Owing to the fact that I needed to do several things in Sol, I gathered my extra bags and braced myself for that awful interstellar flight. I used them all, but the attendants had brought more for me. How thoughtful of them.
I had a close call on the jump gate station, but some warrior wannabe got a bit of a surprise for it. I guess he didn't know about my rifle and sword skills. Let's just say he does now. As usual, the Consortium soldiers took their own sweet time getting there to check things out.
Since I had to get out of there as quickly as possible, I decided to be a big spender and take the 37 credit flight to Tau instead of running to the bank for more. I should be in a hurry more often.
I went rummaging through my storage area so I could send out gifts to some of the newcomers in our area. I found I could equip a small army. Perhaps I should.
I had to decide between noodles with my friend on Taungoo and coffee with Elisa on Nouveau Limoges. She was looking for part time help too . . . I'll get noodles later.
I had mixed success making special coffee drinks for some rather discerning customers . . . then who do you think I would run into there? . . . at the cafe . . . Remember Chantelle? I know I do. Her last words had been "Me patsy, you collie. Ugh!"
Well, she looked down at the ground, bit her lip a little and then looked up at me, seeming nervous.
"Thanks for keeping me out of trouble," she said. "I need that job. They were ready to fire me. They said you gave them a real piece of your mind for that."
"That fool wanted to treat you badly because you are a patrician," I replied. "I figured perhaps he was the role model in all that."
I pulled out a chair for her, and she sat down, still preferring to look at the floor instead of at me. I glanced at Elisa, and she rushed out with two mudslides, so I tried to pay her as I pulled out my own chair, and she simply handed me the coffee as she twirled around to go skipping over to a cluttered table. Like a whirlwind, the clutter vanished into a bin I had never seen her pick up.
I sat down and finally had that conversation. Chantelle was nowhere near as nice as I had hoped she would be, but nowhere near as mean as she had seemed at the Mermaid Lounge. She said she had spent a bit too long at the bar, and I felt a little sympathetic at that. I do still remember my one and only drink from there and the stint in the brig after that . . . Something was amiss, though, in the direction she seemed to want to take the conversation.
One word dominated my thoughts on how to respond . . . No. Sure, she has potential and will have a good future with someone, perhaps, some day, but not me. No, there was no way I could keep entertaining the mistaken attentions of someone so immature and arrogant, but we could eventually be friends, I'm sure.
She insisted I keep a picture of her, so I accepted that, and she went on talking between sipping her coffee and acting cute. She was adorable at both, and an excellent talker, but you speak when you talk, and what she was saying, outside of her words, was that she really does look down on everyone, even though she resents the distrust she finds everywhere.
I felt bad for her, and I didn't mind the hug as we went our separate ways. Soft, comforting, compelling enough that I had to remind myself of the heart behind that sweet facade.
As she turned to leave, I wandered back behind the counter and took another turn at serving coffee. I was beginning to get the hang of it, but longing for the noodles on Taungoo. She spun around, probably looking for me, her pretty little expression showing she wanted to talk more . . .
I ducked into the back room, which Elisa obviously noted as after a while, she said "She's gone now. I need two frazzle lattees for table seven, pre-paid. If you hurry, they are nice tippers."
I always love a challenge.