<NYC> Evolve Cafe - Lower East Side
Spacious and open, this coffeeshop has a somewhat industrial feel to it, grey resin floors below and exposed-beam ceilings that have been painted up in a dancing swirl of abstract whorls and starbursts, a riot of colour splashed against a white background. The walls alternate between brick and cheerfully lime-green painted wood that extends to the paneling beneath the brushed-steel countertops. There's an abundance of light, though rather than windows (which are scarce) it comes from plentiful hanging steel lamps. The walls here are home to plentiful artwork available for sale; though the roster of prints and paintings and drawings and photographs changes on a regular basis it has one thing in common -- all the artists displayed are mutants.
The seating spaced around the room is spread out enough to keep the room from feeling cluttered. Black chairs, square black tables that mostly seat two or four though they're frequently pushed around and rearranged to make space for larger parties. In the back corner of the room is more comfortable seating, a few large black-corduroy sofas and armchairs with wide tables between them. There's a shelf of card and board games back here available for customers to sit and play.
The chalkboard menus hanging behind the counter change frequently, always home to a wide variety of drinks (with an impressive roster of fair-trade coffees and teas largely featured) though their sandwiches and wraps and soups and snacks of the day change often. An often-changing variety of baked goods sit behind the display case at the counter halfway back in the room, and the opposite side of the counter holds a small selection of homemade ice creams. A pair of single-user bathrooms flanks the stairway in back of the cafe; at night, the thump of music can be heard from above, coming from the adjoining nightclub of the same name that sits up the stairs above the coffeehouse.
The sun was high in the sky when the platinum blonde Billy first sat down and spread out at his table. With his shoulders back in his chair, he studiously typed away while stealing glances to the references spread out all around him: notebooks, textbooks, and clippings.
Somewhere in the passing hours, his enthusiasm plateaued. Even with the constant and ever-flowing Aphrodite’s fountain of caffeine, he started to lean back in his chair and drift into other lines of thought. Slumped forward over his hand with huge headphones over his ears and his large glasses slightly pushed askew, Billy doodled into a side of a loose-leaf article on human rights. He’s drawing a little bat.
Jax looks a little bit tired as he pushes into the cafe, a little bit more bedraggled than is his norm. There's dirt on his black-and-blue sandals, dust gritted up his legs, his cutoff shorts speckled as well though his shirt (pale purple, it reads 'I'm one of the bravest girls alive') seems clean if sweaty-damp and rumpled. He's devoid of makeup for once, a slow drag to his step as he makes his way towards the counter, eyes shaded behind overlarge mirrored glasses. It's only after he has coffee (soy hazelnut mocha with an extra espresso shot and a /ridiculous/ amount of sugar) and a chickpea salad wrap in hand that he perks up a little, starting again towards the door but diverting when he notices Billy. He has a warm smile for the other Xavier alum, though it skews a little hesitant at the textbooks -- then more confident again when he's close enough to note the /doodling/. "Study overload?" The little bat on Billy's page starts to flap its wings.
Ohmygod is August over yet? This whole humid heat thing, man, it does not mix well with bears. It may be nighttime, the temperature may have dropped into a way more pleasant range than it was in at the middle of the day, but when Teddy makes his way into the cafe, he does so still sweating, still generally not a fan of the outside parts of the city in summer. Of course, his sheer size probably doesn't help. The bigger you are, the hotter you get, right? And he has practically hit his majestic, final form of mountain-type man, big and broad and... big. And hairy, in his cargo shorts and leather flip-flops and t-shirt that has Bedtime Bear's symbol on it because he is ~secure in his masculinity~ and what do you want to fight about it. Anyway, he totally beelines for the ice cream part of the counter when he spots that because ohman ice cream. He even says it out loud. "Ohman, ice cream."
Billy gasps, scrambling to remove his headphones while he pushes the notebook away from him. He sends it flying. Hand to his heart, he throws Jax a deer-in-headlights stare for a few seconds, "...Jackson." He heaves, finally able to breathe, "Hello. ... Oh my goodness. I'm sorry. You just startled me ...so much. ...Hey! ...I'm so sorry. D-did you say something?" The blonde fiddles with the top button of his shirt's collar, doing a double take of Teddy in the background as if the Canadian(?) might be in on the conspiracy to scare him. Eventually, Billy smiles - even laughing a little at himself.
