A/N: So I'm finally getting around to putting up the second installment of this, just because Emma owes Nate some coffee…
Edit: I just noticed a small inconsistency in rereading this that my OCD self had to fix, even though it's been how long…
Disclaimer: I don't' own anything to do with this movie at all, sadly enough.
Coffee 2 (because I can't come up with a more creative title)
He sits watching the dance floor where his sister spins around and around, laughing and basking in the joy of being a newlywed. He won't admit it, but part of him is jealous that she is the one to be married first. He's had to withstand a fair share of pitying gazes tonight, people wondering when this will be his wedding. He gives the same answer every time: When he finds the right woman.
Speaking of the right woman, he watches as Daniel pulls Liv closer, whispering something in her ear that makes her laugh loudly, smacking him on the arm. She breaks away from him to pull Emma from the fringes of the floor, swinging their arms like they did when they were little. He smiles lightly, glad to see them enjoying themselves, however he can tell that all of this happiness is starting to wear Emma down. Everyone seems to forget that Emma was supposed to be married today as well.
After the song ends, Emma pulls Liv closer, hugging her tightly before walking off the dance floor, looking slightly relieved. Nate watches as she makes her way over to a chair in the far corner of the room, dropping her chin into her hand as she takes in the happily oblivious crowd.
Before he can stop himself, he's weaving through the people towards her. About halfway across the dance floor he realizes what he's doing and stops before he can make an even bigger fool of himself. She is grieving over her lost marriage; she doesn't need him in the way.
A short while later, he decides he's had enough of standing around and watching her put on a brave face. He takes a deep breath and approaches her from behind. Over the noise of the music and the yelling, he's surprised that she notices his sudden presence. She looks at him expectantly, as though waiting for the heartfelt apology she knows must be coming.
"Want to dance?" He asks instead, knowing that she doesn't want anyone else pitying her tonight.
Her response is only slightly delayed, and when she gives it, she sounds relieved. "Yes."
She places her hand in his and he leads her onto the dance floor. She fits easily into his arms, and he smiles to himself to think that it feels right, although he knows such thoughts are wrong. Up until a couple of hours ago, Emma was walking down the aisle, in love with another man; there's no way she's thinking the same things he is at this moment. In fact, she's probably thinking about how she wishes he were Fletcher, and about how she isn't supposed to be here right now. She's probably thinking of how she is supposed to be in the room across the hall, sharing the same dances with her new husband as Liv is sharing with Daniel at this very moment. These thoughts bother him more than he would have imagined, and so he pushes them away, concentrating on the woman in front of him. She looks as though she's stuck in her mind, reliving the past few days over and over again, wondering how they all led to this point.
"You know, I really think this hairstyle suits you," He comments, before he can stop himself. This will probably only bring up thoughts of things she doesn't want to think about, and he regrets the words the instant they leave his lips.
Instead of the expected reaction, however, Emma raises an eyebrow and says, "Oh really? You think so?"
He nods, grinning at her as he replies, "Definitely. You should try for the fluffed poodle look more often. It brings out your eyes."
She throws her head back as she laughs, and the sound makes his smile widen. When she recovers, he notices that they are much closer together than before, but he makes no effort to change that.
"I would," She says, still laughing slightly, "But it takes two hours, a bottle of hairspray, and a hundred dollars."
His eyes widen. "The lengths women go to for hair that great."
She nods, "I know. It's shocking."
He grins and shakes his head, catching Liv and Daniel in some sort of good-natured argument. He sees Liv glance over at him and realizes what they're talking about. Of course she won't be able to keep her nose out of this. Not that there is a this. If there ever is a this, it will be in the distant future.
After a couple more songs, they leave the dance floor, exhausted, and collapse into chairs. Emma laughs to herself and he smiles. He's glad she's happy for now.
"It's hot in here. You want to go get some air?" She asks, fanning herself with her hand and exhaling loudly.
He nods and tries to ignore the look he can feel Liv giving them as they leave the Plaza banquet hall. She can mind her own business, for once.
They sit outside for a long while, enjoying the warm night. Neither of them says a word until finally she speaks.
"You know, I still owe you that coffee."
He doesn't look at her as he grins, replying, "You do."
Nothing else needs to be said as she rises from the bench, grinning slightly. He's surprised she brought it up, but goes with it. He suspects that she doesn't want to go back inside and watch the remaining people happily dancing and laughing. He can't blame her. He's happy for Liv, just as Emma is, but seeing the people watching him isn't appealing anymore.
They take advantage of the beautiful night, walking down the street at a leisurely pace until they find a coffee shop. It must look odd, a man in a suit and a woman in a disheveled wedding dress, strolling down the sidewalk as though they have all the time in the world to arrive at their destination, and it must look even odder to the cashier at the small diner, but neither of them cares.
They seat themselves in a small booth with red fabric covering the seats, ripping at the seams. He picks up a menu, mostly to have something to look at, and she mirrors the action. Studying the choices, he realizes something and looks up at her, suppressing a grin.
"You know, they don't have anything unpronounceable on this menu."
