4. Bottled Water
Starbucks is blissfully warm after the icy wind outside. I stand in the queue for drinks, happily letting the warm chatter and atmosphere soak into me. I try desperately to appear calm and content on the outside, but on the inside my heart is racing. This boy standing beside me is so gorgeous. What is he doing with someone like me? Our conversation has been pretty dry, but I'm sure that's because he is just as nervous as me. I smile awkwardly at him as we near the front of the queue. "What do you want to drink?" I ask over the loud chatter.
"Just water, thanks." He says absent minded. "The amount of artificial stuff they put in the drinks here are maddening. But can the water be bottled, please." I nod awkwardly, feeling bad about ordering a caramel frappuccino.
"Next." The boy behind the counter says, looking bored. I walk up, purse in hand.
"Hi, yeah, can I have a...um...caramel frapp with extra cream and...um...a bottled water, please." His looks at me, and smiles a little.
"What's your name?" He asks, actually taking the time to focus on his job instead of staring at the clock hanging on the wall opposite the counter.
"Ella. And the water is for...um...Matthew, my...um...date...thing..." I say, stumbling over my words.
"I just asked for your name, not your life story." He says, and I'm hurt at first when I realise that he is kidding and grinning cheekily. I laugh as he pushes buttons on the till. "That's £3.70." I rummage in my purse, suddenly realising I didn't bring the tenner I thought I did. I scrape around my bag for enough money. One pound...two pounds...three pounds...fifty pence...there's nothing else. I silently curse Matthew for ordering bottled water instead of just a cup. Bottled water is 90p. Then again, why isn't he paying for his own?
"I'm really sorry..." I begin to apologise. "I only have £3.50...um..." I struggle, not knowing what to do. The till boy laughs and digs into the pocket in his apron, pulling out a pound.
"Here you go." He says simply. I shake my head.
"I can't take your money." He sighs.
"You're gonna have to, you're holding up a queue." I glance behind me to see a group of teenage girls glaring at me, and I quickly snatch till boy's money, put it with mine and hand it back to him.
"Thank you so much...Oliver." I say, glancing at his name tag, smiling. He hands me over the change, and I want him to keep it, but the group of teenage girls are already pushing me out of the way, demanding their cappuccinos and hot chocolates. I take the drinks with our names scrawled lazily across them and sit down in the booth with Matthew, who thanks me for the water.
“So…” I say, wondering what to talk about. “You like Sherlock?” Matthew nods, sipping on his drink.
“You asked me that when we were texting last night.” He states, and I go red, feeling embarrassed. Matthew continues. “But yeah, I do. Arthur Conan Doyle depicts the character of Watson perfectly, especially in the first book, a Study in Scarlet.” I blink at him. Wait, what? Not the TV show?
“Um…yeah…do you like the TV show Sherlock?” I ask, hoping for an answer I can relate to. Matthew nearly chokes on his bottled water.
“Dear Lord, no. The BBC have taken a fantastic series of books and turned it into a stupid spin off with crap actors and horrible plot lines.”
Suddenly Matthew seems less attractive.