ArchivedLogs:Customer Service

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Customer Service
Dramatis Personae

Shane, Melinda, Nicoleta, Toma, Micah, Daiki

8 October 2013

Closing up at Montagues, with some colourful characters.


<NYC> Montagues – SoHo

Montagues harkens back to the day when SoHo was filled to the brim with artists, with its mismatched furniture, all plush and decorated heavily with carved wood, but remains trendy enough to keep its newer patrons by making sure that furniture is clean, in good repair and inviting. The antique tables all have been reinforced to seem less creaky. The real draw of the cafe is the smell: fresh roasted coffee mingles with perfectly steeped teas. Spices from crisp pastries mingle with the tang of clotted cream but don't overwhelm too much the scent of chalk on the menu boards.

It's almost at closing time, for this coffee shop, late Tuesday night though there's still a few lingering customers finishing up their food and drinks scattered around the tables and one young man still scrutinizing the menu board, indecisive about his order. Tucked into an armchair by a window, one tall Japanese teenager has neither food nor drink but none of the employees seem particularly interested in hassling Daiki over his lack of purchases; even the one woman who comes over to tell him the shop will soon be closing ends with an apology and a mention that he's welcome to stay as long as he likes. He's dressed neatly, grey slacks and black button-down, a grey peacoat draped over an arm of his chair. The backpack beside him looks heavily packed, and his attention largely occupied by the laptop on his lap.

Shane, in comparison, doesn't look nearly so neat. Plain white t-shirt, jeans, sneakers; a bit of a tired look to him, too, as he emerges from the kitchen to start wiping down tables. It draws a startled look that turns into a glare, from one of the remaining tables; the couple there clears up their things in a /hurry/ to head for the door. Shane's teeth bare in a /thin/ smile at this. He goes to clean down their table, next. The young man deliberating about his drink choice elects to order nothing at all, eyes widening as he turns to head out of the store. Possibly for Starbucks.

Melinda appears out of the back of the restaurant at length, looking rather tired and perhaps harried too, but she's rallying well. She doesn't bother with the tables, but the espresso machine, starting to whip up a drink of her own, giving the barista a chance to step away and pre-count her tips. There's something methodical about the way Mel makes a drink, the rhythm of her movements, the precise seconds it takes to grind the beans, the pressure she applies to the top of the mound of grounds, even the flick of her wrist as she locks it into the machine, it's nearly art. Too bad the machine is large and bulky and blocks everyone's view.

She watches over the dining room, watching Shane as he works, giving a nod to Daiki when she recognizes him. "Shane, did you want something for the road?"

The door slides open, with two figures behind it. The first figure, Toma Lupei, is dressed in a long gray sweater, with sweatpants and tennis shoes. The other figure, Nicoleta Lupei, contrasts her brother, wearing a black tanktop, blue jeans, and boots. The twins approach the counter, with Toma squinting at the menu. After several seconds of Toma trying to read it, Nicoleta pushes him aside, and heads over to the barista. "Hey lady, two to go. One mocha, and one black." Toma shakes his head at her, and also speaks. "Please, and thank you."

Micah arrives through the door bouncily. The young man is dressed in a powder blue Totoro-face T-shirt peeking out from behind an open green canvas jacket, worn over faded jeans covered in a rainbow of patches. A green-brown newsboy cap is perched on his head, auburn hair sticking out from under it at angles. He offers little wave in the directions of Shane and Melinda, not trying too hard to get their attention because /working/. He wanders over to Daiki's table instead, waving yet again. “Hi, Daiki. Mind if I wait with you?”

Daiki's posture closes off, when someone approaches, a reflexive tensing of muscles, a reflexive hardening of expression; in body language it puts up a very clear Do Not Disturb sign that unfortunately does absolutely nothing to mitigate the inherent friendly pull his charismatic mutation lends him. The tensing vanishes at the sound of Micah's voice, though; he looks up towards the other man with a smile, genuine, if small, and a dip of his head. "Please. By all means. Shane should not be too much longer. I hope you do not mind if I ride with you two, also? I only just finished work, myself." His eyes dip down, seeking out Micah's hands. "Shane tells me that congratulations are in order. It is wonderful news."

Shane glances upward, first at the entry of the twins. His jaw tenses slightly at their order, eyes skipping back behind the front counter. He leaves his cleaning spray and paper towel roll where they are on the table, heading over to Micah instead. His arms snake around Micah's waist, his hug tight. "I could make such a good fucking mocha," he grouses.

