How Do You Love?

  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Clarissa Jones.
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    & & & & &

    Antonio Moretti.
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    September 12th, 2017 at 01:56am
  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Three months to the day that his world had been completely and utterly turned upside down. Antonio had been so beyond excited for his life to begin with Juliette. She was a beautiful brunette woman with a fiery personality. That same fire easily shifted to a warmth that had attracted Antonio to Juliette so easily; like a moth to a flame. She was witty and sarcastic in all of the right ways, able to put a smile of Tony's face even when he was exhausted from studying for his finals. If everything went accordingly and he passed his school exams, he would take his certification exams a month later. His girlfriend would give birth to their baby at some point surrounding his exams; Antonio couldn't decide which he was more nervous about. Being a new father or taking the exams and trying to get certified. But the best part about it all was that the love of his life was going to be experiencing it all with him.

    His girlfriend hadn't been due for another month so when she unexpectedly went into labour with their child. They had both agreed that they would wait until the birth to find out the gender of their child. More spontaneous, exciting that way. And that way, they could agree to plan the nursery with gender neutral colours. None of the boring pinks or blues that were used to decorate your typical nursery. Abree Marie Moretti. The most beautiful little girl had just been gifted to the happy couple and not even five minutes later, Tony had been all but shoved out of the room by a nurse shouting that it was better if Tony was out of the room. It meant the nurses and doctors could do their job better, to try and save Juliette's life. At first, Tony had been hopeful but the longer that he was out of the room with no update in sight, his hope turned to a knot of dread in the pit of his stomach. He was slumped over in a chair in the NICU waiting room, glancing up to peer out of thee doorway every time that he heard footsteps.

    After nearly an hour of waiting, a doctor appeared with a solemn look on his face. Tony looked up and the moment that he spotted the doctor, he knew. He had known before even, there was just a strange aura to the room that had been adopted in the last few minutes. And the look on the doctor's face had been all the confirmation he needed, only to be solidified with a nod and a quiet, heartfelt apology from the man who had just spent an hour trying to save Juliette's life.

    Antonio's life had been turned completely upside down. He still had to cram for his finals, still had to study for his state exam all while struggling to care for a newborn.

    - - - - -

    After Juliette's death, Antonio had moved into a small one bedroom apartment. It was a lot more affordable than the modest two bedroom house that they had lived in bedroom. He threw himself into his school work, whatever remaining attention that he had left to his baby daughter. It was a struggle, trying to sort out what would work best. He had passed his certification exams with flying colours but as it turned out, that had been the easy part for him. It was after that he landed a job shortly after the exam and had to find a babysitter that proved to be an even harsher job. Tony had to make enough that he could afford all his fixed bills to the things like babysitting and the internet that he paid for. Tony had been reluctant but he had cancelled cable. It wasn't like he was home enough to be able to sit down and enjoy any television. When he was home, he was either taking care of Abree, cleaning, or sleeping right alongside his daughter when he could.

    - - - - -

    Antonio was on day three of a ten day streak. He was already exhausted, more than ready to sleep when he arrived home after a long day in the ER. He had paid his babysitter, thanking the young girl for being as wonderful as she always was before bidding farewell. Abree had been asleep at the time and deciding to leave her be, Tony tossed some ramen into the microwave. It was a hot meal and that was enough for him at the moment. Sighing as he finished the quick meal, Tony brought a baby monitor in the bathroom so that he could take a quick shower. Half way through, Abree had started crying. Cursing under his breathe, Tony climbed out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist while making his way out to the living room.

    Picking Abree up, Tony rocked her back and forth as he made his way to the bedroom. He set Abree down just long enough to pull on a pair of pants, trying to soothe the little girl as much as he could. Having checked her diaper and gotten a bottle of warm milk that the newborn shoved away, Tony let out a ragged sigh. Some nights were easier than others, most were a bit rocky, and tonight seemed that it was going to be on the more difficult side of things.

    Antonio swaddled Abree; something that he had become an expert in by now. Letting out a yawn, Tony sighed as he stepped into the hallway of the apartment building. He began to walk up and down the hallway, his fatigue beginning to catch up with him. Usually by his third lap around the hallway, Abree was asleep but this time she was still wide awake, crying by the fifth time that Tony had passed by Clarissa's apartment door.
    September 12th, 2017 at 04:21am
  • oldbook;

    oldbook; (100)

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    Time. Time was what marked Clarissa’s schedule as she moved through her days. Time was concrete and she understood and appreciated it. She had a schedule and she stuck to it. She knew exactly where she was going to be at almost every hour of the day. Most of those hours were spent at the Purple Moon, Clarissa’s baby. Clarissa spent months and years of her life working to save both money and experience to open her own place and she finally did it. The quant little coffee shop and bar on 2nd Street was what kept her going and what kept her on such a strict schedule. It was a small restaurant, with white wood for the floors and walls and purple furniture as ascents. It was a place to grab your morning coffee, your breakfast croissant, your salad for lunch or your after work glass of wine. It was a one-stop sort of shop. It was also small. She had only two other employees and that was why she stuck to a strict schedule.

