<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 week has had a warm spell -- for December, at least, mid-forties though yesterday's sun has been hidden away again behind a grey cloudy haze that promises later rain. The cafe is quiet, today, nearly deserted, only a few scattered tables actually occupied in this in-between hour halfway between lunch rush and post-work.
One of those tables is /very/ occupied -- well, okay, there's only one person there, but Jax has managed to take up quite a lot of space and take it up with a lot of /flair/. /He's/ bright -- brilliant hair in vivid peacock shades of blue and green and purple that have a metallic sheen that hair dye really shouldn't be able to accomplish. Sparkly dusting of blue lipstick with a silver flash, black eyeshadow with a rainbowy oilslick glimmer, nailpolish in the same rainbow-black shade, blue eyepatch with a silver dragonfly (also flapping its wings) stitched into it. Skinny-skinny jeans, black with rainbow-metallic dragonflies fluttering (they're /literally/ fluttering, the embroidery is actually moving, the dragonflies flitting about the jeans as though that was a perfectly normal thing for stitching to do) up the seams, tall silver boots, long black fishnet shirt underneath a purple tee that reads "I'm one of the bravest girls alive", a glittery silver-and-black scarf, gauzy-light and more for decoration than warmth. Beneath the gauzy fishnet sleeves there's still a scattering of bandaging visible on his arms.
He's tucked at the table with a sketchbook, computer, tablet; a sweatshirt and jacket have been discarded next to him together with his backpack.
Around his table, currently, there appears to be a host of -- faeries? Small and winged and satyrlike, cloven-hooved and goat-furred in their lower halves, dancing around a small bonfire. The employees of the cafe don't seem overly concerned that one of their tables might be on fire. Jax glances up at them intermittently, but mostly seems focused on his work, stylus in hand as he works on a sketch on his computer.
Flicker enters the cafe -- /near/ the door, though he doesn't /use/ the door. It doesn't open, anyway. There was no Flicker before and now there is one, appearing in the cafe in a brief ghostly shimmer and immediately heading towards the counter -- but veeeeering off course when he catches sight of the /fire/ and satyrs and Jax. He leans against a table, for a while just watching.
In contrast to the other man, he's not colourful at all. Black jacket, khakis, black boots. Ungloved, it's clear that one of his hands is a prosthetic. Exhausted shadowed eyes in his very scarred face. He unslings a backpack from his shoulder, dropping it into a seat beside Jax silently. Not saying anything. Just watching the dancing creatures with a slow smile curling up on his tired face.
Laura is far less noticeable than Jax and has managed to more or less find herself unobtrusively in the Evolve Cafe once again. Since discovering its rather friendly atmosphere a few months previous, she has tried to make a visit to the cafe at least once a week. Today she is dressed in simple enough no print T-shirt and a pair of clean blue jeans, the warmer weather allows her to forgo the normal addition of a coat and she stands next to the service counter as she tries to decide on what to order for her afternoon snack. Even while waiting to order, she simply can't help but cast staring glances Jax and the far too interesting wardrobe not to mention the saters and their fire.
One of the dancing creatures, long black hair and deep dark skin, a silvery shimmer to her black fur and brilliant green eyes, dances her way up to Flicker when he approaches. Twirling-stamping-whirling all in silence, arms extending as though inviting him into the dance. Or into the fire. The teeth she bares in smile to him are sharp and hungry.
Jax twirls his stylus between his fingers, quick and rapid, a restless habitual thinking-motion. Fidget. When he spins and catches it again against his palm it transforms, no longer a stylus but a deep purplish-pink rose laid across his palm to offer to Flicker. "How dare you run in these green woods, without asking leave of me?" It's sung, not said; his quiet tenor is cheerful, if unimpressive. He'll never make his living singing. Spoken, now, rather than sung: "How'd it go?"
The fire licks higher -- changing colours, purple-green-blue now to match his hair. One of the satyrs, this one a fair-skinned muscular young man, wild red hair, stormy grey eyes, is prancing up to the counter. Twirling its way around Laura. Dipping behind the counter as though /he's/ going to take her order. The barista just chuckles.
