Chapter six

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"Ace...!"
No matter how many times I called out to him, he wouldn't stop tugging me through the crowds, down the sidewalk, dozens of people giving us looks as we hurried along. It was embarrassing...
Where was he taking me to...?
Eventually, the two of us came to a stop just before a cute building, and as I gazed up at it, I instantly recognized it.
"Beta's coffee shop..." I marveled.
I remembered designing it.
This was where Evangeline would follow Ace to every morning, secretly watching him...
He always ordered a...
"Two Americanos, please."
I blinked, snapping back to reality.
When had we gone inside?
I was completely out of it as Ace lead me over to an empty table and sat across from me. His eyes turning up at me gave me chills, making me extremely nervous all over again.
He seemed to notice.
"You seem tense."

"I... I'm just... anxious, that's all..."

"Anxious? What for?"

I adjusted my glasses and stared at my shoes, afraid of making eye contact. "I've... I've never been on a date before.."

"...."

"Two Americanos, enjoy."

Our attention was pooled as the waitress came and dropped off our orders, nodding once before turning to leave.
Gosh, the coffee was so cute...
Ace reached for his and took a sip.
"Go on. Drink up."
Albeit hesitantly, I reached for my own and blew on it lightly before taking a sip on my own. It was delicious...
I had written for Ace's favorite to be americano because americano was my favorite, too. I felt sure there were plenty more traits of his that would come up, just as I remembered.
"So," Ace started, setting his drink down and looking at me, drawing me out of my thoughts.
"Since I don't remember ever seeing you before, would you care to enlighten me?"

I blinked, caught off guard by his question.
"E-excuse me...?"

"How do you know me?"

I swallowed.
How?
I couldn't tell him that I had created him, along with his entire world, in my journal with a ballpoint pen, now could I!
"U...um... well... ya see..."
Think fast, think fast!
You're a writer, Paige!
Make something up!
"I... I see you... around school."

"School, huh? I might've guessed. Have we talked before?"

I hesitated. "Well... kinda."
I've been the one behind everything you've ever said. Does that count?
I tried to shake my head clear, desperate to keep from drawing any suspicion towards myself.
As I raised my head again, I saw Ace eyeing me intently, and I felt like melting under his gaze. Why was he looking at me like that...
"Something about you seems familiar.."
I blinked, gawking at him in disbelief.
Surely he didn't...
Somehow, even though I knew it couldn't be, his words worried me.
"Ah.. haha... maybe you remember..."
He tilted his head as he continued scanning me, making my panicked sweats increase tenfold.
I was done for if he reached for my hand again...
"What's your last name?"

"Uhm, Gardener."

"Paige Gardner..."

Again, I felt chills rolling through me as he said my name in his buttery, smooth voice. I never thought I'd hear him say it in my lifetime...
"That does ring a bell."
It does...?
How...??
My brows drew together.
How could that be...?
"Paige Gardener," Ace chimed, pulling me from my thoughts again. "You're frowning."
I blinked and quickly plastered a smile on my face reassuringly.
"Oh! No, it's nothing..."

"Nothing..."

I swallowed.
Making Ace so skeptical may not have been the best choice as of right now...
Not that I ever expected THIS to happen in a million years.
We made small talk for a little while longer, mainly consisting of Ace'd penetrating questions which I avoided as nimbly as possible.
Before long, it had gotten particularly late, and the two of us left the coffee shop.
"Hm," Ace seemed to contemplate something. "This was supposed to be a date, but I didn't feel many romantic moments. Did you?"

"Me? Er, well..."

"I should fix that."

Before I could even react, Ace bent down to my height and pressed his lips gently to the top of my head.
In that moment, my head spun and my whole world grew dizzying.
My face had never felt more heated, and I didn't even know what to do with myself as he grinned at me with that heart stopping smile he had.
"I'll see you at school tomorrow, Paige."
With that farewell, Ace stuffed his hands into his pockets and turned away, disappearing in the crowds on the sidewalk.
I pressed a hand to the kiss he'd left on my head, still warm from his touch.
"Dear god," I murmured.
"... I don't have a place to sleep tonight."

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