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Rose's Coffee

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Anne Neville was minding her own business in Rose’s Coffee when it all started. She was sat, on her own, sipping her latte and working on her essay, when Edward Lancaster and Elizabeth Woodville walked over to her table. Edward Lancaster was the most popular guy at the University and Elizabeth Woodville was his bitchy girlfriend. She was one of those entitled types, coming from nothing to dating the most sought after guy in town. Anne hated them, or rather, they hated her. As far as they were concerned, she was just some annoying Northern first year Philosophy student.

“Can you move? This is our table” Elizabeth said as she wandered over, Edward trailing behind her with their drinks. Anne knew that Elizabeth would stay there until she moved, so Anne gave in gracefully and began to pack up her things. She’d been at the University for less than two months, but she knew messing with Elizabeth Woodville whilst alone was a bad idea. Anne hardly noticed when the door opened and closed, but it wasn't long before someone had their arms around her.

“Sorry I’m late! Thanks for saving me a seat” the person said before staring at Edward and Elizabeth.

“Didn't realise you were expecting company” Elizabeth said, raising her eyebrows before strutting to another table, Edward dutifully following after her. Anne unpacked her belongings and gestured for the stranger to sit with her. She finally looked up at them and saw a young man, perhaps a year or two older than her, with thick black hair, pale skin, and deep green eyes.

“Thank you for that” she whispered as she turned on her laptop again and pulled out her textbook. He immediately noticed the cover.

“How funny! I do philosophy too, and it was my pleasure” he commented, gesturing to the book. “I’m 1st year, still getting into the swing of things” she replied.

“2nd year. Oh, I’m Richard York”

“Anne Neville” she smiled, finding the essay she'd been working on. Richard excused himself so he could get himself a coffee, and all the while he thought of Anne. He knew of Edward Lancaster and Elizabeth Woodville, and almost felt it his duty to save this poor first year from them. Whilst he waited for his drink, he thanked his guardian angel or whatever was listening that the stranger he'd saved turned out to be so pretty. She was small, fair, perfect.

He made his way back over to the corner table where Anne was already writing more of her essay. He sat back down and pretended to peer over her laptop. She’d been furrowing her brow, and he wanted to make her laugh. He succeeded, too.

“Want a hand?” He asked, raising one eyebrow to make her burst out laughing again. It was then that Richard subconsciously decided that Anne’s laugh was the sweetest sound he'd ever heard.

“If you wouldn't mind” she replied, feeling her cheeks heat up as she blushed at Richard’s kind, almost sympathetic smile. She turned her laptop around so he could see her essay, about the relationship between the mind and the material world. He read it whilst sipping his drink every now and then.

“This is good. This is really good.” He stated after a while. Anne smiled.

“Really?” She asked, not believing what Richard had just said.

“Really. Much better than anything I ever wrote in my first term” he replied, taking an almost triumphant gulp of coffee. Anne smiled and looked down bashfully. They smiled at each other before Richard started talking Anne through the good and bad bits of it.

Elizabeth looked over from where she and Edward were sat, chatting about nothing in particular. Elizabeth called it chatting when in reality she was speaking in Edward’s general direction and he was listening. She was irritated. That was her table, and now some random first year and that weirdo who’d barrelled in were laughing and having a good time.

Anne triumphantly closed her laptop as she finished editing her essay. She’d been going through it with Richard for hours, and she was finally satisfied. They left Rose’s Coffee late, and Richard insisted on walking Anne back to her halls. They chatted about this and that, but both secretly treated it as a fact finding mission about the other. Richard discovered that she was originally from Warwick, and that her older sister Isabel’s boyfriend George Plantagenet was also studying if their university. Anne discovered that Richard was from Fotheringhay, a small village in Northamptonshire, and that he was still in halls, though with different people to his first year. He asked Anne if she knew of Margaret Beaufort. Anne replied that she’d heard the name thrown around. Richard explained that she was notorious for her seeming infinite string of boyfriends, and that he shared a flat with her.

“I've gone through many sets of earplugs” Richard commented as they reached her building. Anne stopped dead and burst out laughing, muttering something about him being awful.

“Thank you for this afternoon” Anne said as they reached the door.

“It was my pleasure. We should do it again” Richard replied, rushing the last part. Anne smiled at his sudden nervousness.

“We should. Saturday morning? Around 10? Rose’s Coffee?” Anne suggested. “Sounds perfect. Goodnight Anne” Richard agreed.

“Goodnight Richard” Anne whispered as he leant in and kissed her cheek. It wasn’t until he was walking back to his halls that Richard realised how nervous he’d been, suggesting that they go out.

Anne closed her bedroom door behind her and leant against it, sighing deeply. She subconsciously raised her hand and brushed her fingers over where Richard had kissed her. She sat down at her desk and pulled her laptop from her satchel. She was surprised when a small slip of paper slid out of it and onto her lap. Picking it up, she found a phone number on it. Underneath the number was a neatly written name.

Richard x

Anne immediately programmed the number into her phone and sent off a text, thanking Richard again for helping her out. She soon received a reply.

It was my pleasure. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday x

Anne almost screamed when she read it. Nobody had been interested in her before, and now she had an admirer. Anne was glad he felt the same as her. Though she’d only known him for an afternoon, Anne Neville knew there was something very special about Richard York.

Richard was sat at his desk, eating a bowl of cereal whilst working on yet another essay when he heard a text some through on his phone. He was delighted to see that it was from Anne.

Just got my essay back - A! Thank you so much

He quickly typed a reply.

It was mostly you - you’ll have to tell me all about it tomorrow x

It was quite a while before Anne’s reply came through, he assumed she was in a lecture or tutorial. He had almost finished his work when it did. He very nearly leaped across the room with an athleticism he didn’t actually possess to where his phone was charging next to his bed. The text from Anne was short but sweet.

Can’t wait x

Richard grinned when he saw the kiss on the end of it, and that’s when he realised he had fallen for her hook, line, and sinker. He shook his head and sat back down at his desk. Anne Neville had completely taken over his life, and he didn’t mind one bit.