TITLE: [Festival Series] Taking Chances
CHAPTER NUMBER/ONE SHOT: one shot
AUTHOR : tomcuddlesfic
WHICH TOM/CHARACTER: Actor Tom
GENRE: romance / angst
FIC SUMMARY: Florence wasn’t expecting any celebrity to walk through the doors of the bookstore she worked it. So what happens when she spots Tom Hiddleston?
RATING FOR THE WHOLE FIC: T
Author Comments: I actually don’t know if this is going to be a short multichapter or a one shot but I did say yesterday that I’m taking a break from them as explained by here so let’s see how this goes. Comments and feedback would be great!
I’m actually writing a festival series because I’m volunteering for this film festival and yeah. My fantasies know no bounds.
“Slow day, isn’t it?” I asked as I walked into the old vintage bookstore, carrying my cup of coffee and holding my book in the other hand. It was almost noon which meant my shift was about to begin.
“When is it never?” Kelly sighed, snapping her strawberry bubble gum that was the same shade as her hair. Happy and bright just like her personality whenever she wasn’t working. She leaned off the counter, walked around it, and grabbed a few books from the new arrival trolley to stack and shelf. “I thought business would be popping by now that the celebrities are in town but silly me to ever think Chris Evans would walk through these doors and buy a second hand book.” Kelly sighed wistfully, resting her hip against the bookshelf and stared at the ceiling, starry eyed and lost in her daydreams.
I snorted at the thought of any celebrity walking in through the front door of this shop. I had been working here every year during my graduate studies and I could actually count the number of times I spotted a cute guy gracing our presence on one hand. Most of the patrons of this shop were older and freshly from retirement or a few confused homeless folks who wanted a place to chill in the air conditioning or avoid stormy weather.
“When does the festival end?” I asked, dumping my book filled purse onto the floor beside my stool and looked at my co-worker who was still staring into the unknown. Every year in our city, Hollywood’s biggest films and small industry film makers would roll out their films and premiere here for a week. Often at times, the stars of the movies would follow suit and walk the red carpets, causing a great buzz throughout the world.
“About five days.” Kelly snapped back into reality. She stacked the books gathered in her arms onto a nearby shelf, not caring for the unorganized mess she had just created. “Chris Evans is dreamy and all but the only person I want to meet is Tom Hiddleston.” I could see the same dreamy look slip back into focus in her eyes. What is wrong with this girl?
“Tom Hiddleston?” I said, racking my brain for why his name sounded so familiar.
“You don’t know who Tom Hiddleston is?” Kelly asked incredulously, eyes wide with horror. “Honestly, Florence, sometimes I think you live underneath a rock.” She grabbed the newspaper from the corner of the desk and began flipping through the newsprint pages, stopping at a wide coloured page spread of a picture of a man who had startlingly blue eyes and sharp cheekbones. It was a studio photo shoot organized by the press and media. His arms folded across his chest, lips pursed into a thin crisp line, and dressed in a well cut tailored suit, he was handsome at first glance and had enough look to stop anyone on the street with a glance thrown in their way. “He’s only been in the biggest Marvel movies for the past three years.”
“I’m sorry!” I held up my hands in front of my chest, fearing she might actually climb over the desk and shake me by the shoulders for not knowing who her current celebrity male crush was. “I watch movies but I’m rubbish at remembering names! He does look familiar though.” I brought the newspaper closer to my face, studying it some more. “Oh! I’ve got it. He’s Loki, isn’t it? My, his dark wig and pale makeup was really bloody good. I can’t even tell it’s him if I didn’t stare this closely.”
“Yes! And he’s really hot in everything else.” Kelly twirled a lock of her hair around her index finger, smiling like the seventeen year old fan girl she was. “I’ve watched everything he’s ever been in and I must say period clothing really suits him.” She blushed a brilliant scarlet at the memory that must have been surfacing in her mind.
“Well, I’ll tell you if I see him.” I nodded my head, neatly folding back up the newspaper and throwing it into the bin.
“As if he’ll come to a dump like this.” She grunted, grabbing her knapsack from underneath the table and flung it over her shoulder. “He’s probably at a fancy restaurant, enjoying a coffee and a cake for all we know.”
“Don’t say such things in the store!” I reprimanded jokingly. “You’ll hurt her feelings.” It was an ongoing joke between us that the bookshop had feelings and whenever we said nice things about the store, more customers would file in and the opposite if we said bad things. Kelly chuckled lightly and waved.
“I’ll catch you later. Simon told me he was busy today so you’re closing up shop.” She said over her shoulder just before she opened the door and stepped out. I groaned at the thought of me staying here for an extra two hours by myself especially when night fell quickly now that summer had ended and fall arrived. The streets could get fairly rough around at night but it was never much of a bother for Kelly or me since the hoodlums knew better than to rob a rapidly failing bookstore. Simon was the owner of the shop. A retired war veteran who had a fond admiration for books, he had opened the store shortly after returning duty and made a living for his wife and kids. Now that his wife had passed away and his children had moved across seas to work, he had hired Kelly and me to handle things in the store whenever he was feeling ill. The poor man was nearing on eighty and he still cared for books.
I had just returned back from the sandwich stop next door, having grabbed dinner, and sat down on my seat to enjoy my honey hammed delight when the bell on the top of the door rang. I looked curiously around the stack of books on the desk to see who it could possibly be. It was nearly seven now. I prayed it wasn’t another homeless person stirring trouble. God only knows how I would cope if that were to happen to me.
