2007-02-14: A Little Coffee, a Little Chat


Elena_icon.gif TC_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif Drake_icon.gif Lachlan_icon.gif Trey_icon.gif

Summary: A small shortage of staff at a the Starbucks in Manhattan leads to a brief crisis of caffeine. This is alleviated by Elena's timely arrival. Elena is flirted with, Jack's hangover is subdued, and T.C. is disturbed when Trey tries to draw him.

Date It Happened: February 14th, 2007

A Little Coffee, a Little Chat

Starbucks, Manhattan

She was exhausted. The entire -week- had been busy. She even pondered calling in sick, but this Starbucks wa short-staffed as it was. At least she doesn't -look- tired, having managed to look presentable today. When Elena walks in, she hangs up her black coat in the breakroom, and busily pulls her dark hair up in a loose twist, pulling tresses out to frame her face and ditching the hoodie that gave her extra protection from the cold.

And since the manager wasn't in today? She wasn't wearing the typical Starbucks shirt. Oh no. She had it -rough- last night, damn it. She's wearing what she damned pleases today. The baby tee with the words 'To Be is to Do (Socrates)/To Do is To Be (Jean-Paul Sartre)/Do be do be do (Frank Sinatra)' is right on the front.

"Maybe -I'll- be the one quitting if the cops show up again today," she murmurs under her breath.

T.C., meanwhile, is waiting in line; rather a considerable line of rather impatient New Yorkers who do not accept being short-staffed as an excuse. There are mutters, and tapped feet, and not-so-surreptitious glances at watches. T.C. does none of these things. He seems relaxed as he waits, one hand curling fingers tight into the strap of his over-burdened backpack, his head tilted back to read the menu board.

Slam. The door pops open and shut, and a ragged, tired-looking Jack tromps in with a frown on his face and a hand above his eyes to shield them from the brightness of the coffee shop's lighting. His soft, dark blue shirt's rumpled sleeves are pushes back to the elbow, and his slacks look to have been folded none-too-neatly before being hastily tossed back on the next morning. He lets out a slow, sighing groan. Head hurt. Stomach mad. Coffee good. He scrubs his long fingers through his tousled, bristly hair and then makes a beeline for the counter. Long line. No. Bad. With slumped shoulders, Jack reluctantly queues up.

"Elena! Love of my life! Fire in my loins! You're -early- today!" exclaims the last man standing behind the counter, who looks -so- ready to shuttle off this long line to the newcomer.

"Oh HELL no, Thomas. You're staying RIGHT where you are," Elena says, jabbing a finger over. "….and did you just call me an STD?"

"Noooooo….why? You wanna get one?"

"….on second thought, get the hell out, you disgust me."

Thomas grins and grabs his coat. "I'd stick around, Elly, but I forgot to get my girlfriend something today. If you think -this- line is bad, you should check out the flower shops all over town."

"I hate you. Get out before I change my mind," Elena groans, but she does grin at him, yanking her apron on and getting behind the counter. "Next in line, please!"

Not far behind Jack is another man dressed in an arguably worse fashion. Lachlan has dressed for success as always today by donning a wrinkled faded green T-shirt that looks as though it might have been dug from the bottom of the laundry basket (but it passed the initial sniff-test!), a pair of worn blue jeans with a hole ratted in one leg, and an old brown leather jacket. The dogs that always follow him are, of course, left outside the door, and the Scotsman hesitates when he sees the line at the counter. Well /damn/. After a moment's consideration, he takes the spot just behind Jack, working his lips and jaw in slight dismay. "Bloody hell," he grumbles to no one in particular, "did someone die?"

T.C. turns at the grumbling, brow creased slightly. "Hopefully not in here." The person who /is/ next in line is taking their time about deciding, vascillating between one drink and another — frappuccino? macchiato? The possibilities are endless! — and it seems from the increased agitation of the people in line that it is very possible someone /might/ die. Soon. The person directly behind the woman at the counter (and directly in front of T.C.) says as much, in a low mutter. T.C. helpfully relays this information back down the line: "But the guy in front of me is plotting murder. You may just have to wait a minute."

