It was morning, which meant that The Marauder’s Den Coffee Shop was busy. Everyone came into The Marauder's Den early in the morning to get their coffee before they went to work, and during the fall, before they went to school. Business usually slowed after nine, but picked up again around noon and then slowed again. Being in London didn't help; they may not have been a chain and there may be a Starbucks on every corner, but London held a lot of people. Most of those people were rushed and tired and oftentimes in a bad mood before they had had their coffee.
Ginny Weasley was one of the few who worked at The Marauder's- good pay, great staff (Harry owned the little coffee shop), but shitty customers. Middle-aged business men were constantly snapping their fingers at her while younger, sleazier men gave her unwanted nicknames like sweetheart or baby and tried to get her number.
The morning rush had mostly died out when a customer walked in, talking away on his cellphone. Ginny watched him inspect the menu with interest. He was a new customer, not one of their regulars. The man was very tall and very pale, with slicked back white-blond hair and cold gray eyes. All of his pale skin contrasted sharply with his black, tailored business suit. Without pausing in his conversation, he said to Ginny, “A large coffee, black, no sugar, no milk.”
“Sure thing,” Ginny said, ringing up the new customer, “Can I get a name for the order?”
“Draco Malfoy,” the man said shortly, and into his phone said, “No, I'm not talking to you, Theo- I'm at a damn coffee shop.”
The man's rudeness didn't faze her in the slightest- a lot of customers were rude. Ginny wrote his name on the cup and handed it to Luna, who was working with her today. Malfoy paid, took his coffee, and left without tipping.
The next two weeks passed like this. A large black coffee, black, no sugar, no milk. Always on the phone, always short. Ginny wrote his name on the cup and passed it to whoever was working with her. He never left a tip. Ginny watched him leave every day with the sun glinting off his white-blonde hair and a steaming cup of coffee in his hand.
Ginny was exhausted. She had stayed up late the night before watching reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S with Hermione. The rush of customers had mostly died out and Ginny was relieved- she couldn't take much more today. Then he came back in.
Over the last two weeks, Ginny had begun to harbour an immense dislike for this man. He was so formal and uppity and rude sometimes it left Ginny is a steaming rage. Luna had learned not to keep the good mugs near her, lest she break them.
“Large coffee, black, no sugar, no milk,” were the first words out of his mouth. No 'how are you?', no 'good morning, not even a damn 'hello.'
“Can I get a name for your order?” Ginny asked monotonously, Sharpie poised over the take-out cup.
“Draco Malfoy.” Same frosted shortness.
As she went to write his name, Ginny changed her mind halfway through writing ‘Draco’. Instead, she wrote 'Drake Malloy' and passed it to Luna. On his way out, Malfoy stopped and threw a quick glare in her direction before leaving. Petty and elated satisfaction bloomed in her chest.
It continued like this. The rush would die out and Malfoy would come in, phone in hand, order on his lips. The names continued. Dorko Moldroy. Dark Malerie. Drag Mannoy.
It was after a particularly good insult (Dick Malady) that Ginny realized something- Blondie knew Harry's fiance.
Harry's fiance was a big deal- his name was Tom Riddle and he was a politician, a well-known one at that. At first, Ginny hadn't liked the man; he was altogether too strange with his reddish eyes and pretty face and strange, formal manner. But he and Harry worked well together and Ginny had gotten over Tom's stranger qualities in the end.
Tom was in the shop that day, patiently waiting for Harry to come out so they could go out for breakfast that morning. Luna handed Dick Malady his coffee cup and he once again threw her a murderous glare that sparked a wonderful, malicious feeling in her chest. Before he left, cup clenched tightly in his hand, he stopped, pulled his phone away from his ear, and nodded to Tom with a polite, “Mr. Riddle.”
“Draco,” Tom replied, sipping his coffee. All three watched him leave, phone pressed against his ear, coffee with the words 'Dick Malady' written in fancy script across the side clutched in his hand.
“You know that guy?” Ginny inquired, balancing her elbows on the counter and looking to Tom expectantly.
