The rain was coming down in sheets outside, and Arya's room was dark. Days like this begged to be spent in bed with a good book, but whoever was knocking on her door had different plans.
Wait for it…
"Arya! I know you're awake now, come on open up!"
Rickon was banging on her door. She rolled over and looked at the clock. 8:21am. On a Saturday.
"No I'm not go away."
"Arya please – I need a ride to practice!"
She rolled out of bed and Nymeria lifted her head and lazily looked at Arya, only to put her hed back on her paws.
"…Just rub it in."
"Rickon it's raining buckets you can't be serious!"
"Pleeeeeeeease Arya! It's in the rec center."
She sat there rubbing her eyes. To help a brother out, or to go back to sleep? She looked back at Nymeria, who rolled over so she was taking up most of the bed.
"Well fuck you too."
"ARYAAA!" Rickon banged on the door one more time, begging.
"Fine! Give me like ten minutes!" She yawned and heard a flurry of footsteps rush down the hall.
Thirty minutes later she was walking through the door back into the house, hair soaked just from walking to and from her jeep. She wasn't a happy camper.
"Arya dear thank you for taking Rickon to practice. Me and your father had some business to take care of, but we'll pick him up. Breakfast?" Her mother stood behind the island in the kitchen with a frying pan in her hand heating up some sausages.
Arya just grunted and walked back to her room. Nymeria had rolled over some, giving Arya enough room to plop down. It was raining so hard her dog didn't even want to get up, and that was rare.
She stripped off her shirt and crawled back under the covers closing her eyes.
She awoke to her alarm, Oblivion by Bastille. It was something nice to wake up to. She remembered how she had switched Jon's alarm to the Death Metal Rooster and how he almost had a heart attack the first time it went off, but left it. He liked getting jolted awake, said the adrenaline kept him up, but Arya preferred to wake up in her own terms, laying in bed and stretching, wiggling her toes. She usually waited the length of the song, then sucked it up and got out of bed. She looked at her phone and had 3 messages all from Ros.
Hey are you awake? 9:30am
Anyways can you come in early today around 1? 10:10am
You know what, fuck this, I'm the boss lady, see you at 2 11:00am
Arya just smiled and threw the phone down. Ros knew she didn't mind extra hours. Sadly though it was going on noon and the rain was still pouring. Nymeria was nowhere to be seen, so she assumed she was let out.
I need to get my shit together, no more of this noon wake up BS.
She knew that wasn't fair to Nymeria, but there was no way in hell she was getting out of bed to run in this mess today. She hopped in the shower and still had about thirty minutes before work so she decided to put on a little make up. Maybe that would help out with the tips. Ya never know. She shook her hair out and rubbed some product on the dead ends and tied it up in a bun and was off. She just threw an her old hoodie from uni over her tank and was off.
She parked and ran to the covered stairs to the café, and slipped on the last one, banging her shin.
"Fucking shit fuck, damn fucking stairs!" She crawled back up trying to ignore the throbbing in her shin and stumbled through the door. Her hair was falling out of her bun and she knew she looked rough, and normally wouldn't care, but standing across from Ros at the counter with a coffee in his hand was that familiar mop of shaggy black hair and broad shoulders.
Seriously…. Today of all days?
She tried to slink back around the side unnoticed but Ros was already watching her with a smirk on her face.
"Well there's my little ray of sunshine! I knew all that noise was you." Ros laughed and Gendry turned. He had this smile on his face like he knew something she didn't. Arya didn't like that, not one bit.
"You have quite the way with words." His smile grew broader. Arya just mimicked him to herself in an annoying voice and hung her hoodie up to dry. Gendry was laughing. Everyone was having such a grand time except her.
I love you all, twats.
Ros ran over to her and filled her in on some malfunction with the espresso machine, leaving it out of commission until Ros came back with some new part for it. Arya didn't mind though, it was monsoon outside and nobody would come in.