A lush through and through, Jack reaches an unsteady hand inside his jacket and withdraws a slim, silver flask. After popping the top with one thumb, he takes a long pull to kill both the time and some of the lingering effects from his hangover. He restoppers it and tucks it away, then wipes his mouth with the back of one hand. When the man in front of him speaks, Jack turns a bleary-eyed gaze in his direction. "It may be afternoon, boyo, but it's still damn early for killin'. You tell 'em to wait until after I get my java," he rumbles in his deep, basso voice.

And there they are, the zombies of New York.

Elena makes a note to put an extra shot of java in all of the coffees she makes today. After filling in several orders, and quickly - considering she was the veteran barrista of the branch, it isn't surprising that the line starts moving along, and rather quickly, despite the fact that she's the only one working.

"Lifesaver!" exclaims a middle-aged woman in front, taking a sip of her Raspberry latte. "Thank you so much, Elly."

"Remember that the next time I get my eyes checked, Dr. Robertson," Elena says with a lopsided smile. "Next!" She points to TC, because he's next. Meanwhile, she's still juggling the other orders, getting them mixed, made, and shuttled off her mini assembly line on the counter. Next time she sees Drake, she's kicking him.

Is that how you treat someone who tried to save your life? Drake makes his way into the Starbucks, angling behind the counter as he gives Elena a bit of a squint of his eyes. "Alright, I didn't really quit after all. Figured I couldn't leave my new BFF hanging high and dry on Valentines Day rush hour." He starts to slip his apron on, giving her a wry look over his shoulder. "So, hear any good news since last night?" He asks, once he steps up to the next terminal, and motioning a customer forward after he logs on. "My mom practically threatened to ground me for life for coming home so late without calling."

The somewhat baffled expression Lachlan turns on T.C. would indicate he wasn't really expecting an answer, but he's not terribly upset at getting one either. The tidbit of humor brings a faint, wry smile to his lips, and he glances up toward the counter. Well. At least the barista is cute. Despite Drake's appearance, Lachlan opts to stay in his current line — because the barista is cute. "'S never too early for killin' when coffee's involved," he intones gravely to Jack.

T.C.'s order is simple — plain coffee! Black! Albeit with four shots of espresso. He's got papers to write. He has a polite smile and a polite thank-you for Elena as he pays, with a bigger than usual tip dropped into the cup to try and make up for the hectic crowd. "I have a feeling murder would delay caffeine acquisition," the teenager says, seriously, as he steps out of line to wait for his drink.

"Touche, lad, and well put." A bit more of Jack's usual humor finds it's way into his tone. However, he steps up to the front of the counter as soon as Drake slides behind it. "Now, do you have the technology and equipment back there to make black coffee?" Despite it's wording, both Jack's query and his expression are serious as he pulls a wad of bills from his back pocket..

"Drake! I'd kill you if I didn't need you right now," Elena exclaims dramatically, tossing him his apron. But she does wink at him. "Thanks for coming in." She grabs a cup to start making TC's order when she murmurs at him. "No not since last night," she murmurs. "But guess who was waiting for me when I got out of class earlier?" She slides TC's coffee, western saloon-style, towards the young man. "Thank you very much," she says, flashing him a smile…especially at the added tip. "Next!" She gestures to Lachlan, because Drake's got Jack.

"Um…. your father?" Drake asks curiously with a lift of his brow. To Jack, he says, "I think we have the ability to make black coffee." His lips tug upwards into a bit of amusement as he rocks a bit on his feet, tapping in a single button on the terminal. "Dollar fifteen." Turning around, he plucks up large, foam cup and begins to fill it with the caffeinated goodness which billows with a warm steam at the top. "This black enough or you sir?" He asks, canting his head to one side, though the question is serious in itself. The customer is always right, right?

The smile on Lachlan's face grows once again at T.C.'s remark, and he even lets out a soft chuckle. "Aye," he agrees, "an' tha'd be a sad day fer us all." But then he's being motioned up to the counter, and he moves on up, reaching toward his back pocket to withdraw his wallet and glancing briefly at the menu. "A'righ'," he grunts. "'ll have a latte, tall, an' I wouldna mind knowin' when ye get off either." The Scot was all impatience when the line wasn't moving fast enough for his liking, but now that he's at the counter, there's /plenty/ of time to hit on Elena, no matter how caffeine-deprived those behind him might be.

