7 Dollar Coffee


eleven_icon.jpg byron_icon.jpg

Summary: When Byron met Eleven

Date: February 9, 2009

7 Dollar Coffee

Rating: PG-13


If you've been into one Starbucks in Seattle, you've been in them all. Literally. Through some weird quirk of fate and potential dimensional oddities, every Starbucks entryway is connected to one core Starbucks. This Starbucks happens to be the biggest Starbucks ever seen.

The area itself is quite large, with an extra-long service counter. Behind the counter is an exceptionally large work area. The walls are decorated with unique designs, and there are lots of little tables with chairs… hi-tops and low. In the corner, there's even an area with a large number of couches.

It's with a hint of trepidation -or perhaps just suspicion - that Byron steps through the door and into the Starbucks, glancing back over his shoulder and over the drape of the black-and-white scarf to glare at the mysterious entryway as it swings closed. "One of these days I'm going to walk out that door and end up on Mars," he mutters under his breath, heading through the usual evening crowds en route to the service counter. Where he gets in line, arms folding over his chest and lips pursing in a scowl directed towards the back of whoever he's in front of.

At a booth in the back, just in front of the little gift shop area, sits a dark haired, heavily tattooed woman. Eleven sits with several cups of coffee around her, and a huge, fat sketchbook open on the table. An earbud is stuck into one ear from an mp3 player, and she's scrawling in said sketchbook over a Starbucks napkin. A blackberry rests on the table next to her, and it lights up every now and then, buzzing. She ignores it.

A few minutes pass. This is because it takes that long just to get up to the counter and order a coffee, which is something that Byron does with more than a hint of annoyance, given that he has to order it in Starbucks Lingo, which is approximately as far from English as Jackson Pollock is from real art. Subject to opinion, of course. At last in possession of a tall cup of hot java, he walks along to find a table to sit at that isn't already occupied. As it so happens, it's the table right in front of Eleven's booth, the chairs those cheap all-metal affairs with mesh backs. He drops a hand onto the back, moves to sit…

…and it promptly collapses as the metal legs twist instantly under his weight. The coffee splashes all over his coat and scarf, eliciting a stream of profanity as he waves a hand up through the air to express his outrage. "…fucking piece of shit god-damn chair and… uh… fuck, I can't get up." The hand pauses, waving in the air, "Help."

Come on, some of Pollock's later shit isn't too bad, but most of it was done while he was drunk off his ass. The lingo is optional, depending on how willing you are to growl at the barista while you order. It just so happens that Eleven looks up briefly as someone approaches, and so her eyes on right on Byron when his chair drops like a styrofoam cup under the foot of an angry toddler. "… Shit, man. You did not just fall on your ass." She flips her pen down and slides out off the booth laughing on that throaty voice, and steps over offer the guy a hand. "You don't look like a fatass." Laughter again. At least it's a quiet chuckle rather than a belly laugh. "Hey, replacement coffee right here before he sues! Now. And some of those biscotti cookie things. Let's GO!" She bellows a bit at the staff and pulls the coffee stained male to his feet. In theory.

"These chairs are the biggest pieces of shit I have ever seen in my life, and I've seen a lot of shit in my time, lemme tell you - " The bitching continues all the way through being helped up, Byron's hand clasping the woman's wrist firmly as he hauls himself up, regarding the bent chair with a glare and a scowl once he's released that grip, " - lowest bidder, probably. Third one I've seen break this month. I should fuckin' sue." The scarf's unwound from his neck, tossed onto the table, and he shrugs off his coat, which fortunately took the brunt of the coffee. A tilt of his head, a sidelong look over with a faint, wry half-smile touching his lips, "Mm. Thanks for the hand, babe."

"Yeah." She says this both as an acknowledgment of the thanks, and of his chair breaking confession. "Just watch your ass next time, that shit it hot. Skin grafts would not look good on you." She nods to the booth where she's seated. "I always sit in booths. Less chance of imminent collapse." Eleven wipes a little coffee on her jeans from where she took his hand. "You don't pay Starbucks for its coffee. You pay to soak up the vortex of evil. Best place to grab a quiet caffeine jolt, plus those biscotti things are pretty rockin'." She slides into her booth again, and pulls some pieces off of a roll of black tape to affix her napkin doodle into the sketchbook's already overburdened pages. "You gotta be willing to deal with shit craftsmanship."

"They should print warning labels on those things," quips the other man, snagging a handful of napkins off a table and wiping the few wet patches where some of it slipped past his coat to stain his shirt—crumpling it up as the service counter goes into 'REPLACE THE COFFEE TO STOP THE LAWSUIT' mode like good little worker drones, and tossing it over into a garbage can. That done, he twists a bit to look back after her, his head mirroring her nod towards the booth before he asks, "Mind if I take up some space, then, while I wait for the coffee? I'll be shit useless all night if any blood gets into my caffeine stream."