"I can... take your money over here," squeaks a young man at the register, probably just over eighteen from the looks of it. He waves his hand a little to get their attention and smiles his friendliest little smile.

"Small, medium, or large?" Melinda asks as she works, glancing up from time to time so that she doesn't burn herself as she steams the milk. Her cup is laced in chocolate and caramel, the syrups starting to pool at the bottom of the cup. As she pours the milk, she glances up at her customers and then over their shoulders to the group gathering, one side of her mouth pulling back in an affectionate half smile.

"Medium, please,” replies Toma to Melinda. Nicoleta says nothing, glaring at Melinda as they head over to the man at the register. Toma opens his wallet, looking through his money. How much will that be? Nicoleta continues to glare at Melinda, before muttering something in Romanian. “{I remember her, from the other fucking night.}” Toma gets an anxious face, replying quickly. “{Calm down, we don't want to cause any trouble. Let's just get our drinks and leave, okay?}” Nicoleta turns to Melinda and then back to Toma. “{Alright, fine.}”

"Sure, y'can ride along. Gotta pull down the sort-of middle seat thing since there's no back seat, if one of y'don't mind that too much." Micah's smile pulls wider at Daiki's congratulations, offering a heartfelt, "Thanks," and extending his left hand with its little blue-and-silver ring in reply to Daiki's silent request. The smile brightens again at incoming Shane, Micah's right arm wrapping around the teen's shoulders. "Hey, hon. Y'wanna make me a mocha? I can request that as the customer, right? Got money an' everythin'." The smile twists into more of a lopsided grin at that.

Daiki reaches out for Micah's hand, but then drops his own hand down to the table without taking it. He leans forward to look at it instead, studying it a long moment and then smiling. "It is beautiful. I am very happy for you both."

"Yeah, Hive's been whinging all weekend. Whole building flooded with happy." Shane leans into Micah's side, eyes closing and his head butting up gently against Micah's ribs. He just snorts at the request, though. "You can ask for a mocha," he says sourly, "and Mel will make it for you. We had some asshole in here the other day, I didn't touch /any/ of the food and he was still --" His eyes open, here, as he turns his head to look towards Melinda, head tilting slightly at the muttering from the twins; more audible to him across the room than it would be to most, though the other language means keen hearing doesn't help him any. His eyes narrow at Nicoleta's expression. "Fuck's wrong with that woman? She's looking like Mel's pissed in her coffee already."

"Six fifty-seven," The cashier replies, still smiling, but it's the smile of someone who is counting the seconds until the work day is over. His brows remain upward, expectant.

Melinda keeps working, raising an eyebrow when she feels Nicoleta's glare. She smiles sweetly and laces a little extra chocolate syrup into the cup before moving over to tap more grounds into the basket and press them. She continues working, perhaps a little more mechanically - the only sign of recognition that she shows. She does throw a glance Shane's way after a moment, lips pulling into a pursed set. Conversation will wait. Well, "Did you want whipped cream on either? It's the same price."

Toma pulls out seven ones from his wallet, handing them to the cashier. "Uh, only on the mocha, thank you.". Nicoleta barks, in Romanian, with a slightly mocking tone. “{Who the fuck puts whipped cream on black coffee?}” Toma just shakes his head, as Nicoleta impatiently taps her foot, waiting for the coffee. “{Fuck, how long is this going to take?}” Her tone is angry and bitter, as Toma replies, in English, muttering. "Calm down, Nicoleta."

"Thanks," Micah says again, still smiling brightly, a hint of pink tingeing his cheeks. "It /has/ been a whole lotta happy. An' Hive would find somethin' t'grump about no matter what. S'just how he /talks/. Sure he's happier t'have a whole lotta happy than a whole lot more depressin'." His nose crinkles, shaking his head at Shane's offer. "Unless she'll let you use the machine when the other patrons leave or somethin', nah. S'less about the coffee an' more about who's makin' it." He squeezes Shane tighter, wrapping the other arm around him once it's free. "Some people are dumb. They used t'sit black people at separate tables'n make 'em use separate bathrooms'n such. See how well /that/ turned out for 'em." He glances up at Shane's indication of the person at the counter. "Could be she's just in a sour mood? Happens sometimes. Some folks don't know how t'keep it t'themselves." He does finally release Shane, in case the teen needs to get back to work things. Or...just wants to stand upright again.

