit your coffee on me!"
I heard the door open up behind me. "Rosie, you needa me to get rida him? Yes? Is he-a bothering you? I shove-a my best wooden spoon where da sun don't shine!"
It was the first, and I hoped last time, in my life where someone had volunteered to sodomize me with a wooden object. I cringed.
"I don't swing that way," I said to no one in particular. "I just need to apologize to Rosalie."
"I'm fine, Guido." She said with a sigh.
"Okay, Miss Rosie, you just let-a me know if-a I can be of any service." He raised his wooden spoon in the air and shook it profusely before twisting it in a jabbing motion.
Not wanting to press my luck, I turned sideways, away from Guido. I had an overwhelming urge to cover my ass with my hands. He backed out of the door, shooting daggers at me. With one last jab of the spoon, the door shut on him relief washed over my entire being.
Until I gazed at Rosalie, who stood there with her eyes trained on me, appearing more sad then pissed off. "I am so sorry about spitting my coffee on you."
"You apologized." She said sternly. "You can leave."
I took a step forward. "I'm not finished."
"Do I need to call Guido back?"
"Oh, hell, no!" The memory of the spoon-wielding man made me squeeze my ass cheeks closed. "You surprised me when you asked me out."
"I won't make that mistake again." Sighing, she ran napkins over her hair.
Taking a chance, I stepped forward and took the napkins from her hands. I went over her hair, gently drying it as she stood there, giving me a death glare, her hands balled into tight fists.
"Was that the first time you've ever asked anyone out?"
"Yes," she whispered. "I thought you were different."
Spotting a few droplets of coffee on her cheek, I wiped them away. "I am." Tears had pooled in the corners of her eyes and a single drop spilled over, running down her cheek. "I am different." I gently brushed it away with my thumb and as I instinctively leaned closer to her, that was when she raised her fist and punched me in the stomach.
"Omph!" Rosalie could pack a punch! Clutching my stomach, I doubled over. "What was that for?"
"For being like the rest of them and saying you aren't!" She cried. "Why, Emmett?"
"You surprised me!" I defended myself. "I wanted to ask you out!"
"I dared to put myself out there and then you reacted the way you did? If you're going to turn a girl down, at least be nicer about it!" Rosalie's eyes grew wide with surprise. "Wait, what did you say?"
Rubbing my stomach, I stood up straight. "If you'd let me explain, maybe you'd realize that I wanted to ask you out. I've been so nervous around you. I didn't know if you'd be interested. Didn't know if you were dating anyone. I didn't know what you thought of me."
She reached out and touched my stomach where her fist had made contact. "I'm sorry that I punched you."
"I'm sorry that I spit coffee all over you."
In the movies, that was when the man leaned in close and kissed the girl, but that didn't happen. Instead, I asked Rosalie if she was still interested in spending some time with me. She said yes.
A few years later when I bent down on one knee and I asked her another question, she said yes again.
I reached out with my foot and set the rocking chair back in motion. The weight in my lap shifted and I glanced down. "Aren't you supposed to be asleep, Champ?"
"Daddy, what happened on your first date with Mommy?"
I caught a slight movement from the doorway in my peripheral vision. My wife leaned against the frame, her hands crossed across her chest. "If only our first date had gone as smoothly as your Daddy asking me out," she said sarcastically. "It's amazing neither one of us ended up in jail or with broken bones."
Our son laughed. "What did Daddy screw up?"
I ignored him for the time being. "Aren't you supposed to be asleep?"
"It's late and past your bedtime, EJ." Rosalie walked in and stood in front of us. "You're supposed to tell him a bedtime story to put him to sleep, not keep him awake," Leaning over, Rosalie whispered in my ear, her sweet breath tickling my skin as she removed our son from my lap.
Who knew the story of how badly I wanted to ask his mother out would entertain a six year old? I rose from the chair and pulled the covers back from EJ's bed. Rosalie placed him down and he snuggled deep into the blankets.
"'Night, Daddy." He had my dark hair and dimples, but his features were most definitely from his mother. Smiling, EJ reached up for me and I leaned down, placing a kiss on his forehead.
"Sleep well, Champ." I moved and waited at the foot of his bed, the sight of my wife and son bringing a smile to my face.
Rosalie sat down, tucked the covers tightly around him, and then kissed EJ on the cheek. "Snug as a bug in a rug."
She pinched his nose lightly, eliciting a giggle from him. "We love you, EJ."
Our son yawned. "Love you, too."
Rosalie met me at the end of his bed and laced her fingers through mine. Hand in hand, we quietly made our way to exit. I clicked on his nightlight and as I was about to close the door, I heard my sons voice.
"What happened on your first date with Mommy?" He asked again with a yawn. I glanced over at Rosalie who had her lips drawn into a smile. "What did Daddy screw up?"
I squeezed my wife's hand and turned my attention back to Junior. "That story, my son, is for another evening."