Animalistic: II

“Alright, so I’m pretty sure if you don’t come in tomorrow and make that guy’s coffee; he’s never coming again.” Indigo commented, watching Mari stand over a simmering pot of curry.

Mari smirked, “What have you been telling him?” She brought a spoon over for them to try. Indigo took a taste and mulled it over, “Richer”. “On it.” Mari slid back to the stove to work her magic. “But I just told him the truth. That you only work weekends and you’re holding the recipe hostage.” Indigo shrugged.

“Wooow.” Mari laughed, “Well I’ll be there tomorrow so he’ll get that perfect cup o’Joe.” She held her hand against chest for emphasis. “Says the one who doesn’t drink coffee…” Indigo pointed out. ‘”Ha! I know, right? Ain’t that a bitch?” Mari teased while making each of them a plate. “You’re not to going to tell me the mix, are you?” Indigo guessed, accepting their plate. “No, I will. Just not yet. I’ve got to monopolize it for a bit.” Mari spoke casually before taking a bite, “How’s the hunt going for a new love?”

Indigo leaned back in their seat. “You mean, animalistic love?” They wagged their brows earning a laugh. “Did you coin that yourself or is this some new thing I missed?” Mari asked, grabbing some naan.

“Who knows.” Indigo shrugged, “It’s going…sort of well though. I think?” They took a bite. “Riiiiight. Are you still on the apps or strictly in the meet-cute department?” Mari wondered. “Both. Keeping all the options open.” Indigo spread their hands out for effect. “I like it…” Mari nodded.


Some time later Indigo was stretched out on the couch with a face mask while Mari laid splayed out on her bed, feet propped up on the brick wall. Raising a small white tube to her lips, Mari inhaled.

“I feel high.” Indigo pipped up. “The curry’ll do that to ya.” Mari chuckled. “Pass the chiiips.” Indigo whined, cracking one eye open. Without missing a beat Mari clipped the bag closed and tossed it over. “You’re the best.” They wasted no time busting into the ghost pepper chips. Mari sat upright and took a swig from her bottle, “Did you still want to go out tonight?”

“Nah, I have a date tonight.” Indigo admitted. Mari’s mouth fell open, “You smug little bitch. When were you going to tell me you had a date!?” She exclaimed, “So is this a first date…or a second date…or a pre-date…?” Mari trailed off with another swig.

“It’s a third date actually-” “Well damn!” Mari cut in.

Indigo grabbed a pillow and chucked it at her. “Shut up!” They fought back laughter, “AS I WAS SAYING,” with a warning look they raised another pillow ready for aim, “it’s our third date and it’s going pretty well.”

“Wait. I thought you said the animalistic love search was kind of…bleh?” Mari pointed out. “Well, there hasn’t been that animalistic angle yet between us.” Indigo explained. “I see, I see.” Mari tapped her cheek thoughtfully, “What time do you need to get ready?” She asked, clocking the mask on her friend’s face. “Um…whenever the mask is ready then I’ll rush home.” Indigo began testing the mask to see if it’d dried. Mari rolled her eyes, “Alright. Get up, let’s get you looking flawless before you’re late.”


The following morning Indigo and Mari were in their bakery groove, Lizzo playing just loud enough for them to move to the beat while powering through the rush. Between the flurry of customers Mari was able to learn that Indigo’s date had gone well, a fourth date was in the works, and there were still no animalistic highlights yet. When Indigo asked what she’d done last night, Mari simply flashed her new manicure.

“Alright. You’re up. Time to make coffee, but not too bitter.” Indigo nodded towards the door, spotting the guest of honor first as usual. “I don’t know how you do that.” Mari admitted. “He always comes after rush on weekends.” Indigo shrugged before shooing her to the register.

“Hello,” Mari smiled, “your signature drink?” Her fingers were already flashing across the screen ringing it in. “The way you made it last week.” He commented while handing over cash. “That’s riiight! Indigo told me I finally hit the jackpot on you.” Mari handed over his receipt. “You refused to tell them how you made it.” His words earned Mari a sideways glance from Indigo, but she ignored it. “Well I had to make sure they weren’t going to tell you, first.” Mari explained cheerfully. “Why?” His brows knit together marking the largest expression change Indigo and Mari had seen to date. “Well I can’t have you going to other places and telling our secret, now can I?” Mari shrugged easily before leaving a puzzled man behind to get to work.

