Temper Trap

Temper Trap

drake_icon.jpg emrys_icon.jpg mattias_icon.jpg max_icon.jpg patia_icon.jpg

Where: The In-Between
When: July 14, 2020
What: People stopping for coffee get more than caffeine.

Temper is a weapon that we hold by the blade. - by James M. Barrie


In other parts of the country or even state, 8 o'clock on a Sunday evening might mean an independent shop such as this one is closed, but this is Los Angeles, and the coolest kids come in only when the sun goes down. The small coffee joint always has one or two patrons taking up a table or two; today there's a student with a laptop in the corner and a business man reading the free throwaway paper while sipping his tea at another.

Behind the counter, proprietor Emrys is sweeping, presumably all the crumbs from the pastry cabinet, and talking on the phone. "…went home sick… why not?… just three hours… Come on, Big D…" Finally he sighs. "Fine. I understand." It's all said in a British accent, the last drawn out in a woe-is-me sort of way before Emrys hangs up the phone with a snap and another long sigh.

Mattias sits in the corner opposite the student, moving a bit uncomfortably in his overly hard chair. To his side is his small cup of coffee, which he occasionally sips from, never taking too much. He doesn't have any complaints about the brew itself, yet were it not for his ulterior motive there's no way he'd come here.

The newvie perks up whenever the door is opened, glancing over to the entrance a bit hopefully. He had heard that this was a popular destination for fairies, and given that he still needs to find a room-mate, he figures that spending the extra money to show up here could be worth it, if it nets him a nicer apartment.

The door opens and a woman staring a map of Los Angeles saunters through, strafing to the side to narrowly avoid the close. The map is lowered, just enough so that she can glare behind her, but finding no one there, she huffs a perturbed sigh and lifts the paper again. She strides to the counter, somewhat blind to the coffee and tea drinkers around her. Then the map is lowered again, so that she can stare blankly at Emrys.

"You sell espresso? Not the kind from Starbucks but real espresso?" she opens, no smile. She reaches up to adjust her glasses as she waits for an answer.

Emrys raises a brow. "It wouldn't be a good business strategy to buy from Starbucks and re-sell it as my own, would it?" he says with a smirk, then just looks upward, to where the menu board gives the drinks and prices.

"You want it straight, or in one of the mixtures? For here or to go?"

The student plugs in headphones to his computer, swapping his books for a quick game of some online massacre game or another, it seems. The businessman turns the page of his LA Weekly, sipping from his cappuccino and sniffling slightly.

The newvie's attention is grabbed at first by Patia, but he quickly sighs and dismisses her, another vampire. He hadn't had any luck all night, although to be fair, he hadn't been in long. Mattias took another sip of his drink, really wishing that he had brought something to entertain himself at this point.

He wears long dark blue jeans and a new matching t-shirt, the left side of his chest rendered bulkier by some leftover bandages after his encounter with a fast-moving bit of wood. His skin almost shines in contrast to his clothing, making him easy to pick out in the darkness.

"Straight, for here, with a zest of lemon." Her accent is easy to pick out, northeastern, probably New Jersey. "Make it two, I am expecting company." She turns her back on the barrista to scan the populace of the coffee shop and quickly picks out a clean table near the sniffling business man. When she turns back, she straightens her blouse and tucks the map under her arm.

"You wouldn't happen to know of any good places for apartments, would you? I would prefer somewhere upper class, definitely not in the ghetto."

"Coming up." Emrys begins to prepare the beverages, but chats at her while he does so. "The really posh places, you'll want a realtor for. Something in Bel Air or Malibu, maybe. Vista Del Mar is rather nice."

The door opens again with a jingle, and a petite brunette enters, the green glow of her aura marking her as Seelie, while Emrys' blue makes him one of the Unaffiliated. There's only the nod of general 'Hey, you're like me!' recognition between the barrista and the new customer, as Max takes Patia's former spot by the counter. Her eyes skim the menu above.

