I started writing this today for fun. If anyone actually enjoys it I will continue it. Sorry about the lack of editing; I stayed later at work than planned so I haven't had time.
Being a personal assistant was just a temporary thing, I reminded myself, as I stepped into the coffee shop. I should keep looking for a “real” job, one that gave me an office and office hours; one that didn’t involve waking up at 5AM to pick up dry cleaning for my boss only to be told a bit later I don’t need to drop it off with him until 2PM and I should “give myself some rest until then” because tomorrow will be really busy. I shouldn’t complain. Being able to walk into a coffee shop at 8:00 on a Thursday morning and not impatiently check the time every 20 seconds while waiting in line for fear of being late to an office job was actually pretty nice.
It wasn’t until after I had ordered and paid and was standing at the end of the counter awaiting my coffee that I saw him. He was just a few feet away, standing at a two-person table by himself, fidgeting with his coffee’s lid in an attempt to get it on properly. It appeared that everyone else had noticed him, too, with the one exception of the barista who walked right into him, knocking the table and splashing his coffee all over his shirt. The barista looked mortified, apologized repeatedly, and dashed away in search of a towel.
“Miss… Miss… MISS.” The young man behind the counter was looking at me with an exasperated expression and holding out a cup. “If you’re done staring, maybe you’d like to take your coffee.” I took the coffee and, as I looked back to the idol waiting patiently for the towel, I had an idea. I dashed out to my car and grabbed one of my boss’s freshly dry-cleaned shirts. I was relieved to see the idol still standing there when I returned. Before I could change my mind I walked straight over to him and without hesitating handed him the shirt. “You should go back to the restroom and change,” I said. He gave me a puzzled look but took the shirt. As he walked away I noticed all the phones held at eye level. People had been taking pictures (or worse, videos) of him. “Who is she?,” I heard one girl whisper. “Why did she have his shirt?,” her friend whispered back. Uh-oh. They hadn’t been taking pictures of HIM, they’d been taking pictures of US. I silently thanked myself for forgetting to take off my sunglasses when I had come back in with the shirt. It was time for some damage-control before there were rumors spreading and fangirls cursing me all over the internet. What could I do?
Inspiration struck. I picked up the empty coffee cup, still knocked over on the table and strode confidently toward the counter. In as authoritative a voice as I could manage and loudly enough (I hoped) to be heard by all the gawkers, I exclaimed, “Excuse me! Personal assistant coming through!” Technically it was the truth. I was a personal assistant. If they chose to believe that I was HIS personal assistant then that was entirely on them. I sat the empty cup down firmly on the counter and said, hoping that the barista would remember what he had ordered before and not ask me to confirm it, “He’ll need another one. To go. Thanks so much.” It worked. I could see the staring girls’ posture relax, no longer on red alert over me.
Just a moment after the barista handed me the new coffee, refusing to let me pay for it and apologizing on behalf of the employee who had spilled the first one, the idol returned from the restroom. The shirt looked way better on him than it ever had on my boss. I tried not to stare, to look as if him walking directly toward me was an everyday occurrence and not at all unusual. I was shocked by the sudden feeling of butterflies in my ribcage. He wasn’t my bias. In fact, he was the one member I barely even noticed compared to the others. How wrong I had been not to notice him before! In person there was something magnetic about him, something that made it almost impossible to look away. The sound of the coffee shop door swinging shut snapped me from my reverie just in time to take a step forward to meet him. “Here’s your coffee,” I said in a way that I hoped sounded casual. I didn’t know what to expect now – perhaps a confused stare or a question, such as “who do you think you are?” – but I definitely was not expecting him to say, “Time to go,” grab my arm, and lead me out of the coffee shop.