7 February 2015
<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.
It is a pleasant enough afternoon, if a little grey, full of on and off flurries but above freezing outside. The front windows do add a little extra light to the room. Micah has claimed a corner armchair in the back, where it is quieter, for his spicy cocoa and double chocolate muffin. Or what /used/ to be a muffin. The redhead has been slowly demolishing it into manageably dunk-able pieces to soak in even /more/ chocolate from the cocoa before he eats it. He is dressed typical-weekend style, layered in a Firefly hoodie over a dark green tee (on which a jubilant T-rex with an adaptive reaching aid in each hand is depicted under the heading 'UNSTOPPABLE!') and cream henley, patchy lined jeans, and snow boots. His winter gear, messenger bag, and holstered bright orange crutches are stacked into another chair at the table.
Jack's in a strangely good mood as he shuffles into Evolve. Then again he's been in a pretty decent mood since the Superbowl. He won a small bet he made with someone outside the school and has ventured into the city this weekend to put a little bit of that cash to use. With that bright white coat on, Jack's also in jeans and a hoodie. A small plastic bag is hanging off his invisible wrist, the logo of a party store of all things on the side of it. He scans around the room as he heads up to the counter to get a muffin for himself. Because muffins are great.
The quiet thump of a thrown snowball against one of the thick windows of Evolve isn't the sort of thing that might claim too much attention over the ambient noise of the cafe. Nor would a little bit /more/ snow get all that much of a look over the piles that already scatter across the street and sidewalk outside. The louder thump from the side of a teenager's face being forced against the glass, wide-eyed and breath frosting over part of the glass is rather more noticeable. A damp looking man dressed all in navy blue stands behind the teenager, one hand on his neck, the other patting him down roughly for weapons. The windows that keep out the noise from the traffic of the city equally keep out the sound of voices, but it is not a long conversation. Releasing the boy from the glass, the police officer (for it is a police officer, now that the breath-stained glass has unfogged enough to see the badge on the winter cap) smacks the younger man upside the head and then lets him run down the sidewalk and away.
Eric steps into Evolve a few moments later, brushing snow off of his jacket and knocking slush off of his boots in the doorframe before stepping into the cafe and closing the cold out with the door. "Idiot. What kind of moron grows up'n the city and can't spot a uniform five feet away before ya throws some shit," Eric mutters darkly under his breath, as his eyes sweep over the room.
Rather absorbed in his muffin destruction, Micah's attention isn't drawn upward until the second, louder /thud/ at the window. He startles, visibly, a piece of muffin now /mushed/ between his fingers. He stands and takes a single step forward, his other hand already reaching toward the phone in his pocket as his brain processes what is going on outside. Then, about as quickly as it started, it's over. Shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot, he watches the kid run away and Eric enter the shop. Finally, he does decide to move forward, brow still furrowed. "S'everythin' okay, Eric?"
It's that second thump that draws Jack's attention as well. He turns quickly, just lifting his head enough to peek out from under his hood. He tenses at the sight but doesn't move from his spot. The officer entering the room causes Jack to invisibly scowl, the unseen teen not a big fan of cops. When he sees Micah talking to the officer, Jack arches a brow. Taking his muffin as it arrives, he carefully makes his way closer to listen to what's going on in case there's some kind of trouble.
"Heya, cyborg." Eric says, flashing Micah a warm, friendly smile. "Oh, yeah. No problems - just educatin' the next generation on the proper respect for property." The glib answer is followed by a playful wink as the police officer glances at the menu. The floating clothes-and-bag combination get a pause and quick blink as his eyes travel over that direction, but it does nothing to cause the smile to fade. "Takes a special kind'a stupid to try and throw a rock through a windah in front of a police officer. Guess he must'a figured that I'd be on his side, considerin' the window's owner'n all. How about you, Micah? How's things? Jax, n' B, n' Spence?" A brief pause. "n' Shane?"
