The day Dan Howell found out that Phil Lester was going to be working at his family’s restaurant was the day he feared for his life. It’s not that he had a problem with him, it’s not, it’s just that phil seemed to have a problem with everyone. Him included. Dan tried to be nice, he’d always say hi to him in the hallways, but on good days he was ignored, and on bad days he just got glared at until he moved on. So he had every right to be nervous about this new development.
It was two days until phil would actually show up to work for his first day, but the threat looming over him just made the time fly by. He walked as slow as he could to the restaurant after school that day, taking strange twists and detours, anything he could to make him get there after phil, who had a motorcycle. Dan didn’t want to be the one to give him the orientation tour.
When he could put it off no more, dan opened the door, keeping an eye out for the signature black leather jacket. Seeing no one, he let out a breath of relief, moving to the break room, waiting for the hostess to seat the next family.
Surprisingly, his world didn’t end that day. In fact, he barely even saw him. Phil was following PJ around, a friend of Dan’s who he’d convinced to get a job with him when the restaurant opened. He’d passed Phil a couple times as he checked on his tables, listening intently to the instructions PJ was giving him, looking attentive and even repeating some things quietly to himself. But other than that, he didn’t say much, from what little bits Dan had picked up.
Before he knew it, his shift was over and he was still intact. Sort of disoriented by the outcome of the day, he got together his stuff in a daze, going over the day in his mind and looking for any signs of malicious intent. But he found none in his memory.
“Hey Peej!” he shouted, catching sight of a soft shock of curly brown hair. His friend’s head poked back out from behind a door frame, looking at him expectantly.
“You were showing Phil Lester around today right?” he asked, the curiosity eating at him.
“Yeah. he was quieter than I thought he’d be.” Dan fit that in with what he’d already seen.
“Yeah, from what I saw, he just sorta listened.” he responded, hoping his friend would say more.
“I came in ready for him to start a fight, like disrespect my authority or something, but he just listened. Like, it was weird. He was… respectful.” PJ sounded almost as bewildered as Dan felt.
- - -
It had been a week since Phil had started working at the restaurant, and Dan definitely was not getting a crush on him. He wasn’t enchanted by the light reflected off his shiny black hair, and he was not charmed off his feet by the way he interacted with the old folks that came in for sunday brunch. Like that time a sweet old lady had tried to order some wine, only for him to say “I’m sorry ma’am, but i’m gonna need to see some ID, you don’t look old enough to order that.’ and the lady had gotten so flustered, blushing furiously as she dug through her purse. She’d smiled for the rest of the night.
No, no he was not getting a crush on him, he was not. Definitely not. Dan repeated this over and over in his head as he walked through the door to the restaurant, determined not to let this happen. Coming into the dining area, he saw Phil leading a small family to their table. As they sat down, the little girl dropped one of her matchbox cars. It rolled too far under the table for her little legs to reach. Dan watched Phil, fully expecting him to wish them a lovely meal and walk away. That’s what he did when something like this happened with the other kids at school, but to his surprise, Phil bent down, practically crawling under the table to get the little girl’s toy. Quickly brushing the dust off both the car and his hands, Phil placed it on the table beside her, his face lighting up when he saw her’s do the same.
“Thank you mister!” she exclaimed, running the car back and forth on the table with an adorable smile. Phil looked down at her and Dan didn’t think he’d ever seen Phil look this content before.
“You can call me Phil,” he said, “but hold on little miss, I think I see something behind your ear!” the girl stopped, turning her head to try and see what he saw. “Hold on, let me.” he reached up, hand barely brushing the hair on the side of her head before he pulled it back into her field of view. And there, sitting delicately between his fingers, was a small dum dum lollipop.
The girl squealed, grabbing it from his outstretched hand, and tearing the wrapper off, sticking it in her mouth. “See if there’s more!” she squealed around the candy.
Phil chuckled, about to respond when one of the girl’s moms spoke up.
“There isn’t honey, I checked.”
The girl turned to glare at her. “But I want him to check.” that made Phil laugh.
“Caroline, he’s got other things to do sweetheart.”
“Oh I don’t mind.” phil responded, turning back to the girl. “Sadly, there’s no more behind your ear.”
The girl deflated, sadly putting the first lollipop back in her mouth.
But Phil was still smiling. “You didn't let me finish!” That made her perk up. “There's no more behind your ear, but I think I see something right… ah ha!” And from under her chin, he pulled out a mint. Nothing much, just one of the ones in a bowl at the front door, but that didn't stop her from leaping up and hugging him.
Phil let out a small “oof,” caught off guard by the sudden onslaught of affection, and he didn't seem to know what to do with his hands, but he patted her back gently until she pulled back to grab the candy waiting in his hand.
“What do you say sweetheart?” The other mom asked, her eyes sending Phil a silent thanks.
“Thank you Mr. Phil!” She exclaimed, plopping back into her seat.
“Really, it's my pleasure,” he responded, standing up from his crouching position on the floor. “Your server will be with you shortly.”
As he walked away, Dan caught his eye, raising his eyebrows in question, even while he smiled. Phil’s eyes fell down to the ground as he walked past, and maybe it was just a shadow, but Dan thought he could see a deep blush spread across his cheeks.
Yeah, Dan was totally screwed.