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byHan_cg©

After the success of my previous story I got to work on this one quickly, it's long and has been written as a stand-alone so please don't ask for a sequel because you may be disappointed.

As always I enjoy reading the feedback and I'm always open to constructive criticism. So leave the comments and drop me a message if you want!

Enjoy.

*****

Chapter one: Wrong place, wrong time.

I love running, the pounding of my feet on the pavement below, the way that pushing my body past the point of exhaustion clears my head and helps me think straight. The way I can always feel the sweat seep from my every pour, but I don't care. Running is my happy place, the one thing in the whole world I know can't be taken away from me.

Today was no different, my feet were beating the sidewalk beneath them as I ran at a steady speed through the college campus. The fall air around me is cool and crisp and I breath it in by the lung full. I've been here at NYU for a few weeks, starting my freshman year where I'll be majoring in music theory. My parents aren't thrilled with my field of choice, but I worked my ass off all through high school to get a full academic scholarship to a school this good, so I should at least be able to study something I'm passionate about.

Music blasts through the earbuds I'm wearing drowning out a lot of the noise around me meaning I can well and truly lose myself to my favourite pass time. I'm so absorbed in my own thoughts and the rhythm of my legs that I don't see the blonde turning the corner towards me and I run into her at full speed, effectively knocking her straight on her ass.

We fall in a mess of arms and legs, the coffee she's holding spills from the carton covering us both in the tepid, brown liquid. Somehow in the fray I end up hovering over her staring down into the most gorgeous green eyes I think I've ever had the pleasure of looking at, she blinks at me and for a moment I forget myself "shit..." I murmur.

"You could say that again..." she says in what is clearly a British accent. I turn crimson when I realise our position and push myself up and off her, holding out my hand to help her to her feet.

I risk a moment to take in her appearance and the girl is stunning, slightly taller than me, but built slim. Sandy blonde hair pulled back into a loose bun, tendrils of her fair hair frames her face, parted rosy lips that look like they were made to kiss. I blink a few times and swallow noticing how dry my throat and mouth has become "I'm so sorry about that. I didn't see you coming..."

I watch as she rolls her eyes at me and looks down at her ruined shirt "great, well now because you weren't watching where you were going. Not only am I going to be late, my shirts ruined. You know what..." I raise an eyebrow at her and cock my head to the side. What the fuck is this girl's problem? I get I knocked her down, but I apologised... "forget it. Fucking yanks..." and with that she's gone leaving me watching her arrogant ass walk away.

"Well, fuck you too!" The girl's gorgeous, but she's kind of an ass too. I don't have to time to dwell on my run in with the chick with the great ass but shit attitude. I need to head back to my dorm to get ready for class, because tonight, I start work at the coffee shop on campus.

When I get back to my room my roommate Clara is sat crossed legged on her bed with her nose buried in a book. The sight makes me grin a little, my new-found friend is extremely studious, more so than me but she is everything one could want in someone with whom you share a space. She's tidy, quiet and considerate. But don't let appearances fool you, because she also has a wicked sense of humour which I adore. "Good run?" She asks without looking up from her book, I smile at the top of her head and kick my running shoes off.

"Yeah it was great, until I ran into this snooty little bitch with a great ass but a shitty attitude. I mean, I said I was sorry? But she goes off on this rant and parts ways with a 'fucking yanks' comment." Clara raises her eyes to meet mine and she quirks an eyebrow.

"My oh my, she certainly has rubbed you the wrong way..." she cocks her head to the side and studies me in a way that makes me blush a little "or maybe that's something you'd be open too?" I roll my eyes and throw the shirt I had just taken off at her before shedding my running pants and wrapping my underwear clad body in a towel.

"Don't be such a perv, I'm going for a shower and then I'm going to class." Picking up my shower caddy I turn on my heel and head for the door.

Thankfully the rest of the day goes on without another run in with the girl I knocked over this morning. However, I'm having a hard time shaking her from my thoughts. I've known I was gay for a long time, and growing up in Texas has been... difficult to say the least. Houston isn't the most accepting place in the world so when I was given the opportunity to study here I took it with both hands and ran. I've had girlfriends, flings but no one has had the same effect that she seems to have.

