Chapter 1 : The Helping Hand
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But it's never that easy for me to get out of bed, I always stay sat on the edge, half on and half off, for a minute or so longer than I should, just contemplating my day - get up, go to work, go home, get ready for and go to second job, go to bed.
I'd rather stay in bed the whole time. And I hate staying in bed unless I absolutely have to; it's a day wasted, as my mum used to say. I don't use it for what you're supposed to use it for, sleep is not in my schedule apparently, I use it to hide during the few short hours I'm home.
With another groan and a stretch, I finally get up and find the bathroom in the still dark apartment I loathe to live in.
Note to self: Get rich quick, so I can afford a better apartment.
I keep my hand on the wall, though I don't really need to; the apartment is pretty bare, so it's not like I can trip over anything, and I know exactly where the bathroom is, I could walk there blindfolded. But I've not had a proper night's sleep in a while and I'm just afraid that if I don't have anything solid to hold on to, maybe even bang my hand against it occasionally, I'll keel over and knock myself out and nothing will get done today.
Last time something like that happened, I gave myself a concussion and they wouldn't let me leave St. Mungo's until they were sure I was okay and I had promised to rest for a couple of days. It was not fun. And I went to work that afternoon.
Just thinking of that weekend brings shivers down my spine. It was horrible; I was yelled at the whole time, from the minute he found out and came to my work.
Who is he?
Louis sodding Weasley.
He thinks that because we've been "together" for twelve years - yeah, he's deluded himself - he has a right to tell me what I should and should not do. That he can lecture me about looking after myself.
He forgets the many times I've told him that he's not my boyfriend.
And just thinking of him has me forget that I'm walking around in the dark long enough to walk into the wall.
I rub my forehead, sure there'll be a mark, and hop the rest of the way to the bathroom - thinking about Louis Weasley actually causes me physical pain, now my foot is throbbing. Thankful the door is wide open, I use my hand to find the shower and turn it on, strip off and jump in. The water is not cold, a good thing, and I relax as the water runs over my body, feeling every muscle loosen until I am no longer a tense mess.
I so needed this.
I wish I could make it last, that I could just stay here and not have to worry about the continuing mess that is my life, to not have to think about money and bills. I wish I could go back to my dream of living in a nice apartment with a kitchen I can actually use and a job I actually love and a man who makes my blood boil in a very good way.
It's both fortunate and unfortunate that I already have a man in mind.
Fortunate: I have a face to dream about and a body to make-believe shag whenever I like.
Unfortunate: He doesn't look at me that way, probably because he's straight, so that dream will always be just a dream.
But what I wouldn't give to have one night with Healer Sean Levingston.
I could be broke, homeless and celibate for the rest of my life and die a happy man.
Grudgingly, I turn off the water, step out and find a towel. It takes me a moment to dry myself and I let it fall to the floor. Then I retrace my steps back to my bedroom, this time missing the wall, and find my uniform. Well, I call it a uniform - it's a good pair of jeans and a white polo t-shirt that has the café's logo on the right and my name "Frankie" on the left. I keep them in the same place every night, so finding them is not an issue.
It's getting them on in the dark that's the bloody problem. I barely form the words "turn on he freaking light, Frankie!" in my mind, but it's so far away and I'm almost done.
After a number of mishaps, more bumps - this time along my right thigh - and a lot of swearing, I manage to get them on and I'm practically out the door. After making sure I grab my wallet (not that there's anything in it) and my keys (not that I really want to come back), of course.
As soon as I get outside, I realize that my flat really gave me the wrong idea; the sun is already rising, not too bright, but it's still enough to cause me to wince. My eyes adjust to the light eventually and I make my way to work with a slight grimace.
The door is still locked when I get there, then again it usually is. I'm always here before Chloe, the assistant manager and technically my boss, but she doesn't treat me like she's of a higher rank than I am. We have a laugh while we work, she's always chatty and talks to me about anything and everything. She only acts like a boss when she needs to, hiring and firing and getting in orders from suppliers, stuff like that. It's a family run business, her father opened the cafe not too far from Diagon Alley when she was a kid and she has worked here since she was a teenager. Now she helps run it.
Long story short, I like Chloe.
So, working here is not what makes me grimace. I grimace because it's not what I want to do, though it's closer to my dream than my last job.
I may like Chloe a little less today, though. I jump up and down to keep myself warm, curling my hands into fists and stuffing them into my pockets. I start to think that maybe I should have stopped somewhere to grab a hot drink, before I quickly realize that this place serves hot drinks and as soon as Chloe comes, she'll make us both one. So, buying one to get a free one a few minutes later would just be kind of pointless, wouldn't it?