Though he knows he can't actually touch the illusion-creatures, Flicker reaches to take the faerie-girl's hand anyway. Illusion hand matched to his mechanical one, fake-hand to fake-hand. There's a deep flush of color reddening his pale scarred cheeks, but he allows himself to be led -- sharp teeth and all. Though he does reach out with his other hand to pluck the stylus-turned-rose out of Jax's palm. "Jungle, sure, but we're lacking on green around here. -- I don't think I failed." Such optimism! "Just one more Thursday and I'll be /done/ for the year." His bright green eyes follow the other satyr over to the counter. "You're going to scare away the clientele." He sounds amused. Not actually concerned about this.
Laura can't help but to giggle at the dancing flitting nature of the water as it moves about her and then slips behind the counter. She composes herself and orders a coffee with cream and sugar and a bisquite. She then catches sight of the little creature again and smiles back at it, "Having fun little one?" she asks the illusionary.
"Anyone scared off by /me/ wouldn't be able to handle /Shane/," Jax asserts with a small laugh. "So I figure either they're able to roll with a little fun or they should probably get their coffee elsewhere." Flicker's new friend is cavorting around him, arms sliding around his waist as she slips up behind him; the surreal purple-blue flames lick around them higher. "Anyway there's plenty of green. Just kind of hides away in tiny abandoned lots an' -- the riverside's nice. -- You got a nice long break once exams is done, don't you?"
Laura's satyr, oh-so-helpful, is miming the motions of the barista as the coffee is poured. An even tinier fairy, huge glittery-gold dragonfly wings and crackly autumn-leaf hair, flutters down from the beams by the roof to perch itself on the edge of Laura's coffee cup when it arrives. 'FUN', writes itself in creamy swirl atop the coffee.
The color in Flicker's cheeks deepens. For a second his breath catches, eyes closing quickly. He pulls away, stepping right /through/ the woman, insubstantial as the illusions are, to drop down heavily into a seat beside Jax. His smile returns as he watches the dancing -- from this smaller distance. "... Yeah. Actually I should put in, uh. Might see about taking a bit off at the Clinic. Have an /actual/ break." His eyes shift over to the counter, watching Laura and the faeries there with a small laugh. "... right. I needed food. You need something?"
Laura gives pause, not sure if she should reach out to take the cup upon which the little creature had alighted itself. She eventually decides is as safe as anything else and picks up her cup, blowing on it carefully before looking about to try and decide which table would be best at which to sit. She eventually choses one not so far from where the rest of the fare folk have gathered, and sits so that she may be able to better watch what has become the most interesting aspect of the early evening. She eventually has to ask something, and speaks up over the short distance to where Jax and Flicker are resting. "Are all of these with you?"
Jax leans down -- slowly, stiffly, a definite wince on his face with the movement -- to get his wallet out of his bag, handing the wallet to Flicker. "Cinnamon coconut mocha? Almond milk? An' um, another maple walnut cupcake." He blows Flicker a kiss in thanks for this, plucking his rose /back/ from the other man -- it morphs back to a stylus in his hand.
He slumps a little heavily back in his seat, a small wilt to his posture and his face a little pale, but when he's addressed he perks right back up. Bright smile, sits up straighter. The creatures around him have started to fade slightly too, but when he perks they do, colours brightening and their dance continuing. "Oh, sure, miss." His thick Southern drawl is cheery-warm. "I -- sometimes tend to shed? Pretty things. Though /this/ pretty-thing," here he's gesturing to /Flicker/, "/he's/ not mine, he's just gettin' refreshments. -- They ain't botherin' you none, is it?"
Flicker waves the wallet away, a stiff awkward motion with his mechanical hand. He offers a warm smile to Laura, standing, too. He finally sheds his jacket -- underneath there's a simple grey-and-blue striped sweater over a polo shirt -- and drapes it over Jax's coat. "Maple walnut. That sounds good." His blush has deepened /sharply/ at the inclusion of /him/ in "pretty things" -- it makes the copious thick scars mottling half his face stand out in even harsher relief. "He leaks oddness. And glitter. And bright." He ruffles absently at Jax's colorful hair before turning to head to the counter to place his order.
