Espresso Machine

a/n: I do not own any part of d.n. angel. but if i did, there would be changes.

The espresso machine was loud and sounded a lot like a bird and dog yapping at the same time. At least, it sounded like that to Riku. Satoshi-kun would say it sounded like an old and loud espresso machine, which only illustrated his lack of imagination. In any case, Riku hated the espresso machine, but more than that, she hated the regular customer that always bugged her named Dark.

The first time she met him was just three months ago, at the start of the fall semester. Her workplace was near her university, so she was used to seeing all sorts of students pass through, but he stood out. To her dismay, he was incredibly good looking. Extremely tall, well built, with dark violet hair that was messily everywhere—he caught the eye of many pretty girls. Riku liked to believe she didn't fall under his spell.

After the lunch rush, he sauntered up to her, flashed a smile, and read her name from her name tag in a silky smooth voice.

"Afternoon, Riku-chan. How are you today?"

To her credit, she didn't roll her eyes, but her face formed a scowl that she could almost hear her sister lecture her on her "No-Tip-For-Me" face.

"What do you want?"

"You're a bit snippy, aren't you? Bad mood?" The smile didn't leave his face. He practically glowed with positive energy. He along with the noise of the espresso machine made her head swirl.

She took a deep breath and tried to smile. "Would you like to order?"

"I am not sure yet, Riku-chan. Too cold for iced coffee, too hot for hot chocolate. Any recommendations?" It was hard to tell if he was being infuriating or flirting. Either way, Riku's patience was not that great. And why was he calling her Riku-chan as if they were close?

"Well, the pumpkin spice latte is a season favorite right now," she replied with that fake smile, trying to swallow her annoyance. It was almost certain he saw right through that.

"Alright, I'll have a regular one of that then." The smile still shone. He looked at her as if she were the sun, and Riku quickly turned away to make his drink just so that he wouldn't see how flushed her face was. She worked quickly to get rid of him and handed him his drink as he gave his money to her.

"Keep the change," he told her briskly. With a quick sip, he looked content. "Good recommendation, Riku-chan."

"You're welcome. Have a nice day." She waved him off. He returned it with a chuckle as if he knew she was trying to speed the process of him leaving.

When she finally looked at the bill in her hand, she nearly fell over at how much money he actually gave her. However, in pen, he had written something in the left hand corner.

My name is Dark, by the way.

With a scarf hiding the bottom half of his face, he was waiting outside the coffee shop when she was about to walk in. He looked tired as his crimson eyes kept closing and opening with a flutter. The moment he spotted her, he pulled down his scarf to smile at her.

"Riku-chan! Good morning!" he greeted her enthusiastically. Riku only groaned. A quick glance at her watch told her it was six thirty in the morning and far too early for this.

"How are you so peppy this early?" she asked him while opening up the coffee shop. Dark followed her in.

"I'm not! I didn't sleep until five this morning, and I have a class in another hour, and I need to be saved before I completely collapse from exhaustion."

Riku felt her eyes roll, but she tied her apron and went behind the counter. It took her some time, but she had the machines ready, along with that damned espresso machine. By the way she was done with the vanilla frap with a shot of espresso, Dark was curled up in the corner on a sofa chair. With no smug smile on his face, Riku believed that he was truly good looking.

"I wouldn't mind it if you took a picture." His voice was dripping amusement.

"I was just wondering how scarred your face would be if I dropped your coffee all over your face."

"Pretty scarred. And what a tragedy that would be." Dark was easily dodging the swings her sharp tongue made. He took the coffee from her hand gratefully, despite her pleasant sass. "How much do I owe you?"

"Don't worry about it. On the house." Riku blew the dark auburn bangs from her face.

"Oh? Have you fallen for me?" There was a hint of hopefulness that Riku chose to ignore.

"Nope. It's my thanks for bringing in business."

Her finger pointed to the window which had roughly twenty five university student girls were staring in with giant smiles and blushed cheeks. Though at first taken aback, Dark waved at them; they shrieked.

"Well, I'll still pay you back somehow, Riku-chan. Anyway, I need to go and get to class so that I can become a functioning member of society."

