Sweet Things


liza_icon.gif sahara_icon.gif

Scene Title Sweet Things
Synopsis Sahara and Liza discover new neighbors in each other when a bakery opens in Phoenix Heights.
Date June 20, 2019

Phoenix Heights

One thing New York does well is play home to diamonds in the rough. Whether that be in street performances or culinary experiences, there's always something worthwhile just around the corner. In Phoenix Heights, sometimes it means an eatery rises from the ashes, remodeled and reborn under a new name.

Cherish Confectionery and Bakery had a rough time trying to get supplies in for its opening, and it would continue to face challenges given the times they lived in, but it was important for its owner for the place to exist, and therefore it finally came to be. There was nothing like fresh-baked goods made from scratch to nourish the soul.

It's a philosophy Sahara Jackson shares, and why she stands with the crowd that mills the bakery, perusing the little delicacies behind a wall of glass. She breathes in the scent and lets out a luxurious sigh, simply happy to be here after a long day at work. "I can't believe I'm lucky enough to have this place in my backyard now," she remarks out loud. Little miracles and all!

“Oh I know, right? I’m so excited.”

The voice comes from a petite blonde known as Liza Messer. There are times she does have to tip up on the ends of her toes to see through the crowd to the window, but she does it with a determined and eager attitude. Nothing’s going to stop her from catering to her sweet tooth. (Just try it.)

“I’m curious as to where these sweets will fall on a scale of ‘meh’ to ‘ultimate perfection’.”

The slightly less petite blonde that is Sahara turns, brow arching up in pleasant surprise to find someone else as enthused as she is. And so openly! There were plenty of other people here in line, but not all of them had the same verve for the experience. "Right?" she asks brightly, if rhetorically, a warm smile instantly on her face. She's dressed still for her workday, dark heather slacks and a sheer salmon blouse worn over an opaque white undershirt.

She turns toward Liza with a look of thought, wondering if she's seen her before, clearly. But instead of asking, Sahara rolls with a curious, "What're you looking forward to trying?"

“First I want whatever they consider their specialty. A specialty says a lot about a bakery and their crew as well as what they think is good. So I want a flavor of what defines them… after that, probably some kind of cupcake. Those tend to be my favorite, so it’s really hard to make me not like them.”

Liza, dressed casually in jeans, a beige ruffled blouse, and a lightweight green knitted duster, looks up towards the other blonde. “What about you, any favorites?”

Sahara smiles warmly. "Me? Oh, I love me just about any good stuffed pastry." She turns to look back at the display of the offerings. "They're always such a pleasant surprise, I can't help it. But cupcakes … cupcakes are classic."

She sounds like maybe now she's considering one, her eyes glazing over at the sight of all the sugary sweets. "Oh," she sighs ruefully. "I'd buy one of everything if money weren't an object. Of course, it always is." There's an air of oh, well to that — a casual acceptance. It just wouldn't be her lot in life to buy everything!

But she could do something small. There's a pleasant, everyday happiness to her as she looks back to Liza. "But as thanks for an excellent recommendation, I would be happy to treat you, if you can make up your mind what you want." Sahara doesn't lean too hard into the gentle tease, but there's a honeyed warmth in her voice as she makes it.

“I keep a cupcake budget,” Liza admits. “Everyone’s got their vices and little things that make the workday a little easier.” She grins playfully. “If I were made of money, I’d hire an assistant who finds me the best cupcakes and delivers them to me on demand. There’s something to be said about satisfying a craving whenever you feel like it.”

She pauses. “I mean, if you’d like to! I’d happily treat you as well for indulging in my silly rant about cupcakes. Usually after the first minute or so I get rolled eyes and uncomfortable shifting as they look for an exit.”

Sahara lets out a small huff. "Now those are people without good social skills, I tell you. Can't even make smalltalk for a few minutes without their skin crawling." It sounds like she's seen her fair share of them before, and that she's the kind who keeps on talking herself.

"I could go for a cupcake delivery service, too." she remarks thoughtfully, almost longingly. Sounds like something she'd be glad to pay for if money weren't an object. "But in this day and age…" Sahara tuts softly with a shake of her head.

"Maybe once they get the whole power situation sorted out here first."

“Ugh, I swear, they should have fixed all of New York by now. Hell, I’m sure there are plenty of qualified people they could hire for extra manpower who would be happy to work to get the grid back online for everyone.”

Liza shakes her head. “People are strong when they work together, it’s when organizations muddy things up with red tape that we end up with half-assed power structures.” She laughs slightly. “Careful, I’m ranting again.”

"Oof," is a sound of sympathy rather than deflection. "Don't we know it?" Sahara shakes her head ruefully. "All this outsourcing to these foreign companies who really don't give a damn at the end of the day… You know, I bet had they put an American company — a New York company on the job, it'd be done by now."

It sounds a little harsh even to her, so she backs off it by adding, "Big company like Yamagato, you hav' to be figuring they have a million other projects they're working on, too, their energy all split." Her voice carries like honey, no real harm to it. "I mean, did you see that lineup they had at the World Fair? It was downright impressive."