"I appreciate your dire need. Have a seat." Eleven nods to the bench across from her. "You got a name, babe?" She tips her pen into the binding of the sketchbook, and reaches over a ring covered, tattooed, bracelet dangling hand. "Eleven. It's both a name and a number. I am aware. You make a binary joke and we can't be friends." She glances over toward the counter. "I think the blonde one peed himself a little."

"I'm cool with that, so long as it isn't in my cup," Byron opins as he slides into the bench - hesitating for a moment as if expecting it to collapse, he relaxes thereafter, one arm resting itself against the table's edge and his other reaching out to clasp the ornately-adorned hand in a brief clasp. "Eleven, eh? Byron. Good to meet a fellow worshipper at the feet of the God of Java - even in as profane a temple as this one."

"I just go where the heater works. My fuckin' apartment is out again. I've got an appointment with my super's face." She probably means an appointment with her super. But then again maybe not. Eleven gives his hand a squeeze-shake. "I'm resisting poetry jokes right this second. See how humanitarian I am?" She points out the array of grande coffees in front of her. "I always order four flavors, feel free to try one." She picks up a cup that rattles with ice. She flips a business card over with her name, number, and shop address. Tattoos & Piercings.

"You resist the poetry jokes, I'll resist the binary jokes, and nobody needs to get hurt," drawls Byron as he reclaims his hand after that brief clasp, sweeping it over to lift one of the coffees offered without skipping a beat. Not even a moment's polite 'oh, I really shouldn't' before taking her up on the offer, bringing it up to his lips and taking a sip thereof. The other hand reaches for the business card, lifting it up and turning it 'round to read it as he lets the heat of whatever flavor he's got melt through his veins and restore the natural order of things.

"Didn't even flinch. Good on you, babe." Eleven finishes the iced coffee and moves on the to the next up the line. It might be the hazelnut, because one of the cups smells like it. Who knows. She doesn't seem to care. "You from around here?" Small talk, it rolls right off of her tongue with very little effort. She flips her sketchbook closed, and glances only briefly at her blackberry as it lights up and buzzes again. She reaches for it, and starts cycling through text messages.

"Tattoo, eh? Never would've known it to look at you." It is, of course, sarcasm, though light sarcasm and without an edge. The card's tucked into a pocket, and Byron lowers the coffee a bit to regard it, tasting his lips curiously. "Walnut?" The question's left rhetorical unless she chooses to answer, his chin lifting up in an easy nod for him to admit, "Yeah, born and bred. Yourself?"

Sarcasm? Say it isn't so! "California." Ele checks the contents of the cup with a brief swirl. She sets it down and ticks a brow. "I don't remember, I usually let them surprise me. Then, if it's really nasty, I just get my jollies returning it forcefully. The new meat always loves that." She kicks her legs crossed and flicks out of the texting menu on her phone. "Do you know where to get dynamite?"

"Ah," says Byron, as if that explained everything, "California." Another sip of coffee is taken, his gaze flickering over to wonder where his /own// coffee is. And he was promised little biscotti things! Ah, they're just coming around the counter with a tray now, so he sets down Eleven's borrowed coffee just about when the last question sinks in. A blink over, a brow raised, "Dynamite?"

"My cousin wants to know." Ele says, as if this explains everything. She reaches over to steal a biscotti. "I can't know everything, and why he wants it, I don't know. It's usually better not to ask too many questions in these situations. Just close your eyes and go with it." She sits at a booth in the back, the last on ebefore the gift shop section. Byron sits across from her apparently chatting. Their body language is not familiar, and the chair at the table in front of the booth is pretty wrecked. Fresh acquaintances, then. "Mi vida loca," she mutters, crunching the cookie.

The chair is, in fact, entirely wrecked. The legs were metal, and have folded as surely as if someone'd put the entire chair in a press, or the World's Heaviest Man sat on it. Some flaw in the manufacturing process, possibly. Perhaps related is one of the Starbucks drones hustling over to the booth to set down a grande coffee and a small plate of biscotti, babbling apologies until summarily waved off by Byron. "Shoo," he sums up his feelings on the matter, claiming the tower of java firmly in his clasp. After he's taken a healthy swallow thereof, he closes his eyes to savor it, murmuring, "Cousins. Always best not to ask too much about what they're up to, or they start asking for money."

"This little fucker is sure to ask any day now," the brunette replies, giving her head a little toss to flick her long fringe more or less out of her eyes. It manages to fall artfully to just barely cover one, but not both of her dark eyes. She reaches up to adjust a pair of sparkly glam shades, which are just a little larger than necessary. She leaves those atop her head. "That's a no then." She briefly texts back with her thumb, hits a button on the blackberry, then puts it down. She brushes her hair back, exposing briefly a smattering of stars tattooed over her left temple and cheek. She digs, with one hand, into her satchel. "Why is it you're willing to pay $7 for a cup of shitty coffee?"