    5:00am: Wake up, shower, get dressed.
    6:00am: Go to the Purple Door, make a lot of espresso.
    6:30am: Drink espresso, prep and bake the pastries of the day
    7:30am: Open the store
    8:30am: Jose arrives and begin prepping for lunch and dinner
    9:00-5:00: Survive and cook with the help of Jose and espresso
    6:00-9:00: Handle the happy hour rush with Gina (after Jose leaves)
    9:00-11:00: Serve those cute little couples or lonely men that wander into her bar
    12:00: Fucking sleep

    Time. It kept her alive. It kept her functioning. It kept the Purple Moon shining and thriving. The business was alive for over a year and half now and she felt that was quite a feat for such a small shop like her own. In recent time, it grew in popularity. People loved the Purple Moon for its rustic decorations, its craft beers and its damn good espresso. It was everything that Clarissa slaved away for. She learned to bake and brew coffee. She got a degree in business just so she could be that one place that the lonely souls of the world drifted towards. She wanted to make that one place where lonely souls like herself found a home. She finally did it. She finally felt content and proud of her business.

    That was until, time changed. Time changed when that new guy moved in down the hall. That new guy with those bags under his eyes. He always seemed tired. He was barely home. He worked all day and made noise all night; no one knew what he did. He moved so quickly through the halls not a single neighbor knew his name. That new guy. The one that looked a little hallow, a little worn out, a little hungry and very tired. All the neighbors gossiped about him at the Purple Moon and they all had a lot to say:

    “I heard he does some sort of drugs. You know, they make you look thin,” said Mrs. Berkowitz.

    “Well, I heard he has already defaulted on rent. He can’t afford a place like this. Tragic,” Ms. Rankin said, clicking her tongue in a disapproving tone.

    ”I heard him crying the other day. You know, me and him we share a wall and I just swear I heard crying. Poor thing,” Mrs. Berkowitz would add, just as she added three more sugars to her coffee.

    Clarissa wasn’t sure she believed anything they had to say, but she appreciated their simplicity and their money. She would smile or laugh along with them because she did not know much about this new guy. What she did know was that he had a baby. She did know that the baby cried at 3:00am. That baby disrupted the time. The perfectly scheduled time that Clarissa spent her last few years working towards. The baby and that new guy threw a wrench into her perfectly oiled machine. So much so, Clarissa found herself drinking 4 espressos instead of two and applying more concealer to her eyes than ever before. They took away her precious time.
    3:27am. That was what the clock read in bright red numbers that glared at her from the night stand. 3:27am. Clarissa never saw that time anymore, unless she was deep into prepping cinnamon buns for the next week. She groaned, the screams of that child somehow echoing into her apartment. Damn these walls for being so thin, she thought. She turned over, grabbing her pillow and wrapping it around her head. If she just went to sleep right now she could still get 33 minutes and 1 hour more of sleep. If she just shut out the noise, she could cut out maybe one whole espresso from her day. The baby and that new guy did this all the time. If she could just shut her eyes and fall back asleep, she would be fine.

    3:45am. Clarissa threw her pillow aside and let out a loud groan, perhaps louder than the cries of the child. She practically jumped from her bed, grabbing her robe and fumbling with the straps. She was too tired to even get this knot right. She was too tired to get her eyes to focus in the dark without her glasses. She searched for them in the darkness and finally put them on her face. She fixed her robe, lest she flash the new guy and the baby. Was that inappropriate? She didn’t care. Her footsteps pounded across her apartment, maybe waking whoever was below her, until she reached her door and wrenched it open.

    There he stood, the new guy. He was standing there in the dimly lit hallways of their apartment building with dimly lit eyes and a frown twisting his face. There he was with a swaddled child in his arms and a frown that Clarissa just couldn’t place. It didn’t matter. He was upset, but so was she. It was insensitive of him to use the hallways to soothe his child. He should just march in circles in his own damn apartment, not here. He should lose sleep, not her. She did not ask for this. When she bought this apartment, she was surrounded by cute, quiet and nosy old ladies. She was not surrounded by screaming children.

