Night at the Cafe
The sun set slowly, cascades of yellow and orange fading into purple and deep blue. The smell of fresh coffee and various baked goods filled the small shop. Her evening ritual began, and she puttered through the small cafe adjusting the napkin holders on the small Formica tables situated with overstuffed chairs, making sure everything was homey. Bookcases filled one wall, everything from new age Wicca to strange, non-English translations of Adam Smith, history interspersed with fiction and science textbooks, with no discernible organization whatsoever. Nothing with rhyme or reason existed in this small building.
Arianna swirled through the cafe doing final touch ups and placing crystals around for calming and comfort. Layers of flared pink silk wrapped around her like the petals of a blossom and pinned in her hair, burgundy today, was a pink orchid to match. She beamed a bright sunny smile, as the first patron of the night attempted to slip in shortly after she unlocked the doors, “Oh Frank, don’t be silly. I’ve got your favorites in just this afternoon.”
She laughed gaily as the tall man glowered at her slightly, a faint frown of disappointment on his lips. “Don’t know why you’re always so cheerful, Ari. You run a coffee shop in a shit-hole town with a bunch of people that don’t care about anyone but themselves, for customers” Frank grumbled and sat down, sinking into the over sized armchair with a sigh of pleasure that he tried to hide.
Arianna’s bare feet were soundless on the hardwood floors, the scent of coffee growing stronger in Frank’s nose as she poured him a cup. A soft chuckle escaped her lips, “But the view is to die for.” She grinned at him, mischievously, her eyes glancing over his muscular frame, the white-painted skull t-shirt and black pants, briefly admiring, before she gestured outside the door. “It’s right on the river, nobody bothers me, and I have you guys here.” She paused and turned to look at the tall woman slinking in the door, “Isn’t that right Seline?”
The woman paused and tilted her head, “How do you do that, Ari? Are you absolutely sure you’re not part feline?” The woman purred softly before slinking over to drape herself over Arianna’s shoulder. “I’d like my usual, and maybe an extra dish of tuna?” Seline pouted slightly, angling her body down over one shoulder to look up at smaller woman.
Arianna laughed, “Of course. Sit down and I’ll get it for you.” Seline went and sprawled across the back of one of the overstuffed chairs and rested her head on her hands watching Arianna. Arianna continued the conversation as she bustled around to behind the counter and made up a plate and prepared the tea. “I purchased a different type of tuna for you to try Seline, it’s supposed to be dolphin safe… I’m not sure how it would be dolphin safe since dolphins like to eat tuna but…” She smiled happily and trailed off and arrived back at Seline’s table with the tuna and her standard cup of herbal tea.
Selena took a deep breath through her nose and sighed happily, “Smells heavenly, Arianna. Wouldn’t you agree, Matt?”
Arianna turned towards the door, her smile brightened, though it didn’t matter. A young, tall, handsome man walked through the door, his sunglasses were out of place in the darkness, but the red-tipped cane he held explained it away. “If you like tuna, Selena. I’ve always been more of a lobster kind of a guy, myself.” He stopped for a moment, then turned his face toward Arianna, “Good evening, Ari. Is there a reason other than it simply being Thursday that Frank is upset that I need to know about?”
“Stuff it, Matt,” Frank grumbled. “You’d be upset too if you had to teach remedial manners as often as I do to gutter punks that think they know something. You lawyer types don’t typically hang out with people like that after hours, now do you?”
Matt chuckled, “Only when they think they can escape the jaws of justice.” He tapped his way to the chosen table that had been set up just for him. “Besides, someone needs to teach them manners, and I’m sure your shining smiling face is simply perfect for the job.”
Arianna chuckled as she set Matt’s usual tea and cookies in front of him, Seline snorted her tea and laughed, “Stop doing that when I’m drinking, Matt.”
Matt brought the cup to his lips and paused, smiling small and contentedly, “And where would the fun in that be for this old blind man, my dear Seline?” His head tilted slightly, “Besides, I don’t think anything, including your occasionally messy attempts to restrain yourself from amusement at my razor wit, could ever make Logan stop eyeing you when he thinks no one notices.” Matt turned his head to the door as a tall, wildly spiked black-haired man walked in wearing nothing more than a wife-beater and cargo jeans.
The massive man walked over and sat down next to Frank, pulling a half-smoked cigar out as he walked and, before putting it in his mouth, made a kissing noise in Matt’s direction, “Love you too, sweetheart.” Around the cigar, he rumbled, “How we doin’ tonight, Frank?” At Frank’s grumble, he nodded, then took the cigar between his thumb and forefinger and waved vaguely at Arianna in greeting.
Arianna walked over and set down a bottle of Moosehead Lager and a box of thin mint girl scout cookies. “How are you this evening, Logan?” She wrinkled her nose, “Just don’t light that stinky thing in here.” Pointing at the cigar with a slight glower, she added, “It’ll make my books reek.”
“Do I ever?” He snorted indignantly. Flicking the top of the bottle off with his thumb, he took a swig, then set the bottle down on the table and picked up a thin mint and popped it in his mouth, crunching happily. “So, Seline, has smarty-pants over there started in on you yet tonight, then?” He glanced over at Matt, “I can take him out back and beat the shit out of him for you. Standing offer.” He glanced up and winked at Arianna.
Seline laughed, sliding into the chair, sprawling over the arms, “It’s fine, Logan honey.” She sighed in pleasure as she finished the tuna. “So, anyone heard from Wade lately? Last I heard he was in New York bugging the mansion.”