“Draco? Yes, his father Lucius works for me. Why do you ask?”
“Ginny likes him,” Luna said dreamily, tucking a lock of blonde hair behind her ear.
“I do not,” Ginny replied hotly, “I hate him. He's so pretentious, and so rude! Always on the phone and he never, ever tips.”
“Well he doesn't seem to like you much either,” Tom said, raising an eyebrow at her, “Why is that?”
“Ginny writes mean names on his cup instead of his real name,” Luna told him, “Yesterday it said Dingbat Malarky and today it was Dick Malady.”
Ginny's cheeks went faintly pink. Hearing it out loud made it sound even more childishly vindictive than she had previously thought it was. She glared at Tom while he laughed.
“What are we laughing about?” Harry asked, poking his messy dark head out of a doorway that lead to stairs and a flat above the shop.
“Ginny is antagonizing Draco Malfoy,” Luna informed Harry, “because she likes him.”
“I do not like him, Luna,” Ginny said calmly. She didn't. He was so bloody pretentious and rude, she could have vomited at the prospect of dating him.
'Who said anything about dating?' a sly voice that sounded suspiciously like Hermione in her head asked, 'Luna said you liked him- not that you wanted to date him.' Ginny ignored this voice pointedly.
“Antagonizing him how?” Harry asked warily, shrugging on a coat.
“Writing mean names on his cup instead of his own. Like Dick Malady, or Doctor Monkey.”
Harry snorted, pushing his hair from his eyes. “Ginny, don't be rude to the customers. Especially not Draco Malfoy.”
“Why especially not him, love?” Tom asked, brushing a kiss across Harry's cheek, “Investing in his company?”
“No,” Harry laughed, “I'm not one for investing and I know nothing about pharmaceuticals. I was actually thinking about setting he and Ginny up on a date! I invited him to get his coffee here to get them acquainted.”
“What?!” Ginny exclaimed, glaring at Harry, who smiled sheepishly back, “You wanted to set me up on a date with that prick?! He's so rude! How do you even know him?”
“So are you, Gin,” Harry said cheerfully, “I met him at a benefit a few weeks ago. Trust me, if you got to know him, I think you'd like him!”
Ginny was dumbstruck and a little angry that Harry had called her rude. She wasn't rude! Or at least, she wasn't rude to people who didn't deserve it. The two men made their escape while Ginny was silent, the tinkling of the bell as they exited the only notice she got that they were gone.
“I can't believe him!” Ginny grumbled, “As if I would date that awful man.”
“You don't even know him,” Luna reminded her, “He's quite handsome.”
“If you like blondes,” Ginny said disdainfully, “No offense, Luna.”
“You do like blondes,” Luna said in amusement. Ginny made a face at her.
Ginny thought about this for the rest of the day. How could Harry think they would be good together? They weren't anything like each other. Draco was rude. And disrespectful. And didn't tip. He was handsome though, Ginny reflected while she took an order from some teenage sleazebag who gave her the name, 'Mack Daddy' for his cup. That would be good to write on Draco's cup tomorrow. Or Dracula.
The next day, Draco came in without a phone pressed to his ear nor one of his dark, tailored suits. He was dressed very simply in a black tee-shirt and dark jeans. Sunglasses hung from the collar of his shirt and his hair wasn't gelled back, but unstyled and messy.
“Good morning,” he murmured, “I'll have a large coffee, black, no cream, no sugar. To go, please.”
“Can I get a name for your order?” Ginny asked suspiciously, eyeing the man with unveiled curiosity. He looked very different dressed casually, though no less handsome than he usually did.
“I think you know my name by now,” he said dryly.
Ginny scribbled Dracula on the cup and passed it to Luna. Draco snorted when he saw it, dropped a fiver in the tip jar, and left with the cup held tightly, but not clenched to the point of nearly bursting as it had been before.
