"The best thing that happened to me was to meet you."
. . . . . .
. . . .
Gray Fullbuster checked his watch before pushing the door in front of him. There was a smile on his face when he found out he had arrived earlier.
A pleasant aroma from coffee, chocolate, and buttery croissants greeted him friendly as he walked into the coffee shop. Although fairly small, it has a warm and cozy atmosphere with cushions, string lights, gramophone, and wooden furniture as the main decoration.
As he looked around for a place to sit, a lively voice from behind the counter interrupted him.
"Hi there. What can I get for you?"
Gray automatically twisted his body and read the menu list on the wall.
The owner of the voice, a young girl with glasses, slipped a little gasp from her mouth when she realized there's a good-looking guy with spiky black-colored hair before her. Her smile widened as she watched the guy closely. She thought that he has a manly yet cute expression while observing the menu and with a quick glance, she can guess behind that dark blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow, hidden a toned and muscular body.
"I heard that you guys have the best cappuccino in town. I would like to try that!" He finally decided his choice while giving her a polite smile. "Give me two butter croissants too, please."
After completing his order, Gray went to the right. Little did he know, from behind the counter, that girl kept staring at his strong back and trailing his steps toward the window without realizing that her behavior was caught by her co-worker who was near the kitchen. He then sighed meaningfully and resumed his work.
The young Fullbuster chose to sit by the window, his favorite spot. A place he always fought over with his brother when they were kids but when their little sister came along years later, he happily gave the spot to her regardless of the protests of his older brother. He smiled at that thought.
Occasionally looking outward, Gray checked his cell phone. A gentle rhythm was slowly flowing from the sound system and he absentmindedly hummed, feeling content.
After passing the florist, Lucy Heartfilia hurriedly turned a corner and pushed the door of the coffee shop. She took a breath and exchanged greetings with the girl at the counter.
"Today's special?" offered the girl as she opened the display case where neatly lined muffins, cookies, pretzels, and croissants.
She just nodded and swept her gaze quickly.
There weren't so many people there so she easily found the person she wanted to meet today. A dark-haired guy who sat right by the window with his back to her. With a soft pat on his shoulder, the blonde beauty tried to attract the young man's attention.
"Oh hey, Lucy." His voice was deep and calm, casual.
The said girl threw herself on the couch next to him. In a swift manner, she tore and took a bite some butter croissant on the plate.
"No, you're the one coming too early!"
Gray chuckled lightly.
"Anyway, I can see why you like this place. The ambience is so peaceful and calm. Oh, and you're right! This place has the best cappuccino in town," he stated and took another sip.
She grinned cheerfully and tossed her long blonde hair over her shoulder, "You know I'm never wrong."
"Once, at the road trip back in high school."
"Eugh! Not that again!"
Lucy rolled her eyes while Gray sniggered.
Their chatter stalled when a feminine voice called her name. "Miss Lucy, sorry to have kept you waiting. This is your order."
The corner of her mouth turned up, "This looks delicious, thank you." She replied and grabbed the mug in front of her, letting the heat from the mug warm her hands. "So, tell me, Gray. You asked me to meet not just for tasting the best cappuccino, right?"
"Lucy Heartfilia, always the sharp one," teasingly, Gray responded. "I have an offer for you."
She looked up at him, signaling that she was listening fully.
"I have an offer for you to fulfill the promise you made to me at the Halloween party."
Her slim brow furrowed trying to remember the promise she had made.
"You must have forgotten, right?"
Weakly, she nodded.
"You were heavily drunk and asked me to take you home that night," Gray continued calmly. From the corner of his eye, he caught her blinked aware.
Her vague memory came back.
Lucy staggered toward Gray who was talking seriously with someone. She couldn't recognize him, everything looked blurry. She tried to put her hand on his shoulder but missed and descended to his bare chest.
"Graaayy… hicc… I… I ordered you t-to… hicc… me home…" She slurred.
A smile spread across her face as she noticed the change in his expression. His worried voice sounded enthralling in her ears.
Her beautiful face began to blush.
When they almost arrived, she hugged him closer and whispered, "In return, you can ask me to do anything… for you. I promise…" then she linked their little finger carelessly.
He made a faint smirk as he casually touched her little finger and she jolted.
"Just spill it! What do you want me to do?" she continued before nibbling the pretzel.
"Well… Wendy's birthday is coming up and I was thinking of making a party for her. It will have some girly vibes so I need your favor." Gray paused and added hastily, "I don't mean to be sexist. I think you understand more about this than me."
Her brown eyes still on him. Pondered.
The young Fullbuster let the silence take over as he watched her expectantly.
"So you want me to help you?" Lucy confirmed, amused. She had known for a long time that he loved his sister dearly. For some reason, she really wanted to tease him today.
"Yes. It's for Wendy." He replied curtly.
"D'aaaawww… you're such a nice brother! I wish I could have a brother like you!" She bounced on the couch and playfully poking his upper arm. As an only child, she never knew what it was like to have a brother or a sister. She sometimes felt a twinge of envy for her friends even though they assured her that siblings can be troublesome as well.
Gray brushed his dark bangs with his fingers and tilted his head, "Only a brother?" There's a slight glint in his eyes as he smiled and it made her heart pound.
She averted her eyes and mumbled something like 'shut up'.
"Why? I'm just responding to your words," he replied nonchalantly. A beeping sound from his cell phone caught his attention. He checked it for a moment before putting it back on the table.
Trying to change the subject, she asked him several questions, "Any ideas for the venue? How many guests? What kind of theme that you want for the party?" her notebook's already on her lap with a pen tucked in her fingers.
"Just a small party with a few guests, like family and her close friends," he answered before reaching for his cell phone. "About the theme… what do you think about this?"
Lucy shifted closer to his side and looked at the pictures from that device with him. Some pictures showed beautifully decorated gardens and others were party rooms with pastel colors. Slowly but surely a smile widened on her face. "Wow! This is amazing, Gray! How can you…" she exclaimed excitedly, couldn't hide her amazement.
A flush crept up his clean-shaven face.
Gray cleared his throat, "Hm… just a little observation, that's all!" he was trying to hide his embarrassment.
She smiled at that thought as she wrote something in her notebook.
"… but I don't know where to start?"
"How about this place? They just started their business this spring and they received a lot of good reviews." Lucy showed him a place filled with cute and vintage decorations.
"Looks nice, let's go then!"
He immediately got up from his seat and walked away, signaling for Lucy to follow him.
"Hey, wait! You forgot your jacket!"