    “What the hell are you doing" She asked, glaring over the top of her glasses.
    September 12th, 2017 at 06:09am
  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Abree's screams carried on and on, far longer than what Antonio was used to. His fatigue wore down what little patience that he had left after his day of work. Tightening his grip on Abree, he let out a small sigh as he hung his head. His hand rubbed her back gently as he tried in vain to console his little girl. "C'mon, sweetheart. I know you're tired," he soothed, just wanting Abree to calm. As he moved through the hallway, his shoulders began to sag as an uncomfortable knot formed in the pit of his stomach. Abree cried, sure, but not usually this hard or this long. He was beginning to wonder if his little girl was sick and if he needed to take her to the doctor. Which would mean that he would have to take a day off of work and somehow find another way to make back that money. At least if he had to, it meant that he wouldn't have to pay his babysitter. A small consolation in the grandee scheme of things.

    "I know you're not feeling too good, darlin'. But you need to rest," Antonio reasoned with the small girl, as if she had any chance at understanding the words that he whispered to her. Lifting his hand, he brushed his thumb over Abree's cheek just as an apartment door swung open behind him. He swung around, his eyes widening just slightly as he made eye contact with Clarissa.

    It wasn't until her harsh words and angry gaze that Antonio stilled entirely. His shoulders pulled together as he half turned to hold Abree further away from Clarissa. He vaguely recognized the woman as someone who came or went usually just as he was coming or going from work himself. He had wondered about her but she had seemed just as closed off as he had and he didn't bother to greet her in any sort of manner. There had been no reason to.

    Clearing his throat, Antonio frowned as he cupped the back of Abree's head and rubbed it gently. His attention turned back to Clarissa as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "My apologies, miss. I didn't..." he trailed off as his frown deepened. Antonio gave a haphazard shrug as he tugged his bottom lip between his teeth.

    "I think she might be coming down with something, she's not normally this fussy," Antonio attempted to explain to Clarissa so that she may understand why he was doing what he was a bit better. He cleared his throat, turning back a bit to face the woman fully. When he realized that his explanation did nothing to calm her evident frustration, he bit back a sigh, closing his eyes. "I'm sorry if I have kept you up. Wasn't my intention," he made another attempt to calm her as he turned back toward the door to his apartment. "I won't keep you up again," Antonio muttered loud enough that he hoped Clarissa would hear as he reached out to open the door. Glancing behind him, he offered an uncomfortable smile.

    He hadn't meant to have any sort of confrontation. Antonio never had been a fighter, an angry sort of person. He had always been a lover, a person who wore his heart on his sleeve.

    {I feel like this post is shit. I'm sorry Facepalm }
    September 17th, 2017 at 06:27pm
  • oldbook;

    oldbook; (100)

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    Clarissa's words came out of her so angrily that she did not even allow herself a second to take in the entire scene in front of her. The ladies at her store reported a lot about this guy, but they forgot to mention a lot of important details. One, he was absolutely gorgeous, in a damn-yes-no-wonder-you-are-a-father kind of way. His abs almost looked fake and she wondered how he even got to keep up a body like that if he was literally nursing a child. His eyes were so green they reminded her the matcha powder they used down at The Purple Moon, but with different benefits. Her anger could have easily disappeared if she were allowed just one touch on those abs.

    Two, he looked just as sad as they mentioned, but he also looked impossibly stressed and tired. She saw him in the hallway, but she never looked long enough to notice how deep the circles under his eyes were. His entire face was twisted in something between embarrassment and concern over his child. The way his eyes shone with concern made Clarissa's anger melt away, even though her sleepiness remained. She was probably being a bit selfish. (Although, maybe he was too).

    Either way, she felt instantly guilty for snapping at him and the baby. Neither of them exactly deserved to be assaulted in the hallway at - she stopped. She glanced down at her watch, 3:52 am. She was now down to exactly 1 hour and 8 minutes if she fell asleep right this second. That obviously was not going to happen with a screaming child just across the hall and a father that she just berated. She always did her best to put good energy into the world and instead, she directed all this negative energy towards a child and its very tired father.

    His voice was so soft, like he was apologizing for his daughter, himself and something else that he just couldn’t express. Her guilt only intensified and she felt deep inside her gut like it was punching her from the inside out. She glanced at her clock again, 3:55. “Oh, ugh,” she groaned. “Just wait a minute."

