Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adventures At Cupid Cafe (Friday Fiction) [Part 1]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Lynn Squire over@  her blog, Faith, Fiction, Fun and Fanciful. Click here to read and share more great fiction! Don't forget to leave a comment. 

Author's Ramblings: A Friday Fiction post! Finally. It seems like forever since I've done this. Whew. I started writing and the next thing I knew, hours had gone by. LOL. This is also a part 1. No, not the original series I have planned, this is a filler. I haven't had time to iron out some of the wrinkles in the series idea, so this is some fluff while I get that together. This piece turned out to be longer than I wanted, so I cut the original 10 pages in half and tried to polish it up a bit, but I wanted to explore the characters, so there's more character sketch than story in this particular piece. I've had the idea in my head all day, so it's had some time to simmer. I have a part two already written and ready to go, so for now, here's the part one. I hope you enjoy the girls at the Cupid's Cafe, as much as I've had fun writing them. It's a really silly story, but I like it just the same. (Note: if page break does not work, click on the post title to read the entire installment) Happy weekend and enjoy the read! 


(and because I couldn't resist, here's a teaser/synopsis: )
Cupid's Cafe : First Heart
In the sleepy city of Marlesburg, beneath a weathered stone arch, Cupid’s Café can be found, a respectable coffee shop drowned in muted shades of rich burgundy and brown. With a reputation for the finest in pastries and chocolate confections, Cupid’s Café is also known for a unique twist—local legend says that cupid once vowed to protect all true love that passed beneath the archway—and shot an arrow into the stone to ensure it. Run by a mysterious owner and five schoolgirl employees, something is always happening at Cupid’s cafe. Melody is the assistant pastry chef—known for her unusual recipes and close friendship with the mystery owner. Lucy—a bubbly, spirited high-schooler—is one of the famous three waitresses. Tomi—an average girl in search of part-time job—fills the slot as the second waitress. Cheri—a classic redhead with musical tendencies—plays the third waitress and head hostess of the café, dedicated to her job and keeping Lucy and Tomi on their toes. Kamei—a girl who dreams in numbers and whose hands cannot stay still—runs the small gift shop within the café. These five girls form the heart and soul of a special haven for lovestruck hearts.



It didn’t take long for Cupid’s café to hum to life. Lights came on, signs flickered to life and ovens began to work creating the delicious scents that soon wafted through the air. It was a cozy little place, where elegance was commonplace and delicacies crafted within, worthy of the rave reviews bestowed upon it.

A chime sounded throughout the café, announcing the first customer.

It was a high-school couple, the standard fare during the early mornings and late afternoon rushes for the popular establishment. “Hello?” Stepping into the lobby, they waited beside the silver sign with elegant scrolls. With sleek, shiny hair framing a simple face, adorned with thick-framed glasses, the girl was pretty in her own way, her smile shy but visible. Her boyfriend was checking his iPhone as they waited to be seated.

“Table for froo? I mean, two?” Lucy shoved the wad of bubblegum to the side of her mouth. She smiled her trademark smile and with a tilt of her head, gestured to the left. The young couple followed. “And right here.” Picking a corner table to the right of the window, Lucy drew two red, foil-wrapped chocolates from her apron pocket. “Compliments of Cupid’s Café.” She intoned. “Snack, treat or meal?”

The girl hesitated. “T—tre—snack.” Her boyfriend looked up, placing the cellphone on the table.

“Order whatever you want, babe.”

“So, treat?”

A blush painted across the girl’s face.  “Yes.” Her voice was softer than before.

“What would you like to drink?”

“Something chocolate.” The boyfriend waved his hand absently.

“What kind of chocolate?” Lucy’s eyebrows arched upwards, disappearing into her blunt bangs.

“You know, chocolate.” The fellow shrugged. “The best one you have.”

“There’s at least three bases-” Lucy snapped her bubblegum. “-Milk, dark and white, to begin with and-”

The boy turned to her with a pointed glare marring the symmetrical features of his smooth, pale face. “I said, just bring something good. Your finest.” He scowled. “Can’t you see that you’re interrupting us?” He tossed a head of white-blond hair with a flair of annoyance.

