365

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accusation

dude hurry up. i am like this close to getting my own coffee and ditching u. - a

Ash hates cold weather. She can cut off her hair in the summer to cool herself down, but there never seems to be enough thick jumpers to protect her from the cold bite of winter. And she really hates how hard it is to text when her hands feel like icicles.

dude, don't be needy. I'll be there soon. - E

u better be. - a

why you complaining anyway? don't u have ur new bae to text? ;) - E

get your ridiculous winking emoticons away from me. - a

we had ONE CONVERSATION em. - a

Plus, Charlie seemed kinda like a dick. Ash may have a previous history with assholes but she's trying to turn away from that. She doesn't threaten to kill just everyone on the first conversation.

and you texted her like bffs. - E

I have no sense of social decorum. - a

well, that's true. - E

fuck off. ur buying me a drink for being late. - a

gross - E

u r - a

Ash sighs, breath condensing immediately on the air. She briefly entertains the idea of dragon breath, then flips her hood down and steps into the coffee shop. Em can meet her just as easily inside, and the smell of coffee always warms her right up.

"Ash!" A male voice calls from behind the counter.

"Oh, hi, Harry," Ash replies, hoping her expression isn't as pained as she feels. Of course he'd be working today.

"Latte as usual?"

"Um, I'm actually waiting for a friend, she's gonna get me a drink, so... I'm waiting." She smiles, sure it's strained.

"No big deal!" Harry grins, "I can get this drink for you, on the house, and she can get you one later. Double the free caffeine?"

"Nah... I'm trying to reduce the caffeine intake, you know. The crash kills me." She looks around for a table.

"There aren't many tables today, sorry."

"Yeah, that's why I thought to come in early, try and scope one out..." Seeing none, she checks her phone, desperate for a text from Em to save her. No luck.

H is working. i'll buy u a drink if u can get here in the next minute tbh. - a

"You can just hang out with me in the meantime, no one seems to be buying..."

"Wow, lucky me," Ash replies, with no (she hopes) inflection.

No luck. Can't escape my dad's rugby talk. We'll get in the car soon, I hope. - E

"Right?" Harry grins again, enthusiasm unquenched.

"Um, anyway..." Ash says, looking around again to see if there's anyone she recognises, a last ditch effort - and nope.

Find someone cute to flirt with. He can't interrupt if working right?? - E

only grannies. not cute enough, sry - a

"Hey, why you waiting up here?" A girl comes up and drapes her arm over Ash's shoulder, and thankfully she's not a granny - though Ash isn't sure how she missed this girl, she's definitely pretty enough to warrant emergency flirting.

Ash raises her eyebrows almost involuntarily; there's not a chance she's met this girl before. "Um..."

Luckily, the girl turns to Harry instead of waiting for a response. "Ah, you know how it is, I always miss people in a crowd too... and I guess you know Ash? Completely oblivious, all the time." She laughs, and Ash can't move but to blink at the stranger. "Yeah, that's the gormless expression I meant," she smirks at Ash. "Anyway, if you don't mind, I'm gonna have to steal her from you." This is addressed to Harry, before she swiftly takes Ash's hand and leads her to a table.

"Um," Ash says again.

"Sorry, you just looked like you desperately needed rescuing. He an ex or something?" The girl says, tucking brown strands of hair behind her ear.

"Yeah... he didn't seem to take 'I'm gay' to heart, unfortunately." Ash says, mind still not fully caught up on the events of the past minute.

The other girl laughs, "Boys often don't. You're welcome, by the way."

"Yeah, thanks... uh, you seem to know my name, but I don't know yours..?"

"Charlie."

"Okay, thanks, Charl- wait, are you..?" Ash says, starting to put jigsaw pieces together.

"Strange texter? Yeah." Charlie nods, taking a sip from her drink.

"Wait, but how did you know... I was me?"

"I mean, in fairness, I'd rescue anyone in that position, but hearing the name 'Ash' called out helped. Not that common of a name. And then, of course, your Facebook profile matched, so I just put it all together."

Ash laughs, nodding. "Okay, but I barely even know your first name, let alone what you look like - we're not even friends on Facebook, dude."

Charlie bites her lip, "Uh, Emma might have given me enough information to seek you out..."

Ash's phone buzzes, but she thinks Em can wait a few minutes. "You mean, you Facebook stalked me?" She accuses gently, still grinning.

Charlie's cheeks redden. "No! I just... looked you up, a little bit. I saw the cool silver hair, and I told Em she could try and hook us up if she really wanted, I wouldn't immediately run screaming the other way..."

Ash laughs loudly. "And then you asked me if I was hot anyway, trying to pretend you hadn't already stalked me."

"No..." Charlie draws out the word, looking down at her coffee. "I mean, maybe?" She laughs, despite herself.

"Mhmm, sure." Ash pulls out her phone, "Well, in that case, it's only fair you let me stalk you back..."

We're leaving now. 5-10 minutes. I'll tell Harry to go fuck himself when I get there. xxx E

no need. got a knight in shining armour. - a

"Um, no? Maybe not?"

"Why, you got something to hide?" Ash teases.

"Everyone's got something to hide on Facebook." Charlie points out, not unfairly.

"Not if your security settings are set well enough." Ash holds her phone out to Charlie expectantly.

"Ugh, fine. But only if it'll get you to shut up."

"This is our second conversation. You don't get to tell me to shut up." Ash mimes tossing her hair, then remembers she doesn't have enough to actually do that. "Plus, no. My middle name is Takes-The-Piss."

"I love that name, Celtic origins?" Charlie responds dryly, handing the phone back on her profile.

"Yeah, how'd you know?"

"Well, it makes you sound like an asshole; had to be Scottish."

who??? - E

Ash snorts, forgoing a response in favour of scrolling through her companion's profile. "Dude, there's not even anything bad here... you just have so many friends tagging you in statuses. I don't even have friends." Quickly sending a friend request, she clicks off the profile.

maybe ur matchmaking isn't totally awful. - a

Charlie laughs. "Yeah, I say stupid shit enough that I get it all immortalised on the internet... wouldn't say friends would do that for me."

Ash considers. "Nah, that's definitely what friends do. Mine are just too cool for Facebook."

Charlie raises her eyebrows. "You have cool friends?"

I'm going home. Have fun on your date that you sought out on your own. - E

fuck off. get ur ass here. - a

"No, I'm friends with Em, remember?"

"True," Charlie grins.

"They just like to think they're cool."

"Ah, yes," Charlie presses a hand to her heart. "The beloved hipster."

"God save us all." Ash raises her eyes to the heaven. "Sorry I keep checking my phone, by the way, I'm supposed to be meeting Em, but she's late. Obviously."

"Ah, what's the excuse this time?"

"Her dad talking about rugby." Ash rolls her eyes.

"Her dad doesn't even like sports!"

"Oh, I know that."

I'm outside. Last chance to get me to leave ;) - E

not a chance. you owe me like 3 coffees by now - a

"She's here, though," Ash says. "I can leave..?"

"Nah, no need, there's no other tables. Unless you don't want me here?" Charlie responds, self-consciously.

"No, you guys are already friends, it's cool. She'll tease us, though."

"Well, obviously. You guys clearly are friends for a reason."

Ash laughs. "And teasing is that whole reason, you're right."

"Aww, look at the lovebirds!" Em says, clutching her hands over her chest dramatically.

"You're full of shit, Em," Charlie says.

"You let her Facebook stalk me, you shit friend. Go buy us coffee."

Em pouts at Ash.

"Nope."

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