Harry is taken aback by the morning stream of nicotine-craving customers, craving all the coffee his co-worker barista boy Niall could scurry to make in a matter of minutes, meanwhile himself studied on serving the sweet pastries he’d woken at five to prepare. With loudened voices and impatient businessmen storming between doors and cluttering their money till with mere coins, Harry had nearly completed his early morning shift, allowed his momentary break to compose himself at eight o’clock, once the seven am peak is calmed.
With the soft tranquillity of eight am lolling around on the clock, he sighed a breath of relief, his apron smeared with custard, cream and powdered in caster sugar. As he unhooked his apron to string up against the hook out the back, he smoothed down his crumpled beige jeans and buttoned up his first button on his pleated plaid shirt; he exhaled quietly.
Working at Tiers of Joy wasn’t all he anticipated to do all his life. Harry Styles, a part-time employee at the relatively popular bakery in town, a nineteen year old college student and full-time cooking enthusiast. With a small apartment of his own a mere block away from the crook of the bakery, Holmes Chapel was quite the insignificant blimp on England’s radar, going unknown for quite some time. But Harry found comfort in his small town, the ease to detect small shortcuts and have no distress over overcrowding or established traffic problems, his town was to him; quite content.
He wasn’t a city boy, nor a country one, a rural city boy perhaps. He lived with that barista boy too, and his manager, Liam Payne, who it would be an understatement to say, as a student, was excelling. With his own business, his own entrepreneur skills to expand and branch the brand name, he was incredulously proud of his best friends. Harry didn’t entirely know what he had intentions on pursuing after college, but with his majors as advanced extension English, visual media (photography his major,) and another significant study of hospitality (majoring in none other than pastries.)
As he stammered out the back door of the complex, that backed against a small pathway of a narrow and windy street, a considerably quiet neighbourhood; he slumped against the brick wall as he overheard a passer-by rambling nonsense on the phone.
“Honestly, the bakery took twenty minutes to serve me the fucking coffee and your stupid strawberry iced donut and you’re telling me I should be glad it was cheap? Twenty minutes Zayn. I could’ve spent that wanking off or sleeping in but no, you encouraged me to get up and be healthier and I’m really not feeling it y’know? This stupid coffee is cold and so is your soul.” The boy coldly snapped, the shadow of the figure turning the corner, Harry swallowing thickly in anticipation, and confrontation. He had always taken pride in his hospitable skills in serving swiftly to appease everyone, with his genuine manners and swift act. To hear this, the first displeased comment hit him hard. This bakery was his baby. No way was he going to let this stranger slip.
Well, shit, maybe he would. Just this once.
And this boy, this boy was beyond words as breathtaking. To call him beautiful would be an understatement. In awe, his features close up were ravishing. His cerulean, azure, entrancing stare had any man weak at the knees and unknowingly salivating. His trimmed, well groomed jawline, accentuating his slim face, complimenting his pale complexity, and fuck, why did the one he had to despise be just his type?
“Hold on a sec Zayn, I think I may have lost where I’ve parked the car,” He ambled quietly, the smaller boy shifting his attention to the incredibly lanky, vexed boy slumped against a wall, beside trays stacked upon each other.
Before Louis could determine what the hell had erupted to stir this boy up, rile him into such a displeased expression, he grimaced, the curly haired boy striding up towards him with a boyish huff. After a morning of torment already, he really didn’t need an angered, attractive kid storming up to him. With his best friend/painful roommate Zayn piss him with an alarm set to startle him from his slumber before the sun even rose, he grew fidgety and stormed out of the apartment, attempting to take his mind off anything before pursuing his day at his tedious office as an executive promoter in cinematography.
Harry had staggered towards him with a scowl to his lips, pressing a finger to his chest, between his pecs. He composed himself, rolling his shoulders back in pride, lips pursed and chin raised threateningly.
“Excuse me but I’d like to have a word with you.” Harry impolitely interrogated the boy, too careless to deny his shameful confession of eavesdropping. He folded his arms to his chest and Louis arched an eyebrow in bewilderment, raising the phone to his ear reluctantly.
“’m sorry Zayn, call you back in a sec.” He muttered near incoherently as he watched on in horror at the blinded attack, hand to his chest and a pouty teenager stood before him. He couldn’t fathom exactly why, considerably oblivious.
