The first time that Allie fell in love happened when she walked into the new boba milk tea shop that opened up across the street from her college.
Up until that moment, she had never really believed in the concept of love at first sight. Sure it sounded nice, and it was all over the fairytale books and movies that she had been exposed to when she was growing, but she knew that it was nothing more than a farce.
The new shop that had opened up had an Alice in Wonderland theme to it. The interior of the shop was decorated with flowers and clocks and a mural featuring the mad hatter was displayed on the back wall.
The one thing that immediately caught her attention was the guy that was behind the counter, working at the cash register. His face was down as he poked around at something on the screen, but as soon as he heard her footsteps enter the shop, he looked up and greeted her with a smile.
“Welcome to the Mad Hatter Mad Tea House.” The guy announced in a cheerful tone. He was tall, towering at least a full head above her petite frame. His dark brown hair was tousled playfully as if he had just run his hand through it and his dark eyes sparkled.
Allie stopped right in her tracks. For a second she almost forgot how to breathe. She stood there, gaping silently at the guy, who looked like he should be playing the romantic love interest in a rom-com.
“What can I get you?” The guy asked, his voice tinged with a bit of confusion at her complete and utter silence. “Do you still need a minute to think about it?”
“I’ll just take a small black milk tea with boba” Allie managed to spit out. Why was she so tongue tied?
“Good choice, a classic.” The guy nodded in approval as he punched the order in. “Just for you, I’ll make it large at no extra charge.” He gave her a small wink.
“Oh, thank you.” Allie was taken back by his kindness. “You don’t have to do that.” She swiped her card across the card reader and fumbled slightly when she had to put in her pin number.
“It’s no biggie.” The guy insisted as he handed her receipt. He disappeared behind the counter as he got to work making her drink. After about two minutes had passed, he reappeared with her milk tea and a straw in hand.
“One black milk tea with boba.” He said, as he pushed it across the counter.
“Thank you.” Allie said as she grabbed it. She hesitated for a moment, wondering if she should say something else.
Would it be too forward or weird for her to ask for his number? Yes, it totally would. She shook her head silently and decided to just rush out of the store before she did something stupid that would only work to embarrass herself.
“Come back soon!” The guy called behind her, but Allie refused to let herself look back.
The next day Allie sat in her anatomy class, anxiously waiting for the class to start. The seat next to her was usually accompanied by one of her best friends, Mallory, who seemed to be running late. Allie tapped her pen on her desk as her eyes darted from her watch to the classroom door. She was dying to tell Mal all about the cute cashier at the boba shop but if her friend didn’t get here before class started then she would have to wait until the end of the two hour lecture.
“Sorry,, traffic today was terrible.” Mal explained as she dumped her backpack on the floor and rummaged through it for her notebook and pens. She looked up at Allie in anticipation. “But tell me, what’s this big thing that you’re so excited to tell me? Spill the tea!”
Allie took a quick glance at her watch and saw that they still had three minutes before class was supposed to start. Hopefully that would be enough time for her to spill all the details. “Ok, ok, here it is.” She took a deep breath. “I went to that new boba place yesterday and I met the man of my dreams.”
Mallory’s eyes grew wide. “Really?! Who was he?”
“He was the cashier.” Allie could feel her cheeks growing red at the mere mention of him. “He was so cute and tall, with dark hair and a great smile! He’s quite literally my dream guy.”
“Oh wow, look at you.” Mallory teased. “You’re about as red as a tomato. I've never seen you be this wild over a guy.”
“I could barely even speak in front of him.” Allie groaned. "I really wanted to talk to him more, but all I did was tell him my order.”
“Maybe you could go to the boba shop again.” Mallory suggested. “It’s right across the street, right? We could go after class and see if he’s working again. What was the place called?”
“Um, I don’t quite remember the name. The shop was really cute though.” Allie thought about it for a second as she struggled to come up with the memory of it. “It was Alice in Wonderland theme. I think the name was…. The Hatter Tea Place, or the Mad Tea something….or maybe it was---”
“---The Mad Hatter Mad Tea House” A voice spoke up from behind her.
No. No way. It couldn’t be. Allie spun around in her seat and saw that her fears were confirmed. The cute cashier from the boba shop was sitting in the row behind her and judging from the light blush that decorated his face, it was clear that he had heard their entire conversation.
“I….I….” Allie could barely speak. “Sorry…..this is all really weird. I swear, I’m not like crazy or anything.”
The guy chuckled and instead just handed her a small slip of paper that had a phone number written on it. “No worries. My next shift is tomorrow if you wanna stop by again.’
Allie clutched the slip of paper in her hands, and gave him a huge grin. She couldn’t believe that this was happening. Maybe fairytales did have some truth to them.
“Definitely. I’ll be there.”