The man sniffles again. Music bleeds through the headphones of the college student, the sound tinny, and … almost recognizable, but not quite — Af if the melody were trying to make itself recognizable but failing.

Mattias perks up at the mention of apartments, although the names that came back were by far out of his range, unless the vampiress was for some reason feeling very generous, quickly settling back into his previous pose. He closes his eyes, resting until the jingle of the door caused him to snap back to attention. The newvie looks the seelie over quickly, deciding that she'll do. He holds back a bit for the moment though, figuring he might as well finish his coffee first.

"Realtor." Patia emits with just a little sigh, "I suppose.. It's a little difficult finding one that likes to work after hours." At least it was where she's from. Pulling a twenty from her wallet, she leaves it on the counter and busies herself with her coffees. A glance is given to the woman who slides in when she steps away from the counter, the angle of her head suggests that it is really only the aura she is noticing. One demitasse is lifted in each hand and the woman proceeds carefully to the table near the sniffling man.

Emrys waves toward a bulletin board near the bathrooms. "There's a business card on that board over there, a Taryn McIntire. She'll help you, I'm sure," he says, wiping his hands and turning to Max to take her order.

"Large iced coffee with caramel, please," is her brightly-voiced order.

The music continues to bleed from the college student's headphones, the typing he does on the keyboard equally annoying, despite the soft, inset keys.

Business Suit sniffles again, then rattles his paper, shooting a glance at the college student, and another at the two vampires. The air conditioning seems to hiss, and feels too cold, despite the warm night outside.

The newvie sighed as the music seemed to get louder to him, even more of the tinny highs assaulting his ears. He shot a glance at the student, wondering how he still any hearing if the music was hitting him from across the shop like this.

He readjusted himself yet again, closing his eyes and trying to block out the incessant noise, twitching when the businessman sniffled yet again.

As the businessman sniffles, Patia spills one of the cups across her table. The immediate reaction is that her lip purse together in a thin, downward curve, her eyes widen slightly, and her jaw clenches tightly. But, she takes a deep breath and stomps back toward the counter.

"A cloth," she orders irritably. "That buffoon attempted to sneeze in my espresso and I spilled it trying to get away from his viruses."

An exaggeration… but…

Max rolls her eyes at Patia's demands, grabbing a cloth from Emrys' side of the counter before he can object and throwing it at the other woman's table.

She turns back, just in time for her own coffee to be finished, and accepts it with a bright, toothy grin for Emrys before moving to a seat somewhere in the middle of the cafe, glancing outside as if she'd rather be there.

"Pretty sure my viruses don't affect your kind, and I didn't sneeze," says the businessman, who glares up at the vent. "It's my allergies. I think there's mold in the air conditioning."

The music from the college student takes a turn for the worse, the beat faster and the bass deeper — which doesn't translate well to the laptop and headphone system; the sound that bleeds out is all the more irritating for its familiarity — a familiarity that can't be placed.

Mattias now outright glares at the college student, giving him about 10 seconds before he plans on actually bringing it up. He was soon distracted by the sniffling incident though, the irritation from the droning music now being supplemented by Patia's over the top reaction to something totally inconsequential.

Patia watches the cloth sail by and land on the edge of her table, soaking just a little of the espresso up before landing with a plop on the floor in a wet splatter. She closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose with two fingers and breathes quite deeply, a force of habit. When she look up again, she gives the petite fae a tight lipped smile and spins on her heel to march toward her table.

She passes by the businessman, then stops. Turning slowly at his comment and staring deeply into his eyes. "Just. Stop. I don't care about your ailments and even less about your flaws."

Drake slips his phone into his pocket as he opens the door to the shop as he walks inside. His demeanor that of a serious man focused on a task. Scanning the shop, he finds whatever it is he was looking for. He begins walking in Patia's direction.

"Sorry I'm late" he says as he steps up beside her. "Did you order for me?"

