Checkout Girl

One vanilla latte later, and Evelyn White finds that she can't seem to get this guy that she served that day off of her mind. What happens when this 'guy' turns out to be Harry Styles - and she didn't even notice?

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4. Caramel Tea

The blaring lights of Times Square are blinding to a stranger and I might as well have been one: I wasn’t all that fond of this bit of NY. Central Park was more of my scene. Despite the sweetness of the air that evening – particularly as I was standing idly by a doughnut stand – it was bitterly cold and so I dig my hands deep into my jacket pockets. Allowing a deep breath to whisper from my lungs, I watch as the puff of white dissipates into the surrounding air.

I had arrived early but soon the set time had arrived – and yet he was still a no-show. I shift in my shoes and ponder leaving right then; I wouldn’t let him humiliate me. I’d had about enough humiliation to actively encourage it to take me down again...

‘Oh my God!’ Flinching, I jump about a foot into the air at the squeal that rips through my ears. ‘Oh my God, Annie, look!’ I turn to find a girl of around my age staring up at one of the many lit billboards, watching avidly as the image changes. ‘Look, Annie. You’ll miss it again!’

Her friend turns from where the doughnut man was handing over her doughnuts, and followed her friend’s wide-eyed gazed. There is a moment of awed pause. ‘Isn’t he just a dream?’ she says softly, and I smirk a little. Another one of those bands, I suppose.

‘I hear he’s in New York this week,’ the other girl replies. She is still staring, unembarrassed, at the billboard.

‘What?!’ the other gasps. ‘Where?

‘How am I supposed to know?’ The other girl giggles before reluctantly dragging her eyes from the board and linking her arm with her friend’s. ‘Wouldn’t it just be great though? I mean, he’s just so cute...’

They wander off together, giggling and talking animatedly; I gaze after them until they are mere specks in the distance, before my eyes wander to the billboard that they practically pissed themselves over.

And there he was, smiling that cheeky smile – dimples and all. His eyes didn’t look so green in that particular snap though, and I find myself deciding that he looked far better in reality. In reality. Because I knew what he looked like in reality; I knew that he looked better in reality – and yet few did. Those girls hadn’t seen him in real life. Lots of girl had not.

Strange.

An arm loops around my neck then, the stranger’s breath whispering across my skin and into my ear. ‘You haven’t seen this really hot girl anywhere, have you? I was supposed to meet her a little while ago but I got held up...’

Despite the heavy blushing that is coursing through my cheeks, I cannot help the smile that pulls at my mouth. ‘What held you up?’

He winks and taps his nose. ‘Something that you don’t need to bother knowing about.’

My eyebrows flicker upward. ‘Is it legal?’

He laughs loudly before leaning down to speak softly into my ear. ‘If I said no would you stay with me?’ Shaking my head, he giggles. ‘I thought you’d say that. Of course it’s legal.’

‘Are you lying?’ I ask.

‘I wouldn’t lie to you,’ he says sweetly.

I roll my eyes. ‘Alright then,’ I say, ‘where are we going?’

‘Well,’ he says, removing his arm from my shoulders and taking my hand, ‘I know this great little coffee shop that serves breakfast all night.’

‘That sounds like fun,’ I reply, and he glances down at me through slightly squinted eyes.

‘Are you joking?’ he says suspiciously, and I frown.

‘Why would I be joking? Caramel black tea all the way.’

‘Ah, I love that stuff!’ he says, and makes a wacky face that illustrates his love for it, I suppose. ‘The boys aren’t big on breakfast.’

‘Your friends, you mean?’ I ask, and he smiles widely.

‘Yeah,’ he says softly, before beginning to walk, dragging me along behind him. ‘Come on, I don’t want to miss out on the cinnamon waffles.’

And so I follow him, and there are times when I wonder why the fuck I ever did. But for now his hand is warm in mine, and I can’t help but like that.

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