Spill The (Coffee) Beans


isis2_icon.gif sahara_icon.gif

Scene Title Spill the (Coffee) Beans
Synopsis "Joanne" invites Sahara to catch up over coffee. Some days really are just sunny.
Date April 19, 2019

A Small Coffee Shop in Bay Ridge

If one turns their head just so - cutting off the periphery view of crumbled cornerstones and the occasional black scar brushed across a building’s facade - this day could almost be mistaken for one of the many cool, pleasant spring days pre-war. A small coffee shop is popular for obvious reasons in this ‘revitalized’ section of the Safe Zone. But, luckily for the two women seated outside, the business slows down towards noon as people flit off to work or church for Good Friday sermons.

A small bistro set is one of a handful outside the coffee shop, already taken up by a redhead and blonde, their coffees, and a few treats to search as a brunchy treat.

Sahara isn't Catholic, but she won't turn down an excuse to take a paid day off. Also, she'll take whatever excuse she can to come back to this bistro and eat more of these stuffed croissants. They probably come from a can and just had their stuffing rolled in them, but they were delicious. She normally cared more about what she was putting into her body, but she'd make an exception for this pastry from heaven itself.

"It is so good to see you, though," she says after choking down a bite, realizing she'd let the conversation lapse while stuffing her face. Her brow is crumpled in on itself, a painfully sweet sincerity as she shooks a guilty look Isis's way. "I'm so sorry things were so busy this last month — I know you had a ton going on and I wanted to check in and make sure everything was going okay sooner, but time just got away from me."

But onto more positive things!! "So tell me about this new job! How are things going? Do you like it?"

The redhead eats with a more careful pace, peeling apart her pastry for the hell of it as she looks up to Sahara with a smile - an easy smile. Everything is easy around Sahara, after all. A nice day, nice food, nice company. Isis pauses to take in their surroundings with the closest thing to peace her expression can relay, before swiveling her gaze back to the blonde.

“I’m really glad you could make it. I wasn’t sure if it was weird with holiday and whatnot-” She licks a bit of crumbs from her offhand before waving it about casually. “But, yeah! Things are good!” There’s a hint of disbelief to sweeten her words. “Like… really good. I have a roommate, a great place, and the job - Cat’s Cradle.” She bobs her shoulders excitedly. “It’s from your list, actually. It was my top pick, right?” Her tone drifts like one going on about a list, albeit an excited one. “The setting is fantastic, the staff is great, and the owner is…”
Hazel eyes roll exaggeratedly as Isis leans back and holds her hands out in a wordless gesture. “She’s amazing. I can’t wrap my head around it. She just, brings something out…” Her pale hands make a bubbling, clawed gesture in front of her before she laughs. In truth, it all sounds almost like a girl crush. “Then I’ve got this… support-group-thing going, meeting new people. I mean, Sahara - I can’t thank you enough…” Isis leans forward. Clearly, in her eyes, the blonde is somehow responsible for all the good fortune.

Sahara's eyes light up at hearing just how well things are going. "Yeah, everything's fine, I don't really do all this anyway—" She leans back to gesture at the passerby in general to specify religious activities in general, nose wrinkling as she can't decide whether or not that's really acceptable. "Since moving up here, at least. I've not found a place I'd really want to go, you know? Nothing like home, anyway." It was really about fellowship, and Sahara wasn't sure she was ready to commit to any community, really. She liked the little one she was growing of her own!

But it's good that Isis is finding her own support, too. "So you picked that Cat's Cradle place!" she gushes excitedly. 'Jo' talked about the place like it was her top pick for Ivy League schools and she'd been selected. Nevermind the establishment owner was who and what she was — the job was something worth celebrating. Even so, Sahara's eyes are wary at just how Isis gets about her before she recovers with a warm smile. It's still amazing, after all! "I'll have to drop in and see you sometime. Show a little patronage." Sahara was perfectly capable of expanding her horizons, she tells herself.

It was a new world they lived in, and she had to get comfortable in it somehow.

She nods enthusiastically along as Isis goes on and tells her all about it, letting out a soft, "Pshh," when the other woman tries to blame her for things turning around. "Honey, we were just both in the right place at the right time." Sahara affirms, reaching out to lay her hand on top of Isis's affectionately. "I am just so glad that things are turning out — and that you're finding people you can be yourself around."

Drawing her hand back, Sahara lifts her tall mug of coffee up like it holds something other than a caffeinated beverage, holding it in cheers. "To you, and all these great successes, and to other great things still yet to come," she declares with a smile, like Isis had claimed victory over New York itself.

