The Office

Author: Closetromantic19 aka Katie
Feedback: Is greatly appreciated.
Rating: PG-13 to R
Disclaimer: Don't own them.
Notes: Thoughts in italics.

Willow Rosenberg was not a light sleeper. It was with this realization in mind she had designed her patented wake-up system; a veritable minefield of alarm clocks were strategically placed around her room for maximum wake-up potential. The system was fail-safe. She had never overslept since its institution. Until today.

It was 8:03. She had to be at work in exactly 57 minutes. That gave her exactly 57 minutes to shower, dry her hair, brush and floss her teeth, pick out and put on an outfit for the day, prepare her morning coffee and bagel, eat her morning coffee and bagel, brush her teeth and rinse for exactly two minutes with Scope.

By the time she had finished showering, drying, brushing, flossing, picking-out, and putting-on it was 8:17. Crap. She'd have to take this show on the road.

Willow was not a particularly big fan of big-city coffee chains, but by the time she'd reached downtown Los Angeles, this was as good as it was going to get. She jumped out of her car, tossing her keys to the valet and ran inside the crowded Starbucks.

"Welcome to Starbucks, what can I get you?" Like most Los Angeles establishments this particular Starbucks was clearly staffed by out-of-work actors and actresses, all of whom were a bit too chipper for this time of morning.

"Yeah, just a large coffee to go." Willow exhaled hurriedly.

The woman behind the counter regarded the redhead with a mixture of dubiousness and disdain. "Ted, your customer."

Willow thought Ted looked nice enough. "Shannen, I'm on my break, can't you fucking handle anything?!" Apparently looks can be deceiving, Willow mused.

The blonde customer behind Willow sighed loudly. "This is just not my day."

Willow turned around a friendly rant already halfway out of her mouth. "I know exactly what you mean, today I meant to get up at 6:30 and I get up and what time is it?! 8:03! I know, 8:03! Usually I'm so responsible and I meant to make my own coffee at home because I just can't get through the day without it..." Willow's speech came to an abrupt halt when she realized the blonde didn't look very sympathetic to her cause.

Still, the anonymous blonde seemed to take pity on her. "You...uh, don't come to Starbucks very often," she said amused.

Willow shook her head vehemently, " way, I hate Starbucks!" she spat without thinking.

In a moment every pair of eyes in the vicinity had honed in on the coffee interloper, but the blonde merely shrugged noncommittally. "Well, there's um, do you like, uh..." the blonde examined the Coffee of the Week sign, "this is the Coffee of the Week, uh, Serena Organic Blend, that's like, um, kind of citrusy...but it's just coffee, if that's what you're looking for..."

Willow made a face at the notion of 'citrusy' coffee and shook her head quickly, so the blonde continued. "I mean," she glanced up at the board, "They have mochas...if you wanted..."

The redhead's eyes lit up at the sound of that. "Mmm, mochas, I haven't had a mocha in forever, I love mochas, mochas are just so..." she smiled at the blonde who looked ready to run off at any moment, "yum...mochas are yum." The redhead glanced at the blonde for a moment longer, hoping to prove just by keeping a straight face that she wasn't completely insane and then returned her attention to the woman at the counter. "Oh!" her face lit up as she read the board, "I know what I want now!" she said excitedly.

"How thrilling for you," the woman behind the counter deadpanned.

Willow waited a moment at that, unsure of how to respond. "Oh...oh!...I want uhm, a caramel mocha, with a double shot of espresso." The woman at the counter waited, for what Willow was unsure, then realization dawned, "a large, the largest size you have in your little Starbucks universe," she managed more assertively than before.

"One venti double shot caramel mocha," the woman said dryly, "and who is this for?"

Willow stared at her dumbfounded, "It's for me."

The woman behind the counter rolled her eyes. "Your name, I need you to give me your name."

Willow nodded again in realization and turned towards the blonde behind her, "Like I said, never been to Starbucks and..." she was interrupted by the sound of the woman behind the counter clearing her throat. "It's Willow. My name's Willow."

The helpful blonde stepped up to the counter. "You can um, you can wait over there and they'll call your name when it's ready." Willow shot her a look of gratitude and moved over to wait for her mocha.

"Sorry for the wait," the woman at the counter said testily, "You know how it is...some people..." and with this she looked over in disgust at where Willow was bouncing from foot to foot in apparent anticipation of her mocha.

The blonde glanced over towards the redhead also, and she gave the girl at the counter a small smile as if to say what can you do? "I'll have a Grande Chai Iced Tea Latte," she said plainly.

The girl at the counter nodded dutifully, glad to be dealing with someone who was familiar with proper Starbucks ordering technique. "And the name?"

The blonde smiled politely. "It's Tara. T-A-R-A. And I'm kind of in a rush."

The girl at the counter nodded appreciatively, finally someone with an attitude she could comprehend. "I'll get that done as fast as possible, miss."

A few minutes later Ted, who had been called back to his post at the counter, barked, "Venti double-shot caramel mocha for Willow! Order up!"

Willow grabbed her mocha, intent on getting back to her car and heading straight to work when she heard Ted announce, "Grand Chai Iced Tea Latte for Tara!" She decided she ought to thank the woman who had saved her from certain-lateness.

Tara was in such a rush to grab her order and be on her way she didn't notice the redhead barreling towards her, giant mocha in hand, until it was too late and the contents of Tara's icy morning pick-me-up sprang out of her hands and onto her face and collared shirt, leaving her completely soaked.

"Oh my god!" Willow choked out, "I am such a spaz. Here I am coming over here to say thanks for helping me out and I just...totally..." She held up her hands to indicate Tara's soaked shirt, "do this," she finished lamely. "Can I help you clean up or...or buy you another latte or...or..."

"Thanks," the blonde said, distressed, "but um, I really, uh, I think you've done enough."

Willow took a sip of her mocha to calm herself down and gazed into clear blue eyes for a moment before the blonde raced out of the coffee shop in a blur. Her heart beat faster and her breathing sped up. She wondered if it was just the caffeine taking effect.

Continue to The Office Chapter Two

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