~Not Very Often~
There were times when Lukas could have just gone over to say something. Anything. It could have been a compliment or a question even, but either he never got the opportunity or he just couldn't work up the courage.
if he didn't do something and fast, Mathias would beat him to the mark (no pun intended).
"Hey, have you noticed that Norge has been acting a little off recently?" Tino asked Emil during lunch.
Emil was about to open his mouth, but Mathias came strolling in and interrupted him before he could speak.
"He's always like that, Finny," he said dismissively. "The guy's a natural creep much like yourself, Ice." At this, Emil scowled.
"I didn't mean like that, Mark," Tino said shaking his head. "I meant that he's been acting differently. You know
when was it? Ever since ______________ started working here."
"Oh, yeah! ______________! I think I might ask her out to lunch today," Mathias said brushing off Tino's concerns about his friend. "She's really cute, isn't she?"
"Mark, that's besides the point," Emil frowned. He turned to Berwald who was preparing coffee. He had been listening the entire time, but he was not one for many words. "What do you think about this, Sve?"
"Tino is right," was all Berwald said from the staff section's stove area.
"Well, if there's really something wrong, then why don't you talk to him, Ice?" Mathias asked as he leaned over him to grab an apple strudel from the complimentary tray of pastries.
"Why are you wanting me to go talk to him?" Emil asked uncomfortably as the Dane began to noisily scarf down his pastry.
becauf your hif bruver," Mathias answered with his mouth full. Just then, a new person entered the kitchen and struck Mathias over the head with a furniture catalogue.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, Dane," Lukas hissed. If there was anyone that could get his underlying feelings to bubble up, it was Mathias.
"Norge! We were juft talging abou' you!" Mathias beamed with his mouth still full. Lukas hit him one more time. Mathias finished swallowing before trying to speak up again.
"Hey, Norge, Finny's been saying that you've been acting weird. Is there a special reason?"
Lukas averted his eyes away from his friends and lowered his eyebrows. "It's nothing any of you have to be concerned about," he replied.
"Aw, see, Finny?" Mathias asked turning to Tino. "Everything's fine!"
"That wasn't what he was implying," Berwald said as he set down four mugs of steaming hot coffee and helped himself to his own.
Then, another new face entered the kitchen.
"Hi, everyone!" She sniffed the air. "Mmm
Something smells good. Did you make coffee, Berwald?"
"Ja," Berwald nodded. "Would you like some?"
"Oh, no, thank you," _____________ refused. "I was actually going to go out to lunch to get familiar with this area since I'm new after all." She laughed a little nervously.
For just a split second, Lukas could have sworn that she glanced over in his direction. All he needed to do was speak up. She was right in front of him, but with everyone watching, what was he supposed to say? How was he supposed to say it? Would she refuse? Would she accept? What was he supposed to do when?
"Hey, since you've said that, why don't I take you out to lunch?" Mathias offered. "I know the entire city so I could show you all of the good places to eat and shop."
"You would?" She sounded touched at the offer. "That would be wonderful, Mathias." She looked at her other four co-workers. "Does anyone else want to go with us?"
There was a chorus of "No's" and shaking heads. Lukas had not answered yet. He was still debating whether or not he should speak up. If he did then perhaps he could get in between Mathias and ____________. Maybe she would take a liking to him instead, or maybe she would even
"Well, I guess it's just us, then," Mathias said and grabbed another apple strudel before following _____________ out of the kitchen.
"See you later, everyone!" she smiled and waved goodbye. With a flick of her hair and Mathias trailing behind her, she was gone. Out the door went another blown chance and a relationship that could have been forming, one that Lukas could have had if he had only spoken up.
"If you want to go, you can still catch them," Berwald said after sipping his coffee.
"No, I'm good," Lukas sighed. "I wouldn't be able to keep myself together with Mark all over the place." He would have to settle for flaky sweet pastries today, but knowing that he missed two perfect chances to get closer to ____________ left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth.
"How was lunch, you two?" Tino asked when Mathias and __________ returned.
"It was fun!" ____________ beamed. "Mathias took me all over the area. I didn't know there were so many parks in this city."
