I walk into the little cafe, bag over my shoulder, and make my way to the secluded booth in the back. As I begin to unpack and set up, a familiar voice calls to me over the din.
“The usual, Evie-C?”
I glance up from my task and smile at the purple-haired barrista who is looking super cute with little buns on either side of the top of her head, both spraying little messy fountains of hair.
“That would be great, Sephi, thanks!” I call back. “Oh,” I add. “Can I have extra caramel today?”
“Comin’ at cha!” she smiles as she busies herself making my Drink ‘O Awesome™.
Laptop – check, power cord – check, notebook and pen – check, phone… phone? Damn, I must have left my phone in the car. I glance out the window and see drops of water sliding down the glass followed by more drops hitting the panes. Apparently it has begun to rain again and I decide that I don’t really need my phone. I power up my laptop and open up the PowerPoint presentation that I have been working on for going on a month now. As I open up the spreadsheet that has the numbers that are in favor of a major system-overhaul, including adding internet sales, Sephi walks over with my latte.
“Warm, not-too-hot caramel latte – extra caramel today – and made with a just a touch of extra love, just for you, doll face.” Sephi sets the latte down in front of my set up and slides in next to me. “How are you doing, sweets? It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you this devoted to your work.”
I blush a little knowing that she is really referring to the fact that I have pulled away from my friends and have been spending an inordinate amount of time alone under the guise of ‘work’. I give her hand a squeeze as if to reassure her as I smile at her. “I’m doing okay, Sephi, I really am. I know that I have been distant lately and I don’t mean to be. It’s just that…” I trail off and Sephi squeezes my hand in return.
“I know, sugar, I know. We all do, and we get it. We aren’t going anywhere, we just miss you – like, REALLY miss you.” She says this with a deeper understanding that work is just a guise and that I’m working through much deeper issues. She grabs my face and turns it toward her looking me right in the eyes. “Just remember, Easy, we are here, all of us, and we love you and support you – no matter what.” She gives me a hard squeeze and presses her lips to my cheek, leaving a red stain behind. “Call me, please.” She says pleadingly. “Tonight.”
Easy, heh. That is what my very few, very close friends call me. They always have since we were kids growing up in the countryside outside of the walls that mark the county line. These are the only people who know about my Magicks. These are the only people who I trust.
Trust. I gaze into nothingness and think on this as the buzz of the coffee shop fades away and my own thoughts begin to shout loudly in my head. Why haven’t I confided in my friends, what was I afraid of. These people know me to my very core – and they still love me, despite all of my weird quirks. But pixies. I shake my head and take a slow, thoughtful sip of my latte, remembering last night’s gathering. The gathering that I have not told my friends about. As the noise of the cafe returns to my consciousness, I try to focus on the task at hand – convincing those crusty, old Prosaics that run the company I work for to expand their sales to the internet.