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It was all faintly ridiculous, he had to admit. Here he was, at the very zenith of his career, and yet he was sneaking around like a naughty schoolboy trying to catch a glimpse of his idol.

It would have been much easier to simply ask somebody to introduce them at some gala event or other, but that somehow didn’t seem right. He didn’t want her to think of him as “Brad Beaumont, Famous Author”. He wanted her to think of him as just Brad, then somewhere along the way he could mention that he wrote books and then maybe somebody else could mention the bestseller status and the awards…

No, first he needed to meet her by absolute chance. That was why he had been following her for the last few weeks to establish her routine.

It was a pretty underhanded tactic, he had to admit that, too, but people had done worse things for love, surely? Besides, if he hadn’t followed her, he wouldn’t have known that she came to this particular coffee shop at this particular time each Wednesday, for the same particular drink, and he wouldn’t have been able to time it just right so he could get into the queue just ahead of her, like so.

“I’ll have a tall double shot hazelnut latte to go, please,” he said to the barista with a smile. The barista took his order, took his money, and he moved aside to wait for the drink. He could just about hear her dulcet tones over the hubbub as she ordered her own tall, double shot hazelnut latte to go. Exactly as planned.

He waited until the drink was called out.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said as they both reached out for the drink. “Did you order this too? You can have it, I don’t mind waiting.”

She smiled. Oh, what a smile! He would die for that smile. “Oh, no, you take it,” she said. “You were here first.”

“No no, I insist,” he said, stepping back. “Have we met before? My name’s Brad.”

She laughed. “I know.”

He blinked. “You know?”

“You’re Brad Beaumont, the famous author,” she said, pulling the hardback book out of her handbag just far enough for him to see the title. Beyond Dreams, his first big hit.

Well, he thought, so much for Just Brad.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: This week the prompt from Three Word Wednesday is the words Naughty, Tactic and Zenith.)