    She turned sharply back into her apartment, leaving her door ajar. Her apartment was dark and she tripped over her coffee table as she headed for her shelf against the wall. She muttered all sorts of obscenities as she went. How could she forget her phone for the flashlight? Why did she even put the coffee table there? Finally, she grabbed her lavender essential oils and coconut oil from the middle shelf. She padded quickly across the wooden floors, swerving around the table, and hoping he had not gone inside just yet. The baby was still screaming. (Seriously, was she the only light sleeper on this floor?) Except, now she had just bruised her leg for him so, he better still be there.

    “Here,” she said, relieved to see him hovering just inside his door. She offered him both items. “Lavender and coconut oil. Totally safe for babies, I guess. When my sister Megan had her twins, she like literally never slept because they never slept. 'When they are awake, you're awake.' Those little things were like alternating alarm clocks. She said that a little bit of lavender oil rubbed onto their bellies worked wonders to help them all sleep. So, um, yeah..” She snuck a glance at her watch once more, 4:01. She sighed, wondering if it was even worth going to bed or if she should just shower now and go downstairs and bake something new and exciting for today. “And as for you, I own a store just a block over, The Purple Moon. Lavender will help you sleep, but coffee will save your life. First one can be on the house, or something…”

    She trailed off, slightly. She was holding the items in her hands a little awkwardly. She felt really guilty for snapping at a baby and at him. When she was nervous, she kind of just kept talking. She had not been this nervous ever. She had also never verbally assaulted someone and a child at 4 in the morning. She usually had a little more regard for others, but she was tired. (Like, seriously, was no one else upset?).“I guess it’s like my peace offering, for being a total bitch to the baby.”
    September 18th, 2017 at 04:20am
  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Antonio

    Antonio frowned, his brows pulling together as he eyed Clarissa's retreating form. He stepped into his apartment, lingering by the door with it already half closer, propped open with his hip. Of all the things that he had expected the girl to come forth with, it certainly hadn't been two small vials of oil. He listened to the story of her sister, eyeing the girl a bit apprehensively. He hesitated for a moment even as he inched forward, peering out from the darkness of his apartment. Clarissa had just berated him for walking through the halls with a screaming baby so late at night. And now she was offering him lavender to help both him and the babe get some sleep? He couldn't help but be a bit apprehensive, wondering why she was doing such a thing.

    Part of Antonio wondered if it was so that Clarissa herself could get some well needed rest, perhaps more selfish reasoning than what Clarissa was attempting to portray. He gave a light shake of his head, ridding his mind of such thoughts as he finally took the vials from her. He gave her a small, grateful smile. With a slight nod of his head, Antonio tilted his head to the side. He looked at her, curious, but didn't dare to raise the questions that still lingered in the back of his mind.

    "Thank you," Antonio spoke softly, gesturing for the vials. "I'll... return them tomorrow," he said, not wanting to keep the oils longer than necessary. Clarissa didn't own him a damned thing, he had robbed her of sleep and yet she had still willingly gone out of her way to help him. His smile twisted, morphing into a slight smile as his eyes roamed Clarissa's features. "I will stop in if I end up having to stay home, but if she is feeling better, I'll be at work until late," he explained, not wanting Clarissa to think that he was trying to avoid the situation.

    Antonio gave a thankful smile before retreating into the apartment and doing just as the woman had described. He massaged a bit of the oil onto Abree's stomach in tiny circles. Surprised by how quickly it helped the girl into a peaceful slumber, it wasn't long before Antonio was slipping away into sleep as well.
    When Antonio was woken the next morning by a grumpy baby, he was immediate in calling in sick. He called the doctor, making an appointment to take Abree in, in a few hours. Showering with a sick baby was no easy task but Antonio eventually managed to before doing the same with Abree. Heading down to his vehicle, his first stop was the doctor's and then to the pharmacy to fulfill the prescription.

    Antonio had nearly made it home when he remembered the promise that he had made to Clarissa in the early hours of the morning. He found his way to the Purple Room quickly where he parked a few spots down from the entrance. He hesitated, eyeing the front of Clarissa's business before finally climbing from his car. He undid Abree's car seat before making his way into the coffee shop, thankful that the child had worn herself out and was now sleeping rather peacefully despite the noise in the cafe as he waited in line.

    {I feel like this is awful, I'm sorry Twitch }
    September 27th, 2017 at 03:36am
  • oldbook;

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    Clarissa watched Antonia turn away and slip back into his apartment. Not before, however, she caught a sneaking glance at his butt. He may be a father, but it’s not like he’s old. She slumped against her own door frame, both relishing the quiet and taking a deep breath in. She let the silence comfort her as she processed what the fuck she just did. In truth, if it was anyone else, she wouldn’t have been so friendly. He just looked so tired and so handsome, she felt like she had to apologize. He also made her a little nervous. She rolled her eyes at herself. It had been a long time since she let a guy make her so nervous she switched her entire script.