Jax cringes, taking a half-step back as the image on the page goes still again. His smile vanishes, shoulders tightening. "... 'pologies, I. Said hi, I thought you'd -- saw, I didn't -- mean to." His voice slowly trails down into a mumble, head shaking and his hand lifting to scuff over the small coating of fuzz on his shaved head. His weight shifts awkwardly from one foot to the other, head tipping down to turn his shaded gaze to his coffee. "'pologies. I didn't say -- nothin' important." He seems a little relieved at the sight of Teddy, his cheeks still furious red but his smile hesitantly returning. "Oh, gosh. The icecream's all made in-house, it's pretty excellent."
Don't let Teddy catch you thinking he's Canadian, Billy, he's /Alaskan/, by god. The big brute of a man asks the person behind the counter, "Do you sell that stuff in bowls? Like, a big bowl?" and gestures in a ridiculous half-moon type of shape with both of his big hands to demonstrate what size he's talking about. But the familiar voice catches his attention, and he straightens back up to his full height--from the ice cream ogling--to peer over. "Yo, dude, Jax! Hey, man, haven't seen you around uhhh /work/ lately." He looks back to the clerk and does one more gesture of that overlarge shape as a reminder for what size bowl he is dreaming up, before lumbering over closer to his, uh, co-worker. "You doing okay? Gimmie knucks." A large, hairy fist is offered outward for a fistbump greeting, even as his attention wanders to the unknown Billy. "Sup, bro."
“He’s a giant,” Billy says quietly to the room, doe-eyes wandering up and still, up some more to meet Teddy, “Sup.” That is the first and last time he will ever say, ‘Sup.’ He chin-nods, grinning as he leans forward to slide his papers and books and notebooks into a single stack, “Here, sorry, I’m taking up so much room!”
Jax blushes deeper, the air around him faintly tinged with red as his head dips guiltily. "Yeah, I been kinda. On -- on leave? I guess. Ain't. Gone in in a bit. How's things back -- there?" His still-mumbled answer doesn't sound necessarily okay but his smile is slowly growing stronger again. He lifts his hand, scarred knuckles tapping against Teddy's larger ones. "Oh! Billy, Teddy, Teddy, Billy. Teddy teaches history at school -- uhm, Billy was in my graduatin' class," he explains. "Teddy's new." Clearly. Since he wasn't there when Billy was. "Oh gosh it's alright I done interrupt you. I just, you looked maybe like you wouldn't -- mind a interruption. Maybe."
Teddy puzzles momentarily over Jax's guilty dip of head, heavy brows starting to tug together, but then he clears his expression pretty quickly and slaps on a smile. "Everybody needs a break now and then, dude, don't sweat it. Things've been fine, I think." With a grin of mischief the big man can't quite help, he adds as a partial aside, "I totally got banned from the kitchen for like a whole goddamned week. Because fresh pies." He presses a finger to the side of his nose--they had smelled soooo good, c'mon--and looks utterly unrepentant about it, eyes merry.
For Billy, the veritable boulder in manform offers out a hand for a real handshake at the introductions. "Nice to meet you, Billy," he says, with a broad smile that manages to make his killer beard look even more killer.
“Nice to meet-Oh, I-I shouldn’t touch you,” Billy timidly nods a few times, holding up a delicate, porcelain-skinned hand, “Touched based. Thing.” And Teddy is giant. And he’ll crush his hand. And Billy’s palm is sweaty. And beards. Nevertheless, he smiles back, eyes trailing back to Jax in masked concern over the apparent hiatus. He’s quick enough not to ask, outright. “I was like, doodling,” Billy folds his laptop closed in his crusade to make more room at the small table, “You didn’t interrupt me. I don’t mind at all! I could really use a distraction.”
"Were they berry?" The pies. Jax looks hopeful about this; punishment over stealing berry pies, SO worth it. When Billy makes space he takes some, spinning a chair around backwards to kneel on it. "It caught my eye. M'a chronic doodler. Got a /problem/ -- s'funny even at art school where I'm /s'posed/ t'doodle I'd end up doin' it where I wasn't meant. -- You been here long? Cuz ain't much longer an' the club," Jax nods towards the ceiling, "'ll be open, /that'll/ be a distraction sure enough."
