Instant-Coffee Latte Decisions


emily_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Instant-Coffee Latte Decisions
Synopsis Tamara helps Emily to come to a decision regarding a complicated matter.
Date December 10, 2018


A small café near Elmhurst Hospital

In spite of not feeling the greatest today, Emily was determined to leave the house before going stir crazy. The meat of her activity didn't wildly vary from what she was doing while sitting at home, but there was something to be said about having a change of scenery.

The small café near Elmhurst Hospital had seen its fair share of Emily Epstein before GhostNet, but she's come at least once a week since securing her subscription. She wears earbuds to block out unwanted noise with streamed music, wheelchair pulled up to a table close to where the baristas work to assist with creating a distraction-free ambiance.

Her keyboard is mostly untouched today, unlike most visits. The thing vexing her is a nearly-empty document, page cleaved into two columns: pro, and con. At intervals, she has reached forward to add items to either side… only to erase most of her own suggestions. Eyes rolling back into her head, Emily looks up to the ceiling with a slow exhale. While considering what to do, she reaches for the instant-coffee latte she's purchased in the hopes it'll help her settle her thoughts.

It isn't there.

"Maybe you've had too much coffee," muses a distinctly female voice, spoken lightly but loud enough to cut through the music. For all that the speaker is unknown to Emily, she seems to presume familiarity — having appropriated the latte, peering down into its depths as if they might contain answers, or even just something interesting. "You're overthinking things," she continues, blue eyes lifting to regard Emily with cheerful good humor.

Rather than continue holding the coffee hostage, the stranger returns it to its proper place. She then summarily seats herself across from Emily, the plum-colored synthetic shell of her coat rustling with the movement. The steaming mug she sets on the table, having been held by her other hand, smells of hot chocolate rather than coffee. "I'm Tamara," she offers unasked.

Emily starts at the voice, head whipping around to see just who's there. A hand snares around the wire of her headphones to pull one side free. At first, the speaker is mistaken for someone else, someone on her mind, but seeing the stranger eliminates that misconception quickly. "Excuse you?" she asks incredulously, eyes on the tall dark green mug of hers that Tamara has appropriated. Self-consciously, she closes the laptop and warily regards the returned latte before pulling it to herself.

Tamara? Chipper. Self-inviting. She selling something? Because why else would someone invite themselves to a stranger's table, if not to hawk something to them? If she starts shoving religious pamphlets at me, I wonder what I can say that might run her off the fastest. Emily takes a long sip of the made-with-love low-quality coffee she's purchased while she contemplates she blonde across from her. She doesn't appear to highly regard the suggestion she's had too much, as she takes her time in savoring it and then settling it back before her.

"Okay. Tamara. What can I help you with?" she asks blithely. A glance is given to check the woman over for a bag, or any tells that preclude the informational papers she assumes are forthcoming.

There is no bag. There may be something in the pockets of that coat — probably is, even — but Tamara makes no move to produce anything from said pockets. Instead, she merely curls her fingers around her own mug, sipping briefly at its (rather insipid) contents. Her gaze flicks beyond Emily, tracking the progress of a rather flustered-looking man who's made the unwise decision of trying to juggle to-go cup and bagel and phone all at once. As he weaves his way toward the exit, the blonde shakes her head slowly; it doesn't take a seer to recognize he's courting disaster.

Emily's words refocus her attention on the woman across the table. "Oh, no. That's not today," Tamara assures with earnest sincerity. She smiles, then shakes her head. "I'm not going to sell you anything, either. Or try," she adds, given as success and attempt can be different things. Picking up her cup, she blows gently across the surface, doing nothing to actually cool the liquid. "I don't sell things," Tamara concludes, taking another drink of chocolate.

The other bud is pulled from her ear, her expression shifting from skeptical to suspicious with each thing Tamara says. A part of Emily wants to tell her to hurry up and get whatever she's trying to give her over, if she wasn't selling. Another part of her buys the explanation at face-value, which unlocks a whole series of other questions. What did she want, then? And why was she talking about it the way she was?

