He was trying very hard not to be uncomfortable with all the electronic equipment about. He was wearing gloves, though, so he was pretty sure he'd be fine. He'd been handling his cell phone earlier without any mishaps, so maybe it was a sign. Today was going to be a Droyd-free day.
"Yeah, actually," he grinned somewhat sheepishly. "I also kinda felt bad about being so - uh, out of sorts yesterday. I dunno if I even introduced myself. I'm Drew."
Smiling, Julie went over to him and held out her hand for a handshake. "Nice to meet you Drew, I'm Julie." She glanced at his gloves curiously then continued, "make yourself a seat anywhere. I know it looks a lot different in here than it did yesterday, but that's because we're getting ready for a pretty big party."
Finally, she couldn't contain her curiosity, "Are you cold? I could turn the heat up for you."
Drew took the proffered hand with a smile. "Nice to meet you, Julie," he said politely, dropping her hand and sticking his into his jean pockets. When she offered to turn up the heat, he shook his head. "Nah - don't worry about it, I'm fine. I just, uh, got a rope burn yesterday doing some work with my sister and..."
How had he not thought of something to say? Somehow 'oh no just sometimes when I touch things that are electronic they come to life' wasn't exactly what you wanted to tell strangers, but people didn't just walk around wearing leather gloves either. Not unless they had really bad eczema or some kind of fetish.
"Oh, sorry to hear that..." She wondered for a moment what he could have been doing to his sister that included ropes before reminding herself that on occasion normal people had been known to do normal things. "If it starts to bother you at all then you can let me know and I'll get the first aid kit out of the kitchen. I'm sure it has a burn ointment in there."
She started to turn towards the latte machine so she could get him a mocha and then paused, "Unless you're a serial killer who just made that story up on the spot... " she giggled, "I hope you know that in this place that's what you're likely to come across as with the kinds of customers we've been getting lately."
Leaving him briefly to find himself a seat, Julie hummed to herself as she got him a mocha. Thankfully, the mocha had little need for culinary skills as it was almost entirely pre-prepared with their latte machine. Choosing one of the house cups rather than a to go cup because she wanted him to stay a bit tonight, Julie brought it back to him once it was full. "Here ya go! This one's on the house.. oh, it's not going to bother your burn is it?" Leather gloves or no, depending on how bad the burn was the heat of the mocha may still irritate it.
It had been a while since Leigh came to the cafe. She'd quit her job as barista a few months ago, in order to move to New York and chase her dream: becoming a professional photographer. Yes, adding the word "professional" in front of any job made it worthy of a "sophisticated" college graduate like herself. At least in Leigh's mind it did.
But she couldn't help coming back after she heard about Julie and Moo getting married. Leigh was a sucker for romance, and since she was friends with both Moo and Julie (and has worked for the two of them) made it absolutely necessary for Leigh to come back and congratulate them!
Half a block away, Leigh was already nearing a panic attack. What if the cafe has changed so drastically? What if Julie and Moo didn't recognize her anymore? What if they never really did like her pink and blue hair? What if her piercings and tattoos actually bothered them, even though everyone assured her not? Well, to be fair, Leigh did dye her hair to a relatively natural colour (even though everyone at the cafe had told her that her pink and blue bangs were cute) , and took out most her piercings (even though there had never been many in the first place) to look as sophisticated as possible for Julie and Moo's wedding. And she was wearing a coat and a scarf, so her very few tattoos were hidden too. But Leigh still was absolutely certain that they might hold something against her. Like her quitting, for example. What if they didn't like her for that? If worse, what if they hated her for that?
"Don't be silly, Leigh. They did invite you to the wedding, right?" she mumbled, not entirely believing herself.
She turned the corner, and then found herself looking up at the familiar sign: "The Four Colors Cafe". There were streamers on it, probably the work of Julie. Leigh took a deep breath, and headed in.
Inside, the reception was gorgeous, even though it wasn't even finished setting up. Everything was underwater-esque, which made it look like a mermaid dream. She saw across the room that Julie was attending somebody, probably a customer. Other than the two of them, it was empty. Impulsively, Leigh called out to Julie as the bride-to-be handed a man a mocha. "Julie!" Leigh called. 'Oh yes, Leigh. Interrupt everything, why don't you?'
Repressing the urge to bang his head against the wall - or just chuck his phone, his hybrid car, and and his computer into the nearest dumpsite - Drew coughed awkwardly. "No, actually, we were just trying to climb out of my fifth-story apartment building. We're idiots," he explained. That, at least, wasn't made up on the spot. He and Lizzie had tried that before, but it'd been a couple of years ago and they'd definitely been smart enough to protect their hands against rope burns.