"Well, it's not like we expect you to know everything, ___________," Mathias laughed. "You're new, after all."
"I guess you're right," ____________ giggled. "Well, I think we should get back to work. We took too much time off, don't you think so, Mathias?"
"Yeah," Mathias grinned. "I'll be seeing you around, ____________."
"You, too," _____________ smiled. "Thanks again for treating me."
"Anytime!" Mathias replied.
Since you were in charge of checking the stocks, you were always running around the store with a clipboard in hand and a walkie-talkie at your belt. It was a busy job, but it kept you on your toes. You never liked those white-collar jobs where you just sat on a chair staring at documents and computers all day, anyway. Besides, you got to meet all sorts of great people.
After working for about a month, you concluded that your most interesting co-workers were the ones who called themselves the Nordics. They were a colorful bunch with each one complimenting each other. They were also nice. Sometimes one or the other would offer to take you out to lunch (you couldn't turn down a free lunch), and sometimes more than one would tag along.
The most enigmatic of them was perhaps Lukas. He was Emil's brother, but they hardly shared any resemblances. Aside that, he talked even less than Berwald when you saw himunless it involved Mathias getting out of line. Then, you were able to see more of his energetic side. Even so, he was the only one who had refused to talk to you. It was very strange.
"Hey, Emil," you said one day to Lukas' younger brother. "Is there a way for me to make Lukas, like, talk to me?"
"What do you mean?" Emil asked.
"Like, he's never gone outside when I'm around, and he doesn't really make eye contact with me. Is there something wrong with me?"
"Nothing's wrong with you, ____________," Emil assured you. "I think he's just shy."
Emil nodded. "I have to admit: it took me a long time to get used to having a
lady in our company, but I'm used to you now."
"So Lukas is sexist?"
Emil frowned. "I don't think that's it," he said. "But then again, I'm not really able to read him too well, either."
"Sorry I couldn't help that much, ___________," Emil apologized.
You shook your head. "There's nothing to be sorry about."
"Hey, why don't you try Mark?" Emil suggested. "He and my brother are pretty close even if it doesn't seem like it at times."
It sounded like a thought. "I think I will. I'll see you later, Emil."
Mathias was busy stocking some items when you found him.
"Hey, ___________," he greeted you with a bright smile. "What's up?"
"Hi, Mathias," you said. "I was wondering if you could tell me about Lukas."
"Lukas?" Mathias didn't exactly happy that you brought up his otherworldly friend. "Why do you want to know about him?"
"Because he's so weird."
Lukas stopped. That was ___________'s voice. What was she doing all the way in the front of the store? He stepped back and listened.
He never talks to me, and he doesn't even like making eye-contact with me when we're on break."
"So this is what it's all about?" he heard Mathias ask.
"I'm just curious."
Mathias chuckled. "If you really want to know why he's so uptight, you'll have to go with me to lunch."
"Is that all?"
"Do you want that to be all?"
"Well, IHey! Mathias, what are youStop it!" Then, Lukas heard something that sounded like a hard slap!
"I was just playing, ___________," Mathias hissed in pain.
____________ snorted. "If you won't tell me, then I'll go to Lukas by myself." Her footsteps grew louder and louder. Lukas' heart was beating faster as he heard her coming closer to him. What was he supposed to say?
"Lukas!" ___________ gasped. She had reached the end of the aisle. Her hair looked a little tangled, and her uniform was wrinkled in some places. "Ah
"_____________ ____________ and Lukas Bondevik, would you please come to the main office?" the intercom rang out throughout the store. "___________ _____________ and Lukas Bondevik, please come to the main office."
" _____________ dropped her last thoughts. "Should we go and see what the boss wants?" Lukas silently nodded in reply.
"I want you two to be out representatives for the business meeting overseas," Lukas' boss explained. "You two are some of my finest workers with you, ___________, always keeping on top of things and knowing the exact product details of each stock item, and you, Lukas, with your fine eye for detail and taste. What do you say? Do you accept?"
"I do, sir," ___________ answered. "Thank you for this opportunity."
His boss turned to him. "And you, Lukas?"