    She glanced down at her watch: 4:05. She rolled her eyes once more, but more so now because she felt fully away. She turned, shutting her door behind her to get ready for the day. She threw on her usual baking clothes (a white t-shirt), pair and ripped jeans and her converse. She would throw her flannel on top once she shop opened. She fixed her hair from a messy bed-head bun into a neat little one. Within twenty minutes, she was dressed, out the door, and walking the blocks over to her beloved Purple Moon.

    She loved being able to be in the shop in morning on her own. It felt like home more than her own apartment did. She flicked on the soft lights and pressed play on her phone so jazz filled the kitchen. She went to work on those cinnamon buns, even making a pumpkin spice version; she had to apply to her target audiences sometimes. She felt comfort as her fingers worked the dough and her shirt got covered in flour. She felt at peace when jazz filled her ears and the scent of cinnamon filled the air. Of course, she also easily felt better brewing herself a cup of espresso. She closed her eyes, letting the cinnamon buns she just baked sit on the cooling rack. The bell rang and her favorite cashier, Anya, walked in. She was a writer who worked at the Purple Moon to pay the bills and to get free coffee on days that she was focusing on her writing. She was a lively girl, with bright blue eyes, a fairy nose and short baby pink hair.

    “Morning,” she said, dropping her bag behind the counter. “Those look yummy.” She started working on the display, setting up some of cinnamon buns in the view as well.

    The ease of the morning set up went by quickly and soon, the morning rush was pouring in. It was friendly exchanges with regulars, helping new customers pick some sort of custom coffee and exchanging casual banter with Anya. It was the kind of morning energy that helped Clarissa forget that she was exhausted. She lived off the energy of other people, smiling and rushing from one task to another. By 10:45, the rush stopped and it was a soft flow of students and a few others. It was also when Clarissa noticed she was pretty tired. She hopped onto the counter with her third cup of coffee in her hands. She was taking a big gulp when Antonia walked in. She practically leaped off the counter, her free hand flying to her cheek to check for flour and then to tuck a lose hair back into her bun.

    “Hey!" Her set her cup of coffee down. "You made it!"
    September 29th, 2017 at 02:38am
  • castle.

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    Antonio couldn't decide whether he felt exhausted or if he was, in fact, far more rested than he had been in the last six months. After the birth of his daughter, he had been completely thrown for a loop. What they said about having a newborn baby was true. You slept when they slept and Abree, well, she hardly ever slept it seemed like. Her wide awake and needing to be occupied was still easier than when she was crying. The times that Antonio couldn't figure out why she was crying made him feel like less of a man, less of a father than anything else he did. Of course it was difficult for him to leave Abree with the babysitter but he had gotten used to it, he had no other option if he wanted to care for her properly.

    Standing in line in the Purple Room, Antonio had shoved his free hand into his pocket. He held Abree's car seat in the other hand as he gazed up at the menu board behind the counter. The names of drinks were more or less foreign to him, he only knew what drip coffee was. Tossing back cup after cup of shitty hospital coffee had become a way of life for him.

    When Antonio looked up and noticed that Clarissa was indeed talking to him, he offered a sheepish sort of smile as he stepped forward. "Had to take thee munchkin in to the doctor's so I've been doing a lot of running around today," he spoke loud enough that she could hear him over the clatter of the other customers that still lingered in the cafe. Clearing his throat, Antonio looked back up to the menu above Clarissa's head.

    "I've got to be completely honest here. I drink shitty hospital coffee so I don't have a clue what to order here," Antonio explained after a moment. He let out a quiet laugh, giving a shake of his head as he glanced down to Abree. She was staring up at him with a wide gaze, playing with the toy he had placed inside of the car seat for him. He smiled down at her for a moment before returning his attention back up to Clarissa. Raising an eyebrow, he tilted his head to the side. "What do you suggest then?" He asked, deciding that he would leave it up to Clarissa what she gave him. After all, this was her wheelhouse and he was a clueless first time customer.
    October 6th, 2017 at 11:17pm
  • oldbook;

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    Clarissa stepped to the side of the line, so Anya could finish with the other customers first. She leaned casually against the counter or at least, she thought it looked casual. Her hands were a little sweaty and she was smiling probably a little wider than she would usually. She twirled a loose piece of hair in her fingers, trying to figure out where all this nervous energy was coming from. Anya casted a disdainful look before turning back to the other three people in line.