Considering I'm the type of guy to never pass up on anything free, I'd have to say yes.
Chloe doesn't show up until I'm sure certain areas are starting to freeze.
"Sorry, I'm late. Rick and I had a late night," she rushes out with a quick, cheeky wink.
Rick is her boyfriend. He thinks he's God's gift to women, which I find strange since he's an overweight, unemployed dick with bad breath and a personality to match. He comes into the café a lot at lunch. He doesn't like me and I don't help matters by calling him Dick, but, well, I don't care.
I'm still trying to convince her that Dick is a bad idea, once I even slipped her the number of the cute guy who comes in almost every day just to flirt with her, but she laughs like I'm joking and tells me she's fine. She then tells me about how she and Dick are together for who they are on the inside, as she met him when he was thin, fairly good looking and hadn't been fired from his job yet. I try to tell her that it's who he is on the inside that worries me; she's not listening. She just asks me how my "relationship" with Louis is.
I wish I could comment, but it's not her fault Louis likes to come in and talk about us.
It is her fault for liking him, though.
Finally getting the key in the door, it is, after all, it's a hard job when you're telling someone about your night with Dick the dick at the same time, Chloe opens it up wide enough to let me run inside and gets to work switching everything on while I rub my arms and wait for my tea. Because I cannot function without a cup of tea first, ask anyone.
"Here you go, hon," Chloe says with a smile, handing me the warm, milky beverage in my favorite mug. I thank her gratefully and take a nice mouthful, only then do I find it acceptable to remove my coat and start taking the chairs down. "So, how was your night?"
I tell her all about my night, making it sound way more interesting than it actually was. You can taste the sarcasm dripping out of my mouth. "Well, I came home from my job at the bar at around two in the morning, then I changed and lay in bed thinking why, God, why until I fell asleep."
"Sounds wonderful," she replies with a sympathetic look; she knows I don't want to hear it, but it doesn't stop her from letting me see it.
"Oh, it was, compared to last night," I tell her honestly. "I didn't get alcohol thrown all over me this time."
"Silver lining, then," Chloe mutters, turning her back to finish turning on the coffee machines. "You couldn't go to Louis?"
I glare, though she can't see me. "No. Why would I? We're not serious, Chloe. I have no reason to. Besides, it was two am, I wasn't going to wake him just for sex. I don't think he'd appreciate it."
Despite saying it, I know that's a lie. Louis wouldn't care if I came over at two am for anything. Judging from Chloe's laugh, she knows it, too.
"It's so obvious that Louis is crazy about you, Frankie," she says between chuckles. "It's been, what, twelve years? I know you know that his feelings for you are deeper than casual, he wants it to be serious and he'd be there in a heartbeat, whether you wanted him at two am or right now. And can you blame him?" she asks, looking me up and down.
I decide not to answer that, thankful that I know she is joking. Louis, however, isn't. He's been telling me he loves me for most of the time we've been "together", I very much doubt he's ready to give up, and sometimes I look at our relationship and wonder what the hell I'm doing - Louis is good looking, with dark blue eyes, blond hair and a very nice body, he's loyal, though very unpredictable and way too stubborn, and courtesy of his wolf genes, his temper is not to be messed with the closer the full moon gets. He doesn't turn, he just has traits, and afterwards, once he's finally slept, he's calm and relaxed and more himself. Not that I care about his wolf gene, that was, still is, part of the turn on. That with his Veeela genes, albeit very little, make for an interesting night.
Let's just say I'm glad he can't turn people when he bites.
No, it's what he wants from me that's the problem. What he wants being me in the literal sense. I just can't do that, but he's too stubborn to listen to me.
I'm not what he needs in the long run. You'd think that would be reason enough to shut the door in his face, besides his persistently irritating personality, but no. I still haven't closed that door. Until he finds someone else and shuts it himself, we're stuck together, because I don't think I ever will.
I finish my job in silence, then my tea and turn the sign from 'closed' to 'open' as soon as I get the nod from Chloe.
Work is quite peaceful in the mornings; there are a rather large number of customers, but most still seem half asleep and just wait in line and order. Some chat, some are on their phones, but none are really loud. It's lunch time when noise really picks up, but that won't be for a while yet.
I turn my back for two minutes, making sure to check the time and make two separate orders, when I hear him. I can't help the smirk that ends up on my face; right on time.
"Hello, Chloe, how are you this morning?"
"Better now," she laughs. "The usual?"
I give my customer her order, then grab the bag in one and the drink in the other. "One hot chocolate with everything, two donuts with icing and sprinkles and a turkey sandwich for lunch. I'll see you tomorrow, Louis."
Grinning, Louis grabs the bag and hands me the money for it. "I love that you know my order."
