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Serendipity: Chapter Two ~ One Espresso

Tris becomes suspicious when Landon shows up at Delta Coffee.

I blink twice in quick succession. Then once more to make sure I'm definitely not hallucinating.

"I take it you know him, Ems?" Tris glances at me, then at Landon.

"...yeah."

"I'll leave you two to it," Tris winks, clearly hoping to wind me up. He does just that, pulling me back into an awkward but clear train of thought.

"Jeez, Tris, it's nothing worth winking about, oh my god–" I slap my palm against my forehead and feel my cheeks redden slightly.

Tris chuckles softly, then grabs a tray and goes to clear some tables.

"It's nothing like that," I repeat, turning to glare at Landon. Shut up, you sound like an idiot, I say to myself.

"Calm it, Baltazar. It's nothing like that, then. Unless you want it to be." Again, that perfect smile creeps onto his face. And again, I feel myself blushing.

"Just stop," I growl at him. He laughs, still at that higher at hand expected pitch.

"Have you thought about what I said?" He raises an eyebrow, a smirk plastered across his face.

I change the subject in an attempt to gain some control of the conversation. "Did you follow me here?"

"I always come here on a Monday after school. It's a chill place. Gives me a nice space to think."

"I haven't seen you here before," I narrow my eyes. There's something about him that I just can't figure out.

"Maybe you haven't been looking."

"Did you want to order something, or just stand there and be cryptic?" I say, my tone sounding a bit more annoyed than I'd planned.

"Is everything okay here?" Tris pipes up, returning with a tray of cups.

"Everything's fine," Landon says calmly, turning his head to take a good look at Tris.

"I was talking to Emma," Tris says flatly.

"It's all good," I murmur.

Tris doesn't seem convinced, but he shrugs it off. "We're leaving at five today, Ems, so make it quick." Then he disappears through the door to the back of the shop. I glance at the clock. It's 4:55pm.

"Is he your boyfriend?" Landon asks, his eyes fixed on the back door.

"No. Now, would you please just order something? Or leave. I think leaving would be a good option."

He seems a bit taken aback. "Look, I didn't mean to upset you."

"Well, can this wait until tomorrow? I'm at work, if you haven't noticed. I'm not paid to stand around and chat to guys from school."

"Sure. I'll wait." He smiles. It's not the usual perfect smile. It's a small, satisfied, yet comforting smile. There he goes again, ripping my assumptions to shreds.

"Thank you."

"If I asked for an espresso now, would you kick my sorry arse out of here?" A cheeky grin appears on his face, and I find myself unable to continue being annoyed at him.

I laugh. "One espresso, coming right up."

The grin twists into the reassuring smile. Before today, I'd never noticed how people have such a wide variety of smiles . "I'm on your side, Emma," he says, glancing over his shoulder.

I turn to prepare his drink. "I wasn't aware that there was a side against me."

He laughs again. "You're really something, Baltazar," he says, the corners of his eyes creasing. His eyes are a sky-blue, framed with a thick brush of dark brown eyelashes.

"And you're something else." I grin. "And response to your question, yes."

"You want to find out what happened to your parents?"

I shake my head. "I didn't say that. Your question was 'Have you thought about it?'. And yes, I've thought about it."

"And?"

"I guess you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, won't you, Landon...?" I trail off, realising I don't even know his surname.

"Woodley," he says, with a half-astounded, half-triumphant look on his face.

I take a marker and scrawl 'Woodley' onto his espresso-to-go. "That's on me," I grin, placing the cup down on the counter.

"What?"

"I get two free drinks when I work. I'm leaving in a minute, wouldn't want my privileges to go unused."

"Oh. Thanks," he says, shooting the perfect smile at me once more. He lifts his cup and nods at me, placing some change on the counter.. "A tip for my new favourite barista, in that case.  I'll see you around, Baltazar." He turns to leave.

Or so I thought. He walks past the door to sit at the table in the corner, next to the window.

"Seriously?" I laugh aloud. He shoots one final grin in my direction, then pulls his bag onto his lap.

"Who was that kid?" Tris' voice startles me, and I spin around instantly.

"Him? Just a guy I met at school today."

"I thought you said you hadn't made any friends."

I pause. "He's more of an acquaintance."

Tris raises an eyebrow at me. What is it with men and eyebrow raising today?

"He sat with me in Physics, we talked a bit, he comes here on a Monday apparently," I say, hoping Tris won't ask any more questions.

"He just seemed a bit rude," Tris says, glancing over at Landon, who's staring out of the window.

"That's just his personality, from what I've seen so far. He's a bit quirky, I think."

"Hmm," Tris mumbles, his eyes still glued to Landon.

"Jeez, Tris, stop staring at him!" I laugh, praying that Tris will realise how paranoid he's being.

"Fine," Tris finally laughs. "I'm probably just being overprotective or something."

"You're my friend, not my dad," I grin. "Don't forget that, Mr Johnson."

"Don't you Mr Johnson me, Emma Lainey Baltazar," he laughs, jabbing me softly in the ribs.

I jump back, and Tris lunges forwards to tickle me. I squeal as I try to fight him off, giggling uncontrollably.

"It's time to go," he laughs as his arms wrap me in a hug. "I'll grab your things, if you want?"

"Thanks." I dig my hand into my pocket and hand him my locker key. I laugh to myself as I turn back towards the shop floor, leaning on the counter. For some bizarre reason, my eyes instantly float over to Landon's corner.

And for some equally bizarre reason, he quickly looks down as our eyes meet.

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