By request of insanocerebro on Tumblr I give you all a Captain Swan ‘Coffee Shop’ AU. Her specifications were –“Is there some coffee shop Au, where Killian is a sexy barista and Emma goes every week just to get a glimpse of him?”And so Blame it on the Caffeine was born. Have our awkwardly flirting bbs and a lot of coffee.
Enjoy, reviews are encouraged! xo.
Rated – Hard T Soft M depending.
Words – 5K+ because I don’t know how to write small.
Blame it on the Caffeine – CaptainSwan AU O/S.
As I turned the corner the smell reached my senses before I even saw the place, as it always did. The tiny and some say pretentious coffee house by the hospital where I was working had become somewhat of a saving grace for me and my fellow residents. Sure, there was a Starbucks on every corner, but this was different. This, they said, was the authentic Italian coffee experience.
Whatever the hell that meant.
The thing is, I didn’t even like coffee, hated it in fact. But there I was every Wednesday at two on the dot, forcing myself to try a new thing from the menu in the hopes of finding something coffee based to love.
It had nothing to do with him, really.
He being the barista. The blue eyed, dark haired one with the accent that made me a little weak in the knees. No, it had nothing to do with him, it was merely my work load and my exhaustion and the need to find something seriously caffeinated that would allow me to function.
“So what’ll it be today Swan?” he asked with his usual twinkly eyed flirtations, which was somehow managed in less than ten words.
I shrugged, because I still didn’t know. That, and this was our routine. Had been for a few months now. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.
“Feel like something strong and thick or something a bit steamy and exotic?” he asked sweetly, but with a quirked brow and a smirk that said so much more. Part of me wanted to wipe it off his face, and another part of me wanted to kiss it off his face. Instead, I just rolled my eyes.
“Are you like this with all your customers?”
He grinned wider.
“I don’t know what you mean. I was simply referring to our menu tasting activities…”
I wasn’t focusing on how he looked from my eyes to my lips as he pronounced ‘activities’ in a sinful manner, I really wasn’t. Nor was I acknowledging the blush creeping into my cheeks at the thought of various kinds of activities.
“Sure you were,” I sighed, not having much time. “Can I just have something that will keep me awake for the rest of my shift please? You choose this time, my brain is too fried to think about things.”
The flirtations disappeared and he nodded.
I nodded back because yeah, dying patients weren’t the easiest of things to get used to. Doing my time as a medical resident wasn’t the easiest of jobs, but one I loved no matter how tough.
“You could say that.”
He smiled, this time sincerely, nodding to the comfortable leather chair by the window that had become my spot, when it was available.
“Go take a seat, I’ll bring it over.”
I thanked him with a nod and trudged over, all but flopping down into the soft, comfortable leather, instantly falling into my routine of people watching.
“I figure something simple would suit today’s mood, so this caffè macchiato might hit the spot. It seemed like you liked the variations of this before…” he shrugged as he set the cup down, and she noticed there was a small brownie at the side of the saucer.
“I didn’t order the-”
“It’s on the house.”
“The house thinks you could use a little something extra this break time.”
“Is that so…”
He nodded with a shy smile.
“Well in that case, thank the house for me; it’s very sweet of you – of the house,” I said, trying to suppress my smile.
While I tried to convince myself that he flirted with all the female customers at the very least, it didn’t stop me from enjoying it when he flirted with me. It was the little things in life, you know?
“There’s an extra shot in the coffee too so just… be careful.” He flipped his cloth over his shoulder, and I took the few seconds to admire him again. Out from behind the counter he always was a pretty sight. His uniform was chic and laid back, just like their style of establishment, simple black pants and expensive looking shoes, crisp white shirt with the top buttons undone. Perfect really.
“Thanks, I appreciate it.”
He left with a silent nod while I lost myself in fifteen minutes of caffeinated heaven before the next twelve hours of work. The coffee art shaped like a little swan on my drink wasn’t a detail lost on me either.
“And he’s hot?”