Sahara gives a light click of her tongue. "But it sure wasn't a promise to fix what's already here."

“Well, Yamagato already has their own power grid up and running, there’s not enough incentive to hurriedly work on the rest of the city. No offense to Yamagato, after all they did have that amazing lineup of products after all, but they’re still a business out to make money at the end of the day. With mostly Japanese employees, they aren’t as… inspired, I guess.”

Liza taps her nose. “But Americans get going when we’re down on our luck and fight for what we want, for better or worse. That’s why I try to support companies who are giving back, those who help their local communities. Life’s a little better when you’re working on a team.”

All Sahara can do in reply is let out a loud hum of agreement, a lot hiding behind the noise and the knowing glance she gives in Liza’s direction. She agrees with a lot of what’s said there, right down to the cheeky tap on her nose. She looks over the counter and indicates which stuffed pastry she’s going to claim for her own today. “You know,” she remarks once that’s done. “Think that hits it right on the head. There’s a lot of common sense there I think some people lack in how they look at things these days.”

She shifts a look back Liza’s way, striking a hand out suddenly with that honeyed smile. “I’m Sahara, by the way. Sahara Jackson.”

The hand is accepted with one of her own extended to grasp it. “Elizabeth Messer, though everyone calls me Liza for short.” The short peppy blonde offers a warm smile of her own. “That’s a lovely name by the way, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else known as Sahara, but there are plenty of Elizabeths in the Safe Zone.”

The hand is taken back after a short shake and a brief moment. “It’s really nice to meet you, been a while since I’ve gotten to really socialize with anyone outside of work.”

“Not many Liza, though!” Sahara remarks wryly in reply, her arms coming to a fold after she’s greeted her. “That’s taking what you’ve got and making the most out of it, I’d say.” She swivels to look back over the pastries, still appreciating what there is to appreciate. There’s a deep consideration in her eyes, for all the lightness of her posture and attitude, and it bubbles over with, “You know…”

“It’s been a while here, too. If you want, I’d be happy to exchange numbers! It really is good to get out and meet new people, though.” She’s not moving for her phone just yet, of course, not wanting to impose. “Are you close by, or just here for the opening event? I’m a few blocks away, myself.”

“Not as close as a couple of blocks, but I’m still pretty close,” Liza says, jerking her thumb back behind her. “You’re lucky to be able to walk her… burn off all those calories you get from those cupcakes.” She teases lightly, her expression cheerful. She certainly wasn’t about to try and scare off a new friend. At the mention of phones, she brightens.

“Hey, yeah! That would be great. Been here a while but just not had that much luck making too many friends. I know a lot of people, I’m just not particularly close to them. They’d probably look at me funny if I was like ‘Hey, let’s get drinks after work!’ and then just awkwardly walk away.”

At that, Sahara laughs again. A little less with seeming amusement this time, and more with something like disbelief. "Mercy," she says with a shake of her head. "These New Yorkers have no social skills at all, do they?" Mm, mm.

"Well, worry no longer about having an after-work drinking buddy. I'd be happy to extend my circle." she says with a chuckle, sliding an old pre-war phone from her back pocket.

“Personally I just think I’m too intimidating for them, it’s really hard to get past all that and see the inner Liza,” the tiny blonde says with a grin. Liza looks over at the phone with a bit of surprise. “Haven’t seen one of those in a while… old reliable though. I didn’t upgrade until mine fell in a river and ended up being carried away where I couldn’t find it. I figured it was time to get a new one after that.”

Water does remain to be the thing that kills most cell phones.

Sahara lets out a warm laugh, as though that were an everyday issue to be laughed off. Those pesky phones, floating away downriver and all. "We'll see how much longer old faithful holds out for. Those new Yama-phones and Praxis tablets—" and she's got that reversed, sort of, "they'll take over the world, including mine, before long."

She's thoughtful for a moment as she taps away at the keypad, trilling up a new contacts page before she looks back to Liza. "Let's see if we can't find you anyone who's not afraid of a strong woman, hm?" Sahara smiles fondly.

“Technology does tend to take over. Nothing will replace my notepad and pen, though. I don’t care how paperlike they make things, give me the original,” Liza laughs a little before she nods. “I look forward to having drinks and toasting to strong women in the future. We’ve got to stick together and all. I mean, assuming that it’s a thing that people do when they hang out and get drinks.”

The last bit is said a touch awkwardly as it seems Liza’s just realized she can socialize.

Ever so brightly does Sahara lean in at that moment, all encouragement when Liza falters. "Yes," she enthuses, laying a hand on the other woman's forearm to shake her into a better state of confidence. "Girls' night out. It'll be just the thing. I need a bit of excitement in my life, let me tell you what. The grind is just getting to me."

When the pastry she's ordered is offered across the counter, she lets out a tone of delight and takes ahold of the little paper baggie with reverence.

"My people will talk with your people, and we'll get something on the calendar!" Sahara winks cheekily at that. Neither of them have 'people', that she knows of, but a bit of faux luxury never hurt. Including the pastries they'd come to sample.

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