"Taxi!" I called and beckoned the nearest yellow vehicle forward with my hand. It lurched to a stop a few feet to my left. Thankful for being able to hail a cab so quickly, I opened the door, only to have a middle-aged asshole jump into the car on the other side. I shot a few curses at him and watched as my ride took off down the busy city street. "God DAMMIT!"
This city was relatively well known when it came to peoples levels of douche-baggery. Needless to say, even within the short two months I had been there, I had grown used to how awful some people could be. Knowing all this wasn't exactly getting me to work any faster, though. Part of me said that I should just give up and start walking, but being as stubborn as I was I continued at my attempts to catch a ride. Two cabs later and nearly breaking the nose of some rude passer-by, I finally managed to get a taxi.
"Where to, miss?" The dark-skinned man asked in a thick accent. The Hindi music he was playing only served as a conformation of his ethnicity. I smiled at him as I gave him directions and he pulled back into traffic. After a short, yet rather pleasant, conversation with the driver we arrived at the store where I worked. I paid him a little extra and he gave me his business card. "Next time you have trouble getting a cab, call me miss." I thanked him and he waved as I rushed into the store. The bell to the door tinkled happily and I smiled as I looked around the nerdy paradise I had entered.
"Yo, dudette! Where have you been? You're nearly 15 minutes late!" My loud mouthed boss, Alfred, called from the back of the store. From where I was standing, he looked like he was hanging Superman merchandise on the walls. His green top with a white Green Lantern symbol with some blue jeans and green Converse screamed "NERD!". I jogged over to him and unlocked the employee room door beside his ladder.
"I had trouble hailing a cab. Every time I managed to get one, some asshole took it." I explained as I opened the door and threw my backpack onto the coffee table.
"Aww man that sucks." His muffled voice commented. "I'll let it slide because you're normally not this late. Just don't do it again, dudette, or I'll have to demote you down to newbie status again!"
"Yes boss." I shouted back, putting on a rather bad Jersey accent. I opened my locker and grabbed the lanyard that held a card with my name on it along with lots of little key chains.
Alfred was always really understanding, which I appreciated. I couldn't exactly call this place a comic shop because we sold more than just comic-related things. It was like Hot Topic, Spencer's, comic book store, and a skateboarding place got together and had a giant orgy with Starbucks to give birth to this place. I had found this place close to a week after arriving in this city and immediately fell in love with it. Alfred had begun to notice that I would show up everyday to get a coffee or read some comics or help some friends design their boards. I hadn't even applied for any job there when at about my 20th visit he told me I was hired. Needless to say I was loving working for him.
"Artie called off work to go play some gig. I'm counting on you today since we're short staffed." Alfred explained as he climbed down from the ladder and began folding it up.
"I figured as much. The only thing you usually do on the floor is get into heated debates with people over Superman, not actually work." I pointed out.
"I won't stand for ignorance! If you walk in here expecting to skate by only having watched Man of Steel, I will own your ass!" He whined and shoved the ladder back into the employee room before locking the door again. "Matt is here today, but he's working the bar. I'm having him deal with the new delivery of coffee beans right now." Ah, yes. Matt. The loveable, quiet, dorky Canadian brother of Alfred.
"Where's Kiku?" I asked as I set up the register and cleaned up the counter.
"Here." The Japanese man stated. I looked over and saw him setting up the DVD's for the lounge area. It was his turn to pick what was on the TV and of course he chose anime. He was in the loose white V-neck shirt I had given him as a gift that read "Kouhai in the streets, Senpai in the sheets" in blue bubbly letters and black jeans and shoes.
"What's today's anime?" I questioned. He looked at me with as much amusement as his emotionless face could muster before popping in the disc. My eyes widened as the theme song to my favorite anime came blaring through the speakers. I jumped up on the counter and started wailing on an air guitar. "KISS KISS FUCK SHIT UP!" I sang obnoxiously and Alfred laughed at my parody. "Do-do do-do, do-do do dooooo!"
"Dammit, Kiku! Now she won't be able to work!" Alfred snorted.
"You did the same thing when we put on old Batman cartoons." Mattie piped up as he appeared from the door behind the coffee bar. In his hands was a dark brown bag with a picture of a coffee bean on it. I grinned when I realized he look positively Canadian today. He was wearing a red and black flannel with his sleeves rolled up and a pair of dark blue jeans. I would be willing to bet money on the fact that we was wearing his usual custom white high-top Converse with a red maple leaf.
"Hi Mattie!" I waved at him and he waved back after he set the bag down onto the bar. "At least Mattie is sticking up for me." I hopped down off the counter. "Ouran is rife!" I said, mocking Kiku's accent. The Japanese man rolled his eyes and went back to organizing the lounge area.
"As soon as you get done brewing that coffee, Matt, we're opening up shop." Alfred warned. I simply nodded and finished setting up the register area before I moved onto organizing some of the merchandise in the music area. A few minutes later, with the store looking perfect, we all got together and had some coffee. Alfred liked to keep this tradition of having the store employees drink the first pot of coffee together before they opened up shop as a kind of a way to boost motivation. It usually did bring up most peoples spirits, especially on Monday's. The exception being Arthur who preferred to be stereotypically British and drink tea.
"Okay team! Time to get rolling. Jayce," I saluted at the sound of my name. "Go flip the signs. Good luck, guys!" Alfred called and strolled over to the register. I flipped the huge spray painted sign on the window from 'closed' to 'open' and did the same thing with the one on the door.
"The band bracelets are over here and the tee's are right up there." I directed, pointing above me. "If you need some help getting one of them down, let me know. The changing rooms are to the left by the jackets."
"Thanks, man." The African American teen smiled at me. I returned the expression to her and walked over to some kids who were looking at the skateboards. They didn't look any older than high school freshmen and some looked even younger than that.
