Gabriela knew things were not good between them. But she didn't wanted to believe he will choose today to break up with her.
He said the typical "I need space, I'm confused... we almost do not have time for us" . She knew it was bulshit, she knew he would probably run in the arms of a girl a lot prettier than her and probably a lot more empty brained. He avoided her like the plague in the last months and he looked every day better (More gym, more expensive clothes, you name it). Gaby ended alone in the park, with her heart broken, trying to calm her anger . I guess at least i can go for a drink . She walked into a bar and sat, decided to buy the biggest sugar coated smoothie they had.... and put some vodka on it maybe.
Azrael's head was spinning. He thought a job working as a bartender would be more glamorous than it had turned out to be in his first week. Instead of learning to elegantly craft fancy cocktails he had been forced to haul heavy kegs of beer from the cellar and to dodge crowds of rowdy drunks as best he could while running trays of food and drink to tables the senior barkeeps did not want to bother with. Today he even was sent to break up a fight that was starting up between two belligerent customers arguing over a game of darts. Thankfully Ozzie's unique appearance usually helped with things like this. Throwing himself between the two patrons, the draconian flared his wings out so they could not get to each other and roared for them to behave themselves.... Unfortunately his wings knocked into a nearby table, accidentally sending a brightly-colored frozen drink flying into the lovely young lady who had ordered it some minutes ago and spilling it all over her top.
"Oh God! I'm so sorry miss!" He stammered, swearing that the pale blue scales on his face were blushing red as he offered her a towel and prayed that it would not leave a stain.
Gaby froze when she felt the thing in almost slow motion staining all her top shirt. Oh great... can something else go bad today?... Please Gaby don't be the shitty customer that yells at the waiter... dont... . Gaby felt the hot tears filling her eyes , her face twisted in sadness and let herself cry like an idiot .
Oh no! He had made her cry! Panicking, Ozzie desperately tried to help the distraught woman clean her shirt, all the while apologizing again and again and cursing himself for being clumsy. When it became obvious that no amount of paper towels or washcloths would save her top, Azrael had a thought. "Miss, please let me make this up to you. We have a small washing machine in the back for our uniforms. Let me get you another drink and I will lend you my shirt while yours is cleaned" He offered hopefully.
"It's okay.... It's not... Thank you" she said between sobs . She tried to compose herself, at least someone was kind to her today . She followed him .
Leading her through the crowd, he took the pretty young woman to the employee lockers in the back of the house, shooting the head bartender a warning look and narrowing his eyes when she made a joking comment about him moving fast already getting a girl out of her clothes.
"Please don't mind her. Maricela has a terrible sense of humor." He said, trying to keep a very lovely image out of his head and stop his tail from unwinding from around his waist and wagging at the mental image.
Once they were in the break room Ozzie offered the girl his spare shirt from his locker, a button-down white oxford that would likely be long enough to double as a short dress on her before stepping out to let her switch clothes. "I'm Azrael, by the way. Ozzie to my friends." He called over his shoulder.
"Ozzie... I'm Gaby" she said and changed, handing him the dirty top . "Sorry for crying... i just had an horrible day, not your fault really "
"Nice to meet you Gaby." He replied with a self-conscious smile, trying to hide the pointed teeth he had inherited from his mother. "If you want, I am happy to listen to your story. Sharing your sadness with a sympathetic ear can sometimes make it better, after all."
While he was talking Azrael tossed Gaby's shirt into what was supposed to be an empty washer and closed the lid to start the machine up.
"Would you like a drink or something to eat while you wait?" He offered, smiling for her again in spite of himself.
"Well .... okay" she came for that anyway. Maybe talking (and crying) was the best way to feel better . Ordering a new strawberry milk smoothie and siping from time to time, she told him about his day . "... And Im im pretty sure he is with another girl in this instant, i'm not stupid"
He brought her a replacement drink and sat with her on the sofa in the breakroom while Gaby told her story, growing visibly more angry as she got to the part where her boyfriend as good as left her for another woman until a thin trail of smoke started trailing up from his mouth through clenched teeth. "Absolutely unforgivable! He must either be blind, an idiot, or both if he could even think of another woman when he has someone as wonderful as you!" He said vehemently, the tip of his tail smacking against the ground in anger as he spoke.
" Ozzie... you are fine? you are gonna turn the fire alarm ... " she felt amused , he was too sweet for someone so scary at first sight "Thank you , you are too sweet..."
Realizing that he was smoking, Azrael quickly took a glass of water and drank it down to stop the smoke, looking down and running one hand idly along his horns in embarrassment. "Sorry, a bad habit from my mother. I promise not to start any fires." He said with what he hoped was a playful wink. "No, thank you for talking to me even after a less than ideal introduction Gaby."
"You mom is draconian too? I think you are the first draconian I have met " she smiled at his wink. ‘Too cute and I'm such a mess....’
"Oh no, she's a full dragon. Wings, breathes fire, giant pile of gold and jewels, the whole shebang." Azrael laughed. "Dad always joked that he liked her better than the princess he was supposed to save." He added, rolling his bright gold eyes at the memory of his dad's bad jokes from when he was a kid.
"Whoa, a knight and a dragon... that's a story to tell ! " her mind tried to take her to cri again but she fighted it . Screw mister perfect she waved her troughs away.
"A knight? Oh no, he's a history professor at the local university." Ozzie laughed. "Maybe-" He was cut off by the buzzer signaling the end of the wash cycle.
"Oh, there is. !" she lamented don't having more excuses to talk to the draconian man. He had to work anyway .....
"Ah, there it is." Azrael echoed, not able to completely hide his disappointment at losing his excuse to talk to Gaby. "Hopefully the stain didn't set in." He thought aloud, reaching into the washer and pulling out a deep wine red tablecloth... wait...
"Oh no no no no no!" Ozzie cursed under his breath, looking in and seeing that whoever was supposed to hang the linens they used for the tables had left them in the machine the night before and now Gaby's shirt was completely dyed a bright pink!
"Oh God! I'm so sorry Gaby! I am such an idiot for not looking!" He cursed himself, hanging his head in shame. He just couldn't stop messing up! Now he was bound to have made a lovely lady cry again.
Gaby looked at the man and the now pink top .... and she couldn't help laugh. it was a good laugh, she had to hold her belly "Oh god, Ozzie" she laughed again "Don't worry .... " she breathed deep "You made me laugh , that's more that i can ask " she said to the mortified draconian.
If he could have, he would have curled into a ball and disappeared, but at least Gaby was laughing. A smile was so much nicer on her than tears. "At the very least let me take you shopping for a replacement." He offered hopefully. "Maybe tomorrow afternoon?"
"Oh, you don't have to... you have been too kind.... " she thinked "Well, only if i can invite you something later." She took her phone and passed it to him "And that's not discussable . Save your number! "
"Whatever you want. I'm yours... er... at your service." He stammered, smiling doubly as he keyed in his phone number and handed it back to her before offering her his to do the same. "Does noon sound alright?"
"I'm a freelancer , i can fix my schedule no problem " she smiled "Thank you Ozzie. i will give you back this tomorrow" she grabbed her things and the now pink shirt. She gave him a quick peek on the cheek "Thanks for cheering me up ! You are a great guy "
"It 's a date!"
Ozzie spent the rest of the night smiling from ear to ear, not even minding the jokes he had to endure at the hands of the other employees. As far as he cared tomorrow couldn't get here fast enough! .