“Hello, hello, hellooo.” A smile was crisp on Mari’s voice as she trotted up the steps and breathed in fresh air.
“Don’t try to be all cute- you little tart.” Indigo could hear laughter on the one other end. “Are you really following that man right now?”
It took everything in Mari to keep a straight face, “…One could describe it as happening to walk in the same direction while also maintaining steady distance-“
“I fucking knew it.” Indigo shook their head, catching a glimpse of their reflection and happy at least someone was on the same page. “How’d you even manage to find him?” Setting the phone on ‘speaker’ they got back to work.
“Who knows? Could be fate? Could be that my usual line was having technical difficulties and I didn’t want to be a stuck sardine.” Mari shrugged.
“And now you’re a bonafide stalker. Congratulations. I’m sure you’ll have loads to talk about next time you ring up his coffee.” Indigo rolled their eyes, wiping down tables.
“Listen. I can easily hang up if you want and then you won’t have to be my accompli-“
“Oh shut up and fill me in already!” Indigo shot back.
“Okay, okay!” Mari laughed. “So we’ve literally just been walking.”
“How’s the neighborhood?”
“What’s the end goal exactly?”
“…I never thought that far ahead.” Mari admitted.
“Mari! For all you know you’re following him into some underground street fighting ring or where he lives or his family or something!”
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re horrible at escalation.” Mari commented.
“And I don’t even have words for you.” Indigo sighed.
“Relax, relax.” Mari had stopped in front of a store showcasing shoes. “I already stopped following him.”
Indigo narrowed their eyes suspiciously. “Why….?”
“I’d say because once I was surface level I felt crazy, so I’ve just been window shopping.”
“I’d say I’m proud,” Indigo feigned their voice then immediately let it fall flat, “-but I’m not. So did you learn anything new about your favorite customer?”
“Um, Okay?” Mari’s nose scrunched. “Who said he was my favorite customer?”
“You didn’t answer my question….” Indigo prodded with a smirk.
Mari rolled her eyes. “Like I said- I started window shopping pretty early on. All I know is he went inside a convenience store.”
“You never mentioned him going in a store.” Indigo placed a hand on their chest dramatically. “Were you holding out on me?”
“I never got the chance with you harassing me!” Mari laughed.
“Alright, alright.” Indigo waved the idea away. “Just get home before someone notices you because- and I don’t know how to tell you this, but rose gold doesn’t exactly blend.”
“Sure it does! And I’m already heading back. I’m going to bus it.” Mari spoke between bites of a hearty sandwich.
“Okay be safe. Text me when you get home.”
“Mari?” Indigo squinted in disbelief. “In my neck of the woods this early?” They raised a brow as their friend’s tired face approached the counter.
“I know. I know.” Mari laid a hand against her forehead in exasperation. “I just couldn’t resist being away from you for so long.”
“Uhuh.” Indigo snorted. “Here for a morning quiche?”
“I’ll actually just take a chai for now. I’m being loaned out to a client, so you’ll be plagued by me popping in these next few days.” Mari teased with an unrestrained yawn.
“Nice. Well you just missed Zara s-“
“Are you shitting me?” Mari whipped around. “She finally comes out here and I missed it? Typical.”
“Just about as typical as you texting after you take a shower and not right when you get home.” Indigo retorted casually.
Mari went to speak but thought better of it when Indigo raised a brow. “I’ll just be waiting for that lovely chai of yours.” Her tone was sweet as she made her way to the end counter.
“Mhm. That’s what I thought.” Indigo chuckled.
Mari quietly nodded along to the morning music while making a mental checklist of everything she needed to get done. “I should probably write it down..” Fishing through her bag for her phone, she glanced up to see another patron waiting nearby. Initially she paid them no mind, opting to pull up her to-do list instead.
Then it hit her.
Just a bit taller with dark rings under their eyes and a gloomy expression.
Mari peeked again.
Yep. There was no denying it. Even in typical business attire there was no mistaking Mr. Impossible.
Mari figured he must really not be a morning person- not that there was any shame in it. She personally felt the same.
On the third glance they met eyes and Mari swore her soul almost left her body.
Definitely not a morning person.
“One chai for Mari!” Indigo’s voice rang loud and true.
“Yep! Thanks.” Mari flashed a smile and hustled out to the pavement.
For the past few days Mari’s mornings were spent waiting for chai with Mr. Impossible. And in that time she’d noticed some things. Firstly, he never deviated from his order. Secondly, he seemed to have a preference for wearing neutral colors. Thirdly, Indigo would not say his name out loud and clearly informed their employees to do the same. Fourthly, she couldn’t tell if he recognized her or not.
From the corner of her eye she could see Indigo smirking in her direction, but chose to ignore them. Chai was on the line here.
Indigo on the other hand was very aware of Mari’s fixation and found it hilarious. They were pretty sure Mr. Impossible was too zoned out in the mornings to take note of anything. Did they say as much to Mari? Of course not. Where’s the fun in that?
“Morning, Mari. What can I get for you on this fine day?” Indigo greeted their friend with enough positivity to work for the big mouse.
Mari shot them a dull look. “Chai.” Taking out payment she handed it over. “Missing me already?”
Indigo shrugged. “As a coworker or as a friend?”
Mari snorted, “Wow. I can’t believe they’re even on equal footing.”
Indigo shot a wink. “What can I say? Equality all around.”
“Mhm.” Mari slid down to the end counter leaving Indigo to work.
When Indigo served Mari’s chai they held it just out of reach. “I am going to miss you though. Three weeks without you here is going to feel like a month.”
“It just about is, actually.” Mari teased.
“You know what I mean.” Indigo gave her a swat of the rag.
Mari laughed. “Yeah, yeah.” She agreed. “I’m still on loan though, so you’ll be seeing my pretty face during the week for a bit longer.”
“That long of a job, huh?” Indigo was surprised.
Mari nodded, plucking her chai from Indigo’s grasp. “Yeah. It’s a whole thing right now.” Rolling her eyes she took a hefty sip. “Ah…hits the spot. See you later, love.” Turning on her heels she accidentally bumped someone’s shoulder. “Pardon me. Have a good day!”
Úlfa sat patiently at Mari’s feet as she stretched near the entrance of their usual park. It wasn’t exactly close to Mari’s flat, but it had a long enough path to get in a good workout for both of them.
“Remember to go easy on me, girl. I’ve slipped off the wagon since our last stint.” Mari admitted.
Forty minutes later they were waiting at a crosswalk when Mari felt a presence. A dark and gloomy presence…Glancing around she caught a pair of bleak eyes and nearly keeled over. For some reason it hit different when they weren’t in the bakery. Thinking back on it, they were pretty close to that one station so it did make some sense. However, there was still one question:
Does he recognize me or no?
Mr. Impossible hadn’t visibly shown any signs of recognition, but what was the bar exactly?
They met eyes and…nothing.
Mari took a deep breath internally. Fine. If he wants to act like we don’t know each other then fine by me. It’s not like I’m the person who cracked his impossible coffee order or anything, right? Right?
Then they made eye contact again and Mari cracked. The audacity.
Without a second thought Mari walked over and gave a smile. “Hey.”