Late night at the Collective brings a new sight. For the first time, Mina's on the worker side of the counter. She's got that long redhair and foxglove wound up into a bun between her arching horns, wearing a black tanktop that's just the sliiiightest bit low cut and a pair of jean shorts. Comfortable shoes, even! And, of course, her #6 pin is there, right at the strap of her top.
It's not super busy, which means that the succuflower has a moment to make herself a cup of coffee, to drown it in coconut milk and sugar. Poor coffee, it doesn't need to be abused like that. But she is pleased when she sips it. Nothing's on fire. She's not managed to give anyone the wrong order. So far? So good.
C.B. comes out from the back room, wearing a perfectly incendiary black t-shirt under a red and black plaid shirt. It's late enough now wherein he hopes he's not gonna get any shit, because...some of Fort Brunsett and Tamarack Falls' finest have come here to give him a piece of their mind, after the dance-off debacle. He glances over at Mina and smiles. "Lookin' good, Mina. It suits you. Mind if I choose the music, or do you have something in mind?"
Meanwhile, sitting atop the cat tower in the center of the cafe is a Hedgebeast that is also a cat. It's a Cymric cat with big yellow eyes, and grey and white fluffy paper for fur. Clearly the inspiration for all the paintings in this place.
Word of a labor collective eventually makes its way to Alonso's ears, so of course he just has to check it out. Being a darkling, however, means checking it out at an unfortunate hour of the night. Still, /he/ is bright eyed and bushy tailed, the former quite literally as he steps into the old victorian that houses the cafe and bakery. He seems cautious, after a fashion. Hopeful, but cautious. Gisa steps in behind him, a pint sized block of a woman in contrast to his serpentine build. Once the door is shut, he removes his obnoxiously overlarge hat and gives Gisa a sidelong glance and a raised eyebrow.
The golem is wearing her favorite shirt -- the 'rock star of david' shirt that has been washed so many times at this point that the blue is starting to fade. She is used to Alonso's odd hours, so, you know, coming in at weird hours? No big. Gisa's eyes are fire, in match to Alonso's lightning, and the flaming pupils shift sidelong to her partner, then forward again. She shrugs slightly, and points out, "It's Shabbos." As if that means something to him.
Mina, having danced on the side of Number Six, but not being seen to verbally spur on the crowd, has been saved from getting pieces of the mind of others. The blessing of the subtle rebel. She grins over her shoulder to C.B., shaking her head. "I think that this is going to work," she says with a lift of her mug to him. "And please, pick away. I'm still working on expanding my horizons, there."
When the door opens, and two people walk through, Mina flashes a bright, quick smile. She may not be able to cook, her skills with coffee may be minimal, but at least she can mix a few standard drinks and bring on the A+ Welcoming. "Evening," she chirps, lifting her mug to Alonso first, and then seeing the golemn behind him, greets, "Gisa."
C.B. puts a record on the stereo. The needle clicks over to "Street Fighting Man," the first track on Side B of Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones. "Ev'rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy," sings Mick Jagger, "'Cause summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy..."
Satisfied, C.B. dusts his hands off and heads back over to Mina -- noticing the newcomers in the process. Yossarian, the Hedgebeast cat on the tower, watches them too. "Hey, Gisa, Alonso." He offers his crooked, nicotine-stained grin at the pair. "Glad you two finally made it in. I'd been meaning to stop by the bookstore and tell you about the place. Guess you found out on your own, huh?"
"Word gets around," Alonso explains for C.B.'s sake, "even to people who keep their heads down, for the most part. Looks like you've put a lot of work in." Alonso gestures this way and that with his hat, indicating the building, its furnishings, and so on. "What's good for coffee?" Alonso asks that question of Mina and C.B. both, glancing between each of them to perhaps collect opinions from both. "I could use a bit of a kick in the pants." He turns back to Gisa and asks, "Feel like having something to drink?"
"Mina, C.B." Beat. "Gut Shabbos." A gesture with one clay hand toward the other two, and Gisa repeats in response to Alonso's query, "It's Shabbos," as if that answers and qualifies the answer somehow. In this place, the golem is clearly following his lead, for once. Or something. "As he said," she agrees easily, hands folded behind her back now. "I had been keeping to myself until some matters resolved, but they have."
Her head cocks, listening to the music as it starts. "The Stones?" Mina may not be familiar with the song itself, but she knows that voice well enough. Damn dirty millenial that she is. She brushes her fingers against C.B.'s arm once he's close, just a brief contact. "Mina," she offers for Alonzo, as everyone else seems to know each other. "If you're looking for a kick in the pants, there's the Paupa New Guinea. We use it for our espresso, but it makes a damn good cup, too." Never mind the pale, pale excuse for coffee that she's drinking right now. "Gut Shabbos," is responded back, like she actually knows what she's saying. "I'm glad things have resolved for you, then, Gisa."