Lukas nodded. This was the opportunity he was hoping for. "Thank you, sir."
"Excellent," his boss smiled. "You two leave in exactly a week. I expect you two to set good examples for our company."
"You won't be disappointed, sir," ___________ said in a confident tone.
"That's the spirit. Well, then, you can get back to work now."
"I'm a little jealous," Tino chuckled. "You get to stay in a really nice hotel, too."
"Be sure to take some pictures for us, okay?" Mathias said patting Lukas on the back. Lukas wore a neutral expression.
"Have a safe trip," Berwald said.
"Thanks, Berwald," you smiled. "We'll see you in about a three day's time."
"Maybe now I can have some time to relax," Emil grumbled under his breath.
"Don't deny that you'll miss me, Brother," Lukas said giving his brother an icy stare.
"Stop that, Lukas," you laughed. "We're going to miss our flight." After a few more exchanges, you and Lukas bid your final farewells and headed off into the terminal.
"Isn't this nice, Lukas?" ___________ asked while staring out of the window. "I checked the area around the hotel. It's filled with parks so we don't have to stay in our stuffy rooms all day."
Lukas didn't say anything. He wasn't one for going out, but he didn't want to offend ___________ by saying it out loud. So he kept his mouth shut.
____________ looked like she was getting impatient with him. Perhaps it was best that he actually said something.
"There's going to be a blue moon tomorrow night," he blurted out.
Of all the things he could have said! "It's nothing," he said quickly.
"No, I want to hear what you said," ___________ insisted placing a hand over his. He flinched, as fuzzy prickles danced over his skin, but he held himself from pulling back.
"I said there's going to be a blue moon tomorrow night," he said.
"Really? I didn't know there were such things. I've only heard of them in that one saying. How did it go? 'Once in a blue moon' or something like that?"
"That's right," Lukas nodded.
"So they really have blue moons?"
"Not exactly," Lukas answered. "The moons aren't blue. It's just something they say to describe the second moon of a single month."
__________ looked confused. "Like, there are two moons in one month?"
Lukas nodded. "Usually a month has only one full moon, but sometimes there will be a time when two full moons will appear in the same month. It doesn't happen very oftenmaybe once every two or three yearsso that's why they use that saying."
"Interesting," ____________ commented. "So there's going to be one tomorrow night, you said, right?"
"Hey, that means we get to see it!" __________ grinned. "You're going to see it with me, aren't you?"
"That depends on where we'll be when it's nighttime," Lukas said. What a stupid answer, Norge. You could have said something else.
"Oh." __________ looked disappointed. "I was hoping we'd see it together." She sighed and turned back to her window. There wasn't much to see since the plane was flying through the clouds. "You don't talk very much, Lukas."
Lukas didn't say anything. Bad move. He should have proven her assumption wrong.
"I talked with your brother a while ago," she said. "He said you're shy because I'm a girl." Then, she turned back to him and stared him deep in the eyes. She was leaning incredibly close
to the point where he could have even done that if he wanted to.
"You're not sexist, are you?" __________ suddenly asked with her eyes still glued to Lukas'.
Lukas blinked. "I'm not sexist."
"That's good," ___________ laughed in relief. "Now I know one real thing about you."
"Of course, I am," ___________ answered. "You're even harder to read than Berwald; at least Berwald talks to me."
"I'm sorry," Lukas apologized.
"Don't be." ____________ checked her watch. "Well, we've got about six hours to go. We've got plenty of time to get to know each other."
" Lukas pleaded in his head that he wouldn't slip up and say something out of line. That would've been embarrassing.
"I think that meeting went well," _____________ yawned and stretched. "What do you think, Lukas?"
"I think it did, too," Lukas agreed.
____________ laughed. "You surprised me, Lukas. I didn't know you could be such a good speaker when you needed to be. You just needed a little shove, huh?"
Lukas shrugged. "I guess
___________ giggled and got her keycard out. Lukas had a separate room, but just in case, he decided to make sure she got inside safely.
"That's funny," she said and swiped her card again. "It's not working."
"Let me try," Lukas offered and swiped the keycard into the slot. The red button showed up each time. "Maybe we should go to the lobby."