Impossibly tall, she decided. Being this close to him, he was well over a foot taller than her. Eyes were drawn to his moving figure.

"Have a good day, Dark-san."

He had midterms in October, so he decided to create a nest of papers and books in the corner of the room. For some time, girls would chatter loudly to get his attention, but after receiving one of his rare and piercing death glares, they remained quiet and let him carry on his work. After it was night outside for several hours, Dark was the only customer.

"I wouldn't have pegged you for a science lover," she commented after handing him some hot tea. As usual, he accepted it graciously.

"Well, you kind of have to be if you want to be a doctor."

It happened so quickly as though she pressed a button and he started and did not stop. Apparently, his little brother had cancer as a child, and was sick for a long time. After three years, the little brother made a recovery, but Dark was forever grateful for the doctors. They were the ones who worked nonstop, who got to know them both, and comforted them. Since then, he wanted to become like them, be heroes and cure the body of anything.

"Anyway, Dai-chan is going to be the artist in the family. He has already sold some of his paintings. Granted, they didn't sell to anyone rich, but it's something. And I told him that once I make my money, I will help him out as well."

"You must really love your brother." Riku smiled, thinking of her own sibling.

"Yeah. He drives me insane, but he grows on you. And you Riku-chan, got a younger sibling?"

"What makes you think I'm older? Maybe I'm the younger sibling," she exclaimed rather more playfully than she intended. Dark only shook his head and laughed.

"Please, you're a big sister, I can tell. Though you're younger than me, right? I wouldn't mind you calling me 'onii-chan' if you'd like."His eyebrows wiggled suggestively. Riku managed a scoff.

"Well, you're right, but just barely. I'm older than my twin sister by about fourteen minutes."

"There's two of you? Isn't that my dream come true?" Dark winked but Riku didn't take it to heart.

"We're not alike, really. I mean, we're identical, but we actually look and act different. It's easy to tell us apart. Risa is the prettier one, anyway."

"I don't believe that."

"Nah, it's true. All the guys like her best. She's feminine and real cute, and even my stick in the mud boss, Satoshi, is a real pushover when it comes to her."

"You're cute, Riku-chan."

Her brown eyes widened. She heard him clearly, but it took awhile for her brain to process this new compliment. Riku knew she wasn't ugly, but she was never called 'cute.' Dependable, responsible, athletic, smart, and maybe even tomboyish, but cute was an unfamiliar adjective.

"You think so?"

"You're so cute, I'm in danger of falling in love with you."

He said it so seriously and there was sincerity in his eyes. The beating of her frantic heart was only drowned out by the damned espresso machine.

"It's getting late, and I have to close soon. You should pack up."

"Okay. Good night, Riku-chan."

"Good night, Dark-san."

Riku worked four days out of the week and went to school for three. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, she attended classes during the day. She worked nights on Mondays and Wednesdays, and worked the morning and lunch shifts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After many weeks of being a regular customer, Dark knew her schedule pretty well, but a bout of the flu caused her to be out of commission for one week in November. When she returned on Thursday at six thirty sharp, he was waiting for her like he had done before. However, this time he wasn't tired or begging for some espresso to shake him out of leftover slumber.

"You're back!" he welcomed her. "The glasses kid told me you were sick!"

"I was."

They settled into a normal routine, of Dark talking quickly, asking her a million and more questions as she tried to get everything ready for the morning rush.

"I came by every day except on Friday since that's your day off, but I came by over the weekend, because I wasn't sure if you worked weekends, but you weren't here either." He finally stopped talking enough for her to hand him an Americano.

"I told you: I was sick. Why were you looking for me anyway?"

"I wanted to ask you something."

She looked at him curiously and expectantly. He grinned, showing the dimples on his cheeks. That was something she hadn't noticed before. He had dimples. She filed it away in her mind.

"Where do you live?"

"The dorms at school." She answered so quickly that she almost kicked herself for it. While she was sure he wasn't some pervert or stalker, giving your location to someone you're not…friends with was not safe. What are we? She pondered this. They were more than just not-friends but not exactly friends either. Hell, she didn't even know his last name.