"Not just me, of course," C.B. tells Alonso with a smirk. "Incidentally," and he leans in closer to Gisa and Alonso for a minute, pointing to the upstairs, "There's a room up there just for, you know. Our kind and affiliated. No Freehold necessary. Feel free to use it for whatever you want." Then he leans back, nodding to Gisa about Shabbos and resolving matters, and then to Mina as well. "The Stones, Misa, yes. Very good! If you'd failed that one, I would've had to have given you a crash course." He might need to anyway. He squeezes her shoulder and adds onto her coffee musings. "We also have this great one from Vermont Coffee Company, called Tres -- it's a full-bodied medium-dark roast, spicy with a hint of cocoa. Dominican Republic. I'm a fan."
Alonso's head tilts just a little to the side at C.B.'s description of his preferred coffee. There's a scant nod after which he points Mina's way, "I'll have yours. Gisa as well, please." He carries his hat over to a table and tosses it down, then pulls out a chair for Gisa, then himself. He lets out a sigh once seated, happy to be off his feet. "This place has been the talk of the town of late. How's business, such as it is? Participation, in any case?"
Little notice is given to the music, or the talk of it. At least, little that shows, but Gisa has never exactly been the most expressive of creatures. She absently reaches out and touches the small of Alonso's back as he moves ahead of her, then takes the chair he pulls out. He's ordering, and she seems okay with it. "Good to know, thank you. It is good to know where we might go if need arises." Her forehead creases up slightly as she settles in to the chair, listening to the description of the coffees, and then she nods to Alonso's choice; her hands fold together on the surface in front of her with a series of subtle clicks like the sound of someone stacking plates. The Darkling's asking the questions; she's along for the ride.
"They've put a lot of work into it. It's a fantastic space - I'm glad that I've become a part of it." Mina beams as she's given a verbal gold star for recognizing the band, amusement dancing in her eyes. "Distinctive voice, but I don't know the song," she admits. Victor of the great coffee choice, she puts down her own mug to brew some up. "How do you take it?," is asked over shoulder, as she pulls down two mugs. She may be new to this actual 'work' thing, but there's an effortless grace to the way she moves. "What about you, babe? Can I get you something while I'm over here?" That, of course, aimed towards the author. And a little glance towards Yossy, being her very favorite feline.
C.B. actually narrows his eyes a little as the pair choose Mina's coffee over his, but. He doesn't touch on it. And he's not technically working right now, so. All of that is Mina. "It's been going pretty well, actually," he says, in answer to Alonso, letting out a sigh for some reason. "Although sometimes people forget to pay, but." He lifts and drops his shoulders. Whatever. "And I'd like to have more co-owners. I've made lots of offers, but few are willing to commit. Glad Mina has, at least." He gives her a little smile and says, "That song, 'Street Fighting Man'? Jagger wrote it after the May 1968 events in Paris. Man." His smile turns nostalgic. "That was a good year. Anyway, I'll take my usual," and he jerks his head in the direction of the bar. She knows what he means.
Yossarian, meanwhile, clears his throat and addresses the pair. "It is good to finally meet you, Gisa. Alonso. C.B. has told me about the both of you. I am Yossarian, his 'Hedgebeast companion.'" Yes...those words are decidedly in quotes. "Welcome to our Collective."
"Commit to what, is the obvious question," Alonso points out, "not everyone is cut out for baking and barrista duties. Though something tells me that's not everything you are about, here. I'm something of a jack of all trades, of necessity. Been around the block more than a few times, picked up all manner of skills. So when it comes to leaning in, I'm a bit more helpful than most." Alonso folds his hands over his stomach, assuming a bit of a slouch in his chair. Yossarian's greeting is met with a brief double take and a small nod of the head. This is not, after all, a place where one can 'be yourself'. "I'm always willing to lend a hand, that said."
"A great deal of cream, thank you," is Gisa's answer to Mina, "Alonso states that I ruin good coffee." She shrugs at that, her shoulders rising and falling like a mountain range, as if to say: uh, so fucking what? The golem's diffident on the matter of whether or not she's ruining coffee. She gives a sidelong glance to Alonso when he talks about helping out, and then her gaze slides back to CB, waiting for the answer to the Darkling's question.