"Worth a shot," __________ agreed.
"I'm sorry," the receptionist apologized, "but we're booked full, but there is a customer that has a reservation so we thought you could just share a room instead."
"Seriously?" __________ wasn't happy about it, but she wasn't entirely upset. She turned to Lukas. "Lukas, do you mind?"
"No," Lukas simply answered.
"We'll just share a room, then," __________ said.
After the staff let ___________ clean out her stuff and move it to Lukas' room, she immediately claimed that she wanted to go outside.
"Isn't it a little late?" Lukas asked.
"But you said there's a blue moon tonight," __________ insisted. "Don't you want to see it, too?"
"We can see it from here," Lukas said and pulled back the curtains to let in the bright moonlight.
"Yeah, but it's not the same," __________ said. She grabbed her coat and bundled up. "I'm going by myself, then."
"Wait," Lukas said as if instinctively. "I'll go with you. It's not safe to go out by yourself."
____________ cracked a smile. "Thanks, Lukas."
"See? Doesn't it look much more prettier from here?" ___________ laughed and pointed to the moon up above.
"Yeah," Lukas agreed. "It's even nicer knowing you're here to see it with me."
__________ turned around. "What did you say?"
Did I really just say that out loud? Lukas thought frantically.
yeah, I mean, I'm relieved that you didn't come here by yourself. It would have been dangerous if I hadn't come along."
___________ didn't look convinced, but under the full light of the blue moon, Lukas could see her smiling.
"So that's what this is all about," she giggled. "You could have told me sooner."
Lukas blinked. "What do you mean?"
"You like me, don't you?"
Lukas lowered his gaze to the ground. "Y-Yeah
" he strained to say.
_____________ placed her hands on her hips and shook her head. "You could have just said so in the beginning."
"There wasn't a good time to say it." It was a horrible excuse, but one that he said despite him knowing that.
"Now's a good time to tell me," ____________ chuckled teasingly.
Lukas was already looking at the ground. He couldn't lower his head any further, but it would be rude for him to not look at ____________. Perhaps the moon was a good place to look. He raised his eyes and turned his head towards the blue moon.
"I like you, ___________."
"Lukas, I'm over here," ___________ laughed. "The moon isn't me."
A rare smile cracked on Lukas' usually neutral expression. "You're right. You're much prettier than the moon."
" From the tone of her voice, it sounded like she was blushing. "I
" But Lukas had already made his move, silencing her with a kiss. He could have done something differently, but he thought he made a pretty good decision.
"We have the whole suite to ourselves," ___________ mumbled.
"We do," Lukas agreed.
"A five-star room
__________ fidgeted uncomfortably in place. "There are plenty of beds, but
" She looked away. Now it was her turn to be bashful. "It's not very often when we get to be alone like this at work and everything
"No, it isn't."
___________ face-palmed. "Lukas, you silly slowpoke, I was waiting for you to take the initiative!" Without another word she grabbed Lukas' tie and yanked him in for a kiss.
Now it was purely instinctual. The way he tore off her coat and grabbed the back of her neck to force his tongue inside her mouth, the strange heat that began to burn inside of him despite the fact that he was nearly stripped down
There was no room for any wrong decisionsbecause it wasn't his mind that was choosing to do any of this, but at the same time, none of it was misguided.
"___________, I love you," Lukas confessed.
"I had a feeling you did," ______________ giggled from underneath his grip. She kissed him back. "I do, too."
This was news. It could've been Mathias or Emil or even Berwald for all he knew, but him?
"Why me?" he asked in a soft murmur as his breath came in short, steamy gasps.
"There are a lot of things, Lukas," _____________ smiled. "You'd be surprised at how much six hours of conversations can change the way a person feels about another."
"It's for the best, though, right?" Lukas asked to reassure himself.
"Definitely," ___________ nodded.
Lukas chuckled. "Then, I'm happy."
"At least I know you are," ___________ giggled. "It's not very often when I know what're you really feeling."
"You want to know even more about me?" Lukas asked with a mild tone of suggestiveness.
There was a slight blush that showed on _____________ cheeks. She knew what he was talking about.