"Oh," Teddy says, withdrawing his hand with a look of apology. "That's cool, sorry. We could, like, come up with secret ninja hand signals or something?" The last bit is suggested with a lopsided grin, the right corner of his mouth pulled up enough to show off the overlarge canine teeth he sports. With the question about the pie, though, his eyes turn Jax's way without a head turn, and with a slight lean to him, he says, "Dude, /black/berry. /Black/berry pies, just. Sitting there. On the windowsill to cool. When I was walking the grounds. How am I supposed to /not/ go for that?" And he laughs. It is a deep and booming laugh, like rocks in a cask. But, like, pleasant, happy rocks. Whatever that metaphor totally works. "Speaking of food I am starving gimmie a sec, I'll be back," he promises, and then galumphs back to the counter with the ice cream. "You guys want anything?" gets called over his shoulder.
Billy grins back to Teddy goofily as well, "Or we could just say, 'Hi,' to eachother." He laughs, and laughs more at the talk of pies and pie-fillings. "No thank you, I'm okay." His stomach rumbles. In truth, now that the question has been raised, he can't remember how long he's been here. He can't remember the last time he ate, either - but it must have been here! "What time is it?" Billy asks, turning his pencil over to erase the little bat, arching his waify arm up awkwardly to reach it. His stomach rumbles.
"Oh-h-h." It's a shaky hungry breath, exhaled at the thought of blackberry pies in a /blissful/ sigh. "I done earn myself a /whole/ lotta kitchen exile over summer pies. There's some things jus' ain't fair to criminalize. Nobody could resist that." Jax pats at Teddy's shoulder in understanding. "It's -- oh gosh. Past dinnertime by far. Kinda been drivin' all -- oh I'm good!" Easily derailed from one thought to another, Jax lifts his wrap in indication at Teddy's offer. "You /sound/ kinda hungry. Ain't no wonder your concentration's wanderin'. Brain can't run on empty forever."
"Or we could do that," the big guy agrees, with plenty of amusement, about just saying hi. But then he is thoroughly distracted by the ice cream. So, all right, the size of bowl Teddy would like isn't quite possible. But that's okay. He can just get many smaller cups to work on. With a tray. They have trays, right? He gets a ridiculous amount of chocolate ice cream because he is an adult and he can. "Oh, and like, a coffee. Just, uh. Black coffee. You do black coffee, right?" He props an arm on the counter and kind of leans against it while waiting for his metric asston of ice cream, one foot hooked behind the other ankle. "Dude, you should eat," he calls back over to Billy. "It's always dinnertime somewhere."
Billy rubs his arms in his hands, shrugging nonchalantly, "I'll just eat at home. I shouldn't spend anymore money." He smiles, wrinkling his nose a little in it, "So, uhm, what's up? Where are you coming from this late? The clinic?" His eyes roam Jax for a uniform.
"Studyin' out does get /expensive/," Jax acknowledges. "Y'lose track of time an' 'fore you know it you've dropped thirty bucks on cookies /alone/ -- mebbe that part's just me," he allows with another small blush. He shakes his head at the question. "Oh, no, I'm. Off work jus'. At the moment, I was. Upstate. In the Adirondacks, it was. A pretty drive anyway." He glances over towards the counter, eye widening slightly at the number of bowls Teddy is being served. It elicits, a small amused giggle. "I thought /I/ was bad on the sugar but you got me beat."
"Cookies?" rumbles more than drifts from Teddy, in a semi-hopeful, semi-daydreaming kind of way. But then there's a buttload of ice cream. And one black coffee. He pays with his debit card (it always makes things easier), and then with that all taken care off, he hefts his tray and brings it back over to Jax and Billy. There is a sheer look of childlike delight on his face, beard and all. "Ohman. I'm just always so damned hungry in August. I can't get enough of sugar or fats, you know? And, I mean, it's homemade." He sets the tray down on the table. "You guys sure you don't want any?"
