Title: Cafe on the Corner (17/?)
Author: Amre ([livejournal.com profile] dazzamre)
Pairing: Viggorli (brief mention of others)
Rating: This chapter PG-13, overall R/NC-17
Summary: AU. A local coffee shop. An Open Mic Night. Anything could happen.
Feedback: It would be most welcome. :)
Disclaimer: Lies, lies! It’s all lies, I tell you!
A/N: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dreamerren for the beta. She's been internetless, so it's been a struggle. I appreciate the effort. :)

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13
Part 14 Part 15 Part 16

Chapter 17

Orlando wiped the counter, glad the early bird rush was gone. He’d tossed and turned all night, Viggo’s words echoing in his head, preventing him from sleeping. The last thing he’d wanted to do this morning was get up and come to work, but he’d had to switch shifts to get last night off. After he left Viggo’s last night, he’d driven around aimlessly for awhile, wrestling with his thoughts, alternating between feeling hurt and angry. He hadn’t wanted to go home and face Liv, certain she would be anxiously waiting to hear what had happened after she left. He didn’t really want to rehash everything; it was hard enough to control the thoughts tumbling around in his mind without having to voice them. Luckily, she had been asleep, and he’d slipped out this morning before she woke up. He had a couple of messages from her on his phone, but he’d been too busy to call her back.

Orlando glanced at the door as the bell overhead jangled, frowning when he saw Viggo.

“The usual?” Orlando asked with a false brightness in his voice as Viggo took the stool at the counter nearest him. Viggo studied him a second, then nodded. Orlando busied himself with the order, trying to ignore the fact that Viggo’s eyes were burning holes into him. He forced a smile as he placed Viggo’s coffee and danish in front of him.

“Mom and Dad are at the gallery with Sean,” Viggo volunteered quietly.

“They’ll enjoy that. You didn’t want to stay with them and show them the exhibit?” Orli asked, wiping at a clean spot on the counter with the vigor deserving of a toxic waste spill.

“I wanted to see you,” Viggo answered.

Orlando nodded and kept cleaning. He knew Viggo had sensed that something was up when he and Henry had finally gone back inside the night before. He’d managed to escape before Viggo could ask him about it, but he suddenly realized that Henry probably hadn’t been so lucky. If anyone could deflect Viggo it was Henry, but Orlando wasn’t sure that Henry would have any reason not to answer Viggo’s questions.

“Is everything okay?” Viggo finally asked when Orlando still hadn’t said anything.

Orlando gave up his pretense of cleaning and dropped the rag on the counter with a sigh. “Let’s stop beating around the bush, okay? Henry and I overheard you talking to your mom last night.”

“What part did you hear?” Viggo asked calmly, sipping from his coffee cup and looking at Orlando over the rim of the mug. He raised an eyebrow and waited expectantly for Orlando to answer him.

Orlando had a feeling that Viggo already knew what he was going to say, and he was nearly fuming over how indifferently Viggo was acting. “The part where you told her you didn’t know why I was with an old man like you,” Orlando said angrily, but keeping his voice quiet to avoid causing a scene when there were still customers in the restaurant. “And if you don’t know why, then you’re an idiot.”

Viggo nodded thoughtfully. “So…do you want to hear what I told her after that?”

Orlando frowned again and shrugged noncommittally. Despite himself, he wanted to hear what Viggo had to say.

“What I told her,” Viggo said, his voice low and rough so that Orli had to strain to hear him, “is that I’m damn lucky that, for whatever reason, you do want to be with me. Because I cannot imagine my life without you in it.”

“Viggo…” Orlando started softly, his anger and hurt subsiding, but Viggo interrupted him.

“I’m sorry that I upset you. I never meant to do that.”

“I know. Maybe I overreacted, but I just wanted so much for your parents to like me. Then I walk in on Grace saying all of that,” Orlando purposely didn’t bring up what Viggo had said again, even though that had hurt as much, if not more, than anything Grace had said.

“They do like you, even my mom. She was concerned for me, but it doesn’t have anything to do with you personally. Once they get to know you, they won’t see the age difference any more than I do,” Viggo told him.

“Does it bother you?” Orlando asked, wanting to get everything out in the open while they were talking about it. He didn’t want any secrets between them, and if Viggo had any reservations about his age, he wanted to know about it now.

“Sometimes, when you’re talking to Dom or Elijah, and they’re talking about going out, going to clubs, things that we don’t really do, I wonder if you’re missing out on that whole experience.”

“I’ve done all of that, Viggo, and I don’t miss it. I’d much rather be at home with you. I don’t need to go out every night. I don’t want to,” Orli said emphatically, trying to make Viggo believe him.

“Can you at least try to see it through my eyes?” Viggo asked. “I don’t want to feel like I’m holding you back or stealing your youth.”

“Stealing my youth?” Orlando snorted. The phrase was so uniquely Viggo that he couldn’t help but snicker. He tried to regain his composure quickly because Viggo was starting to look hurt, and he wanted him to know that he was taking him seriously. “I’m sorry. It’s just…‘stealing my youth’?” he repeated incredulously, biting back a laugh.