Jack nods appreciatively and lays one hand palm-down against the counter. "I don't fancy waitin' in line again," ha says, and nods back to the ever-lengthening queue. "Fill another up for me and you can keep the change." When Jack lifts his hand he leaves behind a crisp, neatly-folded twenty. He shoots a quick look at the customer who's just stepped up beside him and one side of his mouth tugs upward into a brief, crooked smile. Ahh, youth and innocence.

"Yes, see, she's got it," T.C. says with a pleased smile at Elena's comment to Drake, as he takes his coffee from the counter. "Coffee first, then killings." A pause, as he listens to Lachlan. "— Okay. Pick-up lines first, then coffee, then killings. But other people might not agree with those priorities."

"What? There will be no killing in my Starbucks," Elena remarks with a look, but she does smile afterward. "Besides. This is New York. Random killings get old pretty fast around here. If there's to be a crime in my watch I demand it to be an original one." She's saying this in jest, of course. It's obvious. She takes Lachlan's order, marking it in the cup she has in her hand and she looks up at the Scotsman. "Hm? At the rate this line is going, sir, I'm afraid I'll never leave." She grins at him. "That'll be 2.50."

"She can't kill me, if she does, it'll be quite a mess to mop up." Drake says as he fills a second cup up with black, handing it to Jack. Keep the change? He blinks his eyes a bit. "Um.. that's like.. eighteen dollars and ninety-five cents worth of change. I can't really keep that." He says, sliding the bills out of the register, handing it over to him. "Thank you for the offer though. That's pretty cool of yah." As Elena leans over to whisper, he quirks a brow up slightly. "Really? How'd it go?" He asks.

Jack blinks in evident confusion. There are still people in this town who don't want to take your money? With a quick shake of his head, he scoops up the ten and stuffs it away. "There. Keep the rest then, yes? Split it with your co-worker if y'like. I can't take it back, my hands are full and the people behind me are gettin' mighty restless." Jack grins and picks up both cups of coffee as he speaks, then steps out of the way and takes a long, grateful drink from one, effectively ending the debate.

A five is withdrawn from Lachlan's billfold and presented to Elena between the index and middle fingers of his left hand, his expression taking on a small, sympathetic pout. "Aw, tha's a cryin' shame," he murmurs. "'ll bet ye look great when yer no' flutterin' around behind a counter — no' tha' ye dunna look great when ye /are/." He's taking his sweet, sweet time about paying and getting out of line to give the next customer his turn, but hey, it's not as though he /cares/.

T.C. watches the exchange between Lachlan and Elena with open, unabashed fascination. He sips slowly at his drink, wincing as the still-piping-hot coffee scalds his tongue. But he keeps watching.

The brunette takes the bill and rings him up, after depositing Lachlan's cup in her little assembly line. She grins sheepishly at Lachlan. "Well, thanks. It's nice of you to say so….but at the very least you'll get your glorious caffeine in around two minutes or less." She hands him the change, and starts making his order, quick fingers mixing the espresso shots and the steaming milk together. "Besides, school's keeping me effectively from having any semblance of a social life whatsoever anyway. I only have myself to blame though. Here you go." She hands the cup over to Lachlan. Elena tips a glance over to Drake, mouthing 'tell you later' to her fellow barrista.

Giving Jack a quick smile, and sizing up the remaining eight dollars, he shrugs and tucks it beneath his keyboard, unsure what to do with it. "Um, thanks!" He calls over, before motioning the next customer over to the counter. With a look over to Lachlan flirting with Elena, he looks amused for a brief moment, giving his head a bit of a shake, before taking the next order, and working on the coffee. "So, Elena, you wanna hang out tonight? I got something to show you. You'll get a kick out of it." His foot taps against the side of the counter as he works, needing to work out some ADD that is building.