Indigo bit back laughter while edging over to see what Mari was making. Mari immediately shoo’d them away. A few minutes later Mari presented his cup, “Here you go. Have a nice day.” She smiled, waving him off before settling against the counter with smug expression. “So are you going to finally tell me?” Indigo murmured as the two watched him walk out the door. “Eh…yeah, I’ll text it to you.” Mari agreed. “Alright, now get back to work. Enough traumatizing my customers.” Indigo chuckled, nudging her towards the register.


SUNDAY MORNING

“Take five!” The dance instructor called out to the group.

Indigo wasted no time plopping to the ground while Mari went off for water. In her absence Zara walked over with a towel draped over her shoulders. “How are my two dance buddies doing?” She asked earning a middle finger from Indigo. “It’s been too long. I feel like I’m dying.” Indigo groaned from the floor. “Yeah, it’s been a while. Busy with the bakery?” Zara asked while stretching out. “Always.” Indigo breathed. “I still can’t believe you’re actually out here just RUNNING a bakery!” Zara joined them on the floor, “I’ve got to pop in one of these days,” She tilted her head just as Mari came over with two water bottles, “before you die.”

Mari handed Indigo one and gave Zara a smile, “Hey, love.”

“Hi my little office minx!” Zara leaned up to give her a kiss on the cheek, “How’s the world of invoices and tax returns?” She asked, patting a spot on the floor. “Oh you know. I finish my work as quickly as possible and then listen to podcasts all day.” Mari took a swig of water and passed the bottle to Zara. “And then she comes and helps me with the books.” Indigo pipped in; laying on the floor with their eyes closed. “Yep.” Mari smiled. “Are you still getting the bakery discount?” Zara asked, passing Mari back to her bottle. “All the quiches I could ever want.” Mari winked.

“I’ll give you the family discount if you fix me up.” Indigo offered between swigs of water. “Hmm our next company part is coming up…” Zara’s eyes narrowed in thought, “Alright. We’ll do the whole shebang and get you poppin’ again.” Zara finally agreed before capturing some of Mari’s loose curls between her fingers. “I know. I need to come in and get my roots done. You have any openings this week?” Mari asked. “Just come in after work. I’ll stay late and you can cook me dinner again.” Zara negotiated with a shrug. “If only your clients knew about the food to currency exchange rate.” Mari chuckled.

“Bring it back in guys!” The dance instructor was already starting the music.

“Let’s do this.” Mari took one last swig of water and hopped up. “Ayudame.” Zara held out out her hands. Mari quickly pulled her up and the two found their places. Meanwhile Indigo was still laying flat on the ground. The dance instructor noticed immediately. “Indigo, get off the floor!”


ZARA’S SALON

A light tapping on the door pulled Zara’s attention from her phone to see Mari making love gestures through the glass. “We don’t want any!” Zara called with a laugh before finally letting Mari inside. “Well don’t you look like a cute little office lady!” She gave her a kiss on the cheek and ushered her to the wash station. “Time to take you from an Andrea to a Miranda.”

“Do it. Miranda -fy me.” Mari laughed as her hair became soaked.

“So what’s new with you?” Zara asked. “Aside from work and the bakery? Not too much really.” Mari admitted. “Nothing new from he who shall not be named?” Zara cut straight to the chase. “He actually sent me a message the other night.” Mari pulled a bit of a face. “And….?” “-And I didn’t even respond. I’m not trying to get stuck in that wormhole again.” Mari shook her head at the thought. “Good. Let him vanish. You find someone else- or don’t find someone else! Just live your life and put your money towards YOU instead of some guy who’s just going to be like “uh sorry, but um I think I found someone else and it’s getting serious and you just-um…should accept the memo‘.” Zara fully committed to her best Steve Urkel impression; which was dreadful. “Can I just record that and make it his notification?” Mari already had her phone out. “Yes, girl! Whatever it takes.” Zara gave her chest a little pat and cleared her throat.

“So I haven’t seen your significant other in a while…everything still good?” Mari asked as Zara played with the color. “Oh yeah. Just busy with work, but always there when I wake up in the morning.” Zara’s smile softened. “Aw…so I’ll make extra tonight.” Mari gave a smile in their reflection. “And that’s why we love youuu.” Zara planted a kiss on her cheek, “But more importantly we need to discuss the newest season of ‘Perfect Match’ because a LOT has happened.”

“RIGHT?! Hasn’t it be so wild?!”


MARI’S APARTMENT

“I’m planning a trip for a couple of weeks. Do you think you’ll be able to watch Úlfa while we’re away?” Zara was fixing her appearance in the bathroom mirror. “Sure. Just give me a few days notice.” Mari called while packing leftovers. “At this point I think she loves you more than she loves us, to be honest.” Zara laughed, walking back into the kitchen. “Speaking of which…” Mari fished through the fridge and pulled out a Tupperware filled with bones, “from this week’s batch.”