“Yes!” The redhead replies with a contagious amount of excitement at the prospect of her blond friend coming to visit Cat’s Cradle. “It’s eclectic in that weird, warm kinda way, you know? I think you’ll like it.” She gives an encouraging nod.

As Sahara reaches out towards her bare hand, there’s a subtle twitch of her fingers on the tabletop - it’s the remnant instinct to pull away, a glitch of bitter youth and ill-trained ability some decade past. Her smile freezes in place, as if someone hit pause on her expression, while she checks not only the knee-jerk reaction but also the safety harnesses on her body thief ability. The blonde woman’s hand seems to descend in slow motion and lands…. Nothing happens.

The redhead answering to Joanne lets out a deep breath as a breeze, relieved chuckle that times perfectly with Sahara’s declaration of success. Isis lifts her mug and puffs up with pride. “To good friends in your corner and all that awesome stuff you just said!” She laughs again, brows high, and sips from the dark brew. “Now then, you spend all this time taking care of others. What about you? What have you been up to and what’s your ‘future success’ look like, hmmm?”

The moment of anxiety comes and goes with Sahara's apparent notice, her warm smile and expression just as honeyed as ever. It broadens as she laughs when Isis expands on her cheers, tapping the mugs together before she drinks from her own. There was not enough coffee in here for her to drink it quickly, with what it had been priced. It comes off a delicate action, all the air of a socialite for how she tenderly sips and places it back down on the coaster.

The brevity of it lets her lend her total focus to Isis's question. What does future success look like for Sahara?

Her head tilts, a thoughtful hm coming from her. "I mean, I've just been working," she offers up with a light innocence. Because it's true! "I've got a lot keeping me busy lately, finishing up a few courses at the yoga studio … I offered to teach too many this past winter, and it absolutely wrecked my free time. I love it and everything, but I need some me time here in the near future." That's said a bit knowingly, a curt nod to go with it. Get in line, schedule! Sahara Jackson is on a mission for fun.

"I'm not sure I've got any big dreams on the horizon, chasing or otherwise…" sounds a little wistful, like she might wish it weren't the case. Then she glances back to Isis with a fond smile. "Though I could put more effort into the essential oils business. Maybe make enough off of that to buy me something nice here soon."

Joanne nods agreeably. “You take on too much for others and I never understood the essential oils craze,” she teases kindly. “Me time sounds like it’s just what the doctor ordered. A vacation even!” She pauses and squints, looking off down the street. “That’s a thing people still do, right - vacations?” Pale lips take up the contours of an easy, playful smile before hazel eyes sweep back to Sahara. “If the world hadn’t gone all ka-blew-y, where would you vacation?” She watches the blonde over the lip of her raised coffee, curling in around the mug in a comforting, savory way.

Sahara's eyes light up. Now there was a good question. "Oooh," she hums out, still in the process of thinking about it, but already draped in the warmth of some summery somewhere while her eyes twinkle with thought. "You know," she muses a moment later, "I think it'd have been really great to go… somewhere like…" If you were to follow the tiny, pinprick flit of her gaze, it'd be easy to see her looking over a world map and going across it with vigor. "God, somewhere warm? Like Hawaii. Or the Bahamas?" She looks back to Isis with a warm smile, as warm as those beaches would be beneath her feet. "Or maybe Britain! I've always wondered just how different things are over there. The whole 'two countries divided by a common language' adage and all."

It might not be an actual thing that people say. She just heard it in a stand-up once and loved it.

"What about you?"

Isis's shoulders sag and her head lolls backwards as if she was literally melted by the mere, beautiful prospect of somewhere, anywhere, warmer. She straightens quickly. "I've always wanted to go to Hawaii or the Bahamas." A hand comes up off her mug and extends out to the general atmosphere around them. "I know it's a nice day and all, but I was born in Tennessee. I actually like to say I was not born for this weather…" The redhead calling herself Jo smiles, the sincerity reaching new depths as she reveals some hidden little gem of her past in so casual a conversation - Sahara really is nice to talk to!

"I've never heard that about Britain, but it makes total sense. Just in the name of science and history, I'd love to compare and contrast. But, if the boat is headed in that general direction - my vote is for Ireland. Not Bahamas-warm, but definitely one that's at the top of my bucket list." Isis fluffs her style-blown, garnet locks for all the explanation that is necessary.