I shrugged as I changed into my scrubs. How the topic of Killian came up I was too tired to remember. All I knew was Ruby and Mary Margaret were giving me the third degree about him as we got ready for our shift.
“So that’s a yes then. How hot we talking here? Like Doctor Nolan hot or Doctor Gold hot.”
Both Mary Margaret and I grimaced at her comment, to which Ruby just shrugged and laughed. We all knew Nolan was fine, but Gold?
“Really, Ruby?” Mary Margaret scowled. “He’s our attending.”
“Nolan is our senior resident too but that doesn’t stop you two flirting,” she aimed at my now blushing friend. “Besides Gold has that whole … powerful thing working for him. I can’t explain it. Anyway, this isn’t about my tastes, it’s about Emma’s. Tastes, in case you’ve forgotten, we know nothing about since she lives like a damn nun!”
“I do not!”
They both just frowned at me, and yeah, okay, maybe I was a little bit more work than play lately but so what, how was that a bad thing.
“Concentrating on your career-” they both quoted in unison, making me roll my eyes.
“Yeah girl, we know,” Ruby finished. “I’m just saying a little more play … might help you focus more…”
“Are you saying I’m sloppy?”
It was then Ruby’s turn to roll her eyes as she braided her long black and red hair away from her face.
“Not at all. You’re just very tense. All the time. Some fun might remind you toenjoy life a little more and if there’s a hot Brit indulging your caffeine addiction, I wonder what else he’d like to indulge, you know what I mean?”
“Everyone always knows what you mean, Rubs,” Mary Margaret said with a grin as she rolled on some deodorant.
“I’m sorry don’t you have our senior attending to go flirt with.”
That shut her up, and she mumbled something about how she didn’t flirt with him thank you very much.
She did though, she so did.
By the time I got around to my weekly visit, this time I was a little more awake, and more aware of myself, at least enough to tidy my hair and apply a little lip gloss if nothing else. The end of a shift with two days off promised to perk up my mood considerably. Only this time when I entered he wasn’t behind the counter where he usually stood, instead it was a small woman with bright auburn hair and a hyper smile.
Blame it on the caffeine.
Feeling a little disappointed I just ordered some green tea and a cupcake that at least I knew I liked, and without Killian’s patient game playing attitude I didn’t feel like bothering the smiling girl.
I turned the corner to find my usual table only to find it occupied, by him.
If my heart skipped a few beats when I saw him, I tried to ignore it. Instead I walked up as confidently as I knew how, and slid into the seat opposite him. Taking both him and myself by surprise.
“You’re in my spot.” I said with a smile as he looked up from his paperwork. He returned my smile which made me feel instantly at ease. At least I wasn’t bothering him?
“Okay Sheldon, sorry about that,” he laughed as I made myself comfortable.
“Mmm so you should be, really.”
He just grinned.
“So, what did you order today?”
I grimaced, knowing he’d scold me.
“A green tea and a cupcake.”
He sighed with faux exasperation, comically throwing down his pen.
“I know, I know, I just need something calming today, okay? That last one… I mean it did the job I’ll tell you that. A little too well actually. Even after another twelve hour shift I was too wired to sleep.”
He laughed and it was real and dorky and kind of adorable, and it made my stomach twist a little when he leaned forward.
“Mission accomplished then.”
“Oh that’s your mission huh, keeping me up all night?”
As soon as I had the words out I knew it sounded more wrong than right. I cringed.
“I—” I began, but he cut me off, just as ‘Ariel’ came to drop off my order. I thanked her and she nodded to him with a smile, ignoring me.
“You’re on to me, Swan. That’s exactly what I’m doing.” His tone was playful, as it always was, but there was a look on his face that told me that if I wanted to, our flirtations could go beyond the odd quip. I wanted them to, I really did, but I wasn’t good at the whole flirting thing. I was better with books, with diagnoses and blood work.
“You should be ashamed, really, getting all these good people hooked on your stuff, making them suffer sleepless nights…” I took a sip of my tea as he signed his name to some documents and closed his folders. “They work you hard here huh? Putting up with customers and doing the books?”
