ArchivedLogs:Caffeine, Fairies, and Job Offers

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Caffeine, Fairies, and Job Offers
Dramatis Personae

Alec, Iolaus, Jackson, Melinda




<NYC> 303 {Holland} - Village Lofts - East Village

This apartment is cheerful, in its way -- bright and airy, its floor plan open and a plethora of windows providing it with an abundance of light. The tiny entrance hall opens into a living room, small, though its sparse furniture and lack of clutter give it a more open feel. The decor is subdued and minimalist; black and white is the dominant theme, with occasional splashes of deep crimson to offset the monochrome, though of late bright coloured sealife has made its way into being painted on the wall. The couch and armchair are upholstered in black corduroy, the low wide coffee table central is black wood and glass-topped, and a few large pillowy beanbags provide additional seating by the large windows that dominate the back wall. Towards the back, a couple of doors lead off into bedrooms and bathroom, and to the right, the kitchen's tile is separated from the living room's dark hardwood floors by black countertops. Above the bedroom to one side, there is higher space; a ladder climbs up to a lofted area looking down on the living room. Standing in front of the partition between living and cooking area is a large fish tank: one lone Betta, blood-red, swims regally among several species of black and silver fish. A hallway beyond the kitchen leads further into the apartment. Another bathroom stands just into the hall and the farthest door leads to the apartment's final bedroom, the door usually kept shut to hold in the acrid fumes of turpentine and paints from within.

Afternoon in the Holland apartment is a busy place, despite none of the Holland's actually being in the main rooms. Squirreled away in their bedrooms or out of the apartment entirely, all that is left is the guests. All the guests. So many guests, and so many visitors. Iolaus is there, though he has been partially-guest and partially-visitor considering the time that he has been spending treating and tending to the recovering newly freed mutants. A tall man sits primly in a chair in the corner, dressed in a firm suit. Still, no one seems to be talking to him or looking at him in the least, and despite his almost ethereal attractiveness and fine dress, anyone who looks at him is instantly quite distracted and bored, and none approach him.

The apartment door opens and the smell of coffee drifts into the entry way. It smells relatively fresh, but the smell isn't exactly coming from a cup. It's coming from the young woman trundling in with two large reusable grocery bags hanging from either shoulder. Inside those bags, liquids slosh securely. The aroma drifts ahead of her a little, but begins to disipate with familiarity, for the time being. Melinda offers a couple hellos as she comes in and takes the large coffee carafes to the kitchen, setting them up, and then laying out a few boxes of pastries as well, next to the beverages.

Iolaus looks up as he walks and gives a smile and a little wave. "'lo, Melinda." he says. It takes him a few moments to remove himself from the winding pathways where the rescuees have set up their beds and few possessions and escape to the small open area that still remains before the kitchen. "Is that coffee? God, you're an angel." he says, and the tiredness can be heard plain in his voice. He rounds around the counter and takes a mug out of the cabinet to fill it with coffee from the carafe.

"Well, I do try to make things a little more pleasant around here." Melinda smiles and starts pulling more mugs out of the cabinet and sets them up next to the carafes. "I did want to apologize for calling you a few nights ago. I... Probably stuck my nose in other people's business and dragged you away from much needed sleep." She goes back to the kitchen to find the sugar. "Sorry."

Iolaus gives Melinda a small smile over the edge of his coffee mug as he takes a long sip and closes his eyes, breathing in the smell of the freshly brewed beans. "Ah..." he sighs, leaning against the counter. "No, not at all, really. I was on my way here anyway. Just one more patient." he says, with a thin smile. "Sleep is for the weak. Just took me a little bit for my body to remember the hours I used to keep is all."

"I swear, this building is a magnet for heroes." There's some affection in her tone as she remarks, turning to grab a mug for herself and begins filling. "I'd make an announcement, but drinking a cup of coffee is generally announcement enough." She adds some sugar and then slips into the kitchen for a milk alternative. "How much do you end up sleep a night?"

"I'm no hero. Just a doctor. And, I sleep as much as I can. More than I did in grad school, let me tell you," Iolaus says, eyes twinkling and lips quirking into a wry smile that seems to be more amusement than the statement deserved. "By a good amount, too." His eyes look over his remaining patients as he takes another sip of the hot coffee.

"Yes, but you weren't working on human bodies when you were in grad school," Melinda points out, brows raised. "I'm glad you sleeping a lot more than that. I'll try to keep the coffee flowing - and i'll get you a gift card from work, in case you ever just want to get away to Soho for a little bit." She pours almond milk into her coffee and uses a spoon to stir up all the sweetness into the thick liquid. She inhales and smiles. "Have to say this about nutmilks. They go so well with coffee."