    Clarissa would have to remember to thank her later for letting her do whatever the hell she was doing; the jury was still out on whether or not it was actually flirting. She wouldn’t feel bad though about being a little forward. I mean, honestly, how could she not? Antonia actually reminded her of one those guys in a shitty magazine: a firefighter with a puppy for May and then a nurse with a little tiny baby for June. She had absolutely no idea if it was even appropriate to hit on the nurse with the baby, but here she was trying her best.

    “Um, I guess I would say either the vanilla ginger latte because it’s classic, but a little interesting or the cinnamon dolce. They’re both pretty sweet and actual espresso, so like actually good coffee and good beans. I don’t know if you like your coffee sweet. If you want something stronger, I’d get the infused Cold Brew we have,” she said, rattling off some of her own personal favorites. “I guess it sort of depends on what you like in particular flavor wise. Those are just my favorites. Plus, they’re more ‘seasonal,’ for the people that care about that."
    October 7th, 2017 at 09:34pm
  • castle.

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    Antonio had almost been sold on the vanilla ginger latte until Clarissa mentioned that it was pretty sweet. His face scrunched a bit at the thought before the scowl dissolved as she continued on with another suggestion. Since he drank his coffee black at work, he didn't think that he would really enjoy something sweet. He cleared his throat, giving a small nod of his head. "Maybe it's a stupid question," he paused, already mentally chiding himself for what he was about to ask. "The cold brew is cold, right?" He hadn't been to very man cafes in the recent past but he thought it may be possible to heat a cold brew up and serve it hot.

    "If you can make it hot, I'll take one of them. If not, I'll take just about anything that isn't sweet. Beggars can't be choosers, right?" Antonio made a lame attempt at a joke, smirking as he raised an eyebrow. He had always been naturally a bit flirty, something that he didn't even always notice until he was perhaps in too deep.

    "Oh!" Antonio started a bit, straightened as he glanced down to Abree. It was habit to check on her constantly. He was sureprised by just how well behaved she was being at the moment, especially considering the night before. "That oil worked wonders last night. I can't thank you enough," he commented, his features softening as he looked back up to Clarissa. "I wouldn't have even thought about it, you've just opened up the possibility of real sleep for me."
    October 13th, 2017 at 01:13am
  • oldbook;

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    Clarissa smiled brightly and laughed a little. “How about you give me like ten minutes and I’ll just surprise you?” She said. “Just grab a seat wherever and I’ll be there in a second.” She grabbed a mug in front of her and flipped it around. She really did appreciate a guy (or anyone really) that preferred hot coffee. For whatever reason, maybe she was embracing her hipster identity a little closely, she hated iced coffees. They felt so, dare she say, basic. She only had the cold brew and iced coffees because she wasn’t any idiot. She knew she had to appeal to her clientele and they seemed to like it. She was a good business woman, so she kept it on the menu. But, dammit, coffee is simply better when hot.

    She was about to get started on his latte when his voice caught her attention again. “Oh yeah, no problem. I have some oils for sale over there if you wanna buy some of your own before you leave,” she commented back.

    She turned back to the coffee, going about the usual steps that are required for the latte. Anya slid beside her and bumped her hips. “Oh my god, don’t even start,” Clarissa muttered under her breath. She could hear Anya’s taunting before it even started. She didn’t want to hear it because it really didn’t matter. She thought Antonia was cute, but he did have a busy life. He had the kid and he worked at the hospital. There was nothing she was going to offer him, aside from essential oils, that he needed. Just another person to add to his schedule and besides, why couldn’t she just be friends with her neighbor?

    Anya chuckled, pouring stemming milk into a cup. “Oh my god, could you not be anymore of a smitten kitten? I don’t really blame you,” she said, casting a glance to where Antonio sat by the window. “I’d call him Daddy.”

    “You are literally disgusting,” Clarissa said, stifling a laugh. “I’m just being neighborly. Is that a crime?” She was grabbed the stemmed milk from Anya and poured it into Antonio’s cup. “Don’t you have like a job to do? Look at that line,” Clarissa said, glancing at the group of girls that just walked in. (12:01, high schools must be getting out early today).