At the comment about the weather being a bit too cold, Sahara can only grin a bit conspiratorially. "You know, being from even further south than that, I can do more than just sympathize with that." Her expression is thankfully as warm as the sands they both were dreaming of, rather than the chill that was still being worked out of the air by sunlight. "The snows this last winter were something else." She shudders just at the memory of them, sitting more upright.

The comment about Ireland in particular definitely goes noted, and she nods understandingly. "Are your parents from there, or do your roots go farther back?"

“Brutal,” Joanne agrees casually about the state of the recently passed winter. “How far south, if I may ask?” The redhead moves to pick apart what little remains of her own scrumptious pastry treat, fingers sticky and occupied when Sahara’s last question trickles across the little bistro table.

The redhead fidgets. “My mother’s dad, as far as any of us could tell, was straight outta Ireland. But, we never found him to be certain. One night stands while in the military aren’t the best thing for family trees…” She gives a casual shrug, but her gaze has been diverted to where she peels, rather than eats, the food. “Dad’s side is less mysterious - mostly German, if I recall.” Finally, she pops a little nibble in and stuffs it over to a cheek to ask, “You mentioned you were close with your family before, yeah? You still “tight and shit”?” There’s a playfulness to her last question, as if she’s quoting some obscure movie phrase.

“Oh, I’m from Alabama,” Sahara replies easily enough, afterward sipping tenderly at her drink again while she waits through Isis’s explanation. There’s a twinge in her expression, a slight curl to her brow when she hears about the lack of knowing her roots. “Well,” she starts mildly, always the sort to search for silver linings. “Just means you’ve got broad roots, I suppose. Maybe you’ll find where they’re from some day.” Family is such an integral thing, and it’s a shame Isis doesn’t know hers better.

Speaking of her own family, though, Sahara perks up instantly. The playfulness in Isis’s follow-up is overlooked entirely in her eagerness. “Yeah, my family is still really close,” she says fondly. “I call home to my mama at least twice a week to see how everyone’s doing.” Despite all her cheer, there’s a staggered droop of her shoulders. “It’s hard being away from them, you know?”

Sahara’s reaction is almost contagious. Instantly her own lopsided family tree is swept back under the rug. Hazel eyes reflect Sahara’s smile. “Well, here you are talking about how much you need a vacation and how much you miss your family. I’m not expert, but one plus one is generally two… It sounds like a road trip is in order, missy.” Isis makes a swirly gesture of her index finger that ends as a direct point in the blonde’s direction. “Two birds, one stone.”

The idea comes as a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. It clearly hadn’t been at the top of Sahara’s mind, though now… She looks off with a thoughtful squint, theoretically engaged in studying the group waiting at the crosswalk. You know, people-watching. “Well, I’ve not really got time off I could take from the office, but sometimes you just need you time,” Sahara intones in her consideration. It would be nice to go home.

Suddenly she looks back with another smile. “Maybe I should give it until it’s just a little bit warmer down there, though. It would be just my luck I go down and it’s raining and just as cold as up here.” Sahara’s look smooths over as her brow pops in curiosity. “What about you? Any plans to head back to Tennessee here in the future?”

Peach-pale lips turn down at the corners in a thoughtful way. Paired with a quick side-bob of her head, the thoughtful expression is made more casual. “Maybe I could help around the office temporarily, if you needed. Maybe?” Joanne raises one shoulder up towards her cheek, breaking an easy and innocent smile. “Honestly, I have no idea what that would entail, but if it means you get to go see your folks, I could figure it out. I was an office manager for a few years before college.” Look, more factoids! What is Sahara’s secret to unlocking all these little gems of truth? They may seem small to some, but from Isis they are little anecdotes even she doesn’t normally dwell upon.

“Me? Tennessee? Oh… I dunno. It’s a bit more complicated than all that. There’s no family left down there for me, just memories. You know: the good, the bad, and the ugly all mixed in some-” Isis brings her hands up, palms flat, and waves them around like smooshing her hands upon something invisible between them. “-abstract way.” She drops her hand and puts on a practiced smile. “Maybe one day.”

Sahara’s look softens, practically melting under the kindness that Isis tries to show her. “Jo, that is so. sweet of you, I wish it worked like that.” she says as encouragement, but has to shake her head. “Definitely would need another licensed masseuse or physical therapist to cover for me, though.” She tilts her head in a slightly sympathetic way, asking with a light tease, “You’re not hiding any credentials like that under your seat, are you?”