It's possibly the smell of coffee that draws Jax out of his bedroom, deliciously pervasive as it is. He slips out of his bedroom in paint-splattered jeans and an equally paint-splattered Rainbow Brite t-shirt, bouncing-skidding on (bright! mismatched!) socked feet down the wood hallway. He doesn't /take/ coffee, though. He draaaaapes against Melinda instead in lazy-casual familiarity, bonking his head (lightly, out of respect for her mug of coffee) against the taller woman's back for lack of appropriate height to rest his chin on her shoulder. "You're like this amazing fairy. Whisking in here with /magics/," he says, cheerfully, and then to Iolaus: "You can be a fairy too /I guess/."

Iolaus sips his coffee and gives Melinda a wink. "What do you think medical school is called? I've been working on humans for quite a while." he says, smile cracking wider as he takes another, long, sip/gulp of his drink. He turns and eyes Jackson, chuckling. Teasing, he says, "I've been a fairy longer than you've been alive, Jax." Not quite, but... close enough.

"And here I thought you only got to work on cadavers until you got out of med school." Melinda slips her mug on to the counter when she finds herself pitching forward a bit from the hugging she receives from Jackson. "Hey, Jax. I do my best to placate your guests with my charm filled coffee." She reaches back to give him a bit of a hug before half turning to peek at him. "How are you? Needs some bean brew to fuel your current artistic adventure?"

Jackson blushes at Iolaus's reply, deeply; for a moment he hides his face against Melinda in a tighter squeeze of hug before disengaging. "OH gosh, I didn't mean like -- I didn't -- I meant cuz you come in and help people and -- oh." His nose crinkles, his head dipping sheepishly. "Thanks, Mel," he says, still red-faced but his voice warm. "Could always do with a bit of magic-spreading. I'm -- chipping away at the giant pile of overdue homework and backlog'a commissions I got. I'm trying t'remember to surface every couple hours and put some food in me but sometimes I get distracted. How's it going?" This is to both of them, his eye scanning the room absently but returning to Iolaus.

Grinning, Iolaus gives Jax another friendly wink, shaking his head bemusedly as he turns to look over the room of people. "Not bad. One or two more people here, and then one more apartment before I'm finished for the evening." he says, brightly enough. "So far, so good."

That tall man from the corner steps into the kitchen, still very ignorable, as he looks over the trio. Glancing at the coffee, Alec frowns slightly, and a moment later, is suddenly there among them. "I'm quite sorry to interrupt, but... do you have any tea?" He gives the coffee a wary look, like one might eye a potential mugger.

"It's okay, Jax. I'm sure he wasn't offended - besides, he's the one who made it about his sexuality." Melinda winks at Iolaus and snags her mug once more and takes a sip after the Jackson cuddling. "Just let me know how much caffeine you need, Jax. I'll keep you wired until you've got all your work done." She continues to glance between the two as she sips when suddenly there's an Alec. She blinks, surprised, but not, but still surprised. "Oh. Sure. There's plenty of tea. Do you have a preference? Black? Green? White? Herbal?" She's very at home serving beverages.

"Joshua got an apartment upstairs," Jax says, "there's a couple people shifted up there," he does not say /thank God/ but the /slightly/ less packed apartment probably says it for him, "so y'might could want to check in too. Six... uh. Six-oh-six I think." He draws in a deep breath of coffeesmell but still doesn't take any: "Naw, thanks, I'm caffeine-free for now. Might just /eat/ some sugar raw though -- oh!" He startles a little bit when Alec appears, but then smiles brightly at the man. "Oh, sure, sir," his hand gestures towards one cabinet, "I got plenty'a tea." Which Mel is on /top/ of, so he is just relaxing against the counter, now. "How y'doin'?"

"You know it." Iolaus says, eyes twinkling as he grins at Melinda. He takes another long drink of his coffee and sets it at the edge of the counter where he will be able to reach it easily, then rounds around the counter to head towards the remaining patients.

"Black, please. Two sugars with milk." Alec says, turning his eyes onto Jax. "Doing well, thank you." He pauses for a moment, a trace of amusement pulling at his lips. "I have a message for you, actually. From Jane." he says, the edges of his lips threatening to smile. "I won't repeat the... rather profane specifics, but she seems to be desires of some kind of answer from you in the near future in relation to her offer."