Drew took the mocha from Julie with a nod of thanks. "I should be fine," he assured her. Taking a sip, he choked down the too-hot drink and covered his sputtering with a gesture at their surroundings. "So, uh, what's all this for?"
"Err..." Julie wasn't sure what to say to his explanation, but she was relieved that the drink wouldn't hurt his hands and that he didn't seem to be dying on the spot from the drink that she'd made (hadn't they hired servers for the food thing?) She followed his gesture and grinned. "Isn't it fantastic? We're setting the place up for a party.. well, a wedding actually -- mine!" She resisted lifting her hand up to show off her ring, which she'd always found typical and tacky when she saw others doing it, she excitedly babbled about the decor. "Moo, my fiance, goes out to sea a lot and I love the ocean, but I also love all this high-tech, sci-fi stuff, so we tried to find a compromise... admittedly, I may have gone a little over the top..."
As she was explaining and looking around at the holograms, Julie heard a voice she hadn't heard in a long, long time, and whirled to see the familiar face that it belonged to. "Leigh!" She called out in return, "Oh my god, I'm so happy you made it!! You're early too - even better! You know your old room is still empty if you want to crash there for the wedding... and even longer...?" The GM hinted, hoping the young girl would take her up on the offer.
"Oh!" She exclaimed, excitement growing as a lightbulb went on in her head, "This is Drew!" She almost yelled in her enthusiasm, then mentally reminded herself to tone it down. "He's new here, but I think he likes it because we didn't chase him off the other day -- oh, and he loves mochas!" Turning to Drew, she added, "Leigh used to make the best, and prettiest, mochas here!"
She couldn't help herself, it was valentine's day after all!
Natalie had been going back and forth all day long between the kitchen and her own room, helping Barb with some of the baking and then going upstairs to do some of her own work. Even though she still wasn't allowed to leave the cafe because the Agency feared that the truce with Molly's mother only applied to the cafe, she had stayed on top of reading the Agency's news feed, and she had spent hours going over facts that she'd been collecting about the cafe and its denizens, still trying to make sense of it all.
Finally, though, she was ready to take a break for the evening, so she came downstairs and saw Julie talking with one of the guys who'd come in last night, the one whose cell phone had kept ringing, and whose name she'd never caught. And there was also somebody she hadn't seen in months, since way before all the weird stuff had started happening here back in the fall.
"Leigh! Gosh, how've you been? Long time, no see! It's Natalie! I don't know if you remember me because I was usually either sleeping or at the office when you were down here working, but you were the one who got me addicted to mocha!" she said. "And Julie, this place looks awesome! And..." she turned to the other poor guy in the room who'd had to listen to her babbling. "I remember seeing you yesterday, and I don't think I ever got to catch your name. I'm Natalie."
"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all!★
((Off Of Covert-ops: Finally home from work! heart And...happy Valentine's Day, everybody! (Or if you prefer, Singles' Awareness Day! emotion_awesome ))
Lily was sitting on the next rooftop over... How long had it been since she was last here? In her hand, a simple card was being flipped around and around in her fingers.
❖Hmmm... seems like the other me has missed a lot... I almost feel bad for her, but I don't care as long as I'm free. Though being locked in the cell is not the most fun ever, but if the rumors are true... a miracle might happen that would be bad for us.❖ A brief wind swept her skirt up a bit and it fluttered around. She sighed a bit... Should she go in tonight? She shook her head and played a sweet soft, yet darkly melodic melody. She wished there was someone. Anyone. Rin had Len. Miku had... well, most every boy... Lily? Nada... not even Dark Lily had anyone... She sighed. It was the 14th. Valentine's day.
"All of a sudden I'm lost in a room painted black."
Locked in Irregular's cell.
Drew raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Wow, uh, sorry for crashing then. Congratulations!" He hadn't been to many weddings in his life - most of his cousins were younger and waiting to go to his wedding. Drew planned on making them all wait a ver long time. "Yeah - I mean no, this hi-tech stuff is great."
Except that Drew was not going to step foot near anything with an electrical cord. He wasn't even sure he wanted to touch a milk steamer, not that he'd have any reason to, but undoubtedly it'd spring to life and start complaining about its crappy job.
"Hey, Leigh, Natalie. It's nice to meet you guys," he stuck his hand out in the vague direction of either one of them. "Drew Boyd."