    She walked away quickly before Anya could say anything else. She set the cup down besides Antonio with a smile. “There you go. It’s the same latte I mentioned, but I just put in an extra shot of espresso so it won’t be too sweet. Plus, it’ll keep you up from last night,” she said with a chuckle. “Let me know if you need anything else," she offered, hovering just for a minute. She was just being nice, after all.
    October 22nd, 2017 at 07:01pm
  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Antonio set his cellphone down on the table in front of him before he turned to Abree, rocking her car seat back and forth with his foot. He couldn't help but grin at her when she giggled as he made faces at her. Leaning down, Antonio picked up one of Abree's toys that had fallen to her feet and reintroduced it to her. He relaxed in his chair, staring off out of the window. He was, of course, listening intently to Abree in case an issue arose but his thoughts, they were a million miles away at the moment. He was thinking about just how different his life would be if his fiancee hadn't of died during childbirth.

    She would still be on maternity leave while caring for Abree. She would have been there to help him bathe her and to feed her. To change her diapers and to entertain her when necessary. Antonio's heart ached just thinking about it. While he would never dream of giving Abree up for the chance to have his fiance back, he just wished that things had turned out differently than they had. Sighing, Antonio ran a hand over his hair in an attempt to clear his thoughts.

    Antonio looked up when Clarissa appeared with a latte in hand, he smiled appreciatively at her. He took a small sip of the latte and if he didn't think it would be too weird, he would have groaned. It was the perfect amount of sweetness but still, with the added shot of espresso, it was strong enough in coffee flavour that he could see himself enjoying it again. "It's delicious," he commented as he set the cup down gently as to not spill it anywhere.

    "I don't get to cook nearly as often as I wish I did," Antonio started, shifting around in his seat so he was facing Clarissa a bit more. "But next time I make lasagna, I'll bring some over for you. Sound like a fair trade to you?" He asked, raising an eyebrow as he took another sip of his coffee.
    November 19th, 2017 at 06:34am
  • oldbook;

    oldbook; (100)

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    Clarissa glanced at baby sitting across from Antonio and reminded herself of her disdain for children. Aside from her nieces, she did not really connect with children. She sucked at playing games and pretending things. Babies don’t cook or bake and kids need constant supervision. She was a lot better with teenagers, but little kids just didn’t like her. It’s like they knew that she was basically terrified of them and they took advantage of that. Nevertheless, the baby was cute and she seemed to be pretty happy. She had a soft little smile on her face as she played with the toys hanging in front of her. If babies always looked like that, Clarissa probably wouldn’t be as terrified of them.

    “Yeah, that sounds like a fair trade.” she responded, with a bright smile.

    She glanced back at Anya, but she seemed to be handling the small stream of people just fine. Would she be completely foolish to stay just a little longer? Was she being too flirty with a guy who was probably not interested? Was she being stupid for thinking she’s interested considering she doesn’t really like children? She wasn’t sure, but something made her hover in front of his table. She didn’t want to leave. She wanted to have a cup of coffee and talk a little more. In truth, that sort of interest hadn’t happened to Clarissa in awhile. Then again, it could simply be a little crush and nothing more.

    “I don’t think you’ve ever told me her name,” Clarissa said. “She’s adorable, by the way. Especially when she’s smiling and not screaming.”
    November 26th, 2017 at 08:41pm
  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Antonio let out a small laugh, giving a nod of his head as he kicked his foot out enough so that he could rock Abree's car seat with his foot. He looked down to her, a fond sort of smile settled on his features before his attention shifted back up to Clarissa. "Children tend to be like that. But then, so do most people," he commented, his face scrunching up a bit. He was thankful that he had the sort of job that he had because despite not liking when kids cried, he was still there when someone was having a shitty day and able to do whatever he could to turn the situation around.

    Shifting around a bit in his seat, Antonio looked up to meet Clarissa's gaze. "Her name's Abree," he answered, blurting out the reasoning before he could even think twice about it. Why he told Clarissa, he didn't have a single damn clue. It wasn't as if she cared, Antonio told himself in the back of his mind. "Her mom picked out the name before she passed. She thought that it was just unique enough without being too out there," Antonio commented, remembering a little too fondly the debate that he had had with Abree's mom. He had wanted another name but given what had transpired, Antonio had wanted to honour his fiancee in any way that he could.

    A frown developed on Antonio's features as he looked down at the latte in his hands, swirling around the liquid before he spoke, quieter this time around. "I am truly sorry about last night, for what it's worth. I didn't mean to keep you up or anything."
    December 26th, 2017 at 09:03pm
  • oldbook;

    oldbook; (100)

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    Clarissa smiled at Antonio. His voice was sweet and he had a sort of jaded sense of humor which Clarissa herself truly appreciated. She always liked people who knew that the world wasn’t perfect and yet still found something fun in it. However, when he mentioned Abree’s mom, she understood why he was so jaded. She could tell that his wound was fresh as if it was waiting for someone to dump salt in it; she felt like she was holding the salt shaker. She instinctively twisted the ring that rested on her middle finger. She couldn’t control her face as she felt a sense of pity and of her own sadness twist her features slightly. She was relieved when he looked down at his latte, it gave her a moment to regain composure.