She walked out of the back room and Gendry was sitting at the counter now with an old nokia texting someone. The sight was hilarious and she couldn't help but laugh watching his huge fingers try and type out a message. The fact he had an old phone like that was oddly endearing.
But that didn't matter to her. He was just some random guy getting a coffee.
Who her dog liked.
Who helped her with the deliveries.
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.
She didn't realize how ridiculous she must've looked until she looked back at Gendry and he was outright laughing.
"What's so funny?!"
"You." He stopped laughing and just looked at her, grinning. Why was he so attractive.
"Not as funny as that brick of a phone. Plans still cover those things?" She pointed down at the silver nokia.
"Grandfathered in. As long as it texts and calls, it's perfect."
Arya waved her hand around dramatically with her iphone in it, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "But you're missing out on the wonderful world of snapchat, instagram, and twatting."
"Excuse me?" He raised his eyebrows, still grinning.
"You don't want girls sending nudies or pictures of shoes with hipster filter 1 to you?" She rolled her eyes and gagged.
"Not my kind of girl, but that's not what I'm talking about. What was the last thing you said?"
"Tweeting? With the little messages about how wonderful everyones life is as they wait in line at Urban Outfitters?"
"Not what you said." Damn he had some nice teeth. She knew what she said earlier.
"Yes it is." She turned around to make herself a coffee. Gendry just laughed some more. She could get used to that sound.
"So what are you doing here? You got work later?" She sipped on her black iced coffee and leaned on her elbows looking everywhere but the man in front of her.
"Already got off actually. Decided I'd stop by for a pick me up." He raised his cup to her and they cheered.
She didn't mind him as much as she thought she would. She still kept her guard up and she couldn't shake the weird feeling she got around him, but it wasn't bad.
The next hour they created a sort of game asking questions back and forth. He'd flip a coin, and whoever guessed the toss right got to ask a question. Eventually Gendry just called heads and Arya only tails. She learned things like how he'd moved from Kings Landing to here a few months ago, and she told him vague things like how she had a big family, and how she got a history degree and what not. Nothing to0 personal.
"Heads." Gendry flipped the coin.
"Tails." Arya looked at his arm.
"Damnit! That's 3 in a row, let's switch coins." She began looking in the bottom of her tip jar.
"Arya that's fourth time we've switched coins. It's not going to matter anymore." He chuckled and took the new coin anyways.
"How about I ask you one, and then we take turns? Sound good?" She rolled her eyes and agreed.
"Not at all."
He just shook his head and looked up towards nothing.
"My turn. Tattoos?"
"Well… can I see them?" She looked at his arms and saw nothing on them, then blushed. Maybe she shouldn't have asked.
"First off, it wasn't your turn. Secondly, it's just one." He stood up and turned away from her. He lifted his shirt off his back by the hem.
She swallowed. She couldn't help but watch the way his muscular back rippled with each movement. She looked and across the top of his shoulder blades was the tattoo. It was black swirling lettering, framed by the antlers on the head of a stag underneath. The shading was amazing. It wasn't terribly big, but it wasn't small either. She ran her eyes over it more times than she cared to count.
Ours is the fury.
She liked it.
"So what's the story behind it?" she took another sip of coffee and sat back down. She didn't realize she had been leaning towards him.
He turned his head over his shoulder and looked at her. His eyes were dark.
"Skipped me again huh? That's a story for another day." He put his shirt back on and she got the feeling that was the end of that particular string of conversation.
The rain had yet to let up, and not a single customer had braved the weather. She didn't mind at all though. She liked the coziness of the shop and the sound of the rain beating down on the roof. Her and Gendry spent their time talking about songs on her Ipod, and she found out he was a big fan of folksie indie stuff like her, but was a die-hard classic rock fan at heart.
She looked at the clock and it was already going on four. Arya had no idea how 3 hours had passed so fast. To her it felt like barely an hour had gone by.
It was an odd moment of realization. She hadn't talked with a man this much since Ned, and even towards the end, it wasn't as relaxed as this.
When was the last time I felt like that?