She does look a little surprised to hear that ‘Jo’ has worked in management of some kind, but keeps it to herself. Quietly, though, she notes it down for future reference — just in case she comes across any other jobs! Honestly, Isis’s talent was going to be wasted at Cat’s Cradle if she stayed there long term.

When it comes to family, though, she tilts her head when Isis says it’s complicated. Something about the way she says it triggers an implicit understanding on some level. “Oh, hon.” Sahara intones, almost sadly. “I’m sorry to hear about that. You know if you need anything at any point, my door’s open.” She even lifts a hand to gesture vaguely in the direction of Phoenix Heights. “Home away from home. The whole nine yards. And I mean it,” she says, so sincerely that some Southern twang comes through, “Anything, you name it.”

Pale hands are lifted, a little show made of patting down her side and checking her pockets. Isis even goes so far as to lean in her seat and look at the underside of the worn, metal bistro chair. “Nope. Nothing as fancy as all that,” she quips, her alto voice strained by her inverted position before she pops back upright with a chortle.

“Nothing to be sorry about - what we’ve all been through has made us who we are. And…” She pauses. “I think I’m happy with who I am…” There’s a bit more hesitance in that statement than she clearly anticipated when she started the phrase, a bit of questioning lingering in silence that follows before she brushes it away but stuffing another nibble in her mouth. She pulls her fingers away from her lips, a sliver of patry still in her grip, and points a pinky playfully at Sahara. “Anything? Ooo boy. You might regret that,” she teases wholeheartedly, but shakes her head. “Seriously, though, thank you. If I need anything, I know where to go.” Hopefully that kindness is not something either of them will later regret. So far, Isis’s time in New York has not been as chaotic as it once was…. so far.

Sahara attempts to keep a straight face when Isis goes looking for her certifications, snorting in amusement before she breaks into bright, warm laughter. How serious she was in her mock searching! The laughter degrades down to the occasional giggle which she tries to drown with another sip from her coffee. Her mood doesn't lessen any, but she's not blind to that slip in her friend's confidence.

There's a beat while she considers it, and then she adds with a touch of honey to it, "If you aren't happy, you just aren't done growing yet. And we all got a little growing left to do in us, so don't feel like you're alone, Jo." Sahara winks afterward, an ostentatiously perfect action she must have practiced in the mirror once or twenty dozen times in her formative years.

"Anything," she repeats, because she means it in that moment. That promise is very valid, and she thinks she can handle anything that might come.

Looking off, Sahara adopts a thoughtful expression with her eyes narrowed on a sign hanging off a nearby pole. "You know, there's all this interesting stuff that happens in a big city like this…" she remarks. "But I rarely get out into it. You hear anything about this World Fair coming up?" A loose gesture is made in the direction of the poster.

That pale, freckled visage frames eyes that widen, ever so slightly, as they consider Sahara. Isis’ brows knit nearer to one another, coming up at the center in an expression that is as touched as it is perplexed by the very fact that she is so moved. Now it’s the redhead’s turn to reach out and touch Sahara’s hand appreciatively. It’s the awkward gesture of someone that is still unpracticed about such tactile displays amongst friends, and the motion of a person caught at a loss for words that would otherwise befit her appreciation.

It’s a fleeting effort and her pale fingers pull back to her mug, smile screwing back up with some eagerness to move onto a lighter topic. Luckily, Sahara has already set forth the perfect distraction. The poster is enticing with a bright blue sky visible through the open roof of a circular, stainless steel building -silhouettes of black depict people looking up, out, and ahead, to the future. Isis lofts a brow. “Looks techy,” she comments. “I’ve never been to anything like tha-.. Oh! Look, it’s free!” She turns an excited smile back to Sahara. “I’m not usually big on crowds. But… it’s good to try new things. I’ll go if you go.” You’re never too old for peer pressure.

Sahara considers it for a long moment, squinting at the poster in thoughtful appreciation for it. But was it for her? There's a visible moment where her internal dialogue practically spills over: oh who cares.

“Maybe they'll have some neat stuff they're handing out for free, too. What do they call it, swag?” she wonders, and then chuckles at her own unknowing. Sahara lifts what's left of her drink up in another cheers. “We'll make a day of it, then.” she says with a certain air to it. “Just let me know when works best for you.”

“I’ve always wanted a swag bag,” Joanne comments, her smile warming in the way it reaches her hazel eyes. “Sounds like a plan.” With that she reaches out to and takes back up her mug, lifting the coffee vessel much like before, echoing her earlier sentiment with a bit of crass flair: “To good friends in your corner and all that awesome shit.”

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