Why Don't We Have a Starbucks?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Astaroth, Nov 22, 2014.

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  1. "Excuse me, but this is not what I ordered."

    Nash lifted his head and craned his neck to meet the woman's eyes.

    "You ordered the Magimocha Delite," he reminded her with a bright smile, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at the chalkboard menu. "With extra foam. This is the Magimocha Delite."

    "I ordered a mocha with skim milk," she replied slowly. She was staring at him the way Nash saw people stare at slow children because they thought eye contact would fix a lifetime of learning disabilities. "This doesn't look like a mocha. It's pink."

    "Yeah. A Magimocha Delite," repeated Nash. He wiped his hands on his apron before he started counting out the beans for a Demonspresso. "We use fairy milk instead of skim. It's the same amount of fat and easier to get."

    "Fairy milk?! Ew!"

    Nash ducked, tipping the beans into the hand grinder. A coffee cup hit the wall behind him with a thud and a gush. Pink foam streaked down across the wall and dribbled onto the plastic cutlery.

    "No refunds!" he added, and was rewarded with an outraged huff and the clack of high heels stomping away. He understood that, at least. It was a really shitty policy. But the Agency already gave an employee markdown to the majority of his customer base... so if Nash wanted to make any money on a barista salary, refunds had to be off the menu.

    Sometimes, it really sucked being the guy who sold coffee to a top-secret organization. Talk about a thankless job. Nash was important, dammit. Without their coffee, would these people save the world? No. No, they would not.

    The coast was probably clear. Nash scrambled back to his feet.
  2. Pepper sidestepped out of the way as the furious women went stomping past her. She couldn't even say she was surprised. These sort of things tended to happen at the offices. This was exactly why they installed the brand new coffee shop, complete with professional employees. If Pepper had to be in charge of any more cursed break room coffee pots, she would have quit her job.

    "Um..!" she stated, and then quickly regretted being in such a rush to catch his attention. Now her mind was drawing a blank and she quickly forgot what she had practiced in her head to order. Outside of not wanting anything with fairy milk, because that sounded like a very bad idea. Her right hand went straight to plucking at the already frayed bits of yarn hanging off the sleeve of her sweater.

    "The um... coffee. Just a coffee? Largest please!" That sounded safe to order. Today and tonight was going to be a very long day of paperwork for her, and the biggest coffee Pepper could get would be a life saver.
  3. "...You sure?" the barista asked her. He was... short. Maybe 5'2". He looked human, with fluffed up golden hair and no visibly weird features... but that didn't mean too much when it came to the Agency. He could be anything. He was also wearing sunglasses indoors, so maybe Pepper had reason to be a little suspicious.

    "I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll happily sell you one," Nash (as was the name painted in block letters on the front of his apron) continued, "but we go up to Dragon size. If you're just in it for the caffeine, I can get you something better."
  4. "Yes, it's fine." What? No. Agreeing was just an auto response, now she was second-guessing that choice. What exactly WAS dragon sized? Cups big enough for a dragon? Having not met one, she wasn't sure how large a dragon could even be. Pepper still hadn't even wrapped her head around fairy milk and how that was supposed to be easier to get than skim milk. There was no way she could carry a cup that big back to her office, she'd need one of those rolling carts and-

    The entire inner struggle flitted across her face until she finally shook her head. "No, no. wait. Uhm...! Not dragon sized. Caffeine, yes. Something really strong. ...but not strange. Just normal coffee." This was embarrassing. Not that there was anything to be embarrassed about, it was just she couldn't even order a cup of coffee like a normal person. With his sunglasses on, he could easily be giving her the oh god what a witless idiot eyes and she'd never know. Or staring at her boobs. He was almost short enough to get a straight sight line at them, especially with her in heels. She looked down at her v-cut shirt. The one that was two-sizes two small because she didn't have the guts to take it back to the store when she realized she purchased the wrong size. Her sweater was supposed to be hiding it, but she was still stuck with too much cleavage when she tugged the shirt down, or too much stomach if she pulled it up.

    Pepper just wrapped her sweater tighter around her. She was over thinking it again. No one was thinking weird things about the researcher ordering coffee.

    ...she did remember to order the coffee right?

  5. "You got it." Nash gave a sharp salute and grabbed a bag of the good stuff off the rack. "Just black coffee? No milk, sugar, cream? None of that stuff?"

    Meanwhile, he dumped the beans he'd been grinding earlier into the espresso machine and tamped them down. The device trembled and shuddered, rattling against the counter top.

    There was something he was forgetting...

    "Oh, right!" He snapped his fingers and glanced over his shoulder at her, pulling a Sharpie from behind his ear. (She hadn't seen it before; it must have been hidden by his hair.) He also swiped a regular-human-sized-but-still-pretty-large cup from a nearby stack. "What's the name? I don't think you've been by here yet."
  6. "Pepper."

    ...wait, not that!

