A/N this little clip is how Isabel met her boyfriend, James. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Don't forget to like if you enjoyed!
Isabel isn't even sure she's completely human when she trudges out of her room with five minutes to spare for her morning art class at the nearby church. Her brother had made her stay in the library 'studying' until three in the morning while Brandon entertained a lady friend in their room. She'd managed to get a little sleep on one of the incredibly uncomfortable couches in the library, but it hadn't been nearly enough, and she'd been too mad at Brandon to be able to get to sleep again once she'd made it back to the room.
And so Isabel finds herself half-asleep, speed-walking across the road to her 8:30 Introduction to Watercolor class. The door to the building sticks when she tries to open it, and it takes her three tries to pry the heavy thing open. She has thirty seconds to get across the building before the volunteer old ladies lock the door, so she sprints across the sidewalk without a care for what she might look like. When she gets to the door, it's locked already, and she has to resist the urge to bang her head against it in frustration. She'd been so close! Isabel looked forward to it every Saturday! She checks her rusty watch and frowns. She still has fifteen seconds left. Graying Mrs. Tuner closed the door early. She was justified in her frustration now and doesn't stop herself from knocking on the door. "Excuse me, Miss, you closed the door too early," she calls, loud enough to be heard through the thick wood.
There is no answer. Isabel puts her ear to the door, straining to hear anything, a shuffling of feet, the creaking of Tuner's old rocking chair, anything. There's nothing. She frowns at the door, and it's then that she finally notices the note taped to it, the one she had assumed was another flyer advertising internships or study abroad opportunities or club meetings-the usual. Instead, it's a note: Watercolor 101 is canceled for today. Check email for next meeting.
"Canceled?" Isabel laments out loud. She'd gotten out of bed, dressed herself, and rushed across town without breakfast for this? She had canceled watching Game of Thrones with Trea for this! She was just barely able to keep herself from groaning out load, or yelling at the paper.
"Are you kidding me? I could have stayed home another day, idiot," a rough voice growls near her ear.
Isabel turns to find the guy she's been crushing on for months standing not a foot behind her, frowning at the sign on the door. She has no idea what the guy's name is-their watercolor class is usually very quiet, and Isabel hadn't seen him anywhere around town-but Isabel's been watching him since the first day she spotted him back in November. Taller than her and muscular, with bright green eyes and short sandy hair, he isn't Isabel's usual type, but there's something about his long legs and the way he wears his gray jacket that just. Yeah. She worries that she might be drooling in her half-sleep daze, but the guy just glances at her with a frown and furrow in his brow.
"Can you believe class got canceled?" he asks.
Isabel struggles to answer without sounding like a complete fool. "No, I practically ran here. I thought I was going to be late. I wonder why no one else is here."
The guy pulls out his phone and starts scrolling through it, and Isabel's first thought is that he's a little rude-not a turn-on, even for someone who looks amazing in a waistcoat over a white button-down. But then the guy turns the phone around to show Isabel the screen, and Isabel understands. "She sent an email out. Didn't check my messages this morning. I'm assuming you didn't, either?"
"I only got out of bed a few minutes ago." And she suddenly thinks that she probably looks it. Her hair is a mess, she knows, and she's not proud to say she's wearing the same pants she wore yesterday. This guy wouldn't know that, since Isabel didn't leave her room yesterday except when she was kicked out by Brandon, but still. It probably doesn't smell very fresh. And she's definitely got some serious morning breath.
"Yeah? Wanna go grab coffee, then? You look like you could use some."
"Coffee would be lovely, but I wouldn't want to inconvenience you..." Isabel says, wary of taking up this gorgeous man's time.
The guy smiles at him, and it lights up his face. It is the most stunningly perfect smile Isabel has ever had the pleasure to witness. She momentarily forgets how to breathe. "Coffee's never an inconvenience. Besides, not like either of us has class to go to. Come on, let's go to that place on Taylor. If you flirt with the baristas, they give you extra whip cream."
Isabel laughs and nods her agreement, letting the man lead her out of the building. "I'm Isabel Harvelle, by the way," she introduces herself and is pleased to find a blush creeping up her crush's face.
"James. James Novak. Sorry, I should have introduced myself before."
Isabel shrugs his apology off. "Do you make it a habit of flirting with baristas, James?" She asks, pleased to be able to put a name to that gorgeous face.
James grins, a beaming thing that lights up his whole face and a whole mess of butterflies in Isabel's stomach. "It doesn't hurt. They always remember my drink order that way."
"Do they? We'll have to test that claim."
"I suppose we will." The way James looks at her then leaves a warm, happy feeling in Isabel that doesn't go away for the rest of the day. Neither does James, until Isabel has to leave him to make it to the library to return her books, and even then Isabel gets the sense that he would have waited for her, if she had asked. She doesn't ask, but she does give James her number. For study purposes, obviously.