“I’m sorry? A word, love? What is there to discuss? Is there a problem here?” He murmured, beguiled as he watched on in dismay, eyeing the absolutely attractive figure before him. With tan dark curls that cascaded down either side his cheeks to still and frame his slim face, lips a soft pink, eyes a darkened emerald as he studied his body, his protruding hips, accentuating his slim legs.. Dear god.
“Yeah, actually there is.” Harry insistently spoke, shaking his head rudely. “You can’t complain about the bakery. I-H-How about I make you a new coffee, on the house? We just, we can’t risk losing valued customers like that. We’re on an incredibly tight budget trying to refurnish the countertop already and quite frankly,-"
“Look babe, I’m in a hurry, it’d be best if you just dropped it yeah? Before I like drop a bad review on your site or something,” He jokingly scoffed, arrogant as he clutched defensively at his bitter cold latte, swirling it around mindlessly.
“You wouldn’t dare!” Harry spoke, furiously fuming as he bunched his hands frustratedly into fists, glaring across to the boy who according to him seemed unbothered by the interference. This stirred a snicker in response an raise of a questionable eyebrow.
“Would you like to test me on that then love? Because I could also mention a certain curly-haired someone that breached employee and customer regulations by stalking a certain me.” He retorted with a gleaming smirk, considerably content with the threat.
“You couldn’t! I-I I’ve done nothing wrong! I was just on break and overheard you-"
“You mean eavesdropping.” Louis remarked bluntly, rudely interrupting an already enraged baker-boy.
“Overheard.” He gritted out insistently, sighing softly in defeat at his relentless threats, frowning as he pulled back from his rude attacks, in loss; stepping back to grant access to the remainder of the path the boy was venturing upon.
“Thanks love, I’ll be on my way now. Be sure to check out the site tonight. Tiers of joy, am I right?” He taunted a lasting time, Harry stomping his foot childishly at his miserable attempt. The smaller boy merely stammered past in accomplishment, this time his shoulders rolled back, his chin held high, and his frigid coffee in hand.
Later that night.
“So you’re telling me he’s planning to comment on the bakery’s site a shit review? You fucking fought this poor customer over a cold coffee complaint?” Liam snapped at his best friend, well not currently, currently in mode as angered-store-owner, whining to Harry who had his head buried in his hands.
“Hey! Niall made that coffee and I made that damn donut and he complained, what was I supposed to do? He was nasty and rude and impolite.” Harry stood ground, huffing as the three, he, Niall and Liam hunched over his poor excuse of a computer in anticipation for a threatening review to be publicised on their page.
“Harry; he’s a customer of many. We have a fucking rep coming into to criticise and evaluate the bakery this Wednesday. We can’t have this kind of stupid behaviour and comments risked on our site.” He snapped in frustration, a weak alert notifying them on the screen, signalling the refreshed comment onto their page.
With a hesitancy of his hand, he skidded the mouse down to read the message.
“I went to this bakery today, poor customer service, some impolite employees with wild hair, fit body and is too tall for his own good. Quite disappointed. Eh.”
With a mere one out of five stars highlighted, the absolute lowest, Harry groaned.
“Liam we can’t remove reviews, they’re there to aware the public, only the fucking owner can remove the comment.” Harry clarified, Liam pacing the floor behind him, eyes threatening and jaw clenched in acrimony.
“You have two days until the rep comes out to get the bastard to delete the message. I don’t want to have to tolerate this shit by myself.” Liam insisted, Harry childishly groaning as he demandingly spoke, knowing what Liam says, goes. He excused himself to answer an incoming call from his long-time boyfriend, so to be fiancé, Zayn. Niall chuckled beside him, idly crossing his legs at his ankles with a shit-eating grin Harry knew all too well.
“Have fun with him H, you really fucked this one up.” He mused with a coy grin, stammering to his feet before approaching his bedroom in amusement, sauntering away from Harry. He needed a plan to reassess how he’d go about attempting to encourage him that the bakery was satisfying and also to physically encourage him to delete the comment, so Liam wouldn’t erupt all hulk on him.