My mind keeps flittering back to the way the sun hit her eyes making them shine like emeralds, her hair shone like spun gold and she smelt like a summer morning. Her lips, oh sweet Jesus her lips. I think I could spend a lifetime worshipping those perfect lips. The part of me that continued to have these constant thoughts, thoughts that filled my brain with her and distracted me from my studies all day, didn't care that she was a jackass. That part kept telling the rational part of my brain to shut the fuck up and let it have it's fun.

By the time I was about to start work I had managed to talk myself around to pushing her out of my thoughts and to concentrate on earning some money. Stepping into the coffee shop I was instantly hit with the smell of fresh ground coffee and the buzz of students talking amongst themselves. I weave my way through the crowded floor towards the counter where I try and get the attention of the barista "excuse me?" Nothing, he's more interested in flirting with the brunette at the end of the counter. I give him a moment before repeating myself a little louder "excuse me?" This time he turns to face me with an irritated expression.

"What can I do for ya?" I fight the urge to roll my eyes and smile as sweetly as I can manage at the over-muscled guy who's clearly undressing me with his eyes.

"I'm Kaitlyn, I'm due to start here today." He snaps his fingers and moves to lift the counter top up and waves me through.

"Of course, you're early come through I'll get you a polo. Emily's the assistant manager, she's going to train you tonight. She isn't here yet." I follow him through to a small office where he begins rummaging through some storage containers in one of the corners. After a moment he pokes his head up and looks over at me "what size?"

"Small will be great thanks." He throws a shirt at me and points me in the general direction of the women's bathroom where I change. Before I leave I take a second to give myself a once over in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. I haven't changed since leaving home, my hair still falls to my shoulders in deep brown curls, my eyes are still a rich brown colour and my skin is tanned thanks to my Puerto Rican heritage.

I take a deep breath and run my fingers through my hair, my hand on the door pulls it open and I walk back into the shop with a new confidence. I stop short of the counter, not quite believing the scene in front of me. The rude blonde from this morning is standing behind the counter, her hair still in the same messy bun from this morning but she's changed into a khaki coloured shirt, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, revealing toned arms and a small tattoo on the outside of her wrist. The main difference in her appearance from this morning is the smile that's on her face, she's laughing with muscled guy about something and I'm suddenly envious that it isn't me that's making her smile like that. It's quite breath taking.

I step forwards to the counter and clear my throat, the second her eyes rest on me the smile vanishes, and her eyes widen "you've got to be kidding me?" She exclaims, her eyebrows almost disappearing into her hairline.

Undeterred, I step behind the counter and hold my hand out "we got off on the wrong foot earlier, I'm Kaitlyn." She reluctantly takes my hand and I find I'm the one who pulls away first, the sudden jolt I feel flow through my palm shocks me and knocks the wind out of me.

"Emily, look I'm not here to babysit anyone so you have a choice. Learn fast or quit. It's going to get busy later because we have an open house for poetry readings." I quirk and eyebrow in question to what she's saying making her purse her lips before continuing "I know you have barista experience, so I expect a lot."

I want to tell her to take the stick out of her ass because I'm making coffee for students on minimum wage. But once again her presence knocks the words out of me and I find myself standing there blinking at her like a tool. She rolls her eyes at me and places her hands on my shoulders to turn me towards the till. I stiffen at her simple gesture, because again I feel as though a thousand tiny electric pulses are flying through my body from the spot where her hands rest. "This is the till, push the button that has the drinks name on and take the money. It's that simple, think you can handle that?"

I turn to face her and narrow my eyes slightly "I don't know, I'm kind of flattered you assume I can read? I mean, I was hoping there'd be pictures or something." This earns me a laugh from the guy I originally spoke to, I really should find out what he's called.

"I think I'm going to like this one Em..." Emily scowls at him and he holds his hands up in defeat "and on that note, I'm off. Hot date tonight." He nods towards the brunette he was flirting with before and throws a wink my way. "Have a good night ladies."