He just nodded, sipping his own espresso.
“They should go easier on me, but I guess it’s a form of self-abuse.”
I looked confused and he realised.
“I own the place, Swan.”
“That surprised? I’m more believable being a thirty something barista?”
“Is there something wrong with that?”
“No, nothing at all. I just… would hope you’d think me more ambitious than that.”
“You hope I think about you?”
Now that made him blush. It was delicious. It spread from his cheeks right up to the tips of his ears. I bit my lip to stop myself from smiling.
“No I … I mean … I don’t know, maybe?”
He closed his eyes as if he was regretting what he was saying, and this time I didn’t try to hide my smile.
I figured what the hell, in for a penny and all that…
“Maybe I do think about you… a little. Sometimes. Maybe,” I shrugged, trying to play it cool but feeling as if I was failing miserably.
“Oh yeah?” his brows rose almost comically as he spoke, fidgeting with the rim of his mug.
I just sipped my tea in response which only made him smile wider before he reined it in.
“Well I mean I’m not going to complain about that, unless they aren’t happy thoughts.”
“Eh, well, they aren’t unhappy thoughts.”
“Care to share?” The way his eyes shot from my eyes to my lips and maybe for a second a little lower sparked nothing but naughty thoughts in my head, as I was sure they were running rife through his.
Oh god, do not tell him about the sexy thoughts, do not, I chastised myself.
As luck would have it my cell started screaming in my purse, breaking us out of our impromptu staring contest, and breaking whatever tension we’d been creating.
It was the hospital. There was a six car pile-up with an ETA for twenty, and I was need back there.
Sleep be damned, night off be damned.
“You have to go?” He could read it on my face no doubt.
I sighed heavily, confirming his assessment and wishing I had taken the high powered shot-tastic version of whatever they could give me. He wished me good luck and with a pit in my stomach I left to face one of the hardest nights of my residency. One that would last well into the next morning.
I didn’t just need coffee, I needed an IV drip for the next week after that.
“Jesus you’ve been holding out on me, Ems! Look at him!” Her eyebrows were in her hairline and her eyes, well it was like a wolf found her dinner. The thought flustered me.
“I am looking at him. Can we stop talking about him now we’re getting closer to the counter and he can hear us,” I whispered harshly to Ruby as she had whispered to me as we slowly made our way up the line. It was a Saturday and the place was unsurprisingly booming. There was a two for one special on their Spanish stuff and apparently it was the bomb, or whatever. All I knew was I hadn’t been able to get my fix – of the coffee or of him, for at least two weeks, and apparently, according to my so called friend, that needed to stop. So, on my one day off that week, I was being dragged there under the guise of ‘shopping day’ with Ruby.
She was such a shitty liar and an unbelievably shameless flirt.
He seemed surprised to see us, but not unhappy about it, and when I all but froze, Ruby took over the conversation, asking him his favourites, what he’d recommend and if he was free that night. All without taking a breath. I looked mortified I’m sure as I looked from him to her and back again.
“Well, I mean I’m not … you know not … it’s not…” he looked panicked at me, then to her.
“You see… Killian,” she nodded to his name badge, before tapping his chest as she leaned over the counter. All the while I just wanted the ground to swallow me whole. “I think you’d love the band that’s playing at my boyfriend’s bar tonight, really. They seem like your type.”
With that he seemed to breathe.
“Your – your boyfriend’s bar?”
“Mmhmm. Emma’s going… We’re all going.” She looked from me to him and back again, winking at me finally.
Murder is wrong, right?
“It’s just a gig. I’m being dragged to it, as seemingly we all have to suffer the hipster musical tastes of her man,” I said, rolling my eyes, trying oh so very hard to not run out the door. “You really, really don’t have to come.”
Please say no, please say no.
“I mean… I mean no, I would love to come. If – I mean if it’s alright?”
Fuck, fucking fuck.
“I-” Before I could answer Ruby intervened.
“Of course it is. It’s in Prince of Whales bar, you know on 3rd? We’ll be there after nine.”