Louis didn’t want to exhaust himself with another tedious walk and snarl to the infamous bakery, but needed to, with his boss dialling him up before he clambered into his Lexus, pleading to take an order of three skim lattes, a cappuccino and something for himself. Huffing in displeasure, absolutely despising to abide by rules, he complied and directed himself towards what was, one of two of the bakeries in this town, the other further South in the opposite direction. Dressed in a pair of black skinny jeans against his hips, a black, clean shirt, he reversed into the same parking space as the day before, and stepped out.
Nearing the door, he nearly stumbled back in startle, still weary eyed and yawning from one-too-many hits from the blunt he’d shared with roommate Zayn, the night before. Eyes reddened, he groaned as he felt a brush to his wrist, a perky smile etched against the boy’s lips.
“Tip one,” Louis muttered, shiftily glancing up to meet the bright-eyed boy from the day before, apron curled around his slim waist and name label pinned to his chest. “Don’t jump on customers.” He mumbled, the boy indefinitely sighing shamefully in defeat, Louis only attempting to brighten up his smile, feeling considerably guilty for being snarky so early in the morning, most importantly on a Monday. “I’m sorry sweetheart, what’d you want me for?” Louis politely enquired, Harry chirpily smiling as he offered him a menu. Of all the times he’d entered a bakery, he’d never seen a mat trade serve him with a menu, bakeries just didn’t do that. So why was Harry?
Harry had never considered himself to stand out in the frigid England weather encouraging an awfully attractive boy to enter his bakery and to please, delete a fucking comment. “I just thought to take the initiative to introduce you to our specialities this morning, warm coffee, iced donuts home-made by me…” Harry drawled out slowly, a small snicker slipping beyond his lips, unsure whether to be bothered by his desperate attempt, or endeared by this lanky sweetheart of a boy.
“Well, I couldn’t say no to a warm coffee, I mean, after all…” Louis teasingly retorted, Harry nearly leaping at the opportunity, his overly large and considerably chilly hand curling around his slender wrist, offering a faint lopsided smile before tugging Louis into the store, swallowing thickly.
“Actually babe, I need four coffees. Can you do that? Three skim lattes, a cappuccino and perhaps a pastry of your choosing.” He hummed, Harry’s hand dropped to retrieve his notepad slotted in his pocket, scrawling down the order, nodding with a gentle smile of assurance, accomplishment.
“Yes, sir, is that all?” He asked quietly, stumbling between customers, wedging himself behind the counter towards the till, setting the notepad to Niall with a considerably inconspicuous nod gesture to the customer that was the one. Louis unravelled his leather wallet, elbows propped against the countertop as he bent down.
“That’s all sweet-cheeks.” He mused teasingly, much to Harry’s observant displeasure, he gritted his teeth and offered his hand out as he punched in an order for the receipt.
“That’s £6.17, thank-you.” He murmured, clasping his card and swiping it through the machine, glancing up, attempting to deny himself of a fluster at the intent stare the boy had on him. With an appreciative smile, he returned the receipt and prepared his pastry, choosing a specialty he’d made that morning, apple and cinnamon scrolls. Setting one in a paper bag, with his coffee’s pressed into a stand, he leaned across and handed them to the boy.
“Thanks love, maybe you aren’t so bad after all.” Louis mused tauntingly, Harry quirking an eyebrow of realisation, having never enquired further on the stranger, what his name was.
“What’s your name?” He relentlessly blurted out in mere curiosity, eyes widening as the boy reciprocated with a smug, victorious smirk, rolling his shoulders back and leaning further down to murmur too close to Harry’s ear for his own liking.
“That’s for me to know and for you to find out. Thanks again babe.” He chimed politely, only to snicker as he excused himself to saunter back towards his car. To Harry’s relief, he knew if this charmed the boy, he could most certainly have the comment deleted, and perhaps a number of his own too. With the morning shift done, he excused himself to attend his last course of the day that he could absorb. English.
With a small yawn escaping his lips and his renowned Yorkshire tea sweltering in his hands as he cradled his mug, Harry leaned back in his chair, the morning still dark, with ten minutes before four am, he was up bright and early, to chase the day to come. He fired up his weak ASUS computer, sipping and mouthing against the warm rim of the cup, awaiting to refresh the page in excitement. Perhaps mystery boy had taken the fond gesture of removing the site, his eyes only to widen at the notification of a new comment added. With a weak yawn, he scrolled down to read the message, his scalding hot tea nearly tumbling down across his flannelette pyjamas in awe. No, no this couldn’t be happening. Not the day before the rep came.
