2007-07-16: Coffee And Mirrors

Starring:

McAlister_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: An Oracle and a DJ walk into a Starbucks… and speak of mirrors, and threads, and whys.

Date It Happened: July 16, 2007

Coffee And Mirrors


Starbucks Coffeehouse

The usual coffee shop crowd has gone on to other places; the workday is done, and most people are done infusing their systems with caffeine for the day. There are only a couple of employees chitchatting behind the counter, a few patrons scattered at tables around the room, most with laptop, Blackberry, cellphone, newspaper, or book near to hand, if not /in/ hand.

Then there's Tamara, who is not drinking coffee, tea, or anything else with caffeine in it. (Apparently italian soda is the drink of the day.) The teen stands near one of the windows, her free hand resting lightly on the back of a chair, attention apparently on the cars or pedestrians passing by the storefront. She's being quiet enough that the other customers stopped giving her odd looks a while ago.

—-
Bang goes the door!

And.. in enters what is likely Hurricane Ali. Looking tired, wearing a special-occasion Little Black Dress, the DJ carries a pair of heels and has that thrift-store purse of hers slung over a shoulder. Looking somewhat disheveled, she frankly accosts the barista - "Triple espresso misto? thanks."

Apparently she's not one for dodging stimulants - especially now, if the tired circles under her eyes are any indication.

—-
Half of the coffee shop customers jump as the door suddenly crashes open - a couple of them with spilled drinks and ensuing curses. Half just spin around to /look/ at the woman in the Little Black Dress, not appreciating the noisy interruption of their thoughts. Tamara doesn't bat an eyelash, much less turn. Rather, she smiles out the window, waiting until Ali has placed her order before the soft taps of shoes on bitty little standard store tiles announce the girl's approach from behind. "Little dark for finding anything," she remarks.

—-
"Oh. Hi! Yeah, but who has any time to look, right?" As though remembering, she sets her shoes down, stepping into them. "Sorry - it's been a really insane day. Week. Or so. Something." Almost selfconsciously, she reaches up to tuck a stray hair behind her own ear.

—-
"You look," Tamara disagrees amiably. She tilts her head at Ali's apology, giving the woman a faintly puzzled frown. "I don't think you need to apologize for something that's the day's problem." The girl leans her arms on the counter; as she doesn't look at the baristas, just Ali, they figure out quickly she isn't going to order anything else. "What do days think about that makes them insane?"

—-
And.. that throws her, but it throws her with a laugh and a slight shake of her head. Oddly? Ali /relaxes/. It's a visible thing - leaning against the counter and heaving a sigh. "I wish I could tell you - I only know what they do. They get busy and crazy and make you feel like you're running in circles and getting nothing worthwhile done." The barista produces her overpriced coffee beverage, and she reaches up to grab it.

"See, I feel like I should. Apologize, you know? Maybe it's dad being catholic."

—-
Tamara smiles at Ali over the top of her drink, before sipping at the straw. The red-colored soda in the cup doesn't go down by much. "You could run in a square instead," the girl points out. "Do squares do anything? Maybe triangles. Buildings have squares and triangles, so they must." Such is Tamara's… logic. A pause, as she takes another drink, studying Ali. "Doesn't matter that you're Catholic?"

—-
The Dj .. with a wink .. heads for a table. "No. I kinda gave up on the Church a while back. I'm not a big fan of 'god did it', you know?" A pause.. as she settles into a chair. "Hey. How'd you? Oh. Pop. Yeah. I tried triangles once. Very pointy." Whymsical indeed.

—-
Tamara shrugs, following Ali over to the chosen table. Now she sits down, taking the opposite seat. Her drink is set in the very middle of the tabletop. Tamara settles back in her chair, eyes the italian soda… then leans forward again and draws something in the condensation on the plastic cup's side. The soda is turned around so the smiley face is directed to Ali; the girl's hands settle in her lap and she now seems content to sit back. "Can't go around corners very fast without falling. That was a problem. But maybe it just means 'slow down'." The subject of God is bypassed entirely.