The Fairest weathers that narrowing of eyes that C.B. does with nothing but fondness in her gaze for him. Well, save for the furrow of brows as he starts talking history. Right. So it's not the Stones he's going to have to give her an education on, really. But she's trying. And surely that counts for a lot, right? Right. "I drown my coffee frequently," she muses back to Gisa. "And torment it with sugar as well." She brings those two mugs over, one dark and untouched, the other heavy on the cream. Mina's eyes crinkle in the corners with her smile, before she's sauntering over to the bar area.
A little closer to Yossarian, the succubus gives him a warm look as he speaks. Fond, of C.B.'s companion feline. If they had Team Yossie badges, she'd probably have one of those, too. Pouring several fingers of bourbon into a glass, she makes her way back to place it in front of him.
"I agree, Alonso." C.B. stands at the counter, his inkstained fingers splayed across it. For a moment, lightning crackles around them. "I'm a writer, not a restauranteur. I taut myself how to...baristize, because I had to in my case. Anyway. If you're interested in helping out? We'd be thrilled to have you." He seems quite genuine about this, blue-silver eyes crinkling at the corners a little as he attempts a smile. "If anything, because -- I won't lie -- I would /love/ to pick your brain." Some of that lightning crackles with feverish excitement in his eyes. He glances at Gisa and her 'great deal of cream' with a great deal of alarm, but it's not until Mina mentions her own coffee that he snorts, speaking up. "It's complete travesty. Murder. Alonso is right," he mutters, but he gives Mina a thankful smile as she hands him the bourbon. He takes a healthy swallow before gesturing at their 'guests.' "So, what else is brewing in your worlds? Anything worth sharing?"
"Well, feel free to pick at it. If it gets to be too tiresome I reserve the right to pause such discussions, but in general I am happy to spin a yarn of former glories, such as they were." Alonso offers Mina an appreciative smile when she delivers his coffee just as he likes it. Black with a side of hot. "It's hard to find sugar or milk in the field, you know, neverind coffee. So I got used to having it black. Or not at all, really But black. In any case, to each their own, eh?" He toasts the table with his mug, then takes a rather prodigious gulp, smacking his lips thereafter. "In any case, consider me a member. As you might have guessed, my background means combat is among my aforementioned talents. So feel free to reach out to me if there's ever trouble around here that needs sorting out. As for us?" Alonso looks to Gisa and shrugs his shoulders in a 'do you have anything?' gesture. "Not much, sadly. Nothing of note, and certainly nothing worth taking things upstairs for. At least by my reckoning."
There's no comment from Mina as to what she is, as she drops off drinks and then returns to her own cup
"I prefer Turkish style coffee, or this sort with a great deal of goat's milk, but that is not usual here, so I make do with half and half," Gisa points out mildly. "Not every experience of living differently is yours, nor wrong." The golem's firey gaze slides sidelong to Alonso, and then she thanks Mina simply: "Thank you." Like that. Her hands wrap around the mug, but unlike most people, she doesn't leach warmth from the mug. There's a sort of homeostasis of Fireheart/coffee warmth going on there. "My responsibilities to my store remain foremost, but where my motek goes, so goes my nation. And I have not been a member of a true collective since I was quite young." And then she rolls her shoulders at the last question. "It is what it is." That's not an answer, Gisa.
There's no comment from Mina as to what she is, as she drops off drinks and then returns to her own cup. Just a little twist of her lips that edges towards wry, before she's giving a genuine smile towards the two guests. "My pleasure." And she seems to mean it. Right before she rolls her eyes at C.B. for what is surely not the first time. "Tasty, delicious murder," she says before taking a sip from the mug, and letting out a sound of pure, sweet delight. "I'm still...very new to all of this," is confessed, though soft, like it's to herself. Reminding herself that it's okay that she doesn't understand all the references, yet. The history. Another sip, and the millenial is refreshing her cup from the pot.
"To say I want to hear about your former glories would be an understatement." The lightning in C.B.'s eyes crashes as he leans into Alonso as he lowers his voice. "I mean, me and my comrades used to idolize you guys. You have no idea. I promise, I won't -- what's that word, Mina?" He squints in her direction, then snaps his fingers and looks back to Alonso. "'Fanboy,' that's it. I promise I won't 'fanboy' all over you. But pick your brain I will." He puts his hand out to Alonso, not something he often does to -- anyone, waiting to see if he will take it. To Gisa, he says, "Well, I know you're busy keeping your own place, but we'd love to have you hear too, Gisa." To Mina, he says nothing -- not even anything snarky -- but he does give her a smile that's warm, for him. Genuine. Then he says, "I should pack it in soon. I have a shit-ton of pages I need to get through this weekend and I haven't even started on this chapter."