All of the change is promptly deposited in the tip jar with a grin and a brief wink. "Tha's no fun," Lachlan remarks as he finally sidles out of line, but he stays near the counter at least, because there is Conversation happening. "Ye should get out a bit more." A quick glance is given to T.C. as the Scotsman accepts his drink. "Do ye no' think she should get out a bit more?" he asks of the younger man. Two opinions strengthen an argument, after all.

"I wouldn't know," T.C. answers seriously. "I'm a pre-med. We don't get out much. I hear it can be enjoyable, though. I'm taking notes — " His hand gestures between Lachlan and Elena, " — in case I ever manage it."

"So am I," Elena says, giving TC a small smile, and a tilt of her head to Lachlan. "They practically have us slaving our souls away in all the labs we have to do," she informs the older man. To Drake, she glances over and groans. "I wish I could, I could definitely use the break - but I have study group tonight for Biology. We have a midterm coming up. But if the group lead cancels, I'll call you?"

Jack winces at the heat of his brew, but that doesn't stop him from guzzling it down like a man dying of thirst. He makes short work of the first cup and throws it into a trash can, then takes a deep breath before tackling the second. Already a bit of the color is returning to his pale cheeks, and the faint lines around his eyes and brow smooth as he begins to relax. "Notes? Och, lad. You just have to jump in and try it for yourself. 'Til then it's all speculation, yes?" Jack doesn't seem the least bit self-concious about joining several strangers in conversation.

"Trust me, this is all about biology." Drake says as he spins a penny along his knuckles, giving her a knowing look, before flicking it into the tip cup with a rattle. Now that the rest of the customers have been waited on, he picks up a broom and starts to sweep out the back counter. Since he doesn't have much to really slip into the conversation, he eavesdrops effectively enough, while keeping himself task focused, and busy.

"Well hell, ye need a break, ye take one, like the man says," Lachlan utters sagely, and though the advice and agreement with Jack's statement seems to be for all present and involved, it is mostly directed at Elena, evinced by his next sentence: "Here, tell ye wha': gimme a chance, an' I'll take ye out fer some relaxin'. Ye canna stay cooped up behind yer counters an' labs f'rever, yanno." He raises his eyebrows inquisitively, almost mischievously. C'monnn.

Jack lets out a soft snort into his coffee at the Scotsman's antics. When he lowers the cup, his professional card-player's guilelessly serious expression is in place. "You heard him, lass. 'Ye canna stay cooped up f'rever,' after all." Despite his own trace Irish accent, Jack does a fair pass at imitating a Scottish brogue. Then his composure cracks and he grins crookedly.

"I'd love a break but I'm afraid I can't," Elena tells Lachlan with a hint of a smile. "One, the midterm's really important. Two, Papa is….well. Crazy. I have to be home at a certain hour. -But-, I'm sure there's about a dozen models outside waiting to get taken out by a tried and true Scotsman." She identifies the accent correctly, at least. "I mean, it -is- New York Fashion Week. Hell, I recommend -all- of you scope out the city all this week, actually. Some of you might get lucky. Even -your- scrawny ass." She nudges Drake playfully.

"I am hardly scrawny and you know it. Sides', you like my ass." Drake says with a wink over to Elena, giving her a playful hip bump, then pushes the pile of debris into the corner so that he can sweep it up with a dust bin. "Anyways, I'm not looking to get lucky. It would be a conflict of interest in my relationship with God." He sounds fairly serious about that. Could he be? Honestly?

Jack's impersonation earns him a glance cast over Lachlan's shoulder and a lifted eyebrow. Are you /mocking/ me, sir? But the dog trainer lets it slide for the moment and returns his attention to Elena. If he's anything at all, Lachlan is persistent and determined. Even in the face of gentle rejection, he's not willing to back down without having exhausted all avenues of insistence. The Scotsman cocks his head slightly to one side, his lower lip jutting out a bit. Being so attuned to dogs, the man is a master at puppy-eyes. "'M no' askin' fer yer life," he wheedles, "just one date, tha's all. Ye've gotta have at least a /little/ free time?" His eyes shift toward Drake briefly at the mention of God and a relationship therewith. Is he /serious/?

T.C. sips at his coffee, and regards Drake thoughtfully. "I'm sure so long as you and God talk about it openly, you can come to an arrangement. Honesty is more important than monogamy."