—-
McAlister tilts her head to one side … and, quietly, remarks. "You're.. pretty smart, you know?" And then - a nonsequitur, entirely. "so this guy - turns out he has a couple of kittens. Really cute ones. When I get a chance, I think I'm going to have to get two - I just hope my roomate's not allergic. But - I think she was after them herself, actually, so it sort of works out, right?" She sips her own coffee, flashing a smile. "No idea on names, yet."

—-
Tamara takes the nonsequitur perfectly in stride. Canting her head, she smiles at the woman after a moment's consideration. "She wasn't," the girl assures. "Just make sure the painted one came. If it was there." Lapsing into silence, she pulls the soda over to her side of the table - but only to play with the straw, spinning it around in the cup. In the end, the girl wrinkles her nose. "Names are trouble," she pronounces. "But you found yours."

—-
"She.. wasn't?" Ali parses that, slowly - "Oh. You're sayin'.. " Her eyes narrow - it's not unfriendly, just thoughtful. "How did you know one was.. calico? I don't think I said, did I?"

—-
"Guess the ghosts took it," Tamara replies to the last question with a shrug. "And the river takes them." She peers back at Ali, tapping her fingernails on the table. "Did I say something wrong?" Her gaze shifts slightly to one side, eyes darkening as their pupils widen a bit. "I don't /think/ so… no. You didn't either. It just was better," the teen concludes with a shrug.

—-
"No.. kiddo. Just… " Ali smiles - and sets her hand, palm up, on the table. An offer. "You throw me some, is all. How'd you know?" The question comes up again, curious. "You don't know Erin, do you?"

—-
The girl frowns; dark eyes narrow in concentration. She doesn't reply immediately, but is quiet for a lengthy moment, gaze flicking once to the side and back again. Her attention is decidely elsewhere. "She didn't know the mirror," Tamara states slowly. After a shorter pause, the teen belatedly sets her hand over Ali's, closing her fingers around it. Blue eyes echo the rueful set of her smile. "Ask the singer. She knew better," Tamara regretfully advises her companion.

—-
"S'okay, you know." Ali squeezes that hand. "It really is." There's conviction in her tone - but what she's convinced of, who she's reassuring? Who knows. "I have to ask, 'cause I'd kick myself otherwise. You.. got a place to stay, right?"

—-
"It's quiet. At least here." The teen glances away as another latecomer walks into the coffee shop, watching him walk move with a distracted sort of curiosity. "The mirror does well enough," Tamara replies, looking back to Ali with a confident smile. In other words - don't worry about me. "No good if it didn't."

—-
"Alright." Ali nods, then grins. "I'll take that for how I think you mean it. I know the cops are a hell of a hassle, most of the time.. " A pause, then, a slight shrug. And.. interested, she asks. "So tell me about the mirror? You've mentioned it quite a bit, ya know?"

—-
Tamara tips her head, peering at Ali. "Only if they saw you." Her expression shifts to a frown as the woman moves on to the next topic of conversation. The teen leans back in her chair, taking the soda with her and chewing idly on the end of her straw. "I could try. What did you want to ask?"

—-
"Just.. " Ali pauses, "Well. What is it?" She retrieves her own hand, "'cause I'm betting you're not talking about stuff over my vanity, right?"

—-
Tamara blinks at Ali. She takes another drink of the italian soda, brow creased in a slight line. "You weren't vain," the teen disagrees. "Or not too much. …I don't think." She seems to turn that over in her head for a bit, and forget entirely about the original question posed.

—-
"Huh? Hey!" Ali laughs, then. "I am /not/. I hope." She sips at her coffee. ".. it'd explain why I can't keep a guy." Yes. The persuasive DJ is apparently hopeless with men. Regardless, she shakes her head - "Don't tell me you /really/ think that. Do I come off vain?"