"I don't know, black people are still pretty fucked and white folks are doing alright so I guess it turned out OK for them in the end. Now they just segregate with poverty and. Bullshit excessive jail sentences. So, I mean, if that's the future I'm aiming toward --" Shane's arms tighten around Micah, face turning in towards Micah's shirt.

He straightens, though, when released, narrowing his eyes on the twins again at the sharper tone. He takes a step closer towards the counter. "Hey, is everything --"

But stops, at a quiet murmur from Daiki. "-- Do you think that will help?"

Shane tenses. Quiets, as his gills flutter beneath his t-shirt. In the end he just /stomps/ his way back to his table, snatching up his spray and paper towels again to start cleaning rather /aggressively/, black eyes focused suspiciously on the twins.

The cashier's smile falters and he hurriedly makes change for Toma, handing him the receipt with the coins. He then takes a step back to grab a medium sized cup and begins to fill it from the coffee machine on the back counter. The cup is then lidded and placed on the counter near Toma.

Melinda bears all the grousing quietly, continuing to put the drinks together, neither rushing nor slowing down the process in the face of the impatient customer. She steams the milk quietly until it is the correct temperature for her finger tips. She grabs the small metal pitcher and pours the espresso into the syrup lined cup and pours the steamed milk over the top. There's a quick tilt to the position of her hands as she stops the flow with just enough room to put in whipped cream and still lid the drink. She caaarefully lifts it to the receiving counter and caps it. "And there you go!" Shane is watched, quietly, and then another professionally friendly smile is given to the twins. "Have a wonderful night."

Toma happily takes the cups, and is about to head out to the door, when Nicoleta glares at Shane. Toma looks back, freezing. “{Nicoleta, don't you dar-}” Before he can finish his sentence, Nicoleta barks at Shane. "Everything is just fucking fine, thank you.". Toma just stands there, staring. "Nicoleta...come on."

"Okay, so only a good example within the limited scope applied, point." Micah scrunches one eye closed at that, petting at Shane's hair when he hides his face, before he releases him back to his work. "Don't...engage the aggressive customers more than necessary, it almost never goes well," he echoes Daiki's sentiment. While Shane's eyes are focused on the twins, Micah's are locked on Shane. He doesn't sit, muscles tensing as the woman turns on Shane.

"Good," Shane answers this through his teeth, fingers clenching tightly down against his paper towels. He stops his scrubbing to return Nicoleta's glare. "We're closed now. You can go."

"Shane, Honey, can you get the light?" Melinda calls out from behind the espresso machine, leaving her coffee behind and moving to exit the bar. She quietly pulls out her keys and turns off the register, allowing it to print receipts as she hands the cashier the drawer to take to the back office. "I'll be back in a minute," she says as the register continues to print.

Nicoleta looks like she's about to say something, but Toma grabs her shoulder. “{Let's go.}” Nicoleta freezes for a second. “{But this fuckin-}” Toma quips back quickly, his brow raising. “{Nicoleta, we don't want them to call the cops on us. We need to go. I think the lady's about to call the cops anyways.}” Nicoleta sighs, and turns to Shane. "Have a fucking good night." She then heads for the door, grabbing her coffee from Toma. Toma turns to Shane. "I am so, so sorry about that." He then nods his head, and follows after her, the two leaving the store.

Micah's eyes stay on Shane and the woman as they engage, one hand clenched to press his fingernails into little half-moon indentations on his palm, waiting for any sign that action is warranted. When the twins leave, his gaze follows them out the door, hand not relaxing until it has closed behind them.

"What was that bullshit?" Shane is rather heedless, with this irritable question, of the sole lingering customer clearing their things off a table nearby to head out. "Is it just me or have people been more and more assholes lately? -- Yeah I'll get it after the last tables." He nudges the chairs in towards the table with the side of his leg, moving on to the next table. "You know the other night I got fucking told off for coming out to clean before the last customer had left and we'd locked the doors. I don't actually have that long a window here before the last train back out there is gone for the night but s'more important to fucking Lindsay that nobody know I'm working here than that I make it back to school." His claws have shredded four lines in the paper towel roll; there are parallel holes ripped into the next towel he rips off. "-- Ghh. Sorry." This is apparently directed towards Micah and Daiki's table. "Just why would anyone be a rude-ass jerkoff to Mel, she's -- nice." His eyes have narrowed in the direction the twins left, too.