Laura shakes her head no, "Not bothering now.. just curious... I hadn't seen anything quite like it before." Her eyes remain more or less on the manifestations than on the people with whom she is having a conversation. The inclusion of Jax to Flicker as a pretty thing she lets go, whatever their relationship, it was none of her concern. "Well whatever the oddness and glitter may be I think it adds a sense of charm to the room, would be hard to get in a funk with all of this about."
"What, you mean faeries don't jus' follow you around in New York /usually/?" Jax's eye has opened wide, like this is news to him. "Happens t'me all the /time/." His fingers brush lightly at his scarf, teeth wiggling at a lip ring. His eye flicks back to his computer screen and the half-finished drawing there. "/Do/ leak glitter, s'kinda a hazard of bein' around me. Glad I could add some cheer, though. Feel like New York needs as much of /that/ as it can get -- was you in a funk?" His pierced eyebrows have raised curiously.
Flicker returns in short order. Two cupcakes, no drinks yet. Still waiting on those. He puts the cupcakes down on the table by Jax's computer, settling back into his chair and peeking over Jax's shoulder at what Art is being worked on. "/Charm/ is a hazard of being around you," he opines. "Hard to be in a funk at all. It's all the faerydust." His eyes have skipped briefly up to Laura too, though. Absently curious about this answer.
Laura is not sure that Jax's words are a joke at first and she hesitates to respond. She turns in her chair, or turns her chair around as would be a better description, but either way she partially joins the others at their table with the motion. "I don't know that leaking glitter would be that bad, there must be far worse things to ... well yea, there are worse things to be sure. "I'm Laura," she eventually decides to offer as a way of better joining the two's conversation, or at the least being friendly in kind.
Now it's Jax's turn to blush, cheeks flushing deep at Flicker's statement. "I try. Thanks, honey-honey." For the cupcake, not the compliment; he's taking the cupcake to take a hungry bite of sugar, mmm. His eye is drooping half-closed again, posture drooping too; around them the fire is fading, the satyrs starting to blur and get paler, more washed-out in their colouring, fainter ghostlier images than before. "M'Jax. This is Flicker. -- You really gonna take yourself a vacation, because that'd be rad. What'll you /do/ with it?" The artwork on his screen /is/ a forest, verdant and green; there's a procession of riders coming through though the creatures that the horses bear are surreal, not-quite-human, wings or hooves or bark for skin or wicked-sharp claws or wreaths of flame where hair should be. Unfinished, a sketchy outline of a woman (human and pregnant, for all it can be told so far) is reaching up towards the rider of one of the horses in the procession. "Please t'meetya, miss. Y'come here much?"
The smile on Flicker's face dims, his head turning to glance up towards the counter expectantly. Waiting for their order to be called. "Vacate. Holidays, right? What they're for. Spend it with Hive." He looks back at the screen, smile pulled wider. "That is fantastic. Is it for something? I want a print. Can I buy a print?" He shakes his head, then, giving Laura a Very Solemn look. "Problem with glitter. It /never/ comes out."
Laura watches as the visions start to somewhat fade with Jax's attention turning away from them... or had it even really been on them, hard for Laura to put it all together into a cohesive understanding of her new cohorts. She does continue however to watch the stitching in Jax's cloths as it moves on its own as if that was simply how art was meant to be. "Honestly I only just started coming here... Ran into a spot of trouble out front," she motions towards the door, "and hid inside here... seemed like such a nice place that I kept coming back." There is a moments consideration, "not allot of places where a girl can feel like herself and not have to watch over her shoulder."
The mention of Hive pulls Jax just a little closer to Flicker, his shoulder bumping gently up against the other man's. His forehead bumps lightly up against the side of Flicker's head, too. "Good. Let me know if you have any problems getting the time off. /I'll/ fill in your shifts if I have to." He straightens again, resting his tablet at the edge of the table and starting to fill in more detail on his drawing once more. "It's because I wanted to draw it. You can buy a print."
He looks over to Laura, teeth biting down at his lip. The faeries fade the rest of the way, though the shifting sparkle on his clothing stays in motion. His shoulders sag, slightly. "S'a lotta trouble t'be found 'round here. Glad you found this place, though. It's -- a good place. I mean, I'm /biased/, but it's a good place. Don't hurt they got great food an' coffee, too. Hope the trouble part weren't /too/ bad."
