A fluffy oneshot before school starts tomorrow. :(

My first short story :)

Everyday, he would come. Everyday, he would sit in the same spot (the regulars never touched it, they knew without words that it was "his" chair). Everyday, he would order the same thing without fail. And everyday, Tenten was there to take his order.

Only a few words ever passed between them.

"Hi, how are you? What would you like to drink?"

She asked that even though she already knew what he was going to say.

"Medium coffee."

And then came the daily procedure. "Would you like sugar, milk, or cream with that?"


"Alright. One sixty five."

She had memorized that number long ago. She knew some of his habits, as she would slyly watch him sit down when he wasn't looking; though sometimes, she felt like he could see everything. First, he would sit down carefully, always looking out the window into the street side. Then he would uncap the lid, and place it on a napkin.

For hygienic reasons, of course.

Stick the spoon in, stir three times clockwise, three times counterclockwise.

Stop. Take a whiff of the coffee.

Stir again, three times counterclockwise, three times clockwise.

Pick up the cup to feel the temperature through the foam. If it wasn't right, more stirring ensued.

Tenten finally saw him place the plastic spoon on the napkin and reach for the placed lid. She knew what happened next. Cap the coffee, take a sip.

"You still watching him? Just say hi! It's no big deal," prodded Ino, hip bumping her casually.

"Easy for you to say," she grumbled in response, still watching him discreetly from behind the counters. "I'm content with my stalker status, thanks."

"Oh! So you realize!"

…Yes. She knew. The thought was terrifying in itself, but she couldn't ignore his presence no matter how hard she tried. He was taking another sip…

"He is nice looking, you know," Ino whispered, also joining her in watching him.

"No he's not."

He wasn't nice looking. He wasn't even pretty, with his long hair tied back, and his pale skin warmed by the glow of the lighting. He absolutely wasn't.

Tenten sighed. Her denial was of no use, his image still didn't change in her eyes. Okay, so he was…mildly attractive. So what?

She was content to observe him from the sidelines.

She knew nothing of his personal life, what he did, who he lived with, if he had a girlfriend or not, but somewhere inside her, she secretly hoped that she caught his eye and was at least decent looking enough for him to eventually strike a conversation with.

What a load of baloney.

"Hi, I'd like…" came a voice from in front of her. Tenten blinked twice and shook her head slightly, obviously distracted. She put on her best smile. Time to get back to work. The ogling could wait.

"You're stuck in a rut," Ino sang, pressing the buttons on the blender.

"I suggest you shut up," Tenten sang back, taking the money from the customer and putting it in the register.


One day, he came, and she wasn't there. Neji blinked, almost surprised. She was always there. The non-annoying person who didn't ask him how he was, and then proceed to pry. She never said more than what was necessary.

"Hi, how are you? What would you like to drink?"

"Would you like sugar, milk, or cream with that?"

"Alright. One sixty five."

That other blonde girl was taking her spot.

He didn't want to talk to her. She was the type to pry.

If the brown-haired girl wasn't there, he just wasn't going to get anything. He would leave, right then and there.

That girl…sure, she was…mildly attractive. Eyes that crinkled when she greeted him, cheeks flushed in rain or shine. A sweet smile when she was happy (87% of the time), a sweet, but forced smile when she was upset (4% of the time), and melancholy eyes and a slightly down turned smile when she was sad (9% of the time).

Drumming fingers when she was impatient with customers who didn't know what they were getting.

A loud, but uplifting voice, when drinks were ready.

A gentle hand when she gave him change.

He knew. He watched her; observing the details of her features and habits during that brief, 30-second exchange of words.

A part of his heart wished it were longer.

He realized he had been standing in front of the shop for a full minute without doing anything. Neji shook his head, ready to leave.

If she wasn't there, there was no point.

Something—someone—crashed into his shoulder.

"I am so sorry! Are you alright?"

Her voice. Familiar, warm, rushed.

He looked up, lips twitching into a smile, a greeting. So she had come. He would be going inside, and ordering the usual. Sitting in his usual spot. Getting his usual change, and his usual coffee. "I thought you wouldn't come."

Maybe those were the wrong words. They made him sound dependent on her existence. Which…maybe he was. Just a little.

She laughed, a sound he had heard before, and always yearned to see. Her laughing face was bright in the morning air, her smile as sweet as ever, her eyes crinkling like they did when she greeted him everyday. "Of course I would come! I was just a little late though…usually things like this don't happen, I plan extra time just in case, so I won't miss meeting—"

Her eyes widened. "Um, nevermind. Please, come in. Unless…"

She paused, waiting for his response. "You…" she said tentatively, "Want to start going to a different place?" She clamped her hands over her mouth. "Oh, forget I said that! What you do is none of my business, sorry I'm blathering, I just…"

He smiled, and pushed open the doors to the coffee shop, opening it up for her. "Ladies first."

She gave a funny little half-bow in return. "Thanks," she answered, cheeks a little flushed. She strolled in, and got behind the counter, pulling on her usual apron and loosely tying up her hair. She cleared her throat.

"Hi, how are you?"

And for the first time, Neji replied before she could ask him what he wanted to drink. "I'm fine. My day has been off to a good start. A bit rocky in the beginning, but good. And you?"

She looked delighted. "Oh, you know, ran a bit late and stuff, but great nonetheless. Mornings are so tough to get through sometimes."

"I understand. It's quite true, just the other day—"

"Will you hurry it up?" someone asked rudely from behind him. "Some of us have schedules to catch."

"My apologies," the girl said before Neji could stand up for himself. She turned to face him, eyes sparkling. "What would you like to drink?"

"Medium coffee."

"Would you like sugar, milk, or cream with that?"


"Alright. One sixty five."

His coffee arrived minutes later, piping hot, riding on her loud voice. For the first time, she was there to give it to him. "Enjoy your drink," she said softly.

He took it out of her waiting hands, allowing his fingers to linger on hers for just a moment. She quickly wrenched her hand away, face red. "S-sorry."

He watched her curiously. Then, he smiled (he seemed to be doing that a lot recently, the cause was still unknown) and said: "I'm Neji Hyuuga. And you?"

The girl peeked out of her fingers, and smiled her endearing grin back at him. "I'm Tenten. Nice to meet you."

R&R Dearies :)