Though his sister had taken to calling him Droyd and saying he should run around in spandex. She had been reading way too many comic books lately.
"Pleased to meet ya, Drew!" Natalie said, shaking his hand. She noted that he was wearing leather gloves even though it was plenty warm in the building. Interesting...heh, like you're one to judge, Pierce! You wear a coat all the time...mostly to cover up that revolver... "How are ya today?"
"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all!★
"Oh thanks, Nat!" She replied to the reporter."You haven't seen Mina yet, have you? The wedding is getting so close, I really thought she was going to want to be a part of it, or at least attend."
The mysterious disappearance of the notorious flirt had not gone unnoticed by Julie, but at least until now she had been focused on the wedding as much as she could be. Now she was growing concerned, though. The two of them certainly hadn't hit it off when they'd first met, but Julie believed there was a good heart in that one... even if it was currently buried beneath a mountain of shameless behavior.
She was glad that Drew was sticking around, though. "Don't be silly - our wedding is an open invite. So much of our life is public already since we live and work here." Julie paused before continuing, "So did you feel like checking out any comics today, Drew?" She asked, her eyes widening to puppy-wide size. "I'm sure we could find something you would like!"
Drew held up the mocha with a half smile in response to Natalie's question. "Doing pretty good, now that I've got one of these," he joked before taking a sip. Thankfully, it'd already cooled down from scorching hot to just plain burning as it went down, but the warmth was welcome in the mid-February weather.
The young man winced again when Julie brought up comic books. At this point in his life - the point where he kept accidentally bringing things like his goddamn car to life - he was not keen on reading about anything a hair more than one-hundred percent natural. In fact, he was pretty sure he was just going to keep to newspapers. Those were safe, most of the time.
Julie asked Natalie if she'd seen Mina, and she expressed the hope that the girl would be back for the wedding. "No, I haven't seen her in a couple of days, and I hope she does come back. Now that you mention it, it is kinda weird that she was helping so much with the planning and then hasn't come back. But maybe she just works weird hours, like I do," Natalie replied. Really, she was concerned about a lot more than that. What if the people who had been attacking Mina had injured her far worse this time? Or what if she'd been captured or something? Natalie trusted Ronyo's faith in the girl's good heart--enchantments didn't lie, from what tiny bit of experience Natalie had had with such things--but she didn't trust the people that Mina might be working for. And she didn't trust her own enemies not to be using the girl somehow. All of this made her worry, though she only let a little bit of that concern show on her face, lest somebody question why she was worried so much about someone she'd only talked to a few times.
Drew held up the mocha he'd been drinking and said that he was fine now that he had one. Natalie grinned. "Oh good, I'm not the only mocha addict around here anymore!" she replied. "Actually, I think Molly loves 'em too. But yeah, it's kinda funny...usually as soon as I walk in the door after work, somebody gets me a mocha without me even having to ask! I guess my chocolate habit is just that notorious around here!"
She also couldn't help but notice Drew's expression when Julie suggested finding him some comic books. I wonder why he's so adverse to them...I mean, that look on his face goes way beyond simple distaste for a certain genre of reading material. It's almost like...almost like he's practically afraid of them. Did he have a bad relationship with somebody who read comic books or something? Happened to me with a college boyfriend, but luckily didn't turn me off of reading them for good. It's interesting, that's for sure...
"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all!★
Julie sighed dramatically, "Oh, alright...." then perked up when she asked, "How about a refill? Or you, Nat, speaking of Mochas.. would you like one?" She was a bit excited because Drew still hadn't keeled over after drinking the one that she'd made so maybe, just maybe, she wasn't such a disaster in the kitchen after all.
"I could even get a little creative, she offered as her excitement grew, "marshmellows are a thing of the past.. think of how delicious it could be if you added M&Ms, Smarties, or even Jelly Beans!" Really, she was trying to distract herself from the fact that Drew didn't seem to like comic books very much. She couldn't imagine what kind of person would hate comic books, where clothes that weren't really appropriate for where they were, and be telling silly stories (even if they were probably true.) There was nothing better for someone to do than to immerse themselves in a fantastic story, whether it was sci-fi, fantasy, or modern fiction, and escape from the normal world.. of course, there had been a LOT of non-normal people through here lately.
She paused, thinking all that through her head (and then re-thinking it) before deciding that it was so ridiculous that, around here, it would probably be true, "Are you a super hero?!" She demanded of the boy.