"Eh," Melinda replies as the register finally stops printing, the empty cafe allowing sound to carry much better than when it's full of bodies. "That's probably why he called off tonight." She breathes a sigh as she pulls her keys out and heads to the door, locking it behind the last customers and moving to one side to grab the metal arm that pulls down the gates that are hidden in the ceiling. The heavy metal mesh rattles loudly as it comes out of the ceiling, but it doesn't take that long for her to guide it down to the ground to lock. "And as for those two - well, they literally ran into Jim the other night and you can imagine how well that went." She gets up and stretches, the double shift starting to show, finally. Her fingers hold on to one of the metal bars as she turns back to the small party. "Shane, if you have time, you can make Micah any drink he likes. Call it insurance that he's good to drive you guys back."

“Things have been...tense. That will often bring out the worst in people,” Micah replies with a sigh, his posture relaxing as his muscle uncoil. “An' people who are just lookin' t'be cranky don't care if y'deserve been crankied at. Folks in the service industry have the added bonus of bein' obligated t'just...put up with rudeness unless it's beyond the pale. There's some as just take advantage of that.” He shoots Mel an appreciative smile at that offer. “See? Now you actually have t'show off those mocha-makin' skills, big talker.”

"Yeah." Shane's eyes follow their last customer out. "Now that nobody's around to see it. Like I give /any/ fucks about making coffee, I can make goddamn coffee at home." He tosses his paper towels in the trashcan, heading to the door to turn the sign to closed. "They start shit with Jim? They start shit with /you/?" He frowns, at this thought, returning behind the counter to put away the cleaning spray in the kitchen.

Melinda takes a deep breath and wets her lips. "Shane, can you take the receipt paper back to Mike?" She rubs at her temple and wanders over to Daiki and Micah, giving them a tired smile. "Hey, guys. Sorry about the atmosphere. Is there anything I can get you before you go? I'm sure there's some sandwich fixings, if you're hungry. I know it's a long way back to the school." She watches Shane, "It's New York. I'm fairly sure it was all bluster, but no one wants to get called out on their bluster - so, she had to be catty tonight too. I'm fairly certain they won't come back here now." And then she lowers her head. "But if they do, it'll be more taking shit and being calm and peaceful about it. It's what we get paid for."

“S'up t'you, hon,” Micah replies to Shane with a look that settles somewhere in between concerned and sad. He finally pulls up a chair at the table and sits so as not to appear to be hovering. “Ain't none of that your fault, Mel. Just lucked out on grumpy customers t'night. More sorry for you havin' t'put up with it.” His head gives a little shake. “Actually mostly just glad it was all posturin' an' nothin' came of it. Before or tonight. An' I'm okay, hon. Don't need t'be fussin' over anythin' when you guys are just tryin' t'finish up an' get home.”

"Thank you," Daiki says politely, putting his laptop to sleep and tucking it into a slim sleeve before sliding it into his backpack, "but I am alright." He doesn't seem to have anything to add on the subject of cranky people. It's not a problem he tends to have.

Shane doesn't answer Mel save with a small acknowledging grunt, plucking the receipt slip off the register and taking it into the back office. He gets the lights in the cafe on his way back out, though with the streetlamps outside the large front windows it's still far from /dark/ inside. "I'm done," he announces to Melinda. "I guess I'll see you later."

"Oh. Okay." Melinda exhales softly and walks over to Shane, apparently set on pulling him into a hug if he's willing. "Thank you, by the way. It's easier to be nice to terrible people when I know you've got my back."

When Shane begins the farewells, Micah takes to his feet again, getting in line for Mel-hugs. “That's my cue t'chauffeur,” he informs. “Are you okay gettin' home an' all, Mel?”

Shane's eyes widen, surprised, at the thanks. He is easy to pull into huggance, face mooshing up against Mel's shirt and his arms curling tight around her. "... just a lot of fucking terrible people around," he grouses.

"The image of Micah in fancy livery holding open the door of his van for you is kind of funny." Daiki is slinging his backpack onto his back, not standing in line for any hugs, just pausing by the door.

"So keep the good people close." Melinda hugs Shane close and rubs his back lightly before releasing him and turning to Micah to hug him too. "Drive safe, Micah. I'll see you later." She moves to unlock the gate and the door to let the students and their driver out, giving a short bow, mostly head and shoulders, to Daiki. "Have a good night, Daiki. Make sure Micah is awake enough for the drive home, okay?"