“And is there any extra…from this weeks batch?” Zara tried to sneak a peek in the fridge. “Yeah, yeah. Back off you raccoon.” Mari swatted her away and pulled a mason jar out of the freezer, “Just thaw it and you’ll be set.” A yawn hung on her words as she handed it over. “Thanks, office minx.” Zara gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Bye, love.” Mari locked the door behind her friend and sunk on the couch. Slipping a small white tube from her bra she closed her eyes, raised it to her lips, and inhaled. After holding her breath for a few seconds she slowly exhaled. “Hey Caramin. Play tango music.”


INDIGO’S BAKERY

“Have a good day!” Mari waved off a customer with a smile. “Hey, Indigo.” Her eyes lingered on the customers milling about. “What?” Indigo huffed from beneath the counter. “What’s his name?” Mari asked. Indigo peeked over to see who she was talking about before realization hit, “Can’t tell you that.” They answered coolly. Mari’s brows knit together, “What?”

“Sorry I’ve got to- what was it? Oh! I’ve got to monopolize it for a bit and then I’ll text you.” Indigo smirked. “You’re such an arse.” Mari couldn’t stop the grin as she rolled her eyes. “Why do you want to know anyway?” Indigo stood and set to work cleaning the machines. “Just figured it might be shorter than what we’ve been calling him, don’t ya think?” Mari shot back casually. “You’re right but…I’ve still got to monopolize it.” Indigo did their best impression of Mari earning a swat of a rag. “And to think I told you my secret recipe!” Mari dramatically flicked the rag over her shoulder and turned her nose to the sky. “Oi. Get the next customer, primadonna.” Indigo swiped the rag to keep busy.

“The usual.” The infamous customer’s voice was it’s usual tired and indifferent cadence. “Coming right up.” Taking the cash Mari pondered asking for a name, but could already hear the words ‘this isn’t starbeans‘ in her head. While making his special brew she could hear Indigo taking more orders and started prep. By the time she met ‘Mr. Impossible’ at the counter’s edge her thoughts were buzzing with the piling orders. “Here you are. Enjoy.” Her smile was quick and too the point. Not expecting a response, she’d spun to swap roles with Indigo before Mr. Impossible even lifted his cup.

“So did you get his name?” Indigo murmured in passing. “Bite me…” Mari whispered, sticking her tongue out before facing the next customer with a smile. “What can I get you today?”


TWO WEEKS LATER

Mari sat snugly between two commuters; headphones feeding her favorite podcast while she zoned out on the Underground. Every so often the train would hit a bump in the tracks jostling her out of a daze. On one of the bumps she glanced around the cabin to see none other than Mr. Impossible. “Whaaaat…?” She whispered to herself. He blended in so easily with the crowd it took a double take just to be sure it was him. Pulling out her phone she quickly sent off a message. 

Indigo was enjoying a cup of coffee when their phone vibrated. 

Mari Mari Xmas: Guess who I just saw >_>

Indigo: ur ex 

Mari rolled her eyes. 

Mari Mari Xmas: Ew no

Mari Mari Xmas: It’s MR IMPOSSIBLE 

Indigo wheezed into their cup. After looking to make sure the customers were occupied they turned back to their phone.

Indigo: where? 

Mari Mari Xmas: Underground

Indigo: wow. u FINALLY spotted him in the wild. whats it like?

Mari Mari Xmas: Um… 

Mari look up from her phone and studied him for a moment.

Mari Mari Xmas: About the same

Indigo: figured as much 

Mari noticed Mr. Impossible beginning to shift in his seat and quickly peeped which stop they were coming up on. Several thoughts swarmed her head: is he just switching lines? does he live off this stop? this is so out o the way for Indigo’s spot. maybe he’s just changing positions? oh shit! no. he’s getting off! Fingers tensing around her phone she bit her lip before moving to her feet. Careful to keep an eye on him she slipped off the train to the platform in the flow of the crowd. 

Mari Mari Xmas: *shared her location*

Mari Mari Xmas: I got off the train. Just in case

“Enjoy your evening!” Indigo watched the final customers disappear out door and immediately flipped the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’. Nodding along to music they fetched the vacuum. ‘Mari Mari Xmas’ flashed on their phone earning just a glance until the phone lit up again. “Alright, alright.” They huffed, swiping in their passkey.

Indigo: call me ASAP