Melinda puts a kettle on to boil and grabs one of the mugs, heating it with hot tap water. She then busies herself filling a tea ball with black assam. She leaves these on the counter before heading back to her caffeine. "Can't say I quite understand the idea of going caffeine free, but I respect someone who chooses to make art without artificial inspiration." She smiles. "Maybe I'll pop out and get you some apples. They help people stay awake and focused too." This is mentioned quietly, as Alec begins talking about possible work related things.

"Lent," Jax answers Melinda, with a slight crinkle of his nose. "Come Easter I'm just gonna head down to your place and ask for an /IV/. Do you do those, at Montagues? Could you like, special-order some for me? If I'm still alive by then, it's been a close call a few times. Caffeine withdrawal is no joke." Despite his teasing-bright smile that suggests quite the opposite. For Alec he just -- cringes. Scuffs a hand through his hair, his expression apologetic. "Oh, gosh. I -- that. I -- um." His palm presses against his forehead. "-- Do /you/ like your job, sir?"

Alec's lips quirk and his smile flattens slightly. "Job." This gives him some pause, looking briefly harried. "It is as well as a job is, I suppose, if one must." Employment: would not recommend. He gives a little shrug of his shoulders. "The training is interesting, and the work is not terribly difficult, most times. I suppose I do." he says, sounding almost as if this response surprises even him. "As jobs go, I mean." he glances to Melinda, then to the tea to watch it steep. Teaporn.

"Sorry, Jax. No, we don't." Melinda holds a hand up in a shrugged surrender. "We specialize in caffeine you want to taste. What's the point if you dn't have the glorious feeling of hot and wonderful tea and coffee spilling across your taste buds?" When the kettle whistles, she exchanges the hot water in the cup for boiling water then submerges the tea ball inside. She glances at the clock and then turns back to her coffee. She glances at Alec as he speaks.

"Staying alive is the point. It's like medicine. Though tasting it /is/ definitely more fun." Jax props his elbows against the counter, frowning thoughtfully through Alec's explanation. He glances away to study Iolaus with the patients, then returns his attention to Alec. "S'it scare you?" He looks at Melinda and the tea with no small amount of envy. "Io's head of security offered me a job as a bodyguard," he explains. "Be better benefits than I'm getting now for sure and working for a cause I care about but -- uh." His nose wrinkles. He doesn't finish this thought, except with an uncomfortable frown.

Alec tips his head slightly to one side, then shakes his head, once. "It's perfectly safe, these days. Besides, no one can attack him if they don't even notice him. The most dangerous part of my job will be being in that building. And..." he trails off, shrugging his shoulders, once. "I trust Jane more than the guards I used to know. She's very... passionate."

"You want me to make you something tasty? I can make you a steamer or an herbal tea that has no other effects than happiness on your tongue." Melinda is watching her 'customers.' She is also paying attention to the time and pulls the tea ball when the brewing window is best. She sugars Alec's tea and then milks it, before finally bringing it over to him. "But you have kids and having a family means that your loyalty is divided, on account of wanting to come home to them every night," Mel offers, a sort of devil's advocate. "Tough choice, I'm sorry."

"Yeah," Jax says quietly, to Melinda, with a quick-soft smile that is oddly grateful for this understanding. "Even what we already do --" He looks towards the living room, towards the scattered refugees there. "Every time s'tough, you know? 'Tween what's right to do for the /world/ and what's right to do for --" He waves a hand towards the boys' rooms. "I mean, if I'm doing my job /right/," he glances over at Alec with a nod of indication for the guard's words, "it shouldn't be so dangerous. And Jane's --" This just gets a wry smile. His posture slumps a little more, against the counter. "Oh, gosh. Somethin' herbal would be amazing. Mel," and here he sounds quite serious and not just flippantly praise-ful, "when this chaos clears out some, I'm gonna take you out somewhere real nice. You've been kinda wonderful."

"Thank you," Alec says, quietly, to Melinda, his English accent elongating some of his vowels. He accepts the cup of tea from her and blows across its surface before taking a small sip. The tea, at least, manages to bring a small smile to his face. "I don't know what you were doing, nor do I want to, but... anything that can cause the kinds of injuries Doctor Saavedro has been treating for the last several days is far more dangerous work than the kind you would be doing for the clinic." he points out, gently. "What do you do now?"

"You're welcome." Melinda squeezes Jackson's shoulder quickly and returns to the kitchen tea cabinet, hunting around until she finds a nice hibiscus and berry blend. She begins the tea making process again: warming a cup, putting the kettle on, loading a tea ball. She then finishes off her coffee and leans against the counter quietly listening.