“Brent, she’s just trying to-”

“Shh, don’t worry abut it babe. We can still have a good time.” Brent reached across the table to take her clenched hand.

Lucy’s eyebrows wiggled faintly and she turned on her heel with a huff. Her apron swished in protest, dressy skirt twitching as she stomped off to the counter and around it to the kitchen. She stopped when she reached the prep room, at the sight of the first available person.

The pastry chef, Melody, looked up from piping cream inside a tray of freshly prepared strawberry tarts, a wide smile immediately spread across her face. “A custom order?”

“No.” Lucy jammed the digital tablet into the apron pocket. “It’s those two again.”

“Which two?” Kamei whirled by, her arms filled with wicker baskets and thick, fancy ribbons. “Grab this.”

“Grab what?” Lucy edged away. “Can’t reef it.”

“Reach it.” Tomi corrected, entering the middle hall to grab the ribbons from Kamei’s armful. “Kamei, put it down, you’re going squish something in there.”

“There isn’t anything squishable inside.” But Kamei set it on the wrapping table in the corner of the prep room, smoothing her uniform, a dressy red vest and skirt, accented with a crisp, white shirt. “Where’s Cheri? If you can’t handle it, send her. Isn’t that why we have two of you?”

“I don’t want to handle it.” The words were half-sung as the redhead in question appeared around the corner, tossing the cordless phone from one hand to the other. “and stop lumping us together as if we’re a single commodity. I’m not the same as they are.” Cheri smoothed the front of her tuxedo vest, tying on a matching half apron before she shrugged into her hostess jacket. “Lucy, what did you do?”

“You are, to me.” Kamei muttered. “I’m tired of your complaints.”

“I didn’t do anything.” Lucy protested. “It just said that-”

“She complains, I don’t.” Cheri drummed her fingers across Lucy’s head. “Quiet, you.” She inserted herself between the blonde and brunette. “Kamei, you okay?”

“Fine. Just peachy.” Kamei snatched the ribbons from Tomi’s hands. “You go, then. See if I care.”

“If you have a complaint, address it to me as head hostess.” Cheri’s frown deepened. “Lucy, who is it?”

“Brent and his latest eye candy.”

All the girls in the room looked up.

Melody paused again in her pastry decorating. “Again?” There was a resigned note in her voice. “I don’t like that.”

“We don’t have to like it.” Kamei griped. “But seriously, he should just do his cheating elsewhere.”

“He isn’t cheating.” Tomi stabbed her timecard in the machine on the wall. “We attend the same school. He just doesn’t stay single for long.” She shrugged. “I didn’t think that he’d found a new girl already though. I feel bad for her.”

“You haven’t even seen her yet.” Lucy blew a bubble with her gum.

“Lucy!” Cheri caught her in a headlock, wrestling her towards a the garbage can. “Spit that out. It’s unladylike. You can’t be snapping gum in front of our customers.”

“I’m not frying to be a lady.” Lucy stuck her tongue out. “Trying.” She mumbled, correcting herself, struggling to get free of the arm around her neck.

“I’ll go.” Tomi said, briskly. “Anyone else out there?”

“Not yet.” Lucy stilled, wrinkling her nose. “Then again, I think…” There was a pause. “Group of five, the Caryn sisters, then Edgar and Jeanne and Misty and Lawrence.” She recited the names in quick succession. “Should be soon. Now, probably.”

A grudging smile of admiration came from Cheri, who released her hold on the younger girl and pushed Tomi out of the room. “Do your best.” The chime began to sound, signaling the arrival of more customers. Cheri ducked back in to catch hold of Lucy and yanked her outside. “You too. No slacking off allowed.”

“I’m not slapping.” Lucy protested.

“Slacking.” Cheri corrected, dragging her out. “Slacking. The word you want is slacking. Slapping is what I will do if you don’t get your brain into gear, you little cream puff.”

“Why am I a cream puff?”

“Because you eat pastry.”

“But I like pastry.”

“Lucy.”

