Are you there, God? Its me, the girl who was stupid enough to spill an entire iced macchiato on herself right before her job interview.
Amber stared at the empty cup that lay in front of her. One moment she had been struggling to get the lid off some she could add in a few packets of splenda, and the next the lid had blown off and the coffee inside drenched itself all over her. She was sitting at a table in the middle of a café and had just publicly embarrassed herself in front of all the morning-goers who had come in for coffee and tea.
For a couple of seconds she sat there motionless, and then the panic set in. Her beautiful, white, business casual blouse that she was wearing was completely stained. The coffee covered her entire torso, chest, and shoulders.
This can’t be happening to me right now.
Amber struggled to come up with a solution out of this predicament that she had gotten herself into. She was supposed to go to a job interview in about 40 minutes and she had completely ruined the outfit that she had so carefully washed and ironed last night.
"Here, use some of these." A voice spoke up out of nowhere.
Amber looked up and met the eyes of a kind looking man who held a bunch of napkins in his hand.
He smiled sheepishly as he dropped the pile of napkins on the table. "I don't mean to intrude, but you looked like you could use some of these."
Amber gave him a weak smile of appreciation before latching onto the napkins and furiously dabbing at her shirt. As soon as she pressed them onto her shirt, the napkins would bloom with the mocha color, but it did nothing to get the color off her top.
“I hope that wasn’t your favorite shirt.” The man winced as he saw the stain refuse to budge.
“It’s actually my lucky shirt. Or at least it used to be.” Amber groaned in frustration as the pile of used napkins grew larger and larger. She was pretty soon the baristas were two seconds away from kicking her out of the café. “I always wear this outfit whenever I have an interview.”
“You have a job interview today?” The man asked. Upon seeing her nod her head miserably, he winced. “This is one of the worst things that could happen to you on the morning before an interview.”
“Thanks for that.” Amber replied flatly as she buried her face in her hands. She didn’t know whether she wanted to laugh or cry. Not that it mattered, it wasn’t like she could embarrass herself more than she already had.
The sound of wood scraping against the floor rang out and Amber looked up to see that the man had sat down in the chair across from her.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel worse.” He said, the look on his face seemed extremely sincere. “Don’t let this one thing freak you out. I’m sure you’ll do great at your interview.”
“I’m not going anymore.” Amber grabbed her purse and dug around for her phone to call the job recruiter. “I’m just going to cancel it. Maybe I’ll reschedule, who knows. But I can’t go in today looking like this and I don’t have time to run back home and change.”
“You’re going to cancel it?” The man repeated, shocked. “No, you can’t do that.”
“So you think me showing up in a stain covered top looking like a frazzled mess is better than me canceling the interview?” Amber shot back. She felt a bit bad about raising her voice but she couldn’t help herself. “Don’t you think I’ve embarrassed myself enough.”
“I really think you should go to your interview. You can’t let this opportunity pass you just because of a little coffee accident.” The man insisted. His eyes brightened as an idea popped into his head and he suddenly slipped off the blazer he was wearing. “You can wear this.”
“What?” Amber asked, unsure if she had heard him correctly.
“You can wear my blazer.” The man held it out to her. “It’ll cover up your shirt, and you'll look presentable enough for your interview.”
Amber stared at the man in complete and utter shock. “I can’t just take your blazer!” She finally managed to spit out.
“Yes, you can.” The man waved the blazer in the air as if it were a flag. “Please, I insist.”
“I can’t.” Amber repeated again in exasperation. “It’s very kind of you to offer…but its a bit weird that you’re some stranger just offering me your clothes.”
“So would it be less weird if we weren’t strangers?” The man asked. He laid the blazer on the table and held his hand out to her. “My name’s Lucas. Nice to meet you.”
Amber took a deep breath and stifled a laugh as she reluctantly shook his hand. “I’m Amber.”
Lucas grinned. “So Amber, now that we’re on a first name basis I’d argue that we’re definitely not strangers anymore.” He picked up the blazer once again and held it out to her. “Take my blazer, go to your interview and get yourself hired.”
Amber stared at the blazer as she weighed her options. If she were to wear it it would obviously look oversized and baggy on her petite frame. She’d look like a toddler who had been caught playing dress up in her parents’ closet. Then again it was better than showing up in a coffee stained outfit.
“Thank you.” She said graciously as she took the blazer from his outstretched hand and hastily put it on. The fabric held the faintest hint of a smoky musk that instantly settled around her. Normally she hated the smells of men’s colognes, but she had to admit that this scent was surprisingly intoxicating.
“No problem.” Lucas replied. “I dare say, that blazer looks way better on you than it ever did on me.”
“Don’t lie.” Amber scoffed as she held up her hands and showed him how the sleeves were at least six inches too long for her arms. “Seriously, I owe you big time. I can’t thank you enough.”
“Good luck with your interview.” Lucas said as he got up from his seat and gathered his things. He glanced at his watch before looking back at her again. “I’ve got to get going now, but can I buy you a cup of coffee before I go? Maybe it’ll help calm your nerves.”
“You’re joking, right?” Amber couldn’t help but giggle. “That’s nice of you to offer, but unless you happen to have an extra blazer on you, I think it’d be best for me to avoid any drinks until after my interview. I can’t risk ruining my outfit again.”
“Yeah, that seems like a wise plan.” Lucas chuckled in agreement. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a slip of paper and a pen. “Why don’t you give me a call after your interview and I’ll treat you to some coffee then. We’ll meet up somewhere so you can give me the blazer back.”
“Sure, I’ll go ahead and do that.” Amber felt her cheeks flush slightly as Lucas handed her his phone number. She gripped the paper tightly and told herself to make sure not to lose it.
With one final wave, Lucas walked out of the cafe. Amber sighed as she looked down at herself. This wasn’t how she had pictured her morning going at all, but life is full of unexpected surprises.
She glanced at the paper with Lucas’s number briefly before going to put it in her pocket, but a sudden realization hit her.
“There’s no way…” She muttered under her breath as she laid the paper on the table and grabbed her phone. Upon opening it, she scrolled through her messages to find the number of the job recruiter who was going to be interviewing her that day.
The job recruiter’s number was completely identical to Lucas’s phone number.
“What are the odds of that happening?” Amber laughed quietly as she looked up towards the ceiling. “You sure do work in mysterious ways.”
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Great writing, v relatable story and nice keeping it focused to two people and a conflict. (mine tend to spin off in many different directions). Saw this popup in my critique circle, only suggestion is maybe adding a few proper nouns, place names, cafe names, etc to ground it in a location. Really like the happy ending;)
I loved the twist in this story. I wasn't expecting the ending!
This was so cute! The twist was great!
great tale. Well done!
Ahhh, great story. I liked the serendipity of the meetup. Her reluctance, his insistence. Thanks for this. PS: did she get the job?
SHe has too, ihope so anyway, i just got my first job the other day and this story helped me not be to scared!
do you think she got it
I do. Her new boss saw how she reacted under pressure, but she did flake before he talked her into going to the interview. But I think she'd get it. And besides, she'd trash his jacket if she didn't get the position. And, congrats on your new job!