I wish his passing sentiment had any semblance of truth, but time drags. Emily makes me feel uncomfortable the moment we're alone. I try several times to strike up conversation with her, each time she either walks away like I haven't spoken at all or she gives me a half-hearted answer that shoots the attempt down completely. Thankfully it gets busy and I'm soon put through my paces, I'm silently pleased for my part time job during high school for giving me the experience so now I'm able to churn out lattes, cappuccinos and espressos at a good speed. I catch Emily watching me work now and again and I feel my face flush, but I push away any errant thoughts I get, just down to the fact that she's a horrible person.

By the time we've closed for the night and we're getting ready to leave I don't think I've ever been so pleased to leave a place more than I did right now. However, it seems for what feels like the millionth time tonight, Emily surprises me. "Thanks for tonight Kaitlyn, you exceeded expectations."

"Jesus, that sounds like a school report." I roll my eyes and watch as she raises an eyebrow and tucks her hands into her pockets "but thanks. I really am sorry about knocking you over earlier on... I hope I didn't make you too late?"

She waves away my apology and we begin walking through the campus towards my dorm building "I reacted badly, I can be... a bit of an arse." I laugh and cross my arms over my chest, I want to say that's the understatement of the decade. But I think better of it and stay quiet. We continue to walk in silence until she stops at the end of the street and gives a loud sigh "my dorms this way, thanks for tonight. I'll see you around."

I give her a half wave and watch her as she walks away, the sway of her hips is hypnotic, and I just stand and stare until she rounds a corner and disappears from my line of sight. I sigh loudly and continue on my merry way, feeling a little better when Emily once again plagues my thoughts. Turns out there may be a shred of decency in her after all.

When I make it back to my dorm Clara's nowhere to be seen. And for once, I'm silently pleased not to see the quirky little redhead. I need to organise my thoughts about a certain Brit. Throwing myself down on my bed I take a deep sigh and attempt to categorise the thoughts I've been having all day. The facts are this; Emily is quite simply stunning, she's also rude. She has an incredible smile, but she's extremely standoffish. There was a funny little spark between us when I shook her hand, and then again when she put her hands on my shoulder. I wonder if she felt it? If she did she made no inclination that she did so of course, it's probably one sided. Fuck.

I sigh out loud and pull a pillow onto my chest and clasp it to me hard, I'm about to start saying "woe is me" out loud whilst I fall into a spiralling pit of teenage angst when my roommate shows up at the perfect moment and takes stock of my despair.

"I take it didn't go well then?" She asks, I lift my head to see her raising an eyebrow at me as she shrugs her backpack off and drops it onto her desk chair. I groan loudly and let my head flop back onto the bed.

"It did, but she was there. The girl I ran into earlier."

"Oh shit, did she say anything?"

"She said lots, turns out she's my boss. Well one of them" I hear Clara let out a low whistle.

"I would not like to be you right now my friend." I groan again before propping myself up on my elbows. Looking at her pointedly, I narrow my eyes at her and purse my lips.

"Really? That's all you have to say on the matter? That you wouldn't like to be me? Jesus! I don't even want to be me right now. I mean, I run into this girl. Who's gorgeous by the way. She rips my head off, I then spend the entire day thinking about this girl and then just as I'm getting past the fact that I probably won't see her again. Turns out I work with her, and she's still an ass. But, Jesus. When she smiles, or when she touches me, I just... I can't even" I flop back and stare at the ceiling fan above my bed "I'm pathetic."

Clara stays quiet for a few minutes; the room is filled with the sounds of our breathing. I'm beginning to think she's fallen asleep when she finally speaks "Kait, don't beat yourself up. I mean, you just think she's hot? That's completely normal."

"I guess so." I say nothing else. I get ready for bed in silence and listen as Clara moves around the room and settles into bed herself. She's asleep long before I manage to drift off and once again I begin thinking of Emily. Of that short moment when I got a quick glimpse into who she really is, I think I liked that person. When I finally fall asleep my dreams are full of green eyes and winning smiles.

Chapter two: You may be right.

The following few months pass in a blur, Emily continues to act standoffish with me but I still get glimpses into the person she really is in the fleeting moments where she isn't acting like a dick.