A hint of a smile breaks out on her face as her eyes scan down to the bottom of the menu. "It appears you're right. Guess I'm going to have to go with something more… traditional."
'Traditional' turns out to be regular orange pekoe tea. He orders his usual black coffee and studies her as they wait for their drinks. She's tired, he can tell. The weeks of stress and struggle have taken their toll on her, and he knows she can't wait to sleep tonight. Although, he's sure that at the same time she doesn't want to go back to her apartment and risk running into Fletcher.
As their drinks arrive, he feels his phone vibrate in his pocket. He takes it out as inconspicuously as he can manage, checking the caller ID. Fletcher. He knows that he is supposed to be the guy's friend, but he can't manage friendly at the moment. He knows it's wrong to feel this much resentment toward the man; after all, he hasn't really done anything wrong, except being a complete ass.
He presses 'Ignore' and slides the phone back into his pocket, returning his attention to Emma.
"You know, you could have taken that. If they're calling this late, it must be important."
"Nah, it wasn't important," He replies, shaking his head. The waitress comes with their drinks, interrupting whatever her reply might have been.
He watches as she proceeds to dump two creams and sugars into the tea, and then wraps her hands around the mug. She studies the swirling liquid for a moment before looking up to meet his eyes.
"I'm sorry it turned out like this," He says, knowing the words won't make up for what's happened.
"Me too," She whispers.
For a while they sit in silence, but it isn't uncomfortable. He takes comfort in her presence, and knows she feels the same. He isn't sure when it happens, but suddenly he realizes that they're talking and laughing easily. It's almost as though nothing has happened, but there is always that slight tension that reminds him. Her shoulders remain set and her eyes betray a hint of sadness, but otherwise she's perfectly normal. If he didn't know her so well, he would think she was perfectly fine.
"Ok, so be straight with me," He finally says, turning the conversation down a more serious avenue, "How are you?"
As soon as he says it he knows it was a stupid way to phrase the question. How should she be expected to be doing?
She shrugs, not angering as he expects her to. It's the first time he's been surprised by her reaction. Her next words only shock him more. "I don't know, I guess I'm surprised. I thought I'd feel more… well, more anything, really. I'm not all that sad. Mostly relieved. I keep feeling like I shouldn't feel like that, but I can't bring myself to be sad that it's over anymore. I was at first, but now I just… I don't know."
She stares at her mug while he processes her words. The fingers of her right hand are wrapped around the handle, while her left fingers barely brush the base of the ceramic cup. He doesn't fail to notice that light no longer glints off an engagement ring.
She scoffs suddenly, raising her mug to take a drink as she looks out the window. He sees tears shining in her eyes, and reaches out automatically to rest his hand over hers across the table. Her lips curl upward slightly, but no words pass between them.
They sit in silence for a long while before finally deciding to leave the dingy diner behind them. She puts a couple of bills on the table to pay for the coffee and they proceed to the door.
Once outside, they turn aimlessly down streets, neither wanting to return home to empty apartments for the night. He knows she's thinking of where she would be now, if she hadn't called off her engagement. She claims to be alright with it, but he knows her better than she thinks. He believes that she does feel relief to some degree, but he also knows that she does feel sadness and regret as the reality of her actions begins to sink in. He knows that she is starting to panic as she finally processes the fact that she has thrown out ten years of her life.
When they finally come to a stop, they've reached her apartment. Looking at his watch covertly, he discovers that it is nearly two in the morning. They left the wedding at 11:30.
She stares up at the window belonging to her apartment and sighs. Fletcher won't be there; they agreed that he would only stop by to get a few things and stay with a friend until everything was sorted out.
"Hey," he says softly, capturing her attention, "It'll be okay. You made the right decision."
"How do you know that?" She asks, her eyes searching his for answers.
He longs to tell her the real reason he feels that way, that it was the right decision because Fletcher wasn't good enough for her and never had been, but that won't help, not now. So, instead, he swallows his true feelings, because they aren't what she needs. They will only confuse her. "Because if it wasn't, you wouldn't have done it."
She attempts to smile in return and squeezes his hand. He hadn't even realized they were joined.
"I should probably go up and try to sleep. I'll talk to you tomorrow?" She asks, almost hopeful.
"For sure," he replies.
"Thanks," she replies, smiling in earnest now. She leans in and wraps her arms around him. It's a different hug than last time. Last time, their embrace was brief, meant to reassure and support her. This time, it lingers, meant to comfort. She buries her head in his shoulder briefly before regaining her composure and pulling back, ascending the steps to her building and disappearing inside.
Nate remains on the sidewalk until he sees the light in her apartment turn on, and then begins the trek home. Yes, he'll be there as long as she wants him to be. Liv will be gone for two weeks at least, and she'll need a friend. He can be that, he tells himself. He's already been her friend for how long, a little longer won't kill him.
A/N: Ok, so I know it's been a ridiculously long time since I wrote Coffee, but school has been crazy! I have been steadily working on this for a while and finally deemed it fit to put up. I hope you like it!