Julius looks up from his vigorous clock fixing. "Sure," he says.
Alice smiles and places a cup of steaming coffee down on the table.
He fights off a blush when he sees how slender and beautiful her hands are.
He nods and takes a sip.
It tastes ... amazing.
"How much points?"
Julius looks back up in surprise. Alice is biting her lip, and bouncing up and down in excitement.
He looks at the cup.
"...A hundred points."
Alice looks delighted.
"I'll try another style tomorrow, okay?"
Julius nods again and resumes his work, occasionally taking a drink or two from the cup.
"As dark as a moonless night, and hotter than hell itself... that is coffee," Alice says.
"When did you get so poetic?" Julius asks dryly as he lifts the cup to his lips. He notes how nice her voice sounds.
"Hm... I quoted it from somewhere," she answers as he drinks it.
The coffee doesn't taste quite as good as yesterday's, but it's still okay.
"Eighty points," Julius says.
Alice pouts. Julius smiles, hoping to cheer her up.
"Another style tomorrow!" she exclaims before running off to the kitchen.
A ragged bag of bloody clocks in his hands, Julius walks to the table.
Ace is following him, blabbering about another job for more clocks, before running off back into the woods.
Alice appears from the kitchen, holding a cup of coffee.
"Here you go," she says, smiling radiantly as she sets it down.
Julius sips it. The coffee ... he had to admit, wasn't that good.
Alice looks disappointed but she seems to brush it off.
"My points seem lower every day," she says unhappily as she brushes some hair from her eyes.
Julius can't help but notice how deep and teal her eyes are.
He then says quickly, "Don't worry about it..." He smiles again. She looks suddenly happier.
Alice carefully puts a cup of coffee in front of Julius.
Julius nods in acknowledgment and takes a drink.
It tastes horrible.
"...Twenty points." He didn't mean to be blunt about that, though.
Alice looks crestfallen.
And about to cry.
Julius instantly stands up, and hurries around the table.
Tears start to form in her eyes and her lip quivers.
"D-don't cry!" Julius exclaims, and hugs her, dark coat enveloping the girl's small frame.
She grips the front of his shirt, wiping some of her tears on them.
She realizes how safe she feels when she's in the watchmaker's arms.
So she wraps her arms around Julius's waist, burying her face in his shirt. At least he can't see how red her face is.
Julius isn't sure what to do. A blush is rising to his cheeks, though.
Unsure, he places his arms around Alice too.
Alice looks up from his shirt, and smiles. Julius is relieved that she is smiling.
He starts to let go, but Alice stops him. He's confused.
Alice then leans up, standing on the tips of her toes, and kisses him on the cheek.
Julius's face turns scarlet and he mumbles something incoherent.
She breaks away and laughs, before running upstairs. Her face is red too, though.
Only when Julius plops back down on his seat, he realizes that Alice had been making his coffee bitter in order to make him hug her.
What a silly girl, he thinks, hand pressed to his cheek.
He can't help but smile like an idiot, though.
Was that cute? Yes? No?