“Great. Uh, to drink?” It seemed he was as flustered as I was, at least the pink tinge to his cheeks told me so. It was nice to know that Mr Smooth wasn’t that smooth all the time.
“Oh, we’ll have two Americanos please.” Again she spoke for me before she all but pushed me toward a table at the back of the shop, one that was not my usual spot.
“Jesus Christ Ruby, why didn’t you just push me at him and tell him to make out with me!” I said harshly but low as we took our seats.
“Well I might have if it would have worked. Don’t get mad at me I’m helping.”
“You’re really not. I can get my own dates thank you very fucking much, and to be honest I’m a little insulted you felt the need to be so … forward with him. Did you see his face? You practically held a gun to his head!”
“Oh I did not, besides did you see how relieved he looked when it wasn’t me asking for me? Huh? Girl, most men see these in this top and they aren’t thinking of anything else,” she said with a smile, referring to her new boobs. “But he was, he was looking to you.”
“Yeah for help, the crazy woman with her tits out was practically harassing him!”
She just rolled her eyes, and when she saw him come toward us she just stood up.
“I have to use the ladies room.” She winked again before passing him by as he arrived with our drinks.
“Thanks,” I said, tucking my hair behind my ears awkwardly, before I all but grabbed his arm. “Listen you don’t have to come, really Ruby means well but she’s just very…”
“Scary?” he asked with a nervous laugh before sitting down in the seat she once occupied. “Is she always like that?”
“Not always, but once she has a mission … she gets kind of intense.”
He nodded making a funny face in the process.
“Honestly, I’m happy to go if you want me to. I thought it was some kind of weird set up where she was asking me and you were her wing-woman that would have been weird.” He scratched behind his ear and rolled his eyes. “I’m bad at this, I’ve been single for a while and I’m just not very good at this.”
“Conversation?” I tried to laugh to lighten the mood but this shit was awkward as hell, no two ways about it.
“No, this,” he pointed between us. “Emma, you’ve been coming here for months now and I’ve … I’ve been wanting—”
“Hey you’re in my seat.”
Of course she picked right then to reappear. Damn it. He shot up, with a nod.
“Of course, sorry, I should be…” he pointed to the register. “But anyway, I’ll see you guys later then, enjoy the drinks.”
He was gone like a shot and I made a mental note to talk to Ruby about her timing, because it sucked.
“What was that about?” she asked, shocked.
“I have no idea.” And I really didn’t. Maybe I’d met someone weirder than I was; now there was a thought.
We had a few pre-drinking drinks at my place before we picked up Mary Margaret and David – who were now a thing. Well, they were always a thing but at least now they were actually telling people, which was nice for them. He was cool. Outside of work he wasn’t such a hard ass and if he was making my friend happy, it didn’t suck. That, and the guy was really amazing during karaoke so he was fitting right into our little group of miscreants. His friend Jeff was popping by and Regina and Ruby were meeting us there. I tried not to think about Killian one way or another, and after the shit-tastic ambush I would have been surprised if he showed up at all! Two crazy women all but forcing him into something at his place of work… If a guy showed up at the hospital and did the same to me I would have run a mile.
By 11:30 I was over waiting and pretty sure he was a no show. Ignoring the pointed and sad looks from Ruby I just threw myself into enjoying the band, my friends, and the endless amount of free drinks coming my way once it was clear Ruby had told Victor that I had been stood up. I hated pity more than anything else in the world but I loved rum, so it all kind of evened itself out after the third of fourth glass.
I was deep in discussion with Jeff about the slow but sure decline of our favourite TV shows of late and how it was deeply depressing, even more so since he was a writer and found it bitterly awful that these things were getting to air and his ‘ground breaking material’ was simply being ignored. By midnight I was ready to call it a night when Ruby nudged me, and sure enough when I looked up there he was across the room, in search of something – I assumed it was us – at the very least it was me. But really, who shows up at midnight? Cinderella?
Or did she leave at midnight? Ugh, either way, what the hell?