The next few days were repeats of this- though Draco was no longer in casual clothes and was back to dark and tailored suits. He was polite; he said, “good morning,” and, “how are you,” and, “please”! It was awful. Ginny was thoroughly confused. What had brought this new attitude out? Draco seemed almost...nice? Whatever it was that had him different, Ginny liked it. More tips meant more money. Besides the money, Ginny felt that she could admire his good looks without feeling angry that he was a stuck-up dickwad.
Although, this new attitude did beg the question of why he was such an ass in the first place. Her best guess was that he was stressed; hadn't Tom mentioned something about him owning some pharmaceutical company? That would stress anyone out first thing in the morning...but that still didn’t excuse his attitude.
The names on his cup kept changing, but Ginny refrained from using any offensive ones. Draco continued to come and go, leaving tips, laughing at the new nicknames Ginny made up, and (on the rarest occasions) flirting a little bit? None of it added up.
It was a week later when Draco had just taken his coffee from Luna and once again laughed at the name (Mack Daddy) that Ginny snapped.
“What gives, guy?” she demanded, crossing her arms, “I don't get this new attitude. First you're rude as hell and act like you've got a stick shoved up your ass, and now you're all polite and you even tip! I don't get it. Why the change?”
Draco looked at her in some surprise and a hint of guilt. “Potter- Harry, that is, wanted to set us up. On a date, I mean,” he added, when Ginny didn't say anything.
“I know,” she replied shortly.
“Oh. Right. Well, he pointed out that I wasn't making a very good impression.” He sounded a bit sheepish. “And of course I pointed out that you were rude right back, and we argued for a bit...but, later, I thought he might have had a point. I was being rude; my mother would have been furious if she'd known I was being such an ass. And I was attracted to you- I mean, I still am, that's the point I'm trying to make here- but I liked that you were rude, to me. No one is ever rude to me, even if I've been rude to them, because they're, well, they're afraid of me- of my family.”
“Get to the point.”
“Right. Well, I wanted to at least try to have a chance with you. So I stopped being such an absolute dick and you did too. So, I'm sorry for being rude to you in the first place.” He paused, waiting for her response.
“Apology accepted,” Ginny nodded and turned back to the register to wait for customers.
Draco didn't leave. He fidgeted a bit before coughing. “I was hoping I could ask you on a date.”
Ginny stared at him in some amazement- he had the audacity to apologize and then ask her out immediately? She ought to say no and watch him leave, rejected with his stupid coffee and Ginny's handwriting cheerfully announcing him as 'Mack Daddy.'
But Ginny did like him, in a way. He seemed nice enough now and he was quite handsome...
“I'll think about it,” she finally said. Draco nodded, looking a bit downcast that he hadn't received an automatic 'yes.' He said his goodbye quickly and left, head ducked down slightly and coffee clenched in his hand.
Ginny had the next few days off and she used that time wisely; visiting Hermione, listening to loud music in her room, and spending some time playing football with her brothers at home. Draco only crossed her mind when she was alone. She still hadn't come up with a decision. On one hand, Draco had been an absolute dick when she had first met him. On the other, Draco seemed to be nice enough now, plus he was handsome- and Ginny knew that she herself was an asshole on occasion, especially when she wasn't having a good day. That's what had started this whole name-calling business in the first place.
Luckily for her, by the time the next day Ginny was scheduled to work rolled around, she had made a decision.
Draco came in, dark suit and pale eyes as usual. He didn't bring up their earlier conversation, but ordered his coffee politely.
“I'll have a large black coffee, no cream, no sugar, please.”
Ginny rang up his order and quickly scribbled something on the cup, passing it to Luna, who saw what she had written and grinned at her.
“Your coffee, Dracula,” Luna said dreamily. She had taken to calling Draco by past names Ginny had written on his cup.
Draco took it with a, “Thank you,” and looked at what Ginny had written. He grinned when he looked up at her and she stuck her tongue out at him, slightly embarrassed.
“I'll call you tonight,” he said, face not losing that damned grin. Draco left the shop, coffee clutched in his hand, sun gleaming on his white-blonde hair, and Ginny's phone number scrawled on the front of his cup.