Flicker holds forefinger and thumb a few millimeters apart. "Little biased." Amused twitch smile. His name is called up by the counter and he's up again in a heartbeat -- at first he barely even seems to move, doesn't stand, is just /gone/, over at the counter and then back in the space of an instant. Drinks being placed neatly on the table, coffee for Jax and a hot cider (in a to-go cup) for himself. The second time he gets up, though, he actually walks instead of teleports, claiming a soup from the counter and heading back over with it. "It's a nice place to escape. -- I'll let you know. I do need the time."
Laura says, "I have to agree." she says nodding her head in kind, "the fact that its a nice coffee shop only adds to the fact that its a good port in the storm." Her eyes look back towards the door, a somewhat distant look filling them as she recalls what may have happened those days past. She then gets a random thought about her and decides to ask, that is until Flicker does as his name would imply and disappears from where he was seated and then reapears just as simply, she pulls back without thinking about it, as if he may overshoot where he was aiming and land in her lap. "oh, wow." is all she manages to get out."
Slowly, the fluttering stitching on Jax's clothing settles down as well -- still bright, still colourful, but remaining motionless in place. Jax sinks in at Flicker's side, a tired slump, a little droopy-exhausted as he picks up his coffee, his face pale behind the sparkly makeup. "Need as many safe places like this as we can get." Laura's reaction draws a small giggle out of him, cheek bonking lightly at Flicker's shoulder. "/He/ does that a lot."
"Quicker than walking." Flicker's cheeks have tinted pink again. "Habit." His fingers brush very lightly against Jax's arm -- or, really, against some of the bandaging only partially obscured under the fishnet shirt. "We get a lot of storms."
Laura nods her agreement, recovering quickly from the display. "I'm impressed, that has to be a much more convenient way to get around than the simple, one foot infant of the other. She then asks, "Storms?"
Jax's smile curls up kind of crookedly when Flicker touches the bandaging. "... mebbe some of us is a little bit'a lightnin' rods." He sounds a little bit sheepish, here. It clears up into light amusement as he adds: "Convenient, plus, always nicer t'get around with a little /flair/."
"I don't think anyone can compete on flair when you're around." Flicker shakes his head, hand lifting to squeeze slowly at Jax's shoulder. "Port, storm? Just. New York. Gets kind of rough sometimes." He stacks his cider cup on top of his soup cup, glancing towards the door. "Should get home. Fully plan on sleeping till my next exam."
Laura blushes slightly as she had missed the reference the first time around, "Oh, right..." She looks back at her mostly forgotten snacks, "I guess it is starting to get a bit late... still, always nice to meet new people."
"... I thought you said that was Thursday." Jax has a note of quiet laughter in his voice. He bonks his head lightly against Flicker's shoulder as Flicker gets ready to go. "Get good rest, sugar." His hand lifts, colourful nails glimmering as his fingers curl in a wave. "Always nice," he allows to Laura, "m'here a lot. M'kid owns this place." Despite the fact that /Jax/ looks barely out of his teens, much less old enough to have a kid who is a business owner. His stylus twirls rapidly between his fingers again, eye skating back to the drawing he'd been working on. "S'nice t'meet you. M'sure I'll see you 'round."
Flicker tips his hands up and outward. "Got a lot of sleep to catch up on." Getting his jacket back on is a little slow and stiff, one of his arms not quite as easy to manipulate as the other. He picks up his soup and drink once he's done, balancing the cupcake neatly on top of the stack and resting his mechanical hand atop the whole pile. "Nice to meet you," he says politely to Laura. "Take care." He bumps his shoulder lightly against Jax's and then takes off in a quick shimmering blur of motion -- for a second there's a blurring sort of afterimage that looks like a ghostly /series/ of Flickers heading towards the exit, and then he is gone.
Laura blinks a few times as Flicker takes his leave, "quite a catch you have found there.... must take a while to get used to the jumping in and out." she smiles at that and turns back to her snacks and takes up her coffee for a sip.