Noticing Mattias' glance toward him, the student turns his seat to avoid the vampire's gaze, huddling down to stare at his screen. His typing grows faster and furiouser, the sound of the clicking soft, but somehow seeming to reverberate through the entire cafe.

Max's brows furrow as she continues to stare outside, gazing past Drake when he enters as if he were see through. She sighs and pulls out her own cell phone, even as Drake puts his away. A few swift screen swipes and she huffs out an irritated sigh, finally chancing a glance at Patia, then the businessman, then back. "Oh, come on," she says in an exasperated voice, turning to look at Emrys, expecting him to throw the vampire out for using her tricks in his shop.

But, he's carrying over another espresso. "Not sure you need the caffeine, really, but here's a new one. No charge."

The increased speed of the typing didn't help Mattias' mood in the least, he drank the last of his coffee and got to his feet, walking over to the student. "Sorry, do you mind turning your music down? I can hear it from the other side of the shop." He requests, trying to be civil about it although his stress was apparent in his voice. He wasn't paying much attention to the others at the moment. "Maybe try to type a bit more quietly too? I'm sure you've got an assignment or something but that's carrying as well." He suggests, wincing when the bass hit again. He stands up straighter, looking a bit larger in the hope that it'll help.

Drake is answered with the lift of a finger, 'just a moment,' as Patia stares down the businessman. Her lips part in a satisfied and toothy grin, somewhat proud of her accomplishment. He didn't sniffle! Slowly, she takes a seat across from the man and folds her arms over her chest.

"I don't think I'll be needing it, thank you," she utters to Emrys as he offers the new espresso, not daring to shift her gaze in the slightest. "Perhaps my brother will take it."

Drake watches Patia's exchange with the businessman and opens his mouth to speak again - trying to ascertain what is going on, "Patia…" He finds himself interrupted by Emrys approaching. He watches the man offer a free expresso to the woman with a look of discontent on his face and in turn completely forgets about the businessman.

Drake snatches the expresso from Emrys, setting it on the table in front of him. "Excuse me, are you attempting something with Patia here, you stupid fairy?" As Patia sits, he gently rest his hand on her shoulder - almost as a not-so-subtle hint.

The student points to the headphones and shakes his head, mouthing as if Mattias were the one incapable of hearing. Sorry, too loud, can't hear a thing. And turns his back on the vampire entirely.

Emrys' brows rise at the vampire in front of him. "Testy, testy. Someone must've pissed in your cup of A Positive at sunset, mate," he says, lifting his hands in a 'who me?' innocent sort of gesture. "I own the place. She knocked over the coffee, so I was giving her a refill. And I'd really be careful who you call a stupid fairy."

Max's green eyes are wide as she watches the goings on, but when Patia continues to stare down the business man, she gets up, moving behind the business man to try to distract the gaze. "Leave him alone. He's just a snuffly helpless working stiff, lady," she says. Super helpfully.

The vampire huffs, spinning on his heel after hearing the exchange between Emrys and Drake. He figures that it would resolve itself, turning again and lifting one of the earphones off of the students' ear. "Turn. The music. Down." He says more forcefully and loudly, making sure that he's heard, then letting go, the plastic snapping over the ear, which is apparently its permenant home judging by the apparent hearing loss.

Patia's gaze flits from the businessman to Max, now boring into her eyes. Intruder, her expression seems to say. "Drake, calm down," she says slowly, still staring at Max. "He was bringing you a new espresso, since this man here sneezed in your old one." Or something of the sort.

She gets up, turning away from Max after a few solid moments, and picks up the espresso. "Our table is over there and say thank you to the nice gentleman for the new coffee," she instructs in a gentle manner, placing her free hand on Drake's forearm.

Max bites her lip when she gets caught in that gaze, and when Patia finally turns away, the Seelie heaves an exasperated sigh. "You," she says with a glare toward Emrys, "shouldn't let people do that in your shop." Her gaze returns to the door, irritated at whatever she notices outside.

