Excellent Purchase

Cast: date: 'August 29, 2012'
place: 'The Regency Cafe'
participants: 'Benjamin, Jack, Mattie'
synopsis: 'Jack goes to see Mattie at work, delaying Benjamin''s delivery of tea. In exchange, they see the curiosity shop''s most recent acquisition.'
log: "The predominant hue in The Regency Cafe today is bright orange — not because of the decor of cream walls, red linoleum and brown formica, but because of the bright orange safety vests worn by at least half of the clientele. A favorite of street sweepers and construction workers, it is truly a working man's cafe and a throw back to the diners of the 1940s. \n\nBehind the counter, the slim redhead shouts an order to the back. The words \"Two Bubbles and Squeak!\" shouted back to the fry cook in the back sounds a bit odd in the very American accent. She picks up a coffee pot, one hand wrapped in a towel, and moves around to make the rounds. There's no need to put on the charm here. \"Warm up?\" is about all she asks each patron as she moves through the small diner. There's no bubble gum and she certainly doesn't look like the 1940s waitress in jeans, a staff t-shirt and black Docs.\n\nMust be a coincidence that brings Jack here, right. He has that kind of presence that makes it hard to 'slip in quietly', bigger than his stature and giving off that fucked up Touch aura that makes regular people wary. Still, there's something vaguely furtive about the man indicated by that tiny little hint of a smile. Clearly whatever is on his agenda he finds faintly amusing.\n\nHe glances at Mattie as she wanders, only briefly, as though feigning ignorance. Steps lead him straight to the counter where he adopts a lazy posture, fingertips rapping on the surface while he waits patiently for tea and coffee to be refilled so he can place his lunch time bid. He is not wearing orange. Those jeans were once black, but now have faded to a yellowing grey; on top he has a well worn, baggy knit sweater in dark green. Oh so quietly he whistles, with the air of someone who is off key on purpose.\n\nIt isn't Benjamin's usual sort of place, but as they say - any port in a storm. Everyone has a different way of calming their nerves. Benjamin lifts his small, empty teapot when he hears the waitress ask the table behind him. When he sets it down again, he lifts the bag from the saucer and replaces it. Rather than wait to make eye contact with the waitress, the man in the suit and tie goes back to writing in the small notebook in front of him. A brown paper sack big enough to hold several loaves of bread sits at his feet. He glances up once to check on Mattie's progress and notices Jack standing at the counter, waiting to order. Frowning slightly on the other man's behalf, Benjamin looks around. Certainly there must be another waitress with business this steady.\n\nHaving made the coffee rounds, Mattie makes note of the fact Benjamin's out of tea. \"Just a sec,\" she tells him with a polite smile. Perhaps she notices the look toward the line, since she looks over her shoulder, too, then back at the tea drinker. \n\n\"He can wait a moment, anyway,\" she says, not particularly charitably. \"Someone called in sick. We're not usually this understaffed.\" There's no overflow of apologies from the Yankee. She picks up the empty teapot. \"I'll be back in a just a moment,\" she repeats, before heading back to the counter. \n\nThe coffee pot is set back in its place and the rag tucked into the pocket of the black apron around her waist before she finally moves to regard Jack. One brow rises. \"What do you want?\" The question works on more than one level.\n\n\"Large breakfast, no black pudding and extra bacon would be crackin'. Cheers darlin'.\" If there is another level to the question, Jack is pretending that it doesn't exist. He even goes as far as to flash Mattie one of his better smiles. The rude behaviour seeming to go right over his head; after all, it's not the worst hospitality you can find in London. An actual question is leaps and bounds ahead of a grunt and a look of hatred.\n\nSeemingly content to loiter languidly, he points a finger toward Benjamin, \"Finish up first f'you want. I ain't in no hurry.\" The mechanic looks entirely at ease with a hint of a wry smile tugging at his lips while watching Mattie in her 'natural environment'.\n\nThe exchange leaves Benjamin looking suspicious of the waitress's speed. He frowns, favoring watching the newcomer and the waitress over going back to his book. Benjamin visibly stiffens at the finger pointed in his direction, leaning back in his chair and pressing his lips tightly together. The fingers of one gloved hand rap a quick tattoo on the tabletop while the others twirl the ballpoint.\n\nLooking at Jack skeptically for a moment, Mattie then reaches for a pen to jot down the order, then tells him the cost. Turning away, she puts the ticket on the line and calls it back to the cooks. A teapot is grabbed and filled with hot water, then set aside so she can take Jack's money. \n\n\"I can manage my own time management, Mitchell,\" she says, head tossing slightly to throw her bangs out of her eyes so she can look up at him. Under her breath, she adds, \"He's Touched,\" regarding the man in need of tea. \"If you didn't notice,\" she adds a second later. Not everyone picks up on it. Not everyone tries to. Apparently, she does.\n\"S'charmin' the way you pretend to hate me.