Jack gives one more headshake and downs the last of his coffee. The second cup follows the first into the trash. He glances at the begging Scotsman and leans lazily back against an unoccupied edge of the counter, waiting for this mini-drama to play out to it's inevitable conclusion.

She grins. She has to admire the man's persistence, but she has her father to consider. A crazy, psychic father who was probably out buying a gun -right- this very moment. It was for other people's safety that she does this, you know!! "I really can't," Elena tells him. Not because Lachlan looked like a murderer waiting to happen mind, but simply because she actually can't. She has way too many things to think and do things about, like an -actual- murderer. When the next customer steps up, she excuses herself from TC and Lachlan….and shoots Drake a -look-. She doesn't have to say: …what?! It was already on her face.

"What? You do." Drake says teasingly over to Elena as she passes, giving her a chuckle, before looking over at Lachlan for a moment, then makes his way for the back. "I'm going to start doing inventory, now that it's slowed up. I should be done in a bit. Call me if you need me." He says, before ducking around the corner with a yawn. Time to start counting boxes, and making little notes here, and there.

When he's turned down once again, Lachlan's pout only deepens, but he can't really do much about the circumstances, can he? "Aw, a'righ'," he sighs, conceding. "Mebbe another time, then." Never give up, never surrender. He turns toward T.C. and Jack once his current item of interest has moved on, and he gives the two an appraising glance each. "So ye survived the line, then?" he comments with a lift of one eyebrow and a small smirk. The question is intended for both.

"Yes." T.C. frowns, and looks down at himself in puzzlement. "Why? Did we appear to have died? I believe I survived. Intact. My tongue is burned, though."

Jack spreads his empty hand and nods to Lachlan. "Aye, and I'm glad. I'm not sure how long I could've made it this mornin'." He yawns and cups a hand over his mouth, still a touch ragged despite the presence of stimulants.

Trey enters the shop and queues up for the counter. When he finally makes his wake up, he shifts his messenger bag around slightly and rests his hand on the countertop, waiting for the barista. He takes a moment to look around the place. Typical starbucks, yeah.

"What'll it be?" Elena asks, smiling over at Trey, and picking up her marker. She'll wait for him to order up, of course, but she just gives Drake a -look- when he sneaks to the back room. "Honestly…" she mumbles, shaking her head and looking at the next guy expectantly.

"Ye might wind up dead, ye keep guzzlin' yer coffee," is Lachlan's chuckled response to T.C.. He grins knowingly at Jack, emitting a low snort of sympathy. "Don' I bloody well know the feelin'." He's had more than his fair share of waking up on the wrong side of a bottle. Having conducted a bit of small-talk with his allies-in-queue, the Scotsman feels safe in bowing out of the coffeehouse, which he does by stepping toward the door. "Ye take care o' yerselves now," he calls over his shoulder, offering a small wave before disappearing out into the street. The Dobermans patiently waiting outside are quick to follow after him, once he takes up their leashes, that is.

T.C. looks mildly alarmed. He pulls the cap off his cup of coffee and peers inside, more curious than suspicious, before looking at Elena. "Is this coffee poisoned?"

Jack snorts again and tucks his hands into his pockets. A moment later his cell phone rings and he jumps, surprised. He snaps the phone open, lifts it to his ear, and listens briefly. Narrowed eyes and tightening jaw muscles betray his displeasure at whatever news he recieves. He hangs up, tucks the phone away, and makes his way toward the exit as well.

Trey orders an Americano and a scone, smiling at the chica behind the counter…coffee isn't the only thing hot in here. T.C.'s question catches his ear though. He looks that way and asks. "Man, what?"

"He — " T.C.'s head tilts in a nod towards the door where Lachlan just left, " — said I would die if I kept drinking this coffee. It really isn't on my schedule for today. I have way too much work to get done to go through death. I would prefer my coffee unpoisoned."

Trey carries his drink and pastry to a table where he's in earshot of T.C. "Only poison in the coffee is the good kind…" He takes a long sip of the Americano. "Ahh, yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. 'S how work gets done."