"So you're close. Good. I wanted to invite you over my place. I live about a block away. A couple friends and I are going to watch Pacific Rim, and you seem like a girl who is into giant robots. If that won't convince you to come, then I should add that I'm making the food, and I make a mean pasta."

"I like robots," she said in a soft voice. He wasn't exactly asking her out, but he was inviting her over, and she had never been in a guy's apartment before. Suddenly she remember that he was older than her, and mature and she was just some kid working at a coffee shop.

"I like robots, too. And I like you. So would you please come over and watch the human race save the world with me?"

She said yes and willed her cheeks not to blush. Feeling successful, Dark said his goodbyes and was ready to leave after he had given her his number, address, and the time to come over.

"Dark-san, what's your last name?"

If the questions confused him, he didn't show it. "Niwa. Niwa Dark."

"I'm Harada. Harada Riku."

Her voice was so quiet that she was sure that the espresso machine would drown her out. But Dark smiled at her again and her heart started to flutter like a hummingbird.

"I look forward to tomorrow, Harada Riku-chan."

At seven, Riku knocked on Dark's door wearing pretty red dress with a flower pattern design, cute flat boots, and a leather jacket. It was a mix of her style and Risa's, who once she heard that her big sister was going to a guy's place, nearly had a heart attack and demanded to do Riku's hair and makeup. After her short hair was brushed and her face touched up slightly with lip gloss and mascara, Risa gave her seal of approval.

Riku only felt a little awkward. Part of her was regretting coming. What if his friends didn't like her? What is she was awkward all day? Before being able to think up any more problematic scenarios (and they were growing more and more problematic with each passing second) Dark opened the door.

"Riku-chan! I'm glad you're here," he said rather breathlessly. His eyes looked her over and Riku fidgeted under this surveillance.

"What? Do I look weird or something?" she asked rather casually, but there was some insecurity in her voice.

"Not at all. You look so cute, that it may be dangerous."

At that, she didn't respond. Normally, she would have been able to conjure up some witty remark to counter his flirtation, but her mind was at a blank.

"Yo, Dark, are you keeping the door open? You'll let in the chill!" a male voice lectured in the background.

"Ah, right. Well, come on in, Riku-chan! Let me introduce you to the rest." He brought her in and with a hand on her waist, she was introduced to the people who had already said that they "heard so much" about her.

The night was actually very pleasant. Dark introduced her to his friends, Tomo-chan, a petite blonde girl who was Dark's age, Krad, an intimidating man who was in the same university year as Dark, and Daisuke, the little brother. He was three years younger than Dark, and Riku's own age. Daisuke was very kind and very different from his older brother. Whereas Dark liked to command attention, Daisuke preferred to stay to the sidelines and cheer on rather than attract. They chatted on well and Riku told Dark that she believed his younger brother was Risa's type. He laughed at that since he did say that he had been trying to get Dai-chan a girlfriend for years.

The food was delicious, and it turned out that Dark was not exaggerating about his pasta. The movie was thrilling and Riku reacted at all the right parts and cried during the emotional bits. She received a few pats on the head from Dark for that, but overall it was pretty fun. Also, Dark's hand never left her waist.

After the movie, everyone stayed and talked for a bit before slowly, each was leaving to go home. Daisuke was the last to leave, helping her clean up.

"I'll have to introduce you to my sister. She is studying art history and wants to be a curator. I'm sure she'd love to see your work!"

"Haha, if you say so, Harada-san!"

Even Daisuke left, and Dark handed Riku her jacket and declared that he was walking her back to the dorms.

"I can walk back on my own," she tried to protest but it was no use.

"Nope, too bad. Now I get to know where you live. Ha, ha, ha!" His supposed evil laugh was so comical that a chuckle escaped from Riku's lips.

The walk back was a brief one. There was some conversation. Mainly, it was Dark asking her which dorms she lived in. When she told him that she was living in the dorms closest to the literature department, Dark nodded to himself as if he knew. They talked a bit about literature and Riku was surprised to find him so knowledgeable about many works. After debating on the literary merit of Harry Potter, they reached her building.

"So…this is me." Riku said rather lamely.

"Thanks for coming," he replied with a genuine smile. Her heart thumped again.

"Thanks for inviting me. It was, um, nice."

