Delton Reeves has been buying chocolates from Micah Fischer for months. But for whom?
|Word count: Approx. 1,600
Summary: Written for the prompts: Is this real or is this just fantasy?; [Protagonist] is a chocolatier and a customer comes in every day to buy a box of chocolates. One day he buys one for [Protagonist]; and the words different, loves, quirky, petals, and kind-hearted.
Micah Fischer looks up at the low, English voice, and smiles—a real one, as different from his professional one as sunlight is from a flashlight. "Good morning, Mr. Reeves! How are you today?"
Reeves sighs melodramatically. "Bereft. Absolutely bereft."
"Ah . . . chocolates still not working?" Micah begins folding a Fischer Chocolatiers box to fill with Reeves' usual (chocolate bon-bons with a creamy strawberry filling).
"Still not working," Reeves confirms with a sigh, leaning heavily on the counter in a way that showcases his toned arms in their expensive suit-jacket. Micah takes care not to stare. If he has one cardinal rule—and he has many—it’s: A conscientious chocolatier does not ogle his customers. Not even when they’re Delton Abernathy Reeves. "Box after box after box, and he still doesn't seem to know I exist."
"Hmm." Micah grabs the scoop and makes his way down the see-through displays of chocolates and other assorted candies. "A pound, as usual?" When Reeves nods glumly, Micah scoops out a pound to the ounce with years of practice, but places the box on the scale near the register, anyway. Reeves follows him back down the counter, his big hands shoved in the pockets of his tailored, fitted slacks. "Well, if the chocolates aren't working, you may want to try something else—not that I'm eager to lose one of my best customers, but . . . I do like to see my customers happy."
Reeves watches Micah arrange chocolates in the box, pouting a bit. He has the most sinful lips Micah has ever seen, and it never does to look at them for too long, lest he actually say so aloud. Bad enough that Micah has an annoying habit of fantasizing about those lips while the man is talking. To have fantasy spill over into reality would be. . . .
"So, what do you think I should try?" Reeves asks, stealing a chocolate from the box before Micah can close it up. He pops it into that sinful mouth, and Micah rolls his eyes, going to replace the chocolate with another from the plastic bin. When he gets back to the register, Reeves is licking those lips, his hazel eyes half-shut in enjoyment.
Micah’s own mouth goes utterly dry and his fingers falter at the register, so that he has to code it out and start over. He doesn’t trust himself to speak until the LED display is flashing Reeves’ usual total.
"Well, uh . . . have you tried just telling him how you feel?" Micah ties a thin, sable ribbon around the white box and hands it to Reeves, who passes Micah two tens. "I mean, it may not be as subtle as you'd like, but sometimes, a guy just needs to be hit over the head." And it sounds like this poor, clueless prick might be one of those benighted guys.
"I suppose so," Reeves allows, smiling a bit. When Micah hands him his change, Reeves hands him back the box of chocolates. Micah frowns.
"Is there something wrong—did you change your mind?" he asks, coding the register open and ready to refund. But Reeves shakes his head, those sinful lips curving even more.
"No, of course not. Just consider this me hitting you over the head." Reeves leans in a little—close enough for Micah to smell his cologne, something with hints of sandalwood—and make out the flecks of grey in his hazel eyes. "I can't stop thinking about you, petal, and I'd like very much to take you out."
Gaping, Micah looks down at the chocolates—which happen to be his favorite, and initially recommended to Reeves on the strength of that—then back up at Reeves. "I—I'm afraid I don't understand, Mr. Reeves."
"Delton, darling,” Reeves leans in a bit closer, his already low voice now pitched low enough that Micah shivers and nearly whimpers. “And why do you think I've been buying chocolates here every day for the past two months?"
Micah opens his mouth, then closes it. "But you were buying them for some oblivious guy you wanted to—to notice you," he finishes lamely, and Reeves quirks an eyebrow.
"And after two months, I was getting a bit desperate. He really was quite oblivious."
Micah blushes fiercely. "Mr. Reeves—”
"Please, call me Delton?"
"D-Delton—” Micah’s blush intensifies, and he loses his train of thought entirely, just letting that name slip from his lips. It’s as dark and sweet on them as chocolate. “Listen, I. . . .”
"And say you'll allow me the pleasure of taking you to dinner?"