I rolled my eyes to my friend whispering in her ear to be heard over the music, “No way, who the hell does this?”
“Come on, he showed!”
“I am not that desperate, Ruby! We said a time, ten was acceptable eleven at most, and this is a joke.”
“Go talk to him.”
“No.” I sipped my drink a little harder, because fuck?
“Go. Talk. To. Him.”
I was all but shoved when he came up to our table, but everyone was still in conversation so he was hardly noticed.
So I was pissed off and a little drunk, so my neutral face might have been my mad face, and by the look on his, he realised.
“Um, could I maybe talk to you … outside?”
I just furrowed my brows.
He bit his lip. The attractive bastard had the nerve to show two hours late, looking all fine ass in dark jeans and a black sweater with a grey blazer, and he had the gall to look nervous?
“I’m so sorry I’m late, like you have no idea how sorry…” He took me in then, and yeah, maybe I wore one of the shortest dresses I owned for the occasion, but that was meaningless now.
I didn’t want to cause a scene, and really, a part of me was curious. Why show up at all? So when I found myself outside with him, it wasn’t that much of a surprise.
“Well?” I said not really wanting to hide my disappointment.
“I am so sorry, I know I said I’d show—”
“So why did you at all? Unless you have seriously piss poor time management? If you didn’t want to come you didn’t have to say yes.”
“I’ve had the night from hell, Swan. The kitchen in the shop flooded, we’ve spent the last six hours cleaning it out and I got home, my friend showed up – his girl kicked him out so he wanted to rant at someone, and I guess that someone was me. When I tried to get changed and leave he just kept on talking and he cried, Emma. A grown man cried in my arms tonight and I’m not good with crying anything, so it was all a bit much, and by the time he got himself so drunk he passed out it was an hour ago and I’ve spent the last half of it wondering if I should show up at all because yeah a woman like you shouldn’t or wouldn’t wait around for an idiot like me and I just—”
“Jesus, can you breathe??”
He hadn’t realised he’d gone on a rant, all the while we walked slowly down the block, away from the noise, the eavesdropping security at the door, and the drunk stragglers.
“I’m sorry. I just needed to get it out, I wouldn’t have stood you, or your friends up if that’s what this was, I’m not really sure what this was to be honest, but whatever it was…”
I just stared at him, too drunk to be mad because it did seem to be telling the truth, and too cold to argue.
“It’s fine, really, forget it.”
“No!” I turned to leave but he grabbed my arm, my fast-becoming-frozen-with-the-sharp-breeze arm. “Look, please I’d like to make it up to you, Emma.”
I just shrugged.
“It’s not a big deal.”
“I wanted to call to explain then I realised I don’t have your number, it was a mess, I’m a mess but I … really wanted tonight to happen. God, you have no idea how badly I wanted it to happen.”
“‘It’ is what exactly?”
He shrugged before noticing my slight shiver and pissed me off even further by shrugging off his jacket and placing it on my shoulders.
Really dude, really?
“I don’t know, we’d talk, I’d get to buy you a real drink for once, we’d enjoy some music, maybe dance a little – I’m awful by the way – and maybe drink a little more. Maybe you’d want to kiss me like I want to kiss you, maybe you’d let me kiss you… I don’t know, Swan, things. I wanted things to happen because for months I’ve wanted them to, but I’ve been too chickenshit to do something about and I’m an idi—”
I stopped him because I needed to. It wasn’t that I was drunk or half way to drunk or whatever I was, it was that he was a rambling idiot who needed to be kissed. And I was the one that needed to make the move because it was obvious he wasn’t sure enough to just do it, yet.
His lack of confidence however, lasted all of a second before he was kissing me back, his arms pulling me closer, his hands sliding up my back to get me as flush to him as physically possible where we stood on the darkened street corner, before I all but backed him up against the wall of a bakery. Everything faded like it should when you’re being kissed by someone who knows how, and Killian certainly knew how. I suddenly didn’t care that he was late, that I was nervous, or what my hair looked like. All I cared about was him, and how delightfully dizzy a kiss was making me feel.