"Hi," Micah remembers to greet Eric belatedly, a faint bit of pink rising in his cheeks. "Oh, he threw somethin'. Was he doin' more'n just that? It...seemed t'get a little physical out there, s'all." The concern doesn't seem to be draining from his expression any time soon. "Appreciate y'preventin' the property damage, though. These windows've had a hard life." Again, he remembers this part belatedly, only picking up a deeper flush for it. "I'm doin' okay. Things're...quietin' down just a little from the last crisis, I s'pose. Seems t'be the way of it. Jax'n Spence're good. Pups're gettin' ready t'turn 18 next month. So that's...rough. But otherwise okay, I think." Eric's blink and glance to the side do attract Micah's attention to Jack. He offers a small smile lifts a hand in greeting...only to find that there is still chocolate muffin stuck to his index finger. His cheeks have decidedly entered into red territory as he quickly slips the fingertip into his mouth to suck the chunk of chocolate off of it.
If Jack's face were visible, his expression might be funny. He's utterly confused by the way Micah and Eric are interacting. Jack expected hostility or some kind of argument but the casual friendliness has him needing a moment to process. Micah's chocolate-covered greeting snaps him out of it and he hesitantly lifts an empty sleeve to wave. "Hi..." he trails off, glancing at Eric a moment before looking back to Micah.
"Ain't no harm done'ta him, 'sides to his pride. Better for him n' a misdemeanor summons would be," Eric points out, lips curling into a small smile. "B lookin' at schools?" He doesn't ask if Shane is. "You've got somethin'... there ya go. I was gonna offer to help ya with that," Eric teases, but the flirtation is cut off by his chuckle and shrug of his shoulders. "Give'm my best, yeah?" The police officer takes a step forward towards the counter, turning his eyes to the side and giving Jack a curious look. "Hiya. How often da' people make jokes about Mister Cellophane around you?" Eric asks, grinning at the empty set of clothes. "Eric, head of the freak squad." The man sticks out a hand, though he quickly pulls it back to tug his leather glove off and re-extend it.
"Okay. S'hard t'tell from in here. Just looked..." Micah shakes his head, stopping himself from continuing along that path. "Ze is. S'a part of why the whole turnin' 18 thing's harder'n it otherwise might be. Registration an' all. Kinda have to for school." He simply nods at the message for Shane, lips pressed thin for a moment. His steps track along with Eric's to the counter so as not to be shouting at the other man from behind. "S'okay, Jack. We're friends, even if we don't always see eye t'eye... He an' his hang 'round here often enough, too. Help protect the place, considerin'."
And Jack just ends up more surprise at the flirtation. Definitely not the sort of attitude he's used to from cops. He waits for confirmation that Eric is alright before he reaches out to shake the offered hand. His can't be seen but his hand is able to be felt. "Jack, ghost of the laundry room," he tries a little joke. "Only heard a couple so far. Still getting used to being around people again," he says carefully. "Freak squad?"
Eric's grip is firm, but careful not to crush the younger man's hand either as he shakes it and lets go. "Freak squad. S' what pretty much everyone calls us. The name on my business card says 'mutant incident division', but I ain't hear that from anyone. Instead... freak squad. Because we deal with the freaks, or because we are freaks." Eric shrugs his shoulders and lets his smile lilt to one side. "Depends on who ya ask." Eric reaches over to wrap an arm around Micah, squeezing the smaller man to him in a brief sideways hug. "B'll get through it. Ain't like there're many eighteen year olds who got their own lab at Stark, yeah? Or who own their own business, for that matter."
"Gets his share of invisible jokes in gen'ral, though," Micah adds with a little shrug, having experienced that often enough just being /around/ Jack sometimes. His nose crinkles a little as Eric racks up the tally on how many times he can say 'freak'. The hand that /hadn't/ been in his mouth pats a little at Eric's back during the half-hug. "Oh, I know they're both amazin'. An' doin' amazin' things, regardless. But B /wants/ this. Really wants it. An' ze's had more'n enough disappointment in hir life. I just...want it /for/ hir, y'know?"
"Easier if I make 'em myself. Cuts off most of the worst ones from others," Jack replies after Micah's comment. "Huh. So you're...a mutant too?" he asks Eric, clearly surprised by this news. He's not kept up on that sort of information. He picks a piece of his muffin and pops it into his mouth, the food just vanishing once he swallows it. "Any school that doesn't take B just because of hir being a mutant would be stupid. I don't really know hir that well but B is one of the smartest people I have ever met."
