Are You Up To The Challenge?

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"Hey you." The smell of fall filled the air; a mixture of apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and cool air. Awsten wasn't quite sure where the chill in the room was coming from considering the fact that there wasn't any open windows in the front. The windows in the front were only open when Geoff was working and instead of spending his time in the coffee shop, he was on a hunt for a cell phone. He had mentioned wanting one for a while now and had finally gotten around to getting one.

"Hey yourself." Michaela was glad to see a familiar face during one of the down periods of her shift. She was the only barista for the next hour or so until a boy Geoff had mentioned Awsten referred to as McMuscles showed up. His name was Zack and although he was entirely the type of guy Michaela would be interested in, he appeared incredibly uninterested in her. She wasn't aware of his shy nature just yet -he had only started a few days prior- and had taken his attitude somewhat personally.

"Seems busy." Awsten remarked dryly, eyes skimming the inside of the store. Aside from the two of them, the coffee shop was empty with the exception of an older woman in the corner reading. He couldn't have picked a better time to visit the young barista. Awsten was nervous. He told himself to breathe in and out slowly, a technique he had learned a few years prior in therapy. It didn't help. He still felt like he was going to puke the blueberry pancakes Geoff insisted on making.

"Don't you know? It's rush hour." Michaela's eyes dropped to the bouquet of flowers in Awsten's arms. They were dozen pink roses with about half as many lilies. The arrangement made her think of her favorite Disney princess for some reason. As a kid, Michaela was sort of jealous of Sleeping Beauty in a weird way. She would've given anything to sleep forever and not need to deal with anything her life seemed to throw at her. "Awful nice flowers you've got there. Who's the lucky girl?"

"I think you know her actually." Awsten had practiced this conversation more times than anyone would know. Rehearsing his lines was a common occurrence for Awsten. He did it for absolutely everything, including when he would order his food. Before he started the seemingly odd practice, he would always trip over his words. Awsten wished he would've figured out his trick a few years earlier. It would've saved him a lot of trouble in middle school.

"Oh really?" The flowers were more beautiful than anything Micheala had seen face to face in far too long. The only person that ever brought her flowers was a friend of her's named Ellie and it was only on her birthday, so it didn't really count. "Please tell me it's not that awful girl you work with." Michaela would never forget the day that Awsten, her favorite regular, walked into her store with one of her least favorite people on the planet. Ciara Hanna was a special kind of evil she hadn't expected to encounter with someone she actually sorta liked.

"Ciara? No." The hatred went both ways but it was undisputed that the pair would've aught over who hated each other more. Ciara started the situation when she moved from Burbank to Houston, according to Michaela. Ciara had walked into Michaela's school and stole the spotlight immediately. Michaela would've rather been dead than live in the shadow of someone like Ciara. She did what anyone would've done. Sabotage her. "She works here actually."

"Jenna isn't in until later." Michaela shook the topic from her mind. She didn't want to think about it anymore. It wasn't her fault. Ciara deserved it. It wasn't her fault. You can't be responsible for somebody else's actions. These are the things she told herself to ease the guilt. It haunted her every now and then, some days more than others. This was one of those days.

"They're actually for you." Awsten's declaration put her mind at ease somehow. Receiving presents always made Michaela feel better about herself. Being on the receiving end of a gift always made her feel happy that she was on another person's mind, even if it was just for a fleeting moment. Awsten extended the flowers to her with a nervous smile on his face. He couldn't believe how enchantingly happy she looked. Michaela took the flowers out of his hands and kept them in her own, admiring the beauty within the arrangement.

"Seriously? Oh my god." The bouquet itself was absolutely incredible and topped anything Ellie had ever given her without even trying. She was sort of convinced that Awsten could've brought her some tulips and they would've still been better for some reason. The roses looked like they were picked right out of a fairytale and put in her palms. "Tell me you made it." Awsten had spoken to her about making arrangements on a couple occasions. She would always joke that he should bring her one sometime; an ounce of truth hidden behind her teasing. Michaela didn't expect it to actually happen. Awsten nodded.

"It's stunning." Stunning was an understatement. The pink petals of the roses reminded her of a character from one of her favorite shows as a child; the fictional girl's dress looking like it was actually made of flower petals. That show was one of the few times in her life that she wished her hair was brown. More than anything, she wanted her hair to match that of her hero's. Luckily, Michaela's fascination with the show faded over time but the dress seemed to stain her mind. "Thank you so much. You're so thoughtful."

"Don't worry about it." Awsten was still in the process of trying to play it cool but it wasn't going so well. He had a thousand thoughts running through his brain. His mind felt like it was busier than Grand Central Station. Did she like him? If she did, did she like him like that? What if she said no? More importantly, what if she said yes? Awsten wasn't prepared for her answer no matter what it was.

"What can I get you?" Michaela had a feeling where this conversation was going and she wasn't all too surprised. Awsten had been flirting with her for an excruciatingly long time. It was to a point that her and Ellie had a bet on how long it would take Awsten to actually ask her out. Michaela had lost the bet months ago. She really didn't think that someone with such an attention grabbing aesthetic could be so shy sometimes.

"No business today." It was out of character for Awsten to stop by Common Grounds and not place an order. He was pretty sure it was his first time doing something so pointless. Who comes to a coffee shop and orders nothing? If he didn't have an interest in the blonde haired girl, he wouldn't have been there. "Just came to bother you."

"You never bother me." She was being honest for once, Awsten really was one of her favorite customers. Michaela had an awfully addicting problem; lying. The lies would slip past her lips far too often and almost instantly dig her into a grave she could only try to dig herself out of by lying again. It was a defense mechanism of sorts. She just wanted everyone around her to like her despite the fact that she viewed herself as painfully boring. "What's up?"

"What are you doing tonight?" That was it. Awsten had finally done the impossible. He asked one of the most attractive women he knew on a date. Her answer was bound to change his life no matter what she said. He wasn't sure what she was going to say but he was positive of one thing; Michaela Okland was entirely out of his league. If she said yes, Awsten would be shocked.

"I was going to go to this party to try and see my sorority sisters. Why?" It was more truthful than most of the things Michaela said. She was actually supposed to go to this party and try and impress the members of the sorority she was trying to get into. She practically had made a fool of herself on campus for an invitation. There wasn't any way that she was skipping the party for a date with Awsten. An idea popped into her head while she watched Awsten run a hand through his hair.

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