“You know what I mean,” he said pointedly, but the corner of his mouth tugged upward.

“I appreciate you worrying about me, but you don’t have to. My life has changed a lot since I met you, but it’s all been for the better,” Orlando said softly. “I can’t imagine my life without you in it.”

Viggo grinned as Orlando tossed his words back at him. “I’m not going anywhere,” he promised. “You’re stuck with this old man, I’m afraid.”

“Good,” Orlando said promptly, nodding his head once. “But tell me…you already knew what happened, didn’t you? Henry told you?”

“Don’t be mad at him,” Viggo said quickly. “He was a little worried about you after you left last night.” Viggo seemed surprised, but pleased, by the turn of events. Orlando wasn’t sure he understood Henry’s sudden change in attitude any better than Viggo did, but he was grateful for it all the same.

“Worried, huh?” Orlando asked, still finding it somewhat difficult to believe.

“He’s a good kid, Orli. You two didn’t meet under the best of circumstances. In any other situation, I think you would have been fast friends. I’m glad he’s finally coming around.” Orlando could hear the relief in Viggo’s voice. His relationship with Henry had been strained for months, and it was nice to see that they were making progress.

“If it hadn’t been for him, I probably wouldn’t have gone back inside last night,” Orlando admitted. “I really didn’t want to. He talked me into it.”

Viggo winced, reminded of how much he’d hurt Orlando, but he forced a smile even though it looked more like a grimace. “I’ll have to thank him,” he said softly, reaching out to take Orlando’s hand in his, his thumb brushing gently across the back of his hand. His apology was unspoken this time, but Orlando could see the regret in his eyes.

“Me, too,” Orlando grinned, trying to lighten the mood.

“So how are things here?” Viggo asked, looking around. Orlando had been so preoccupied with Viggo’s parents and their visit, that he hadn’t had a chance to fill Viggo in on any recent developments, not that there were many to share.

“Ian’s talked to a couple of people who are interested, but he’s being careful. He doesn’t want to sell out to a big company; he’d like to keep it local, but if he doesn’t get any offers…” Orlando trailed off, shrugging and trying not to let Viggo see how much the prospect bothered him.

“It’ll work out,” Viggo said confidently. “Ian loves this place too much to let anything happen to it. He just needs to find the right buyer.”

“Yeah, well, people aren’t exactly lining up to jump into business ventures right now. And so many of these local coffee shops are being bought out or just closed…it’s risky. I mean, Ian’s is successful right now, but there’s no guarantee that will last, especially if someone new takes over,” Orlando was depressing himself more and more as he talked. “I think it would be better to just close now than to have business drop-off and be forced to close. I can’t bear to think of this place like that.”

“You really love it here, don’t you?” Viggo asked, smiling affectionately.

“Of course I do. It’s home. I met everybody that’s important to me here. Ian, Liv, Dom…you. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I can’t just watch while it all goes to hell,” Orli said faintly.

“So don’t,” Viggo suggested simply, shrugging as if it all made perfect sense to him.

“Don’t what?” Orlando asked confused.

“Don’t just watch.” Viggo looked at his watch and took a final sip of coffee. “I’ve got to get back to the gallery. I’ll see you later,” he said, leaning across the counter to peck Orli quickly on the lips.

He was gone before Orlando could say more than bye, but he’d left him with plenty to think about. If he was honest with himself, the thought of running the coffee shop had been nagging at the back of his mind ever since Ian had broken the news to him. He’d convinced himself that it wasn’t possible and had dismissed the idea as quickly as it had come to him, but he hadn’t been able to squelch it completely. But if Viggo was suggesting it, if that’s what he’d been doing, then maybe it wasn’t such an impossibility after all. He didn’t know how he’d ever pull it off, but he knew that Viggo was right. He couldn’t just stand back and wait for something to go wrong.


From: [identity profile] viggolady.livejournal.com

And the light bulb goes off. Orlando would make a wonderful shop owner! Viggo, better worry now that Henry and Orlando are teaming up!

From: [identity profile] laura-iskra.livejournal.com

yay for a new part of this!
yay for them just talking and clarifying things!
yay for viggo suggesting the best solution to orlando!

From: [identity profile] ireth06.livejournal.com

A seed was planted... now make it grow Orlando!

I'm glad they talked. Things weren't as bad as they seemed.

Thanks for the updateon this hun!

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

Thanks for reading! I've already got the next chapter back from my beta. It just needs some tweaking. *hugs*

From: [identity profile] cleokoneko.livejournal.com

Go Viggo!! Orli sometimes needs a prod in the right direction! Loved the chapter!


From: [identity profile] sghab2.livejournal.com

so i totally remember reading this like freakin forever ago and then i saw it the other day and i was like omg. so thank you! this was an awesome story then and it is still awesome. keep it up!

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

That totally made my weekend. Thanks for reading and commenting. :D

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