“I want to be a strudel—OW!”

“Brain. Use. Now. Before I dunk you in a vat of chocolate-”

“Owwww.” This time it was more of a whine. “I’m going, I’m going. Meanie.”

Melody stifled a chuckle as the duo disappeared. “I hope they don’t strangle each other.” She mused, turning the tray to continue her decorating. There was a pleasant silence in the prep room until Kamei began to swathe the baskets in decorative cellophane. The crackling of the plastic broke the silence. The pastry chef frowned. “Kamei, are you okay, sweetie?”

The snip of scissors was the only answer in the small room.

A small smile touched Melody’s face. She finished the tarts and carried them out to the display case, sliding them into the proper slot. Her eyes quickly took inventory of the dining room as she straightened the info card for the tarts. 

Straightening, a frown replaced her smile as she slipped back to the prep room and started towards the kitchen. “Kamei.”

“What?”

“Isn’t that Celia with Brent?”

Kamei’s head snapped up. “Celia?” She dropped the ribbons and bows, hurrying to the front of the café. She returned a moment later, her face red and her hands in fists. “That lout!” She fumed. “He’d better not hurt her!” She stood, arms crossed over her chest, glaring at the gift baskets. “Melody!”

“Yes?” Melody hovered in the kitchen doorway. “What?”

“Since when has he come here?”

“Huh?”

“Brent with Celia.”

“I don’t know. He was with Renae the last time.”

Kamei’s hands curled into fists, an unusual wash of emotion showing on her white face, a pale contrast increased by the stark black of her short, bobbed hair. “Renae, huh? The time before that it was all about Olivia.”

“Uh, did you need something?” Melody winced. “I mean, I have things baking and-”

“I can’t keep watching him do this!”

“Right, anything else?”

“Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“No.” The answer came quickly. “It’s none of our business and Celia looks fine.”

“She looks fine now.” Kamei said, hotly. “But what about an hour from now? Did he even order any drinks?”

“Our finest chocolate drink.” Lucy burst into the prep room, sagging against the counter. “That girl is a slave driver.”

Soft chimes filled the room and Melody turned to look at the screen above the counter. She mouthed the words as the orders appeared on the screen, then leaned around the corner. “Key lime pies and chocolate cherry cheesecake, split-personality chocolate mint muffins and a slice of orange cream pudding, all with garnish.”

Something crashed in the kitchen. “Cup or bowl?” The head chef snapped. “You can at least remember to specify-”

Melody squinted at the screen. “Lucy?”

“Huh?” The blonde head of curls tilted to the side. “Oh, um, cup. They don’t usually take the bowls.” Two pairs of eyes zeroed in on her. Lucy held up her hands. “Don’t look at me, Tomi took their order.”

“Cup.” Melody called out.

There was an answering grunt and more things banging.

It brought a ground of winces from the trio in the prep room.

“Should she even be in there?” Lucy wanted to know.

Kamei shrugged. “It’s her kitchen, her café, not like we have any say in it.”

“Like, what’s your probla?”

“Problem. My problem is you.” Kamei huffed, gathering up her baskets and ribbons. “Just move.” She pushed past, arms overflowing.

Lucy watched her go.

Melody perked a brow. “Shouldn’t you be out there?”

“She will be.” Cheri’s voice floated in as she reached towards the younger girl, a gleam in her blue eyes. Lucy ducked, but was caught anyway. “That’s enough slapping and slacking off for you—whichever it is.” 
“Cheri—lemme go!” 

© Sara Harricharan 

6 comments:

Kristina Rohder said...

Ooo, I really like this! Your characters are so much fun! Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing where you take this story. :)

Yvonne Blake said...

OH...I can see the potential in this! (lots of characters and mini-dramas)

Catrina Bradley... said...

This was fun to read, but I think it will be next week before I figure out what's going on at the Cupid Cafe. :)

Debra Ann Elliott said...

Love it! Want to read more.

Talei said...

I really enjoyed the synopsis of Cupid Cafe ( great name too btw) and the snippet. Nicely done. ;)

Bus said...

This was fun ^_^