"Take care of yourself, hon," Micah replies with a tight squeeze of a hug and a pat to Melinda's back. He chuckles both at Daiki's comment and Mel's precautions. "Might not come with any fancy duds, but I /do/ have the benefit of not fallin' asleep without meanin' to. An' I don't sleep in the van so much anymore, as it turns out. It's not even late yet, so not t'worry! Have a good night." Micah slings an arm over Shane's shoulders before walking the boys toward his parking spot.

"Hey if this is like a /limousine/ ride can we sit in the back and make out?" Shane leans into Micah's side but swipes a hand out for Daiki's. Tug? Tugtug?

"No," Daiki answers immediately. "He's not a chauffeur, he's your dad."

"/He/ said he was a chauffeur!" Shane drops Daiki's hand, sticking his tongue out. "Did he tell you?" he asks Mel, as he heads for the door, "that he's my dad? Or will be soon I guess."

"We can't make out around your dad. That's really awkward." A deep blush has crept into Daiki's cheeks, and the tug of attraction his powers lend climbs higher. He returns Melinda's bow, small and polite, and then steps outside.

"What? Something's different? This is... more of a going to be dad thing?" Sleepily, Mel waves and chuckles, hanging out outside the door as the guys leave.

“Van's got no seats in the back, so y'can't sit there while it's movin'. /I/ don't care if y'wanna make out, that's totally up t'you an' that one's consent,” is Micah's verdict, a gesture in Daiki's direction indicating who he means by 'that one'. “Oh. Oh/gosh/, Mel! I haven't seen you since Saturday!” He stops dead in his tracks, only a few steps outside the door.

Shane turns wide black eyes on Daiki. SO HOPEFULLY. Though Daiki just answers them with a smile and a kiss on the cheek, stepping back away form the others after.

"OH, wow, you really haven't told? I was only joking. I thought you knew." Shane doesn't clarify, though. Just grins, wide and toothily.

"Yeah, it's been three whole days. What has happened?" Mel crosses her arms over her chest and looks him over. "Did the adoption papers go through? I thought I wouldn't have seen banners and fireworks for that."

"No, the papers ain't through just yet. But soon. They got a couple more hoops t'run' me through." Micah just.../casually/ pauses and slips the rest of the sentence in there. Then offers out his left hand again, with its little silver and blue ring, in what he's beginning to understand is going to be an oft-repeated gesture for a while.

"Pa made it himself," Shane chimes in helpfully, when Micah shows off the ring. His smile has managed to grow even more teeth at the end of Micah's sentence. "And he's pretty much ecstatic cuz the one Micah got /him/ matches his hair. I think it's convinced him to keep his hair the same colour for actually more than a day at a time!"

"Wait, you got married or you're engaged?" Mel takes Micah's hand so she can inspect the ring further, unable to move much from the doorway of the store for the time being. "Both are equally amazing, I just want to know what... it actually means." She laughs a little and smiles up at Micah's face. "It's gorgeous, hun."

“Engaged, as of Saturday. We ain't even...figured the wheres'n whens'n whatnots on the rest of it yet.” Micah smiles brightly, a faint blush claiming his cheekbones. “I picked out the stone for that ring a fair sight before he changed his hair, too, but that's kinda been the way he's been tellin' people. It's hilarious an' adorable at the same time... I can call'n give y'the whole story some time when y'aren't tryin' t'close up an' get home. I so used t'not tellin' people an' now I somehow just keep assumin' everyone should know like magic or somethin', once it was official.”

"I could tell Horus to post it on Twitter," Shane says cheerfully. "Save you some trouble." He stretches up onto his toes, pecking Micah on the cheek. "-- OK but we should go or you'll have to come in and sign us an explanation why we were out after curfew and there's this whole big rigamarole." He gives Melinda a quick flash of smile. "Night, Mel."

"We'll have dinner some time I'm not working a double and opening the next morning." Melinda gives Micah another hug, then shoos the lot of them, turning back to the store. "Go on. The teens need sleep before classes and you don't want to get back to your fiance too late." She waves before starting to lock up. "Night Shane! Night Daiki!" and then she's off to finish her night.

“And deny Jax the chance t'keep springin' it on people? Not for anythin'.” Micah scruffs his hand over Shane's hedgehog spikes of hair in that way that implies he'd be mussing it, were it mussable. He gives Mel one last squeeze of a hug. “G'night, Mel! Okay, kiddos. Y'gotta work it out amongst yourselves who gets stuck in the little middle seat-thing.” And with that, he's back to leading the boys to the van.