\" Jack throws Mattie a wink, with a cockney charm that makes it not at all creepy. Leaving a fiver and a pound on the table covering a tip that's extravagant by British standards of a whole quid-fifty. \"Ta.\" He slides over another coin, \"Give us a cuppa too, is it?\"\n\nTurning slightly, he regards the other man once more with now more than idle curiosity, trying to look beyond the face. A last smile to the woman on the other side of the counter, \"Gotta say, you make that apron work. Gorgeous.\" Another bright'n shiny smile before he turns on his heel and stalks toward Benjamin's table. \"Wotcha.\"\n\nBenjamin is definitely one of the 'not trying to' variety, but perhaps in part given the events of his last few days, Jack's more penetrating interest is met with a slight narrowing of the eyes before Benjamin becomes once more interested in his notebook. There's no hiding, for those who can see so well.\n\n\"Afternoon,\" is his answer - there's no need to be that rude, after all - but the tone is curt. Polite enough without being too gregarious. Benjamin shifts a leg, the paper of the bag crinkling when he bumps against it. He sneaks his eyes back up to look at Jack, doing his best to hold a mask of indifference in place. \"Did you need something?\"\n\nBenjamin is definitely one of the 'not trying to' variety, but perhaps in part given the events of his last few days, Jack's more penetrating interest is met with a slight narrowing of the eyes before Benjamin becomes once more interested in his notebook. There's no hiding, for those who can see so well.\n\n\"Afternoon,\" is his answer - there's no need to be that rude, after all - but the tone is curt. Polite enough without being too gregarious. Benjamin shifts a leg, the paper of the bag crinkling when he bumps against it. He sneaks his eyes back up to look at Jack, doing his best to hold a mask of indifference in place. \"Did you need something?\"\n\n\"Hate suggests more effort than I'm willing to put into this little association, Mitchell,\" Mattie says tiredly. In fact, she even yawns, as she's about to give him his change, not really expecting a tip and especially not a generous one. Her brows rise and she gives a shake of her head, before putting the extra into the tip jar. \n\n Another tea kettle is picked up and prepared. She picks up both just as an older woman comes through the kitchen tying an apron around and muttering about being called in on her day off. Back up has arrived. \n\nWith the fresh troops in to take the next customer's order, Mattie picks up a tea cup and heads to Benjmamin's table, setting down his new pot of hot water. \"There you go, sir. Anything else you need?\" she says, while handing Jack his pot and cup.\n\"Willing to admit to.\" Jack corrects once Mattie's followed over, accepting the items with a tip of the head, although he's mostly too busy with his study of Benjamin to further indulge her flirtations. \"Not really. Just a seat.\" He takes this without asking, setting himself down opposite the man. \"Given that Red here is still in denial, despite my havin' come half way across town t'see her, I guess you're going to be stuck with the pleasure of my company instead.\"\n\nCertainly, the Londoner isn't lacking in confidence. Or it could be considered rudeness. Either or. \"What's happening?\" he asks, peering upwards — first to Mattie, then back to Benjamin — while prepping his cup with milk and sugar.\n\n\"Just the tea, thank you,\" Benjamin answers, offering Mattie a small, perhaps sympathetic smile. But it might as well be a grin compared to what he presents to his new table-mate. \"You don't suppose she didn't want to see you?\" But it isn't so much a question as it is a statement presented for review. He closes his notebook and places it along with his pen inside his jacket. Lacing his fingers together, Benjamin looks between the waitress and the intruder. \"He's paid you, and no one would think it wrong if you threw him out for harassment. I'll speak to your manager, if you think it may help.\"\n\nEyes lift to the ceiling at Jack's words, but then Mattie's cheeks flush slightly at Benjamin's offer. \"Oh, no, that's okay. He's… a pain in the ass, frankly, but no, I can manage,\" she says quickly. \n\nTurning to Jack, Mattie gives him a stern look that clearly says 'don't you get me in trouble!' \"Let me know if you need anything,\" she says more brightly again to Benjamin. 'Like making him move,' goes unsaid but no doubt mentally added. For now, unless he speaks up, he's on his own, and Mattie heads quickly back to the counter, though business is starting to die down.\n\"I reackon a bunch of us working class folk would consider it wrong if a man were chucked out on 'is ear for bein' chatty with a fit bird after payin' for his food. Given that we know one another, think it best you mind your beeswax.\" The jovial tone has the barest trace of a warning behind it but it's fleeting considering the happy, wide smile that Jack's offering across the table as he pours out his tea. The brief wounded look that appears when Mattie is all bright and shiny to Benjamin is most certainly affected.\n\n\"Class warfare aside.\" he begins, lowering his tone so that it becomes nigh impossible to overhear in the busy cafe, \"What does bring you down to the cheap seats? I do hope you ain't bringing trouble with you.\" There's a glance down to Benjamin's over long fingers. Well. Overlong to those who know how to look.