“Sounds. Pretty,” Billy chirps, fighting off a concerned frown. His eyes follow the tray as it makes its landing but he shakes his head. “Is August significant? For hunger, I mean?” He adjusts his glasses, nose twitching, “Is that like, a thing?” What he meant to say was, ‘a Canadian thing.’
Jax can't help a small smile at the tray of So Much Ice Cream -- or maybe it's the smile on Teddy's face. "I feel you there. I'm plowin' through even /more/ sugar than usual all summer." Which reminds him maybe, finally, to take a hungry bite of his wrap. "An' gosh thanks no you got no idea how much'a all this stuff I eat all the time. My kid owns the place. Shane?" Admittedly, /in/ school Shane doesn't seem like the model of a responsible business owner, in detention fairly nonstop for mouthing off and skipping class and smoking and generally being a Bad Influence. His nose crinkles up at Billy's question. "Summer is a -- busy time? I get like a sunlight overload. Not sure 'bout his ice cream addiction though. It /is/ delicious ice cream is probably why."
As Teddy takes a seat, his chair of choice creaks a bit in protest, but does not collapse. He's a pretty big dude, but he doesn't tip the scales /that/ badly, at least. He takes a sip of coffee, and squints up an eye while he does so, considering Jax there a moment while he thinks on the name. "Huh. No shit?" A grin follows. "Kids, man," he adds, in that shucks-kids-sure-can-do-anything tone. Then he starts digging in on his first bowl of ice cream. "Oh, yeah. I have, like, a super seasonal metabolism? Come late January, I won't want to eat a damned thing and I'll be like a hundred pounds lighter," he explains, almost cheery about it. As if it isn't unusual at all. "I'm kind of, uh. Bearish." A huge, toothy grin follows, overlarge canine teeth displayed in full glory.
"You don't say," Billy laughs, moving his laptop into his backpack, "You know, I don't think I've ever paid attention to like, *when* I eat more. But I seriously do always forget to eat, lately. Stress," he waggles his eyebrows sheepishly, still smiling, "What I am hearing, though, is that like, there's no way you can be blamed for that pie stuff!" The blonde continues taking steps to pack his notebooks and work away as well.
"Forget t'eat -- oh gosh y'shouldn't say that 'round a Southerner you'll end up with care packages on your doorstep." Probably of cookies. Jax is half-rising again though he never properly /sat/, kind of still kneeling in his backwards chair. "Have things been bad, has school been -- dessert," he tells Billy, "makes /all/ stress better." He bites down on his lip as though trying to bite /back/ more fretting. "Ohgosh." His expression abruptly lights as he shifts his gaze back to Billy. He waves his nibbled-on wrap towards the Bedtime Bear shirt. "Tell me how sick are you of bear puns by now?"
As Teddy steadily puts away that first bowl of ice cream with bites that are sized to be generous but not brain freeze inducing, he glances between the other two fellows. "You should stop that," he suggests helpfully, with a gesture of spoon to Billy. But then a lightbulb goes off in his head, and very briefly, the big man gets a sneaky expression. Then: "Ohman, I like /totally/ forget to eat /all the time/," he declares. Because care packages what? But really he couldn't keep a straight face about that if he was paid to do it, and a grin soon turns into a deep, belly laugh. He is not really that great at being conniving and he is a-okay about that. With one last scrape of spoon, bowl number one is emptied, and he moves on to bowl number two. And sounds another short laugh while he does. "Right?? Those pies, man. My Achilles' heel." With an amused expression, he puts away another bite of ice cream before adding, "Man, I love puns, actually, if they're in good taste." Wait. When are puns in good taste…
"I will," Billy agrees, nodding, "Thank you." There is a mark of awe on the young man's face as he witnesses bowl number two enter into the line of fire, "I'm trying to come up with a bear pun on the fly, but I've got nothin'." He slumps his shoulders in defeat, giggling. "-Are you really going to eat all of this?" He can't wrap his head around it. He sounds impressed.
"'course he is he's bearly even started," Jax answers Billy cheerfully, standing the rest of the way-- his mouth has curled into a warm crooked grin, amused, at Teddy's failed connivery. "Yeah, you look like it, too, all wastin' away there." He lifts his cup as he stands, in a lazy salute to the others. "Should run on home 'fore it's my kid's bedtime. Was nice. Running into y'all." He takes a sip of his coffee, lifting his chin to the others as he turns to head out.