Classes take up my most of my time and when I'm not studying or rehearsing, I'm working. Going home for Thanksgiving is a lovely break away from my gruelling schedule. I'm annoyed at myself for thinking about Emily the entire time I'm away, and it scares me a little when my heart beat increases when I see her again. She actually smiles at me when I begin my first shift back after Thanksgiving "good break?"

I nod as I tie my apron on and walk away to clear tables signalling the end of that short conversation. Being around her still unnerves me, during quiet periods at work she sits on a high stool at the end of the counter and studies. I asked once what she majors in and for the first time since meeting her she actually volunteered some personal information "I'm pre-med, I graduate this year and then off to med school to finish there" and that brought a screeching halt to that conversation.

However, something strange happened when I was due to go home for Christmas and New year, midway through my last shift before I head off to catch my flight back down to Texas. Emily started work, I smile at her as she walks behind the counter and instead of the obligatory smile I've grown accustomed to from her she just scowls and stalks off into the office, slamming the door behind her. I look across at Zack, muscled up guy, and give him a 'what the fuck?' kind of look. He just shrugs his shoulders and keeps wiping down the tables whilst I stock up the fridges.

Emily finally makes an appearance once Zack's clocked off and we get a rush of students coming in for their caffeine fix. She clearly isn't pleased by the disturbance, if looks could kill I think I'd be keeled over on the floor after being on the receiving end of the icy glare she fixes me with. "You know Kaitlyn, I thought you'd be able to cope with a few coffees. Clearly I was wrong." She snaps at me after she hands the drink to the last person waiting.

I still don't know why I chose that night to snap back, I think my patience had just worn thin after months of her blowing hot and cold at me. Some days she'd speak to me like I was human, but most of the time she'd ignore me or speak to me like shit. "You know what Emily?" I snap at her, my head whipping round to set her with a hard stare "my shit limits nearing full with you. What the fuck is your problem?"

"My problem is that you struggle with the most basic of tasks without needing a helping hand. Tell me, are they all as dense as you where you come from? Or are you just a special kind of yokel?"

I saw red at that comment, my jaw tightened and I actually clenched my fists at her words. Neither of us were shouting but we had begun to attract curious stares from the customers that had chosen to sit in the café and enjoy their drinks. "I don't know how much more I can take of this. In fact," I pause and unfasten my apron and throw it down at her feet "take this, and shove it up your ass. I think that stick up there might be getting a little lonely." Before she can say anything else I push past her hard to get into the back to retrieve my things. I want to follow this through before I lose face and try and take it back. I need this job, but not at the cost of my self-respect.

A hand on my arm stops me in my tracks, that familiar tingle I get whenever Emily touches me radiates through my body from that one spot of contact. I let out the breath I'm holding in a shaky sigh and turn slowly to look at her. Her expression has softened and she looks almost apologetic, I clench my teeth and cross my arms over my chest defiantly. We stand there looking at each other in silence for a few moments, her green eyes searching my face before she finally spoke. Running a hand through her sandy blonde locks she drops her gaze and looks at something on the floor "I'm sorry." I nod but make no effort to move "I've had some shit news today and I'm taking it out on the wrong person."

I shrug my shoulders in an attempt to be nonchalant but inside my nerves are all over from her close proximity. "Emily, it's not my business and I don't mean to pry but if you want to talk. I'm more than happy to listen?" I watch her chew on her bottom lip and nod at me. In a move so quick it sets me back a little she marches back out to the counter and raises her voice to get the crowds attention.

"We're closing early. You've got two minutes to drink your drinks or I'm gonna sink them." She turns back to me and hands me my apron "help me close down, and then we'll talk. If you still want to quit after, well my loss I guess" she flashes me a lopsided grin and I feel my breath catch in my chest.

"Fine." I snatch the apron out of her hands and I hear her chuckle at me as I fumble to get it back on. Together, we work in silence to close down the shop. We're on the receiving end of a few disconcerted grumbles but Emily in a very British and very polite way told them to shut the fuck up and go away. By the time we've cleaned everything down and she's locked the front doors, effectively locking us inside, butterflies have well and truly consumed my entire insides.

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