"Fight dragons," Jackson answers Alec, softly, fingers skimming absently against his arm. "Oh, um. I'm in school still. But I tend bar at a nightclub an' work at a tattoo studio. This --" He waves a hand towards the living room. "Well, I guess s'more like moonlighting. Not really my normal work, you know? Just, uh. People need help." He glances to Melinda, and then looks down at his hands. "Think you got the right idea, though," he says to her. "You can kinda be a hero /and/ not, uh, get yourself half melted to death at the same /time/."

"Fight..." Alec trails off, giving Jackson a look. He flicks his eyes to Melinda, and then to Iolaus. "Dragons." Disbelief. He shrugs his shoulders, though, and presses on with his point. "School, working as a bartender, and tattooing, to make ends meet." He frowns, then gives Jax an apologetic glance. "I'm not sure how much that adds up to, but... wouldn't you be able to see your children a lot more with only school and guard duty, for what I have to assume is the same amount of money?" He shrugs his shoulders. Money, not his strong suit. Small amounts, anyway.

Melinda keeps working on the tea, ducking into the fridge to get some lemon juice. "If it were just about the money, it would make sense," she comments quietly. "But keep in mind, Jax. You do kind of throw volunteering on top of everything else, so it's not like you're purely motivated by money. If you look at it as an examination of outlets - you'd probably keep tattooing because you like the creative outlet - and while it could take up some of your volunteering time slots, you're still going to be pitching in at Food not Bombs. So -- is this really going to replace bartending for you in a satisfactory manner? Is it more or less demanding than that?"

"Dragons," Jackson repeats, and he doesn't /sound/ like he is joking. "But -- yeah. No. I mean I love tattooing. I go crazy if I can't art, you know? This'd definitely pay better than bartending though and plus um, no drunk guys drooling on me all night? Well, I'd /hope/ not anyway. But -- but yeah. It's not /just/ making ends meet. I like what I do. But the clinic's -- well, it's a /good/ place. Being part of that'd be good too." He frowns. "-- I'd still be helping out with lots of volunteer stuff, yeah," he affirms to Melinda. His teeth sink down into his lip. "Mel," he says, then, "you ever considered going into, like, therapy? Social work? You're kinda great at -- people."

Alec glances, considering, at Melinda, eyes briefly staring directly at hers. He breaks the gaze and turns his attention back to Melinda. "Perhaps Melinda is right. I am still not sure there are enough hours in the day for you to give up only one of those things. I suppose it would depend on the number of hours you spend doing each, however." He shrugs his shoulders once, an oddly informal gesture from him, and takes another sip of his tea. "Think it over, but get back to Jane, soon. She does not like to be kept waiting for long."

Melinda meets Alec's eyes while he stares her down and smiles quietly. Then she glances to Jax. "I think about it... but most of those jobs require schooling and that means taking time away from what I'm doing now. I rather be doing rather than learning, I guess." Melinda finishes Jax's tea, adding lemon juice and agave to the hot berry and hibiscus blend, to make something as bright and cheerful as the recipient. She hands the mug over and moves around to pour herself some more coffee.

"But would it interest you? I mean there's night school an' online-school an' all kindsa things," Jackson muses thoughtfully. "I mean," he says apologetically, "Ain't nothing wrong with what you do. Just you're really good at --" His nose crinkles. "Getting things." His hand rubs at the back of his neck, and he offers Alec a quick-bright smile. "Oh, s'plenty hours in the day to trade in one job for another. I don't hardly sleep."

"Mm. Perhaps. Be sure you don't miss out on the things you wish to do, however." Alec raises the mug of tea in thanks, nods to the two of them, then turns to head back towards the seat in the corner from whence he had came to await the completion of Iolaus' rounds.

"I don't know about getting things. I certainly don't get some people," Melinda inhales deeply and looks perturbed. She adds perhaps too much sugar to her coffee but doesn't seem to mind. "Don't worry about this decision too much, Jax. Even if you try it and hate it, there are always more bars to get jobs at." She smiles at him as she skirts back to the kitchen for more milk. "I... may look into school, someday."

"Maybe you just get me, then," Jackson says, his smile a little shy. He lifts his mug towards his face, breathing in the steam with a contented look. "Oh, yeah, there's no end'a people needing booze around here. S'pose the same's pretty true of caffeine. 'Cept you help keep people /going/ through their days. I help 'em shut their days /down/." His nose wrinkles at this.