Still blushing, Micah looks away from Reeves' hopeful eyes, and down at the chocolates. He prepares himself to speak his most tacit and cardinal rule of all. "I don't date my customers, Mr. Reeves."
"Then consider this the last box of chocolates I buy, here." Reeves says smoothly, batting his eyes playfully. His lashes are distractingly long. "Though I love the . . . personalized customer service and have grown fond of the wide selection."
Micah smiles a little, tapping his fingers on the box. The heat of his blush feels as if it’s been branded into every inch of exposed skin. Even his ears. "Listen, I. . . ."
"Have a boyfriend?"
"No. . . ."
"Then you're not attracted to me?" This is worth an outright laugh, and Reeves' momentarily worried frown melts into a quirky, daffy grin. "So say yes, darling. I promise you won't regret it."
"I . . . have other customers, Mr. Reeves," Micah finishes softly, only for Reeves' grin to falter. He glances at the line of people behind him, some amused, some disapproving, and clears his throat.
"Right, then." He grins again, but it doesn't quite reach his eyes. "Okay, I suppose I'll leave you to it, then."
With that, Reeves slowly turns to leave, slump-shouldered, chocolates forgotten.
And Micah feels good . . . really proud of himself for upholding his cardinal rule. Heavens know there’ve been times—oh, yes, there’ve been times—when he’s been tempted to throw over that rule for cute, interested guys. Granted, none of them have been as cute or as . . . interested—persistent, really—as Delton Reeves.
So Micah should feel good about himself and his fortitude. Never mind that Reeves is easily the most attractive man Micah has ever seen, with his windblown, light-brown hair; charming smile; sexy English accent; and apparently well-defined body. Never mind that, since the day the man first walked into Micah’s shop, Micah has been fantasizing about him in odd moments, to the point of utter distraction—to the point that every time Reeves walks into his shop, Micah wonders: Is this real life? Or is this just fantasy? Surely no man’s this perfect in person. . . .
And just never mind that Reeves seems to be equally as attracted to Micah . . . and that, after two months of obliviousness on Micah’s part, that attraction has not abated.
Never mind all that, Micah thinks ruthlessly, tamping down the large, rather vocal part of himself that wants very much to mind all that. I don’t date my customers. Just because he's impossibly gorgeous, doesn't make Delton Reeves any different.
Only . . . Delton Reeves is not likely to be back here as a customer. Not after today. Not after I. . . .
And it hits Micah like a ton of proverbial bricks that he will never see Delton Reeves again.
Not even as a customer. Just . . . never. Why on Earth would the man ever set foot in Micah’s shop again? Surely Micah, fabulous wares aside, has given him no reason to do so, and thus Micah would never have to put up with such dire temptation as Delton Abernathy Reeves again.
It’s a good thing . . . right?
"Delton—wait," Micah says humbly as Reeves starts to walk away. When Reeves looks back forlornly, Micah grabs a pen from next to the cash register and quickly scribbles 5284910 on the top of Reeves's chocolates. Then he hands the box back to Reeves, who looks down at the numbers and back up at Micah, puzzled.
"My cell number," Micah mumbles, blushing again. "I'm usually home by seven-thirty."
Now that grin is back out in force, like the sun coming out from behind clouds. "I'll keep that in mind."
"Good . . . have a nice day, Delton."
“Gonna be much nicer, now, Micah.” Reeves winks and Micah laughs a little, blushing again.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Reeves murmurs, taking Micah’s hand from where it rests on the side of the register and bringing it to those sinful, pouty lips for a gentle kiss that nonetheless leaves Micah gaping once more. Not to mention the back of his hand tingling and sparking. “Till later, yes?”
“Yes,” Micah agrees breathlessly. Reeves grins and, with another wink, backs away from the counter, his hand letting go of Micah’s with a flirt of fingers.
Clearing his throat, Micah nods at the customer behind Reeves: an elderly woman who steps forward with a list as long as her arm and a kind-hearted, indulgent smile. Reeves continues to back away from the counter with his chocolates, still grinning, his gaze as warm as sunshine on Micah's face before he backs out the door, nearly colliding with a woman who’s coming in. Micah bites the inside of his cheek as Reeves falls all over himself with apologies to the woman, who does not look impressed.
Then Micah’s clearing his throat again and turning his mind back to business, and his next customer. His fantasies—which actually now have a chance of coming true—can wait a little while longer, yet. "Good morning, Mrs. Allen! How may I help you today, ma'am?"