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Better Than Coffee

"How tall are you anyway?" Nereid said, squinting upward at Megan as they walked down off Helicine Hill.

"Just short of eight feet," Megan said. "I never made it the last half inch."

"So, given your height and build, do you actually think that it's worth it to try to maintain a secret ID?"

Megan stopped short and stared down at Nereid. "I don't have a secret ID."

Nereid rolled her eyes. Megan kept having to readjust her guess as to the girl's age: her conversation turned it up, and the eye-rolling dialed it down. "Whatever you say," Nereid said.

"Wait a minute," Megan said. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, come on," Nereid said. Megan guessed the girl's short hair was a new look, since Nereid tried to toss her hair at this point. "There's a giant, invulnerable, superstrong woman in spandex that just showed up in town about a week ago. She's got red hair, but wigs fix that."

Megan frowned. "I only came in on the bus last night."

"And we just have your word for that, babycakes," Nereid said in a smug tone.

The Great Scot Coffeehouse was large and crowded, with a high, echoing ceiling that ruined the acoustics so that everyone had to shout to be heard. The counters were brushed steel and the trim was mirror-polished chrome.

Nereid was apparently accustomed to slipping through the crowd to the head of the line. She sighed and rolled her eyes when Megan planted herself squarely at the end of the line. They waited without speaking, because the noise made the usual get-to-know-you conversation impossible.

"Hi, Simon!" Nereid bellowed when they reached the counter and their caffeinar, a short, strikingly pretty young man with cafe au lait skin, a flat-top haircut, wire-rim glasses, and an impeccable van Dyke. "Centi mocha macchiato with two shots please? What'll you have, Megan?"

"Er." Megan scanned the signs desperately for terminology, then gave up. "Coffee. The largest. Whatever it's called."

Simon flashed her a brilliant grin -- his teeth were movie-star-white. "I usually call it 'the vat'!" he said, holding up the biggest cup, which resembled a child's sandbucket.

"That, please," Megan said, returning the grin. Now that her joints were ceasing to ache like she was 80, she had some time to focus on the other members of her generation. She found Simon terribly nice to look at.

Nereid was distracting too, in a middle-America girl-next-door-with-freckles kind of way, even though she was striving desperately for a more sophisticated look. But oh, no, not spandex, never again. Especially not spandex that much younger than her.

Nereid paid with a dark blue credit card that was spangled with glittery stars. "I'm a member of the Young Cosmics!" she shouted by way of explanation. Megan nodded, and took her vat of coffee from the still-grinning Simon.

"Come back soon!" Simon said.

Nereid found them a table in a back corner where it was marginally less deafening.

"So tell me more about this woman you think I am," Megan said, taking a scalding gulp of coffee. She stopped short, noticing the writing on the side of the cup.

Nereid started to laugh. "Better be careful, he's a notorious heartbreaker!"

Written on the side of the cup, in the thick black marker the caffeinars used to note drink details, was a phone number, a cartoon heart, and the words, "Please? -- Simon."

Date: 2012-05-09 06:57 pm (UTC)
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Siiiimoooon. <3333


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