\n\nThose very same fingers curl around Benjamin's own teapot, and the sunken eyes make a point not to look at him while he serves his own undoctored brew. \"Business,\" is the short answer, given as Benjamin watches Mattie get back to her work. But his eyes don't linger too long. \"The buying and selling of goods and services. Goods, in this particular case.\" Goods that would probably most certainly not interest Jack, from the sound of it.\n\nAll the same, Benjamin's lips curl into a secretive sort of smile. Like a kid just before Christmas who knows what's in store for him. \"Would you like to see?\"\n\nThe large clock on one wall ticks to the top of the next hour, and another worker comes through the back to take the coffee pot from Mattie as the redhead finishes pouring a refill. \"You're off the clock,\" the young man tells Mattie who nods her thanks. She dips her hand into the tip jar to take her share of what's there, then disappears for a few minutes in the back, untying her apron as she goes.\n\nObviously, Jack isn't a fan of that smile. Eyes narrow ever so slightly, implying that the lean fellow should consider long and hard before trying to get one over on him. There's a creaking from the chair as he leans back, resting one elbow on the table and curling fingers about the handle of the cup. A pause and tilt of the head as a name is garbled loudly across the room, not his.\n\n\"Yeah, alright then.\" he replies, after a momentary pause, continuing to assess the other fellow.\n\nThere's something about a new purchase that kindles a certain fire. It would seem that Benjamin suffers from the same 'can't wait to get it home' syndrome. At least with this particular acquisition. Setting aside his cup to make room, he turns to pull the brown paper bag into his lap with some effort, carefully cradling the contents through the drab container. He reaches in and carefully extracts a large glass cylinder and sets it on the table. He doesn't take his gloved hands from the glass, but he does move them closer to the base, keeping the item closer to his side of the table than Jack's.\n\nThe thing is approximately half a meter in height, and looks to be some sort of terrarium. A glass cylinder with a rounded top, sealed to a base and containing what appears to be a miniature oak tree on a small hill. The tree nearly fills the glass, shadowing the grass beneath it. In its boughs sits a small house - too well built to be a child's playhouse, but rather a fanciful hideaway. The whimsical miniature isn't quite museum quality, but the detail is impressive enough. \n\n\"Marvelous, isn't it,\" Benjamin muses delightedly, momentarily forgetting his surroundings in a moment of silly pride.\n\nToting a to-go cup of something hot, Mattie emerges from the back room. The hair that'd been pulled into a ponytail is once more down in shaggy layers; a black trench coat flutters loosely around her thin frame as she moves toward the door, apparently not planning to bid Jack or Benjamin adieu on her way out. \n\nBut curiosity killed the cat, and she can't help but pause en route to look at the glass bauble the curio shop owner holds. \"'s that?\" she says, slowing as she passes their table.\n\nJack watches with no small skepticism, perhaps fearing a trick or some comeuppance from the gentleman. What's drawn out of the brown paper bag isn't quite what's expected; although if asked, he couldn't have told you what it was he expected in the first place.\n\nHe's about to speak when the departing Mattie chimes in, appearing to recognize the item. This prompts him to hide his confoundment and avoid acting as though he doesn't have any idea what this is or what its purpose is. However, the result is then silence. Just peering. So eventually he's forced to say, \"What is it?\"\n\nBenjamin is drawn out of his private reverie by the question, and he looks from Mattie to Jack, his eyes narrowed in confusion. \"What do you mean what is it?\" he counters, unable to understand the gap. He overcomes it quickly enough though, glancing back to the glass for a moment before explains, his good humor returning. \"It's a terrarium miniature. Terribly hard to come by, but lovely little things, don't you agree?\"\n\n\"Mm,\" is a noncommittal answer from the American. Apparently, whoever Benjamin is and why they don't know him in the Watch (or so she thinks) isn't too much of her concern. \"I'm off, so if you need more refills, Shirley or Fred'll help you. Have a good day.\" \n\nThe polite greeting is definitely aimed at Benjamin more than it is Jack. Her paper cup is lifted in a bit of mock toast as she begins her journey to the door. \"Come again if you ever need anything, Mister,\" she tosses over her shoulder, green eyes alighting on Benjamin's face. There's innuendo there, though not of the naughty sort. A moment later the door jangles as she slips out.\n\nMattie's farewell is met with a brief glance and smile from Benjamin, but Jack's departure is all but ignored. He gives him a nod, but is far too entranced in the tree and the little house to pay much attention to just where it is Jack is going. Not long after the other man is gone, he puts the terrarium away. A slow smile curls onto his mouth as he sips his tea. While certainly not planned, it proved to a useful tool. Excellent purchase indeed."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License