This was written for a playground challenge at AHA with the topic of ‘meet-cute’. Stupid plot-bunnies are everywhere!
The young man was eagerly watching the door. His friend was late. Again. He checked his watch against the time on his cell and yes, Will was now a half an hour late. Again.
Charlie was beginning to feel agitated. His best friend Will never was late for anyone or anything else. Just him. It had always been that way, even back in college. Charlie was always put last because Will knew that Charlie would always excuse and forgive his tardiness. Maybe this time Charlie would not.
Across the café a lovely young woman was also waiting for someone’s arrival. She was leaving yet another message which would never be heard on her sister’s voicemail. When she finished, she jammed the cell in her purse and in her frustration began to make coffee stir sculptures.
Jane’s sister Lizzy was a little on the self-absorbed side. Lizzy was generous at heart and really meant well yet everything revolved around her drama as though no one else ever had anything going on in their own lives. Lizzy had begged Jane to meet her for coffee to dissect her latest emergency and when Jane had protested that she had other things to do, Lizzy had begged her to alter her plans. Then after Jane shuffled things around on her calendar, Lizzy seemingly had stood her up.
Charlie tried to reach Will one more time before he’d give up. This is Will Darcy. Sorry I missed your call. Please leave your name and number at the tone and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can. Thank you. That was another thing that made Charlie angry- Will almost never returned his calls! Charlie was having a painful revelation: I’m not important enough for Will to give me any consideration! He knows I’ll always let these things slide. I know he’s a busy man and all, but a phone call surely wouldn’t kill him, would it? This is ridiculous! I’m sitting here like a puppy waiting for his master! No more! It’s time Charles Bingley became his own man! But how do I do that?
Jane checked the time on her watch once again and decided to only stay five more minutes. She loved her sister, she really did, but Jane was tired of being everyone’s, not just Lizzy’s, doormat. As she thought more about it, she realized her complacent nature and dislike of confrontation was what allowed everyone to just run roughshod over her. She made a decision. I won’t allow Lizzy, or anyone else, to just dismiss me anymore! My time is valuable too and I can’t just be there for everyone at the drop of a hat! It’s time for a new and improved Jane Bennet! Now where on earth do I begin?
Some several minutes passed with Charlie and Jane each quietly contemplating how to begin exerting their newfound backbones. So the morning would not be a complete loss, Jane decided to get her latte and a muffin anyways. Charlie made a similar choice to order coffee and a scone. Standing in line together, they were each distracted from their thoughts by the presence of the other.
Jane thought the blonde, blue-eyed guy that was standing behind her was perhaps the handsomest man she’d ever seen. Charlie was instantly fixated on the heavenly angel standing before him. The barista was attempting to get Jane’s attention and had to clear his throat several times to actually receive it. Jane finally turned and placed her order and when the barista gave her the total, Charlie boldly offered to have her order placed on his tab.
Jane was flustered, “You’re too generous. I couldn’t.”
Charlie was never smooth with women, he was always awkward and over-eager but he somehow had managed to calm himself down enough to coherently answer, “Please? It would be my pleasure.”
Jane looked into his pleading eyes and decided that she’d had enough of always being demure and never taking any chances with anything in life. What harm could come from having a cup of coffee with a handsome man in a public place? Jane really wanted to and so said, “Only on the condition that you come and share my table.”
Charlie grinned broadly and said, “Excellent! You can get the table and I’ll bring our order over.”
Jane and Charlie found they had much in common and were complimentary in character. He even admired her coffee stir sculptures. They discussed growing up and found they each held the position of peacemaker within their chaotic families. Many topics were canvassed and both were very pleased to find that as attracted as each was initially by outward beauty, their finer inner qualities were even more beautiful.
After conversing for a considerable while longer, Charlie found courage he didn’t know he possessed and asked Jane for her phone number. Jane enjoyed the rush of energy she felt when she agreed and gave it to him. Both had felt the undeniable spark of recognition one feels when one soul meets its predestined mate. They made plans to meet for dinner the next day and each walked out of the café feeling exceedingly pleased with both their new resolve and what this chance encounter might lead to.
Not ten minutes after Charlie and Jane left, a tall man wearing an expensive suit stormed into the café. Hurriedly looking about and not seeing his friend, he got in line to order an espresso to go. Paying attention to his Blackberry and not the line in he was in, the man bumped into the woman who stood before him.
The woman was already frustrated that her sister had not saw fit to wait for her and had already left. True, she was nearly an hour late but that never stopped Jane from waiting before. She was just thinking about what she would say to her sister when she was bumped from behind. The woman huffed and was about to rail against the rude man but stopped when she saw him. He was beyond tall, dark and handsome and Lizzy instantly thought he could bump into her any time he wished!
Will Darcy was about to offer his apologies but found no words when he saw the bright flash of peerless green eyes looking at him like that. The barista, thinking there must be something in the air, once again loudly cleared his throat to get her attention.
Will offered to pay, but Lizzy, not wishing to feel obligated, declined. They introduced themselves and chatted for a moment but each left without giving the other too much thought. He thought she was pretty but assumed she probably wasn’t good enough and she assumed by how he was dressed that he was pompous and arrogant.
It was only much later when Charlie and Jane became an inseparable item and shared the story of how they met that Will and Lizzy began to think “what if” and started to reconsider some of their assumptions.
Coffee by michchick aka Jennifer Hickling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.