“Hello.” I greeted in a friendly voice when I saw a tall lanky figure dressed in all black and topped off with a cap on his head. A few light blond curls escaped from underneath but aside from that his whole body was washed away with color.
“Hi.” His British accent perked my ears. There were normally a few tourists who entered our store but the difference in accents still had me taken aback. He looked over his shoulder and gave me a small warm smile, allowing me to catch a brief moment of his crystal blue eyes before he returned his gaze back on the shelves in front of him. My heart hammered at the sight of his eyes and his face. He was good looking. Good looking enough to have me blushing like a fool behind him as I gawked at him some more.
“Tell me if you need anything.” I choked out, silently cursing underneath my breath when I heard the wobbliness of my tone.
“Alright, thank you.” The man turned his body facing towards me, studying the few paperback covers on the desk in front of mine. Sitting back down on my stool, I tried to focus on eating my sandwich by how on Earth was I expected to eat when a fine male specimen like him was standing in front of me? I briefly stole another gaze, lifting my eyes off the book I was reading, shocked when I saw him studying me. From the harsh brightness of the fluorescent lights, I was gobsmacked at the full view of his face. He was Tom Hiddleston.
And judging by the small smirk appearing on his lips, he must have noticed that I noticed it was him. By why was he here? He shouldn’t be here! Didn’t he have some event or interview to go to instead of lurking around my workplace, being all handsome as the devil and graceful as a ballerina? But then it hit me like a tonne of bricks straight to the head. He was dressed in black because he didn’t want to be noticed. He wanted a moment or two where he could be normal, blend in with the rest of us, and relax.
“I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed the movies you were in.” I said earnestly. “And I’ll leave you alone now.” I looked back down at the book in front of me, not concentrating or reading any of the words on the old printed pages. It wasn’t a surprise I couldn’t concentrate when I sensed him moving, approaching the desk. Tom rested his elbows onto the front ledge, peering down at my long abandoned sandwich and my book, amusement flickering in his eyes.
“Why are you leaving me alone?” He asked teasingly.
“Well, I-I-just thought you wanted to be left alone.” I explained, not being able to pull away from his magnetic gaze that pinned me in place. My heart skipped a beat at the sight him licking his mouth before continuing.
“While I do prefer privacy and such, I do also enjoy conversation once in a while.” Tom grinned. “So, I assume you know me by name…It’s only fair if I know yours.”
“If we really want to be technical here, I only knew your name literally five hours ago.” I quipped. “And my name is Florence.”
“Five hours ago?” He chuckled.
“My co-worker, Kelly, literally beat me to death with her book bag for not knowing who exactly you were.” I sighed, tugging out my elastic band from my hair, allowing the mass to rain down my shoulders. His eyes flicked from my face to my hair and then to my lips. Was he checking me out? “She will die from jealousy once I alert her that I’ve met you after she left.”
“I assume she’s a fan then.” Tom pulled away slightly from the desk. “I’ve been meaning to grab a few books for my flight back to London. Would you mind helping me locating them?”
“Not a problem.” I hopped off my stool and walked around the desk separating between us and stood near him. He was far taller from this distance shared between us. “What are the titles?”
“The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.” He pulled out his phone and began scrolling through a long post of text, brows knit together.
“A mystery lover aren’t you?” I led him down an aisle of bookshelves, already beginning to scan the hundreds of titles. My finger ran across the spines of them as I continued, stopping when I located the brown spine cover. “Here you are.” I plucked it out from the corner it was wedged in, turned around to hand it to him when I realized he was standing much closer to me than I thought he was. “Sorry.” I apologized, staring directly at his broad chest. Looking up slowly from the point I was just staring at, I saw his eyes melt to a darker shade of blue as he studied me.
“I normally don’t do this.” Tom breathed, tucking a lock of my hair behind my ear. The tip of his hand made contact with the nape of my neck, sending an electric shock through my body. The wind was knocked out of my lungs from such a simple act. “But would it be okay if I kissed you?”
“What?” I sputtered, not knowing if he was being serious or not.
“Can I kiss you?” He repeated the question patiently.
Taken aback by his question, I blinked rapidly, sorting my thoughts inside my head. Should I allow him to kiss me? We only just met! But my body said otherwise when I felt myself nod my head, giving him permission to do what he asked.
Lowering his face towards mine, I felt my heart leap into my throat when he closed his mouth on mine. It was…nice. His lips were soft pressed against mine. Cupping my cheeks with his hands, he deepened the kiss, allowing me to taste the warm sweetness of his mouth with my tongue. My back pressed against the bookshelf behind me, we explored each other’s mouth with great care and delicacy, enjoying and feeling the moment rather than rush through things. When we pulled apart, I was flustered and red hot from our make out session. He drew his lower lip into his mouth and chewed, thinking. “That was nice…” He trailed on shyly.
“Yeah, it was.” I agreed, smiling now.
“Can I see you later?” Tom asked. I smiled brighter when I caught the hitch in his voice. He was as nervous as me.
“I would love to.” I replied, feeling giddy and overwhelmed by it.
“Great.” He nodded his head and pulled out his phone from his pocket, fingers ready to take down my number.