"You guys looking for anything in particular?" I questioned and they turned around. I saw one of them give me a rather perverted look.
"I was looking for the love of my life, but you seemed to have found me." He said cockily, flipping his snap-back so it rested on his head backwards. I snorted at his pick-up line.
"That's funny. I didn't know skateboards turned prepubescent idiots on. Is that some kind of weird new fetish?" I asked with a raised eyebrow. A few of his buddies whispered a quiet 'oohhh' at my remark. This seemed to urk the little shit so he smacked the kid nearest to him and they laughed.
"Yo, dudette!" I turned around as Alfred jumped over excitedly. "Matt needs some help with the bar, there's a lot of people here after a good cup of joe."
"Sure, Alfie. Just make sure you take care of these guys." I turned around and shot Alfred a look before skipping off. I could vaguely here the sound of Alfred chewing the kids out, telling me that I had successfully gotten my message through. Over at the coffee bar, Matt was barely managing to keep up with the line of people standing at the bar. I figured it would be rude to just leave him and it would be better for me to do as Alfred asks. I situate myself behind the counter with the flustered Canadian and take up his order pad before I get to work.
From what I could see, people where mostly after the special today, which was Mattie's famous Maple coffee. Matt threw me a relieved look as I started up on orders. Some chaos later, the size of the group had decreased, turning into a manageable trickle of people. I handed off another large cup of Mattie's coffee to a girl in pink frilly clothing and turned around to clean up the work area.
The blond haired Canadian had disappeared to go get more supplies, leaving me alone at the counter with only a few people who were sitting around, enjoying their coffee. A Wookie call sounded at the far end of the bar, letting me know someone was ready to order. Once I got there I noticed a man with a rather odd curl staring at the array of pushable buttons that were all labeled "Push for Service", each of which capable of giving off a different geeky sound. The idea was an Alfred original, of course.
"Can I help you?" I asked, pulling out a pad with a clean order slip and a purple pen. The man looked up and I nearly choked on my own spit. LORD have MERCY, he was the sexiest being I had seen all day!
His mahogany hair complimented his lightly sun-kissed skin greatly, his eyes were so intensely hazel the only thing I could compare them to was a piece of amber. He was tall and his clothing choice oddly enhanced that factor. He was wearing a loose white V-neck and a black unbuttoned vest meant for a suit with some crimson jeans and black Vans. Around his neck was what looked like a shell to a used bullet and a golden cross. What really captured my attention was the tattoo situated between his shoulder and the middle of his collar bone that was playing peek-a-boo with his necklace chain.
"What's-a today's special?" The man questioned, snapping my attention back to his face. Lord he has an Italian accent! I felt heat creep up to the tips of my ears as he leaned against the counter, his bracelets and a single ring shifting along with him.
"Maple coffee and a sugar cookie." I stated simply. His face became a mixture of disgust and curiosity.
"Just something a coworker of mine came up with. There's been lots of requests for it today. I actually think it's pretty good." I shrugged. Collecting myself was becoming more of a challenge the more I stood there and talked to him. He stared at the menu quietly for a moment before he straightened himself up.
"One large special, a medium vanilla cappuccino with whip-a cream, two large black coffee's, and-"
"Your phone number, bella." My pen slipped from the pad and looked up with a shocked expression. Standing next to the Italian man was someone who looked just like him except with lighter hair and skin tones with the curl facing the opposite way. I assumed he was his brother. The new man leaned in and winked at me.
"Stupido fratello!" The other man blew up. Beyond those two words nothing else was understandable from that point on. The two argued with each other in, what I assumed was, rapid-fire Italian. The rate at which the foreign language spilled from their mouth made me dizzy. I took the time to appraise the situation.
The new guy seemed to be very sensitive and happy go-lucky and liked to switch between the two frequently. The man from before seemed to be very stubborn and had quite a temper. His brother was in a pair of black jeans, white Vans, and a pale red shirt that read, ironically enough, "Keep Calm and Eat Pasta". The exchanged seemed very much like a sibling argument and they both acted like kids. This realization made me snap out of my dumbfounded state and start laughing. They stopped and stared at me
"You guys are brothers, right?" I giggled and the happy one began to bounce around.
"Si! How did-a you know, bella?"
"You just bicker like siblings is all." I shrugged and looked over at the other guy who had his arms across his chest. It was almost like he was pouting. "Awww, don't be so upset Luigi." I teased.
"Does that-a make me Mario?" The other guy gasped.
"Shut up, fratello. I just-a want to be able to do something once without you-a fucking things up." Luigi grumbled rather sorely. I giggled.
"But you were-a taking so long and I got bored!" Mario whined.
"You should really be nicer to Mario." I pointed out and began to make the orders that were written down. "Family is everything, Luigi. You never know, something could happen."
"My name is-a Lovino." He huffed.
"And my name is-a Feliciano! You can-a call me Feli, bella." I smiled as I placed two sugar cookies into a bag and placed the black coffee's into a cardboard carrier next to the special. I set to work making the cappuccino.
"Is there anything else I can get you guys?" I questioned, presenting the completed order with some napkins. I was mostly asking Lui-er Lovino since he was cut off.
"Si. Could you-a make up a doughnut box?" He asked, pulling a list from his back pocket. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Feli wander over to the book section. I nodded and pulled a standard white box from under the counter. As I began to ring him up, I pulled a napkin from the dispenser and scribbled a quick note in my purple pen:
For Mario and Luigi
I completed my note with a few doodles of coins, question boxes, and pixelated figures as he pulled out his wallet and sorted through his cash. I tucked the napkin into the cookie bag and handed him the receipt just as his brother came back over and helped carry his order. Feli waved to me and Lovino just shook his head as I waved back.