"Can't do much better for recommendation letters n' B's last two bosses though. Tony Stark's gotta have /some/ pull, yeah?" Eric turns to face the menu, studying it indecisively. "I'd tell ya that it'll all work out, but 'tween ya and Jax, ain't no worryin' ta be had. Ya steal it all and hoard it," he drawls. "Yeah, all of the MID officers are. Mostly police who got shitcanned after registration got through, though we've had one come from the 'cademy recently." He closes the distance to the counter, smiling at the person behind it. "Can I get a coffee with cream and one of your chocolate cookies, darlin'? Thanks," he says, tugging out his wallet to pay.
"Got better hopes'a B /gettin' in/ than anythin'. Though it'd be harder'n most on account of X-gene status. Think ze's got /so/ much goin' ze'll still get in. S'just a matter of needin' t'register t'do it. An' whether ze will or not. Neither choice's a good one, really." Micah scruffs a hand through his hair, a shy sort of smile accompanying another darkening of his blush. "Kinda worriers, s'true."
Jack says, "Huh. Didn't know there were cops like that here..." Jack trails off. "Only had the plain kind back in Jersey," he remarks. All the mentions of registration gets a little grunt of annoyance out of Jack. "Registration's stupid too," he mutters.
"Kinda." Eric snorts, rolling his eyes. "Yeah, 'kinda'. n' I'm savin' myself for marriage." The police officer drawls sarcastically, turning against the counter to grin at Micah and Jack. "I ain't going'ta argue with ya there - it ain't 'xactly smart. But I ain't write the laws, so I guess I can't really say what I'd do if I's in their shoes." The police officer looks contemplative for a second, then grins. "But I fuckin' bet it ain't be that."
Micah just nods at Jack's gumbling in agreement. Eric's teasing and his particular choice of comparisons drags the red up Micah's neck and into the shells of his ears. He shuffles himself off to the side to be out of the way of people actually waiting on orders.
Jack ends up a little flustered as well but his blush is unseen. He clears his throat and shuffles to the side as well. "No idea what I'm gonna do yet," he mutters after another bite of muffin. "Still figuring that all out."
Eric turns back to face the counter as his drink comes up, picking the paper cup up and bringing it to his face to blow over the surface of it. "Ain't an easy choice ta make. Some doors'll close for you if ya do, and some will if ya don't. At the end'a the day, you're the one who's gotta live with it, so don't rush it. Ain't no way to take it back." Eric flashes a smile at Jack - or at least, in his direction, if not exactly at his face. He lifts his cup up in a little salute at the two of them, stepping back out of the way. "Don't worry, Micah. I was just kiddin' - ya ain't have ta propose to me first."
“Hopefully by the time you're old enough the picture might be dif'rent,” Micah offers to Jack, though not with an /immense/ amount of hope in his tone. There is no help for the blushing, red claiming all of Micah's exposed skin...perhaps in an attempt to match his hair, who knows. “I wasn't...I... Already married,” he finally settles on as the safest reply, holding up his left hand with the ring on it as if Eric somehow didn't know that already.
"Pictures don't really work with me," Jack remarks with a little chuckle. He ends up blushing worse as well at the continued teasing. "Yeah...I'll keep it in mind. Definitely not something to rush into," he agrees with a nod.
"Well, good. That means if /you/ were savin' yourself, that barrier's been crossed." Eric grins at Micah as he leans in to plant a light kiss on the other man's burning cheek and then pulls back to grin at Jack. "We can hope. It was good ta meet ya, if not see ya. I'm sure our paths'll cross again; ain't too many of us around, 'n Evolve makes some great coffee." He raises his cup in salute to the two of them, winks, and heads for the door.
"Ha, not that kinda picture. Just...the landscape. How things is." Micah's mouth opens a little to respond but words fail just at that moment. He would blush worse but it isn't really possible. For a moment, he just stands and blinks after the addition of the little kiss to the teasing. "I...um... G'night, Eric. I should go. Finish m'cocoa 'fore it's too cold," he informs before scurrying back to his table.
"I know," Jack replies with a little laugh. "Just trying to joke," he explains. He ends up snicking a little at the kiss and then nods. "See ya," he offers a wave as Eric goes. He watches Micah go and then shrugs before heading to find a place to sit himself so he can finish his muffin.