"Well, you have been ordering the same thing every day since I started working here six month ago," I answer, rolling my eyes.
I lean on the counter, moving closer to the insufferable blond, and wait for him to do the same. We're nose-to-nose, I can feel his fresh, minty breath along my mouth and smell his cologne. It's intoxicating. His grin widens, but I refuse to give him the satisfaction of following through with my sudden desire to kiss him.
"It's not hard, baby," I whisper, moving even closer until I just touch his lips, then I back away and smile teasingly. His groan is audible and his pout is almost cute, but I'm not an idiot. He's not getting anything from me. I have work to do. "You're holding up the line."
"Fine," Louis grumbles, moving to stand at the side of the counter rather than leave. I shake my head, knowing Chloe won't tell him that he can't stand there, and go back to my customers. Louis sticks to random small talk, asking about my night, me in general and the new deal he's working on at work, until my favorite customer walks in and the mood suddenly changes. He's not happy about it, he never is.
"Hey, Sean," I say, smiling.
"Hello, Frankie," Healer Sean replies. "I'll have the usual please." Chloe hands him his coffee, already prepared, so I don't have to turn around and miss looking at him. "Thanks, Chloe."
"No problem," she tells him, walking away to serve someone else.
I seem to ignore the world while Sean is here, he's mostly all I see - I mean, after twelve years, Louis is not easy to forget. He'd never let it happen. But right now I try.
"So, what's your day like? Better than mine?"
Sean chuckles and shrugs. "Same old really, I don't expect anything big to happen."
I open my mouth to reply, maybe even flirt a little, but Louis beats me to it. He coughs loudly and moves to stand right next to Sean. "I have to go, but I'll see you tonight, yeah?"
"Oh, I don't know," I answer with as much regret as I can muster, leaning in as close as I can get to whisper in his ear, "Not a chance in hell."
Louis moves back just enough for me to see the sly grin and wink. "Oh, I think so," he replies, too quiet for Sean, or anyone, to hear. Then he kisses me, long enough to attract looks and seem serious. Too shocked to move, I let it last for longer than it should have. Louder, he continues, "See you later, baby."
I refuse to watch him walk away, at least not until he finishes his little outburst. "Maybe I'll see you around, Sean!"
I am going to murder that bastard.
"He seems nice," Sean comments.
"He's an asshole," I correct quickly.
"Really?" Sean frowns. "He just seems to really love you. Because he looked irrationally jealous of you talking to me."
"Yeah, he gets like that," I sigh. "It's like he can't stop himself, there's always someone. I don't know why I put up with him. I think it's time to end it."
"It's your life," Sean says quietly, looking a little uncomfortable. That already impossible dream of having one night with my healer is getting further and further away. "See you tomorrow, Frankie."
I call out a good bye, groaning into my hands the moment he's out of the café door. With one guy completely off-limits and the other completely crazy, Frankie Pierce, you're just asking for trouble.
And my suddenly crappy day just gets a whole lot worse.
I don't know what possesses me to do it, especially after I spent the whole day assuring myself that I would not end up where I am now. I even freaking told him I wouldn't. But my crappy day pretty much ruined everything and, whether I want to acknowledge it or not, every time my day wound up like this, he was always there. And, whether I want to admit it or not, he made it better.
No matter what he did this morning, even if he was essentially the cause of it, he'll help again. More importantly, he'll help all night.
So, taking a deep breath and swallowing the last of what little pride I had left, I knock on his door.
Barely a minute passes and the door opens, revealing a Louis wearing only a pair of cotton pajama pants hung low, almost falling down his hips, and a hardly concealed smirk. He leans against the door frame, arms crossed and looks me up and down. Like I'm the one who's hardly dressed.
"Don't say a word, just nod or shake your head," I warn, holding up the bag of fresh ingredients I brought with me. "Kitchen free?" Nod. "Have you eaten? A shake and a wider grin. "Lead the way."
Louis drops his arms and uses his left to pull on my shirt, gently pulling me inside. As soon as the door slams shut, he's attached his lips to mine, walking backwards down the familiar halls to a room I loathe to admit I know well. I don't end it, though. I pull him closer; it's why I'm here, after all.
He stops briefly to drop the bag onto the kitchen table, then continues to lead the way, pretty much doing exactly what I told him to do.
Dinner will just have to wait.
A/N: Got my new Louis/OC finally posted. Hopefully, it'll be easier to post once I stop thinking that Louis is cheating on Ciaran with Frankie... :P
This is for Tammi (alicia and anne) who motivated me to finish that, coincidently by asking for motivation. Thank you, Tammi! You should totally check out her stories!
I hope you enjoy this new story. Please let me know what you think. :)