"Yeah, it was."

It was silent for a moment. Giving him a small smile, she was about to turn in for the night. Before she even touched the door handle, Dark whirled her around and kissed her lips with muted passion and a tight embrace.

Inside, she panicked. Briefly aware of the acute niceness to the kiss, Riku was more alert to the fact that this was her first kiss, and she had no idea was to do. Her palms were sweaty, and somehow, her mouth opened, so now his tongue was exploring her own, and her heart whirred like the espresso machine at work, and Dark's strong hand was the only thing keeping her steady…


Breathing heavily, Riku stared at the red print on Dark's cheek and her own criminal hand. He was bewildered, and she was not sully sure of her actions. Without so much of a word, she ran in and didn't stop until she was under the covers of her bed.

Dark didn't show up at the coffee shop for a week.

For the first few days, she tried to not care and spent free time studying in the library since being around Risa was infuriating. Once she heard that Riku slapped her hot not-date, Risa made it a personal mission to remind her of what a mistake she made.

The thing was, Riku knew she made a mistake. She slapped Dark and didn't say anything, or made any effort to call or message him, and so she knew he must have received the misunderstood message that she didn't like him. Which was incorrect. Riku came to the conclusion on the sixth day, when some other university kid took his usual sofa chair in the corner, that she liked him a lot more than she thought was possible.

On the seventh day, she decided she hated him.

Who cared if he was charming and good looking? He was too smug, and too forward, and attracted too much attention anyway. She hated him because somehow, he wormed his way into her heart and made it beat crazy, and he was in her thoughts, and somehow, he was in her dreams. His smile was everywhere, and his deep and smooth voice echoed in the crevices of her mind. Her eyes longed to see him. Her ears wanted to hear his laugh. Her lips wanted to kiss his again.

Come to the coffee shop. It's important.

The only reason Riku went to her workplace was because Satoshi said it was important. Otherwise, she wouldn't have bothered. Because now, she hated work. She hated how he was not there, ordering all different kinds of drinks, and asking her about her day, and calling her Riku-chan like it was the most beautiful name in the world. More than she hated the loud buzzing of the espresso machine was her hate for Dark and how he wasn't there to annoy her anymore.

But he was there. When she came in, he was behind the counter, wearing her apron and a trademark smile.

"What are you doing here?"

"This thing is real loud. It's kind of distracting." He nodded to the machine, his smile never leaving his face.

"Do…do you work here?" she asked skeptically. Dark shook his head rather handsomely.

"No, just for the next ten minutes. See, I wanted to apologize for the other day. I was being forward, and I should have asked you if you even liked me…I mean I was sure, but maybe I read the wrong signs, so you know…I'm sorry, Riku-chan."

"No, I'm sorry!" Her voice was almost pleading, and the words spilled out like a waterfall. "It was my first kiss, and I freaked out, and I just reacted without knowing, but um, I do like you, like more than like you, and I liked kissing you, and I want to kiss you again, and I thought you were mad at me, and I was so embarrassed, but I'm sorry!"

He didn't say anything for a few seconds, and Riku could only hide her face behind her hands in mortification. She might as well have said the L-word with that apology slash confession. Finally, Dark laughed wholeheartedly, and when she peeked between her fingers, he was looking at her warmly.

"I came here today and not some other day when you're working so that we could make up, and I could invite you for a cup of coffee. No sense in having you make your own coffee."

He made her a drink so expertly that he might as well have worked there for real. After a few more minutes, he handed her a pumpkin spice latte, the first drink she ever made for him.

"This was your first drink here."

"It was. I paid good money for it, too."

"I haven't spent it yet. That bill with your name on it. I still have it."

"Keeping it for sentimental reasons?"

Without words, Riku only smiled and tipped toed to him while Dark leaned into her from over the counter and planted a soft, chaste kiss on her lips.

And in the most clearest of words, that not even that machine could drown them out, she heard them and treasured them in her heart.

I love you, Riku-chan.

Ultra Special Blah Blah Blah: I haven't written a DarkxRiku fic in awhile, and I just felt like it. Hope this one shop settled any lingering DarkxRiku feels. Anyway, please review and hope you enjoyed!