His thumb strokes over Richie’s cheek gently and his smile lights up his eyes as he moves even closer, lips barely touching Richie’s. He’s really just breathing Richie in at this point, giving Richie more than enough time to back away if he so chooses.
Richie goes stock still, brain all but shutting down at having Harold so close. His lips have gone slightly slack in shock, but he licks them as he recovers. His eyes are blown wide, going partially cross-eyed before shuttering closed, and then he whispers. “Please?”
He chuckled as he finished his own cup of coffee and moved to sit on the plush couch next to Richie, “you’re welcome to come in and chat any time, Richie, you know that.” Harold takes a sip and lets out a quiet groan of appreciation at the taste of his own fantastic coffee. After a moment of silence, he meets Richie’s gaze again, a hint of a blush dusting his cheekbones, “so what brings you into the shop again? Another audition?”
“Thanks,” Richie murmurs appreciatively and smiles at Harold. He ducks his head a bit. “I’m afraid I’m just hiding out here this time. Mister and Missus Kordan from upstairs are in a terrible row and they’ve been yelling and screaming. You could hear it from the street outside, they were so loud! Pots and pans being thrown, the works. I couldn’t hear myself think.” He pauses in his ramble and grins, a little embarrassed. “So I came to see you instead. It’s always so comforting to be here.”
Harold ducked his head to hide the blush that blossomed on his cheeks. He finished making Richie’s coffee and glanced up at the other man through his lashes as he set the steaming cup on the counter. He waved away the money - as he always did when Richie stopped by - and set about making his own cup.
“I don’t get many people in this shop who are willing to sit down with the reclusive old shopkeeper long enough to discuss jazz, Shakespeare, and Stravinsky in one breath.”
Richie tucked the money away self-consciously, deciding that he should buy another book when he dropped by next time. Harold was so very nice to him and he didn’t have anything to give in return except his company. He sipped at his coffee with a smile, it was perfect as usual.
“That’s true, I suppose. Everyone just like pop music nowadays. But you’re plenty good company, I don’t find many people as fun to chat with as you are, y’know.” He grinned.
Harold shakes his head and shifts a tiny bit closer, moving a slightly shaky hand up to cup Richie’s cheek, whispering breathlessly, “you brighten up my dreary little shop, don’t apologize.”
Richie worries his lip further, instinctively leaning into the touch even as his eyes widen a bit. “I… I do?” His forehead creases slightly, but the corners of his mouth lift in pleasure. “Thanks…”
He chuckles and takes a nervous step closer to him, “you really are.”
Richie has no clue what to say. Rarely do people call him adorable, and even less frequently insist on it. He runs a hand through his hair, smiling a bit sheepishly. “I’m, er, sorry?”
“I’m really not!” Richie blushes, biting his lip at the endearment.
“Nonsense,” Harold says as he steps behind the coffee counter and begins to make Richie the same thing the other man had last time he first time he came in, “I enjoy it when people stop by. Particularly people who actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to literature and the arts,” he glances up at Richie with another shy smile, “and you certainly know both.”
Richie grinned when he realized that Harold had the way he took coffee memorized, reaching into his pocket for the spare change he’d tucked away just for this. Always two dollars and twenty cents exactly for a medium coffee with a spoon of sugar, and three of cream.
Thanks. He murmured, both to the compliment and the drink. You’re great company to talk to… there aren’t many people who I can discuss jazz, Shakespeare and Stravinsky with in one breath.
Harold watched Richie go into the washroom before he continued on into the kitchen. The kitchen has a very antique, yet cozy feel to it and he pulled down two solid tumbler style glasses. He dropped three ice cubes into each before filling them with water and making his way back to the living room, setting them on coasters on the table in the centre of the room. Harold glanced around and quickly shoved some of the more incriminating things away into little hiding spots before he took a seat on the couch and waited for Richie.
Richie came back out, stumbling just a bit over his own feet as he walked over to Harold, a sheepish smile on his face.
This place is really lovely, he murmured, sinking onto the couch, eyes zooming around before being dragged back to the attractive man next to him. He fought down a blush, covering it by sipping from the cool water and sighing in contentment.
Is this your work then, collecting books and selling them? You must have some, uh, dedicated clientele with the kind of literature you have in the bookshop.
Harold grinned shyly at Richie as he watched the other man look around his flat. Hopefully, he approved. He paused for a moment, wondering why exactly he was in the habit of caring what this complete stranger thought, but brushed it aside to listen to Richie when he finally spoke again. “Of course! Just through here,” he pointed to the unopened door on one end of the room, “follow me, the kitchen is the same way.” He bit his lip, forcing himself to stop talking and keep from making a bigger fool of himself.
Richie nodded obediently, tailing him like a happy little puppy… and possibly shamelessly ogling Harold’s arse for a moment as well before remembering his manners and lifting his eyes away. He slipped into the other room and made a beeline for the sink to wash his hands and face, sighing in pleasure at the cool water.
Harold leads them through the cluttered shop towards the coffee and tea nook at the back, “I’ve been as well as can be expected. Nothing unusual going on.”
Good. I would have stopped by earlier but work’s been… He chuckled nervously. It’s not like you need me around interrupting your peace though.