So my wonderful friend @flowerpowell agreed to help me start on the path to writing AUs. She gave me the challenge to write a coffee shop AU with the Ernest x MC pairing, so… here’s what I wrote. Hope you guys will like this short one-shot!
Bartholomew (Ernest x MC Coffee Shop AU)
Dedicated to @flowerpowell, my favorite AU expert and wonderful friend! ❤
Pairing: Ernest x MC (Katherine)
Summary: Katherine tries to hide her feelings for the handsome returning customer, but not well enough.
Taglist: @itsbrindleybinch @mariaoz @desiree-0816 @a-i-n-a-a-s-h and @lady-kato! ❤
The door opened, and in walked a well-dressed man. He held the door open to a pregnant woman and smiled kindly as she passed him. It was as if the winter cold didn’t bother him in the least, even if the snow was starting to color his coat white.
Katherine shyly glanced in his direction. He was completely oblivious to all the looks she gave him, even though everyone else was not. She didn’t know what to do with these growing feelings, so instead she focused on the notebook in front of her. What was she writing, again?
Just as she was about to continue where she left off, a soothing voice spoke. “Hello, Katherine.”
Katherine blushed. How did he make even his words as warm and chocolatey as hot chocolate? She raised her head, and then she was looking into his pure blue eyes.
Her heart pounded rapidly. Maybe because she felt like she was flying in the purest sky to ever exist. Her skin warmed from the shining sun, as gentle as the man in front of her. It was a strange sensation, but one she looked forward to every day.
The illusion ended quickly. Katherine knew she couldn’t dwell for long. The last thing she wanted was for him to know. She would seem weak, and foolish, and a bit too dreamy. It was better to act naturally.
“Hello,” she forced a smile. For a second, she wondered if she should say his name, but she couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. Whatever.
Ernest cleared his throat. “I’d like to order one cappuchino, please.”
He didn’t look at her eyes, luckily. She didn’t know what she would do if he did. She was enough of a wreck as it was, anyway.
“O-of course,” Katherine replied. “I’ll get it done.”
She tried to take care of it, but her hands shook the whole time. She could feel Briar, her best friend, watching her from the side. She was also a co-worker, coincidentally, but it was clear that Briar was having way too much fun in letting Katherine fend for herself.
Seriously. Briar wasn’t even trying to hide that she wasn’t busy.
The cappuchino was done too quickly. Making it was her only reprieve from facing him, but here Katherine was, facing Ernest again. She poured the drink in a plastic cup, and hurriedly wrote Ernest’s name on it.
She didn’t even try and stop herself from adding the little heart after his name.
“Here.” Hesitantly, she passed him the coffee. He took it, and then…
He smiled at her. As if she just made his day with that one cup of coffee. As if he waited the whole day to see her. As if…
Katherine didn’t know how to explain it. All she knew was that Ernest’s smile was the most beautiful thing she saw in her life; that every day would be perfect if she could see his smile at least once.
“Thank you,” he whispered. She loved the way his accent blended with his voice. She loved how that whisper felt like hers, and hers alone.
Before she could say anything in reply, Ernest sat across from her. Her mouth refused to work, and a million thoughts ran through Katherine’s head. He was so close…
What could she say to him?
Just as she was about to open her mouth, the bell shook. Katherine picked her head immediately, and saw an old woman walking toward her.
Katherine wanted to speak, but Ernest’s close proximity unsettled her. She fidgeted instead.
“Excuse me,” the woman sighed, “I would like one mocha and one hot chocolate.”
Katherine obediently filled the order, before handing the lady her request. She watched as Ernest helped the woman, but then another customer came. And another, and another. At some point Ernest came in, but Katherine barely noticed. The coffee shop was so busy even Briar’s help hardly made a difference.
However, sometimes Katherine felt the weight of Ernest’s gaze on her. He watched her work, more from curiousity than judgement. When she glanced at him, she saw him frowning as if something bothered him.
For some reason, Ernest waited there until the sky turned dark and her shift ended. It was getting late, and the thought sent tingles through her. Why was he still here?
“I’ll take care of everything,” Briar announced. She winked at Katherine, gave her a slight smirk, and walked off, leaving the two of them alone.
At some point, his voice interrupted the quiet. “Katherine, can I ask for a favor?”
She smiled. “Of course!”
“My friend wants a coffee. Can you make it for me?”
Ernest gave her instructions, and five minutes later the drink was made. She noticed it was the same as Ernest’s favorite, but didn’t dare to point it out. Instead she asked him for his friend’s name.
Katherine hurriedly scribbled his name, and with a smile held out the drink. Ernest took it from her hand, his fingers gently brushing hers. He scanned the cup, before his voice broke the silence. “There’s no heart at the end.”
Katherine’s cheeks reddened. She lowered her gaze to the counter, admiring the shapes in the white marble.
“I was in a rush,” she started to explain. “I’ll do it n-”
Ernest’s light eyes met hers. She was stunned at the way he looked at her as if he knew she was hiding something. Katherine gulped. She focused on the coffee cup, her tongue refusing to work. Why was he looking at her like that?
“It wasn’t a mistake, Katherine. You didn’t give any other customer a heart on their cup. I’m the only one.” He took his cup and turned it around so the heart was perfectly visible. “Why?”
Katherine’s cheeks reddened. She glanced in the direction she knew Briar was, but it was clear she was all alone. She forced herself to meet Ernest’s eyes, even if only that act made her aware to how close they were.
“I-” she hesitated. Katherine closed her mouth, opened it and then closed it again, before she finally spoke. “I like you. T-that’s why.”
There. No more games, no more lies. Here was the truth.
She lowered her gaze, but then Ernest was holding her chin. His eyes gazed at her with love and adoration, sending new tingles all throughout her.
He wanted to speak. She could see it. Katherine just wished he would, finally.
“I-” his cheeks darkened, “I like you too.”
At first, Katherine just stood there and gaped at him. Then, she finally found her voice. “You DO?”
Ernest nodded shyly. “Yes. That’s why…” he cleared his throat and lowered his gaze, “that’s why I stayed here until now. I wanted to ask you out on a proper date, without all the curious eyes.”
“Oh.” Katherine swallowed. She looked back at Ernest, but he was now focused on the floor. “O-okay.”
“Really? Katherine, I-”
He froze. They both did. Only now did they realize how close they were standing, and…
Katherine wanted to kiss him. She really did. And the desire also made him stop in his tracks. His eyes glanced at her lips and he swallowed, as if searching for the way to think.
She closed her eyes, so she wouldn’t see their nearness. Somehow, it made it even more tempting to come closer.
So she took a step…
They weren’t standing close anymore. Now, they were far enough for both of them to think clearly. It was a thought that comforted her yet frustrated her. If only…
“I’d love to,” Ernest replied with a small smile.
He gave a slight wave, before taking the cold coffee she made for him and taking a sip. Katherine watched as he walked away, and her heartbeat accelerated once again. She could hardly believe that finally…
“Seems like you got a date!” Briar called as she entered. “How does it feel to finally do something about lover boy?”
Katherine let out a breath of relief. “Amazing.”
She wondered where this would take her.
I’m still screaming because this is the best Ernest fic EVER and I love it so much, I cant stop smiling!!!! I am SO glad you wanted to give writing AUs a shot because YOURE NAILING IT!!!! This turned out better than I expected and I’m loving this so much!!!! But you already know that when I couldnt stop screaming in your DMs lol! This was beautiful, Kate!!!!