—-
Tamara blinks at Ali. "…I don't think so?" But she sounds more hopeful than certain. The teen scowls. "I don't like the whys. Have to pull out all the whats and make them a why. They're as bad as needles. Except maybe if someone said it. But they didn't." She swings her feet back and forth (though not where they're likely to collide with anything), and pokes at the soda in her cup with the straw.

—-
McAlister points out, "Yeah, but without 'why', there's no meaning. Whats are all well and good, but sometimes it's better to at least get the 'why'. That's the part that tells you … well. Everything. You know?" Debate. Uh, oh - Ali's intrigued, and .. apparently.. enjoying herself.

—-
Tamara seems to think about Ali's statements for a short time. She sips at her drink, then looks up to the woman. "Maybe they were for you. Shadows don't reach that deep; just whispers. Many whispers." The girl chews idly on her lower lip, then shakes her head slowly. "Ghosts know. I don't know. You had to. The threads run together somtimes, but then they don't look the same way."

—-
"How do you mean?" Ali's doing her best to keep up, but that seems to lose her, just a bit. "Threads - I'm not sure I follow. I mean, why is there, if you just look for it enough. Always is."

—-
Tamara sighs, and shakes her head a bit. "Maybe it could be," she allows. "But the mirror only looked so far without wobbling. Much. The edge was always trouble." The girl sets her cup down on the table, glancing out the window. "Why do they go left instead of right? Why did the dogs decide to get along?" She swivels to look at another coffee drinker, who abruptly drops his gaze as soon as he realizes he's been noticed. "Why didn't he say anything?" Dark eyes flick to McAlister. "Why do you ask? Why do you listen?" A shrug, her hands held palms-up just above the table. "…You just do. Maybe the ghosts know, but that means catching them. And finding them. I'm not sure which is harder."

—-
Ali grins, then - and taps her nose. "Choice. Affection. You can chase why, pretty far, sure - but.. I like you. You're.. interesting. For some strange reason, I feel like I know you well, and.. I don't know why /yet/. But I'll find out - it's the best part, the looking. You don't have to know why, really, you just need to look for it sometimes."

—-
"Always looking." It may be a reply; it may just be a comment. One fingertip traces invisible curves on the tabletop. "It's very tiring." Tamara, apparently, chooses to disagree. "But it's good you like it. I hope you found it."

—-
"I can't help liking it - it's sort of in my nature, ya know?" Ali reaches out to - if she can - rest a hand on Tamara's tracing one. "I figure I found a friend - an /odd/ friend.." That comes with a wink. "Who I swear to /God/ I'm going to worry about even if you're telling me not to." Impulsive, perhaps, but earnest and certain.

—-
The teen's hand stills, allowing Ali to catch it. "Friends are good," she remarks. "Just make sure you know when to listen. Sometimes it was important." Tamara gives Ali a crooked smile. "It isn't now until you added more circles. But sometimes worry closed the door." And that, whatever it is, Tamara doesn't much care for.

—-
"I'll always listen. I promise." The DJ squeezes once, then stares. "Oh, /damnit/. I'm late." The clock, there on the marquee across the street? It caught her eye, apparently. "I'm sorry, seriously - I have to go." And she's a bundle of snatching bag and coffee, suddenly in that stressed, panic mode again. "I have to get to brooklyn before the.. damnit. I hope I haven't missed the seventeen.." It's half to herself, but she flashes a smile over to the girl. "I'm sorry - you'll forgive me, right?"

—-
In contrast to Ali's panic, Tamara just smiles. "You weren't," she disagrees. "Just don't pass the White Shirt -" The capitals are fairly well audible. "- and the circles should stay straight." She doesn't /say/ she forgives the woman, but Tamara's attitude suggests she's hardly about to hold a grudge for her leaving.

—-
"White Shirt? I'll try to remember that - " Again, Ali tucks hair behind her ear, bolting for the door - and taking her coffee with her, after nearly forgetting in the first step. "Thank you!"

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