"Hm." T.C. frowns down into his cup, and moves to claim a table of his own, by Trey's. He sets his backpack down on the ground and pulls a heavy textbook and a spiral-bound notebook out of it. "True enough. I'm not sure how I'd get through anything otherwise."

"What we got here?" Trey asks, gesturing with a free finger at T.C.'s textbook. "Fellow slave to the educational system? Looks heavy, whatever it is."

T.C. slants a sideways glance over at Trey, a slight smile on his lips. "Yeah. Fellow — slave. Uhm." He lifts the book up so Trey can see it; the heavy tome is one on neuroscience. "Got about seven hundred things to cram into what's left of this week."

"Mmmm-mmm, damn son," Trey shakes his head. "You must be one of those smart kids or something. I sure ain't messin' with no neuroscience, that's for damn sure." He chuckles and nibbles on his scone. "You in pre-med or something?"

"Yes." T.C. extracts a pen from one of his backpack's pockets, flipping the notebook to a page half-filled with messily scrawled words. "Uh. Yes to pre-med. Not 'or something'." The tip of his tongue flicks out to wet his lips, and he glances back towards Trey again. "What's it you do?"

Trey sips at his coffee. "What's it to me? Nothin' man. I'm just a serial killer, targetting pre-med students. Makes it really easy when they up and admit it, y'know what I'm saying?"

"Oh. That's nice." T.C. seems somewhat distracted by his work; his tone is absent and it takes a moment for Trey's words to sink in. When they do, he looks up from his book suddenly, baffled. "Wait, /what/?"

"What, this is NYC man," Trey says nonchalantly, opening his messenger bag and taking out a sketch diary. He flips to a new page and clicks out some new lead on a mechanical pencil. "People like me lurking around every corner, right?" He grins. "Relax man, I'm just messin' with ya."

"Uh —" T.C. blinks, and then shakes his head abruptly, returning Trey's grin with a weaker reflection of the same. "Oh. Right. I'm sorry, I kinda — space." He taps the textbook with the back of his pen. "So what /is/ it you do?"

"Art student," Trey replies, not looking up from his pad. His fingers move the pencil in loose, fluid strokes. "Gotta sharpen up my life drawing for a project I've got this semester, so that means going where people are and drawing 'em. Fun, right?"

"Fun," T.C. echoes, uncertain. "I guess. Whatever's your — thing." He looks back down at his work before looking up again, eyes narrowing on Trey's pad. "What are you drawing?"

"Right now?" Trey glances up just briefly before looking back down at the sketchpad. "You, actually. More or less anyhow. Heh." He changes grips on his pencil as he starts to fill in more detailed areas.

"What?" T.C. sits up straighter, and looks distinctly uncomfortable. He closes his textbook and leans down to put it back into his backpack. "No, that's — no." Frown. "I am not for drawing."

"What, it bother you or something?" Trey smirks. "You gonna bust a gasket next time somebody takes a photo and you happen to be standing in the shot?"

"Yes, it bothers me," T.C. replies, with a distinct twinge of irritation in his voice. He stands, scooping up his backpack and hoisting it onto a shoulder, his notebook tucked under one arm and his coffee picked up in the other. "And I just might. It is possible. If I have a gasket to blow."

"Chill out man," Trey shakes his head. "Tell you what, just relax and lemme finish, and you can have the damn drawing, how's that? Burn it, eat it, wipe your ass with it, whatever. I'm not gonna put it on the internet or anything."

"I have central heating. And coffee. And toilet paper." Ergo, T.C. clearly does not need a drawing for any of these purposes. He frowns, and shifts awkwardly from one foot to the other. "Look, man, I just —" He stops. His head shakes. "Nevermind." Shoulders hunched, he turns for the door.

Trey sighs and tears the page off. "Aw, c'mon man, forget it, okay, I'll draw something else." He crumples the paper up. "Just go back and drink your coffee for crying out loud."

T.C. doesn't answer. He is drinking his coffee — taking a long gulp of it as he heads out the door.

Trey shakes his head, looks around for something else to draw. Failing to find anything suitable, he just shrugs and goes back to drinking his own coffee. Oh well.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License