“A good and bad review. I was invited in by a mat trade, before engaging in a delightful conversation, handed four perfectly warm coffees and a pastry for myself. When indulging in the ‘speciality,’ I found it had cinnamon with apple. I’m allergic to cinnamon.”
Harry felt like crying. After all his effort to impress this man, to deny himself of failure and to persevere with deleting the comment left on their site, he felt like he was about to give up in bewilderment of all the delicate pastries he could’ve sported him with, he chose the one he was most allergic to.
10 points to Harry.
With is tedious morning behind him and a portable lecture to work from his boss best-friend Liam, he was relieved to spend the two hours he had before dawn preparing, rolling, baking goods. With successful dozen batches of croissants, donuts (glazed, chocolate-coated, cinnamon coated and strawberry coated,) scrolls, bread, rolls, he made all the goods that would appease their customers on a peak Tuesday. As he stood behind the counter serving students from his college, elderly engaging in small catch-ups to mingle over coffee, hustled businessmen and the odd stray; Harry ‘s eyes narrowed as he caught the all too familiar boy approach the store door. Adjusting his apron and combing his tousled hair back, he exhaled softly and eyed the boy, admiring his impressive attire. His outfit most certainly accentuated his curvy, voluptuous figure, skin tight red, flamboyant jeans and a pale striped navy shirt clinging at his biceps, a pair of vans slipped on, this boy was almost ungodly; and yes; Harry was certainly okay with that.
“My name is Louis, and you nearly killed me.” He hummed casually to Harry, his breath hitched in his throat at the calmed remark, composing himself as he eased down the tongs he had held defensively, and folded his arms to his chest.
“And I’m Harry, the boy who tried to do you a favour unknowing you were allergic to cinnamon. Who the fuck is allergic to cinnamon anymore?” He whined, receiving a small smirk of approval by the customer, only to sigh.
“Look, Louis, I really need those reviews down, the rep is coming tomorrow and my best friend slash boss is on my back trying to convince you to delete them. Please?” He pleaded in dear desperation, Louis shaking his head in amusement as he eyed the doe-eyed vixen Harry was.
“I suppose you better impress me then, go full out this morning hm? I’ll go find my seat, how’s that?” With the azure-eyed boy pacing away with a smug expression, Harry cursed, rummaging through his pocket and requesting their spare baker, Stan to take task behind the countertop as he went to serve their newly prioritised customer, cradling his order sheet and pen. As he strolled towards him. he sighed softly and glanced up questionably.
“Hi I’m Harry, I’ll be your waiter for today, what can I get for you besides cinnamon?” He huffed out, a loud shout of laughter stirring from the incredulously small boy. Louis eyed the specialities behind him, licking his lips before meeting Harry’s longingly, impatient stare.
“I’ll have a flat cappuccino and a cannoli, please.” He hummed, easing a hand against Harry’s wrist, catching him quite off guard as he steadied his gaze back against the customer. “And a date with you. Then I’ll delete the comments.” He proposed, his eyes widening in awe, frowning at the bribe.
“You shouldn’t use it as a threat, you know. I’ll go with you, but you better make it good.” He flirtatiously retorted, swiftly turning his back to move away from the boy. How could he trust him? He was a stranger, no more than three days had he known Louis for, only legitimately finding his name out mere minutes before. Shaking his head in distraught, he retrieved the cappuccino frm Niall with a roll of his eyes as his bleach-blonde haired best friend winked encouragingly.
“Maybe you didn’t fuckup after all, H.” Niall mused, Harry snatching the cup and saunter for the cannoli, approaching the boy and easing it down, watching him scroll on his phone. Evasively, he caught the logo of their site on his screen, crouching behind him to steady his gaze, the comments deleted and a new one added.
“Great staff, incredible, hospitable, five-out-of-five for appeasing the customer. After all, the customer is always right, yes?”
Harry smiled. Louis returned the grin.
A month later
Edited: “Great staff, incredible, five-out-of-five for appeasing the customer. After all, the customer is always right, yes? And so is my baker-boyfriend,”