The cafe owner smirks. "I'll take it under advisement," he tells Max, then gives a nod to Drake, not waiting for the vampire to do Patia's bidding, but returning back to the counter.

The kid by Mattias makes a show of turning down the volume — he actually does it, by quite a few notches, really.

And then he pulls the earphones out of their port, letting the music spill from the laptop speakers.

At least it satisfies one itch — the itch to know what the song was. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is at least recognizable now.

Business Suit snuffles once, but suddenly it doesn't seem quite as annoying. "Did she… did you hypnotize me?" he says, but his voice has a tone of awe rather than anger. "Gosh. I've never been hypnotized before…"

Drake glares at Emrys - his face squishing into an expression that one might interpret as 'whatever.' He snaps out of it at Patia's command - almost instinctively. His eyes move across the room to the other vampire. He smirks at the exchange over music as he walks with Patia. Upon reaching their table, he pulls out the woman's chair and stands beside it - waiting on her to settle into it. He begins tapping his foot as he waits - as if he's been waiting for a very long time.

The newvie lets out a sigh of relief, at least the song was actually a song now. "Thanks." He says, quickly returning to his previous. Looking over to Max again, he was a bit more interested now that it was apparent that she had some sort of emotional power, giving him an idea. Still, he wasn't exactly used to figuring out how to randomly gather roommates, so he stayed in place, trying to figure out how exactly that works.

Patia gives Max an immature stick of the tongue, as the fae lambaste's the other. Allowing Drake to guide her to the table, she follow's Max's gaze out the door but turns her head back to her companion with a liberal roll of the eyes. "What a rude little woman," she says quietly to him, taking her place in the chair. She's not in a rush, simply because she can see that he is.

She pulls her chair in, tucking herself up to the table. The rag on the floor is kicked out toward the businessman's table, to lay on the floor as a proverbial banana peel. To him, "Yes, I did. On the plus side, you didn't sniffle once. So I think your allergies are all in your mind."

Drake nods his head, agreeing with Patia's assessment of the other woman - yet he still squints in frustration as Patia finally takes her seat. He steps away once she is settled taking a seat across from her. His hands settle on the table in front of him as he looks over at the businessman. Amazed at the man's naivety, he shakes his head, "You enjoy someone hypnotizing you?" His head tilts in amazement, waiting for a response.

The college student snorts, shaking his head when Mattias walks away, and then, presses the button that mutes the volume. He looks up around the rest of the shop, looking a bit chagrined, and begins packing up his belongings.

"It didn't hurt. It was just… quiet," says the businessman with a shrug toward Drake. "My apologies for making you spill, miss," he adds to Patia, with a dip of his head.

Max isn't as forgiving, lifting her eyes to the ceiling and shaking her head when she hears Patia's aside to Drake. "Hey, Kettle. This is Pot calling. You're black," she says over her shoulder as she strides for the door, opening it — the wind that ruffles her hair and makes its way into the cafe is refreshing and cool, no longer the hot, humid air of the earlier evening.

Mattias gets up once everything calms down, taking his cup and moving over to the counter, setting it on there so that Emrys didn't have to go out to pick it up. "Thanks." He said quietly before heading off.

"Not only rude, she's blind too," Patia says with an amused smirk, her eyes narrowing at Max's back. "Anyone with an iota of sight can see that I'm a paler shade of dead." No pun intended. Her attention now is entirely focused on the man seated across from her. Stretching out one hand, she laces her fingers with his. Her coffee, now cold, is pushed to the side and she props her head up by cupping her cheek with her hand, staring at Drake.

"The barrista suggested we look for a realtor," her speech has turned from clipped and snooty to something more gentle when speaking to her companion. "Do you think you could do that tomorrow evening?" After all, he does have the cell phone…

The clock ticks closer to nine, which is closing time on a Sunday; Emrys pulls out his broom and begins to sweep. The customers can stay until they're ready to go, and he'll just work around them, humming a bit of the Nirvana song as he goes.

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