    She searched desperately for something to say to him, but her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth. Everything she wanted to say felt inorganic and generic. It was like the only words she remembered were words she read off a Hallmark card. There is a reason for everything. Be strong. I know how you feel. She shook her head and bit her lip. The last one was too real and too raw for her to even mention. It was like taking the salt shaker in her hand and dumping it into her own wounds. Before she could say something back, he changed the subject. Again, she felt relief. Clearly, neither of them wanted to discuss Abree’s mom or, well, death in general.

    “Oh, yeah. I know. I mean, obviously you didn’t do it on purpose. I was just grumpy. I’m kind of a monster when I don’t get sleep,” she said, laughing nervously.
    January 4th, 2018 at 03:19am
  • castle.

    castle. (2000)

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    Clarissa's words did little to calm the guilt that swirled in Antonio's chest. He was left thinking she spoke the way she did to make him feel better, particularly with the laugh that accented her words. It wasn't that he thought she wasn't genuine, it was just that Antonio understood that she had been frustrated last night. Rightfully so, Antonio knew. And the knowledge that he had unintentionally kept her up last night left Antonio reeling because it had opened his eyes. If he had done so last night before, how many nights had he before? How many of the other residents were kept up because of Abree's unending crying in the middle of the night on most nights? Antonio wasn't so sure that he wanted the answers to that question because he was sure the number would be higher than he wanted it to be.

    Antonio forced a belated laugh from his lips as he gave a quick nod of his head to show that he understood what she had said. He tossed back the rest of his latte, suddenly feeling uncomfortable in a way that he couldn't deny. He didn't belong in here, he had things that he needed to tend to, instead of taking advantage of a girl that he had kept up last night. Clarissa didn't owe him anything and yet she had offered him a latte free of charge. Letting out a small groan as he stood, Antonio offered a lopsided smile as he picked up Abree's car seat.

    "I'm going to take Abree home so that she can get some much needed rest. I'll see you around," Antonio paused, taking a breathe. "Hopefully under better terms next time?"
    January 10th, 2018 at 12:12am
  • oldbook;

    oldbook; (100)

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    Clarissa smiled, though she felt a twinge of awkward disappointment. She wasn’t sure why she wanted to talk to Antonio more, but she did. Anya was probably right. It had to be because she hadn’t liked someone in awhile or had a crush. She was basically just waiting to have a crush on someone knew. If it wasn’t Antonio, it’d be any other sensitive guy that walked into her coffee shop. She smiled, grabbing his empty cup as he stood. “Yeah, hopefully,” she said, mildly as he grabbed Abree. She glanced down at the baby and waggled a finger at her. “Bye, sweet girl,” she cooed. She looked back up at Antonio with his emerald eyes and hoped her cheeks weren’t heating up. “Tell your friends about us. We’re open until 8pm!”

    She waved once more and then walked back behind the counter. She ignored the looks from Anya and finished washing some dishes. Anya had the store handled well enough and the early morning was finally started to catch up with her. Besides, nothing wears you out like making a bit of a fool of yourself to your neighbor. Luckily, Anya hadn’t brought it up to her. She was relieved because she knew that probably didn’t go too well. They discussed his dead fiancé. How sad of a first conversation should you have? She shook her head and focused on the dishes. At least she could wash dishes without messing up or saying something embarrassing. She let the warm soapy water be another source of comfort until finally the lunch rush ended.

    Clarissa leaned back against the counter and sighed. “Wow, today is already too long,” she groaned, stretching her neck. Anya and her chatted ideally as the day went on. The peak at happy hour went rather smoothly and they wrapped up the food and drink orders and closed the doors by 8:30pm. Together, they cleaned the place and then plopped down exhausted on the comfy blue couch in the corner. They opened a bottle of rosè and smiled at each other.

    "So are we gonna discuss the guy or no?” Anya said to break the silence.

    “Definitely no. There is nothing to say. If I wanted to hook up with a hot guy, I could just go out tonight or call James. He’s always down to come over, or at least he was before I was dating Ricky. New guy is too complicated. Dead wife, baby. Talk about emotion overload,” she said, sipping a glass of wine. Anya smirked at her and they talked for another hour and two bottles of wine later. With a little stumble in her walk, Clarissa made her way home, loudly climbing up her stairs.
    January 16th, 2018 at 08:19pm