"Well, if things don't work out in alcohol jockeying, then I'll get you a job slinging caffeine." Mel finds a spare seat and settles in. She sighs when she gets off her feet and rests her coffee mug on her chest. "School does sound interesting. I just can't imagine juggling stuff like you do. Feel like I'm barely home as it is - and then paying for it." She shakes her head.

"I'd guzzle all day long. But I'm pretty great at customer service. I have," Jax tells Melinda, sliding into a seat beside her, "an excellent can-I-help-you smile." He sips at his not!tea, slowly, sighing contentedly and exhaling. "Guess s'just a question of scheduling. Prioritizing. Overwhelming at first, but once you figure out what's most important to you and shuffle the rest around, it all falls into place aright. -- Paying for it?" He looks at Melinda curiously. "How so?"

"What? Most colleges and universities cost thousands of dollars, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Plus, I've already had a four year education that sort of fizzled out and died." Melinda leans her shoulder a little toward Jax as she continues to kick back for a while. "Taking on another debt? It doesn't sound appealing - and social work isn't exactly the best paying job in the world."

"Oh," Jackson says, with a sudden deep blush. "Paying for it like literally." His nose wrinkles up, head ducking sheepishly. "Sorry, I though you was -- nevermind. Um. Yeah, money." He takes another sip of his drink, leaning back towards Melinda to settle against her. "Yeah, kinda thing's best with scholarships. But there's ways --" His lips press together. "Social work ain't no sorta glamour, that's for sure. I guess I just -- watch how much you're always helping people."

"Yeah. Schooling would provide agency for helping people better." Melinda looks around the room and wrinkles her nose. "Take here for instance. I could hire some of these people to work in the cafe, but I could only take two or three people at most, and the cafe doesn't pay all that well. Sure, it's great for teenagers and young adults with flexible schedules, but -- what your guests really need is someone who knows lots of businesses and lots of places where they could match skills with job openings." She lifts her mug a little and sips before turning her head to touch Jax's lightly. "Maybe I'll look into scholarships next weekend."

"You've been such a help already," Jackson says, warm and sincere if edged with a soft note of exhaustion. "-- I been building up a pretty much rolodex of contacts 'round the city who know all /kindsa/ things. Lotsa how to find jobs help, how to find insurance help, but some people to talk to 'bout school and scholarships, too. If you decide to look." He shrugs the shoulder that doesn't lean against Mel, glancing around the room. "I mean, all these people we've kinda needed all the help we can get. S'hard to go from -- basically jail to back to the world again. Huge gaps in employment history don't help finding your feet even /without/ the trauma."

"Look, scholarships and school sound nice, Jax, but helping you organize and get these people on their feet seems like a better idea for the time being." Melinda wets her lips and glances around. "Why don't you let me do some admin work for you guys - setting up appointments with people and getting people to interviews. I think that would be far more rewarding for now - even if all it does is get you your living room back." She blushes when she realizes she said that in front of all of the people in the room. "Not that they aren't welcome, but everyone probably feels cramped."

"Hey," says a man browsing a newspaper on the couch, "I'll be as glad as anyone to get the fuck out of here. Not that it's not appreciated," he hedges, "but shit. It's a lot of us."

Jackson grins, a little crookedly. "Yeah, s'true enough. And we would /totally/ appreciate the help. There's like. Seventeen million tons of scheduling and paperwork. So, okay. get people on their feet /first/. Then think about your future." He leans over, pecking Melinda lightly on the cheek. "/And/ take you somewhere real nice."

Melinda smiles as she is kissed and closes her eyes. "I'm pretty organized, so let me at your schedules and paperwork and I'll see about getting you all sorted out." She opens her eyes and winks at Jax as she takes a drink from her mug, saluting the couch guy immediately after. "I'm just here to help lower the quotient of people per bathroom capita - or some such."

"Oh, gosh, we've had /five/ near-fights and one actual fight and half those was over bathroom time," Jackson says with a slight shudder. He gulps down the rest of his tea, offering Melinda a light shoulder-bump before he stands. "I should get back to chippin' away at those commissions. I want t'get at least some headway 'fore dinnertime -- I'm taking the boys /out/ tonight. Like, on our /own/." He sounds positively thrilled at the idea of actual time with his family, a little /bounce/ in his step as he heads to wash the mug.

"You guys have fun. I'll stay here and ... well, I guess organize bathroom time." Melinda chuckles and keeps her seat. "See you."

Jackson grins. "I'm sure I'll be back out for another sanity break 'fore then." He tips the mug up onto the drying rack, and gives Melinda another quick peck before sliiiiiding across the room and back down to the hall to disappear into his room. Because wood floors means he /can/.