"Listen, I've already got one mysterious woman who drops by when it suits her. I don't need a second." Emily informs her with not as much sharpness to her tone as she had meant for. She's distracted, mulling over the possibility Tamara might be Evolved. What if she was a telepath? Oh, that'd just be stellar. She shakes the thought off with a toss of her head. "Really, I'm good here."

Tamara smiles around the rim of her cup, unperturbed by any lingering bite in Emily's tone. "Doesn't everyone?" she points out, arching both brows. "Drop by when it suits them. Even if they ask ahead of time, they cleared it by their own agenda first."

She takes another drink of chocolate, eyeing the level of the remainder after. "Did I say you weren't?" has the quality of a rhetorical question. "Don't worry, I'm almost done. Then I'll get out of your hair," is added with a lopsided and rather sympathetic smile, all things considered.

Her attention shifts to the front doors of the café, lingering on a knot of people chatting outside. "You could ask," Tamara points out absently and without looking back, apropos of nothing that's been verbalized — yet, at least. "I don't mind."

Emily might be more worked up about the conversation going effectively nowhere if she had any investment in it. Questions about the woman's purpose here were getting answers as clear as mud.

Her arms fold over the table's edge and she narrows her eyes at the woman sitting across from her. "All right," she concedes skeptically. "I'll bite." Emily's posture pops up a bit straighter, forearms still on the tabletop. "You think I'm overthinking it? Then tell me what I should do. My gut feeling isn't helping me here. It's complicated." The last is added for emphasis about why she's having such frustration with the problem.

But sure, she'll let this contextless stranger weigh in on turning over the phone number that burns a hole in her pocket, and who it should be turned over to.

Tamara returns her gaze to Emily, a gaze that seems to have shaded darker — literally, though her expression has also taken on a more solemn tenor, one still limned in amiability. "It is. But all you will do now is run in circles, a hamster on its wheel. Wait," is at least a clear and unambiguous instruction, if unfulfilling.

The seer drains the last of her drink, and rises from her seat in a crinkle of cloth. "It's late in the game to go elsewhere. You could always flip a coin," she allows, one shoulder shrugging dismissively. "Or… just wait, until the woman you might call puts another weight on the scale by which to break the loop." Looking down at Emily, Tamara offers a crooked smile. "You can't very well weigh out pros and cons without having them all to hand in the first place."

Emily's humor for the conversation vanishes instantly. Her hand tightens into a fist, and she leans away from the table. The advice is sound, if not alarming in its specificity. It's a bit much for her.

"Did she send you? What are you? Some kind of telepath? This isn't funny." She's terse, whole body stiff, still in too much shock to move to gather her things and leave. How did she know?

Tamara regards Emily with raised brows, then shakes her head slightly. Where Emily is stiff, she gives the impression of being unperturbed, eminently tolerant of the other woman's shock and suspicion. "I never said it was," she points out reasonably.

Her still-dark gaze goes to the windows, focused somewhere beyond the street outside; the seer cants her head slightly, as if listening, or simply considering. "I don't think we've met, exactly. But she'd recognize me, if you asked."

A beat of quiet follows, then, as Tamara's attention lingers elsewhere. Another, more absent shake of her head indicates the return of that awareness to present company. "I don't read minds," she continues, earnestness resurfacing to weight that assurance. "I just hear what you might say."

Which is perhaps not as reassuring a thought as she could leave Emily with — but then, that ship has already sailed. Tamara herself steps away in its wake, depositing her emptied cup in a collection bin and making for the door.

Her hand unballs, fist splaying out. All fingers reaching as far as they can to better help her convey her confusion, even if the audience is only herself at this point. She watches Tamara go, half-expecting that she'll turn back and say something else vexing, but in the end Emily's just left to stare in confusion across the café while she tries to collect her thoughts. "Okay. Bye, then." she says to no one. But if Tamara can hear what she 'might' say, maybe she's heard that, too.

After she's had a minute to consider the advice further, she slides her phone from her cardigan pocket, slowly bringing it above the table as she re-reads the exchange of text messages that prompted the creation of the document in the first place.

Tomorrow. She'd see Eileen again tomorrow.

And instead of offering her the information she held up front … perhaps the best option really would be just to wait.

Well… that was one less thing to overthink, at least.

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