"My life isn't complete without something else to bitch about," shrugs Byron, one finger peeling off the styrofoam to point her way, a single brow arching, "Also, it's convenient. There's a door to this place right outside where I work." The finger returns to the cup, more black coffee spills over his tongue, down his throat, and into his stomach, and then he sets it down to reach over and gather up a biscotti. He tips his head a bit her way, "So what about you?"

"What about me?" Eleven waves her biscotti at the question. "The coffee? I'm too damn lazy to brew my own. This is convenient…" She pauses. "Most of the time." She reaches up with a ring covered hand to run her fingers over the back of her neck. "And a heater. I like the big glass windows." Sip.

"Mmhm." Byron turns over one of the crisp biscotti… cookie… things, whatever they are, in his fingers, regarding it as if attempting to discern its make before glancing back over to her. A twitch of his lips, "Got it. So, tattoos, eh? Always thought about getting one, myself."

Magic. Words. "You'll come into the shop and get one." Eleven sits back in the booth, as if sizing up Byron. She hooks an elbow over the back of her seat. "There's nothing an artist loves more than a virgin canvas." She clicks her phone to silent mode from vibrate, and shoves it into the pocket of her satchel. "What is it you do?"

At the declaration, Byron's brows raise - first one, then the other, a hint of amusement warring with offense at her presumption there. The amusement wins out, fortunately, though he still asks with a slight smirk, "What makes you think I'm going to get one?" His chin tips up a bit to the latter question, answering, "Security, over at the SAM."

"Nobody who was ever tempted by a tattoo meets me and gets away without bleeding," Eleven explains, as if this is the logical path. Obviously, Byron should know this. "I'm very good at what I do. If you want a tattoo, you'll get it from me, babe." Her brows arch a little. "You work at SAM an you don't have a tatt? Shameful."

"I buck trends," Byron dead-pans, regarding her with narrowed eyes for a moment before snorting, "I'll consider it. I'll stop by and see if you can sell me. I warn you. I'm pretty damn picky about what I see up on canvas or on metal and clay, so I'm not gonna be an easy sell on something going on my skin."

Eleven slides the fingers of her propped hand through her hair. She flashes a wide, bright smile, apparently undaunted by the suggested task. "Who isn't?" She reaches up with her other hand, and adjusts the fall of one of her necklaces, a St. Jude medallion nestles dully between her breasts.

Byron's shoulders fall to rest against the back of the booth's bench, the tip of one finger etching its path back and forth along the edge of his coffee's plastic lid. The accepted challenge is met with a grin, noting, "Too many people, given the flat-identical clip-art tattoos I see so often. But, I'll give you a chance to woo me to the dark side, babe." The fiddling draws his gaze down - hey, it's a nice view - and he asks, as blunt as ever and curious, "What's that?" Yes, yes, he's looking at her tits. But also the medallion!

Eleven's hand goes once again to the medallion she wears, her fingers touching it briefly where it rests between her breasts. She doesn't look down. "St. Jude. The patron saint of lost causes. My grandmother has a sense of humor." She turns the little medallion so it catches the light, and then she drops it against her skin again. A brief breeze blows through the place, scatters some napkins from the counter, though the door isn't open. It's unlikely anyone will notice that last bit.

"There's someone this city needs," Byron murmurs, gaze dropping briefly to the lid of his coffee cup, "Hell, the country, the world." He brings the cup in his hand up, flashing a cynical smile, "To lost causes and new friends, eh?"

"Two of my favorite things," Eleven grins in response to those words, and raises her cup to him in return. "Even if they both happen in Starbucks." Her tone suggests she trusts little that actually occurs within these walls.

A tap of styrofoam to styrofoam, and Byron answers the latter with a laugh. "Maybe you should start running now, then," he suggests wryly, taking another sup of his drink and offering her a wink, "Before the Curse of Starbucks catches up to you."

"If curses were real, I'd be screwed already," Eleven doesn't seem impressed by the word. She glances around the establishment, and all the people milling through the line one after another. She glances down at her watch, then shakes her head, "Gotta go. I have a six hour session in twenty minutes, and I never know how long it's going to take to get from here to the shop." She shakes her head, grabs her stuff, and sides out of the booth, tugging a leather jacket on, and slinging her satchel over it. She snags another biscotti as she leans over the table. "Watch your back, Byron."

"You too, babe," Byron's free hand lifts in a casual brush to his brow and away, a smile tugging up at one corner of his lips as he watches her rise and gather herself - nodding up to her with a lean of one arm to the table's edge, "I'll stop by your shop sometime, then. Or just call you up on some flimsy excuse that'll actually be me trying to awkwardly ask you out. One're the other, anyway. Have fun with your blood and ink."

"I always do, Byron," Eleven assures him, sliding her shades on as she heads for the door. "See you then!" She lifts a hand, waves, and pushes open the door.

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