He all but groaned into my mouth, his hands rising from my hips, skimming over my breasts, down my arms, back up to my neck and into my hair. It felt like he was everywhere at once, as if he needed to be everywhere at once. My own hands were roaming his broad chest, feeling his heart hammering away under that soft black sweater before I buried them in his hair too, neither one of us caring that we could and probably were being watched, not that anyone seemed to care.
His insistent mouth parted my eager lips repeatedly in such a way that sent tingles through my soul. I needed him; I needed all of him, nerves or social niceties be damned. I felt giddy and silly as we pulled apart, allowing me to take in how utterly wrecked he looked, allowing me to only imagine what I looked like.
“Oops,” was all I could articulate, and that made his eyes widen comically and my mind vaguely registered that he tasted like caramel coffee of some kind. I fought the urge to giggle like a fool.
“Oops? Swan, really? Tell that wasn’t an oops moment.” He laughed nervously and it was far too cute for a grown man.
I just smiled, kissing him sweetly once more on the lips before pulling back.
“No, not an oops moment, but I think we needed that. Don’t you?”
He blew air between his lips as if to catch his breath. His grip on my waist hadn’t lessened. Not that I wanted it to… I never wanted it to.
“I think we did. I could think of a few other things we need right now too…” he whispered into my ear, before pulling back slightly to stare at my mouth.
“I’m still mad you’re late.” I was fighting more with myself more than him. While it was true we both knew if he showed up here tonight how it was probably going to end – months of unresolved sexual tension does that to a girl – I wasn’t giving in without a fight.
He looked instantly dejected, nodding.
“I understand that, and I am sorry Emma, I get it if you never want to see me again.”
That made me narrow my brows.
“You’re a bit dramatic aren’t you?”
“My friends tell me that I can be, yeah.” He grinned again, this time a shy unsure sort that I was instantly attached to.
“We’ve been dancing around each other for months, I’ve tried so many coffee concoctions just so I could talk to you – I hate coffee, Killian,” I admitted – if pressed about it later I was sure to blame the free rum. He laughed then, big and clear and happy.
“Is that so? Damn! And here was I thinking it was my amazing business keeping you coming back.”
His grip on me tightened again, pulling me against him a little tighter, and yeah, his mind was definitely on other things, I felt it as clear as day against my thigh.
“Partly that partly the …everything else.”
I rolled my eyes. What were words?
“I’m tired of dancing around each other, Emma. You know that right? You know I want to give this … whatever it is, a shot?”
He just kissed me again, sweet and proper before pulling back, a ridiculous look on his face.
“Enough with the coffee metaphors Swan.”
“Shh, no. I have tons, really… Wait.” I pretended to think until he gripped me again, spinning me again so this time I was at his mercy against the rough red brick wall, planting a deep, languid kiss that made my toes curl once again.
“Hmmm,” I sighed happily, as we were interrupted by the far away sounds of drunken people stumbling out of the bar, breaking the haze and firing us back to reality. We broke apart, and as hard as it was to stop that magnetic feeling from overwhelming us both again, this time we settled for hand holding as we walked slowly across the street to where a few cabs were sitting, waiting for customers.
“I should see you home, since I all but ruined your night,” he admitted with an honest tone, opening a cab door for me as the cabby brought the car to life.
“You should, but you didn’t ruin my night, Killian, if anything you improved it.”
“If you say so. I still feel like an ass…” He scratched the back of his neck as I slid into the car with as much ladylike intention as I could muster, which, wasn’t much. “I’d like to make it up to you, Swan. Properly.”
I just yanked him into the cab next to me, before rambling off my address for the driver. I gently placed my hand on his thigh, noting the hitch of his breath before I whispered, “You can make it up to me, but I do promise one thing…”
“A- and what’s that?” he bit his lip as I slid my hand further, palming him through his pants.
“I’m making the coffee in the morning,” I promised with a grin before he kissed me again.
Many thanks to scribeninja for editing!