“What the flimity-flam, dude?” Darcy, dripping with iced coffee and whipped cream, turned to glare at the guy who had legit just PUSHED her backwards on the sidewalk. "Scratch that. I'mma pull out my big girl words, because you deserve them. What the actual fu–“
At that point, she jumped because a bus roared past them, laying on the horn.
"Oh…” she said, trailing off.
“Oh,” the guy who was looking better and better by the second (in direct correlation to how she was looking worse and worse, mind you) parroted back to her with a slight smirk. He pointed at a restaurant in front of them. "Come on, you’re all drippy.“
His accent was cute. Attractive. Cute. Something Eastern European or possibly Russian.
She frowned. "No offense, dude. But this is New York. You can’t just walk into some random restaurant, drip on their floor and demand napkins. Plus, that place looks on the upper scale of ritzy. Their napkins are probably cashmere or something.”
He chuckled. “They’re not cashmere, they’re linen.” He approached her slowly, obviously thinking about leading her and then thinking better of it. "You can come in and clean up if you want. I’ll even feed you for your trouble.“
"I’m hella late as it is, and I’m going to have to go replace the coffee or my boss will totally…” she trailed off. "Who am I kidding? My boss probably doesn’t even know it’s morning. I can spare a couple of minutes. No food, though. I just ate.“
Jane probably didn’t even have her clock set for daylight savings. She was fine.
"I’m Pietro, by the way.” He smiled and extended his hand. Shaking hers even though it was sticky. "And uh…don’t worry about the drips…this is my restaurant. I’ll clean it up.“ He nodded up to the sign and Darcy pretty much swallowed her tongue because once she saw the name of the place, everything clicked.
Maximoff’s. And he was Pietro. So that meant he was one half of the brother and sister team that was taking the New York Culinary scene by storm. And the only reason she knew that was because she’d read up on the place.
Because Tony wanted to take Pepper on a date here, but they were booked up for months.
"Holy crapnuggets…so you’re the chef?”
“Only on the days I’m here,” he said with a grin. "And I uh…never got your name?“
"Darcy,” she said, in awe as she took in the interior of a place featured in one of Pepper’s hoity toity magazines. "Say…I have a favor to ask…"
“I already saved your life, Darcy. Soooo…yeah, I guess I owe you.” He ducked behind the bar and came up with a glass. He filled it with club soda and gave her a small stack of cocktail napkins, probably so she could dab at the stains on her sweater.
She blushed and shook her head. “You’re right. Never mind.”
“No! I was kidding…hoping you’d…fight a little for it?” He was leaning on the bar and looking very extra especially yummy and Darcy was having a really hard time not asking him out as her favor. But that would be icky and not conducive to her plans for a pay raise.
“My boss…well…he’s not my BOSS-Boss, but he pays my boss?”
Pietro nodded. “Right…?”
“Anyway, he wants to take his girlfriend here and he hasn’t been able to get in. Is there any way you could help me with that?”
If she wasn’t completely sure that this five-star chef was already in a relationship or three, she might have thought Pietro looked a little disappointed by her favor. "You want…reservations…for your boss?“
"And his girlfriend. It’s Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, if that makes any difference.”
He shrugged. "Not really…what night would you want them for?“
"I dunno…whenever? He really wants to eat here.”
He motioned over her shoulder, and a pretty blonde woman appeared as if out of nowhere.
Blondie was smiling REALLY widely at Pietro. And it honestly made Darcy want to roll her eyes. "What can I do for you, Pietro?“
"What’s the earliest we have an opening?”
She pulled out a tablet with a stylus, tapping around on the screen before replying, “Saturday. We have an eight-thirty and a nine.”
“Pencil in Tony Stark and Pepper Potts for the eight-thirty. Thank you,” he smiled and turned back to Darcy, effectively dismissing the blonde. Who was definitely giving Darcy the stink eye, now that she was paying attention. "There,“ he said. "Now, I have something to ask you…”
Darcy dabbed the napkin in the club soda, even though she was starting to think that maybe this sweater was a lost cause. "Go for it.“
"Do you have plans next Monday?”
There was a sharp exhale at the end of the bar, and Darcy realized that Blondie hadn’t quite left the vicinity yet. And honestly, this looked like something she didn’t want in the middle of. "I actually work pretty much every day.“
His face fell, and she almost felt bad, except he was a mistake waiting to happen. "Oh…well. If that ever changes…” He slid a napkin across the table. There was a phone number scrawled there. "Call me.“
Darcy pressed her lips together and nodded. "Yep. I will surely do that!”
She got up, making for the exit and planning to toss the napkin out the first chance she got.
Except she didn’t. She kind of stuffed it in her bag on the way back to the coffee place.