She cupped her mug and held it up to her mouth, blowing off the steam of the hot chocolate she had opted for. She peaked over the rim of the mug, only to lock eyes with Gendry.
She quickly sipped, only to end up coughing all over the place. Needless to say it was like drinking lava.
She ran over to the icebox and stuck a cube in her mouth. Gendry was laughing, once again.
"You ok? Burning my tongue is like a pet peeve, hope it wasn't terribly hot." He had a softer expression across his face. She shook her head and pushed the cube to her cheek so she could speak.
"Better to feel pain then nothing, right?"
Too much, why the fuck would I say that.
She didn't want to look at him. She ran over to the ipod to pick a new song, scrolling aimlessly.
Better to feel nothing over embarrassment Stark. Way to fuck up and freak him out.
Gendry walked over to her on the other side of the counter and leaned on his forearms.
"I agree completely. It's why I started MMA." Arya was not expecting that. She peeked up through her mess of hair and cautiously looked over, not sure if he was serious. His face was so expressive when he wanted it to be. There wasn't pity or disgust like she had expected, but understanding.
"Mixed martial arts?" She finally settled on a song – House of the Rising Sun.
"Good song choice, and yea, it's a great release, but it's also…" He scrunched his face up thinking and Arya couldn't help but notice how adorable it was. But it was a general thing, not like she personally thought it was adorable… "Well I'm not sure how to word it. It's a combination of release and fulfillment, letting go of things and gaining things." He seemed satisfied enough with that and relaxed his face once again into an easy smile.
"You should join me." He swirled the last of his coffee and threw it back, not looking at her.
"I don't know. MMA seems a bit intense to just pick up out of nowhere. All I do is run."
"Ok maybe not MMA, but I do teach a kickboxing class at the gym. You should check it out. You just feel… I don't know.. I guess it's different for everyone, but like I said, that's why I started it, to feel something you know? It's better than picking fights anyways." He looked back down at his empty cup. Arya got the feeling he knew from experience.
"Ok, maybe I'll stop by one day. You're pretty convincing." His head shot up and she had a full view of those deep blues. He was about to say something when she raised her finger.
"Not making any promises here though, understand?" He closed his mouth and nodded, eyes still locked on hers. She had a feeling she was going to go kick boxing soon.
Gendry's phone vibrated and he checked it, then walked out onto the porch, closing the door with a ring of the bell behind him.
Who the hell was this guy? She just spent hours talking about anything and everything with him and she still really didn't know that much about him.
Except he liked MMA, he liked the pain.
More importantly he liked pain over nothing.
That she could understand. She was never one to cut herself, but she thought back to mornings where she would take scalding hot or arctic cold showers. There was something for that.
But that was pain. Gendry made her anxious, confused. She wanted to avoid eye contact with him, but at the same time, she couldn't help her curiosity and wished she had more time to stare into them, unnoticed of course.
The bell rang again and Gendry walked back in. he was running a hand through his hair looking down at his phone.
"So… looks like I've got to go. My mate's got car troubles and needs a ride." He looked at Arya and shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, guess I'll see ya around sometime. Hope you don't get to drenched." Arya went to gather their cups and Gendry followed her.
"Kickboxing classes are Wednesday mornings at 9 around the corner. Just throwing that out there."
Damn him and his winks.
She threw the cups away and turned back to face him. He was leaning on the counter again. It was actually pretty funny how much he had to hunch over to get at eye level. She just arched an eyebrow in his direction.
"Of course not." He stood up and shot her one last smile before going out the door.
Arya gave a half ass wave and watched him go without a word.
The empty shop and lack of music normally would've made her loneliness painfully obvious, but at the moment, things weren't too awful. She grabbed a receipt pad and started to doodle to pass the time.
Ros came back to the shop to find the machines cleaned and Arya mopping. She sent Arya on her way a few minutes later and went to the register to count the (lack of) profit from the dreadful day. Next to the tip jar she saw the receipt pad with the little sketch of a stag walking through trees, the antlers twirling and twining into the branches.