    "I mean, my name is Pepper. I really don't want pepper in my coffee!" That had to be quickly rectified. Pepper had found herself in a strange situation more than once thanks to miscommunications about food items and her name.

    She rocked on her heels and tried to casually glance around. Casually and not nervously or suspiciously. Pepper had also learned that in a place like this, people get really weirded out if you look like you're nervous or up to no good. She was never up to no good, but she also didn't want to end up mistaken for a demon spy and dragged off to an interrogation room. Or worse, sprayed with that weird goo stuff that made your limbs all numb and security really loved having an excuse to use.

    Realizing she shouldn't stand there staring at him, she wandered over to the nearest table and plopped herself down in a stool. No one else had arrived to claim coffee yet, and Pepper wondered if the rumors of fairy milk were starting to spread.

    "...exactly how do they milk faeries..?" she mumbled to herself as she tugged a big folder out of her purse and arranged it on her table.
  7. "Very carefully!"

    Apparently, Nash had good hearing. He was still bustling around behind the counter, busily whipping up... normal coffee, presumably. Hopefully. There hadn't been any weird flashes of light or anything.

    "Pepper's a nice name," he called, lifting a large and oddly-shaped glass coffeepot out from a cabinet. It looked hefty, but he didn't seem to have any trouble with it. "You been working here long, Pepper?"

    The espresso machine emitted a loud hiss. Dark, evil-looking purple smoke began curling out of the steam wand. After a moment, Pepper could clearly smell something a lot like incense.
  8. Questions? She wasn't prepared for questions! Pepper stared blankly for a few seconds, her hands absently opening up her folder and flipping through the pages even though she wasn't even looking down to read them.

    "Two years..." she started, as if unsure if that was even the correct answer. "In the research department. I just put in my application to be a field agent, though." There was no reason to sound offensive about it, but the tone slipped out anyway. There was a brutal sort of hierarchy in the agency and researchers were down near bottom right along with accountants. Despite the fact that without research there would be a lot more unprepared field agents. Being a researcher was surely a better job, but she really wanted the glamor of being out handling cases personally.

    There was an awful lot of non-coffee-looking things going on behind that counter. Her brow furrowed with concern. "Do you actually belong there behind the counter...?" Pepper glanced around to see if maybe the real coffee barista might be tied up in a corner and this was someone out to poison all the staff. It wouldn't have been the first time something strange had happened.
  9. "Hey, don't worry. That's my drink, not yours. This one's yours!" He shouldered the over-sized coffeepot onto the stove and let it begin to percolate. "And yup, I'm cleared for this. Go ahead and call the Hounds if you don't believe me."

    The Hounds were the Agency's private military security force, so-called because they were almost entirely werewolves and because one of their primary duties was sniffing out internal issues. They were about as popular as you'd expect, and twice as effective. No one volunteered to deal with them. This guy was either very brave or very stupid.

    The espresso machine's shaking was growing more and more violent. Strange snapping and spitting noises were pouring out along with the smoke, but Nash didn't seem to be alarmed in the slightest.

    "So that must be why I don't know you yet. Research is up on the fourth level, so most of them just grab Starbucks on their way in. What made you want to switch?"
  10. Relief flickered across her face about her coffee, if only briefly, and then she was right back to eyeballing the smoking contraption. It looked ready to explode and she didn't want to end up covered in any weird substances. That fear was becoming a bit of a phobia because of this place.

    "Field work is more personal. You get to see the people you help. And it's more exciting and I have a lot to offer a team." After having her application denied twice, Pepper was pretty sure no one really took her seriously. They had fair concerns, seeing as she had never encountered anything beyond large stacks of ancient tomes and a few disgruntled employees. But she read enough of those books to know how missions were supposed to play out. Pepper was a wealth of knowledge.

    Telling her to go ahead and call the Hounds was clearly meant to make her think he wasn't up to trouble, which meant he probably was trouble and thought the statement would make him less suspicious. Pepper tried to subtly pull out her phone and set it beside her on the table. "I don't drink coffee very often. Really just when I have a lot of extra work to do. Having this place is convenient if... um... worrysome."
  11. Just when it looked like the machine was about to go flying off the counter, Nash gave it a sharp karate chop. It shrieked, then spewed dark liquid into the waiting cup.

    With a triumphant grin, he went to go fetch Pepper's coffee from the pot and add a scoop of fine black powder. He swirled it around, stuck a lid on the cup, and hopped over the counter to bring it out to her. Now that he was out from behind the counter, Pepper could see that he was wearing a pair of strappy leather sandals rather than office-appropriate footwear. None of his wardrobe was very professional, really; his shirt buttoned, but it was short-sleeved and wasn't tucked into his jeans. ...And then there were those sunglasses.

    "Here you go," he said cheerfully, handing her drink over. "If this can't keep you awake, nothing will. Hey, just so you know, I bring the cart around for lunch too. Want to place an order in advance?"
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