The mountain of a man grins at the pun, but then cracks up laughing when he's called out for his failure to be sneakish. He waves to Jax with a bid of, "Take it easy, bro," and then returns his attention back to ice cream and Billy. "I will, unless you have some," he says, practically cheery, even as he nudges a bowl closer to Billy. Jooooin him. Bowl the second is going to soon join bowl the first in being empty, by the way, since slightly melty ice cream is easier to spoon up.
Billy watches his action skeptically, but amused. Pressing his lips into a demure smile, he reaches forward to lift a spoon. "Sorry, what did he say you taught at the school? History? How do you like it?" Caving in, he takes a small scoop of ice cream, half gesturing with it before it makes it to his mouth, "I can see you as a teacher."
Teddy actually looks pleased there, for a moment, when Billy goes for a spoon. What's the point of good ice cream if you can't share, anyway? "Yeah, history. American history, mostly," he says, between bites of cold chocolatey goodness. "It's pretty cool, you know? I think a lot of kids need some help grasping the whole 'history is super important' thing, so when it clicks for somebody in class, that feels really good." After another bite, he considers Billy and asks, "What about you? What are you up to?"
"I'm an education major," Billy mumbles, laughing and shifting his eyes. He smacks his mouth around the ice cream, "Early Childhood and Elementary. But uh, we'll see." His eyes widen and he nods vaguely in the direction of his backpack. "That's nice, though. Wait--" Billy's mental breaks screech to a hault, "--you're American? I figured you were Canadian."
"Oh yeah? Little dudelets, huh? That's awesome," he says. "I thought about the elementary level when I was in college, but man, I wouldn't be able to keep up with a bunch of little kids zooming around everywhere during the winter. Also, I'd probably freak out some parents or something, being all big and stuff." He chuckles away to himself about something, and adds, "But that is cool. I bet you'll rock that out of the park, man." Teddy pauses with a spoonful of ice cream right before his mouth at being called Canadian. Then he just /laughs/ really hard, a bassy, booming sound. "Ohman, /what/? What made you think I'm Canadian?" he gets out, eventually, though really, he's still laughing. "I'm from Alaska, actually," comes later. With some more chuckling.
"See, I think if you got me in a room with older kids, they'd eat me alive," Billy's white smile growing into a grin and he laughs, "I don't know, you have a whole hockey lumberjack thing happening! I've never even met a Canadian!" He freezes, raising his eyebrows sharply, "That I know of!" He has a hard time trying to stop giggling over it, too. Though, his laugh is probably easily lost under the sounds of Teddy's boom.
He moves on to the third bowl. By now, of course, the ice cream is more than a little bit melty. But Teddy doesn't seem to care much about that. He sips his coffee, and then starts in earnest on the latest chosen ice cream. "Nah, bet they wouldn't. Older kids, it's all about mutual respect. You just gotta show 'em that you respect 'em as people, and they'll respect you back." Of course, he is a very large man and so respecting him is maybe a little easier than some other people, but. And then he laughs again about the hockey lumberjack thing. "Hockey /is/ pretty great," he says, still grinning. "Oh, you probably have. Most Canadians are a lot like Americans, you know. They maybe apologize a little more."
Billy watches the third bowl happen but doesn't intervene. Instead, he fiddles with his spoon between his teeth, "In that case, I've probably been making a lot of people mistake me for a Canadian all this time. -That's funny, that's kindof how it is with younger kids." Oozing femininity and warmth help, too. "Alllright. I should probably get home." He watches the ice cream's progress, lifting his bag onto his shoulder with a grunt. "It was cool meeting you, though!"
Teddy laughs again. "If you apologize a lot, yeah," he says, expression pretty merry there. And he nods along in agreement, about the same being true with younger kids. Because that's really one of the big things about teaching in general, isn't it? "Oh, yeah, dude. It was nice to meet you, too. Take it easy." The big guy has to actively withhold his hand from offering it for a fistbump gesture. Because of the whole touching thing. But he does give Billy a smile, before turning his full, undivided attention onto the ice cream. It is probably safe to say that it is a happy man that Billy leaves behind.