Just A Little Coffee Thing – Fiction Part 2

Photo by Eric BARBEAU on Unsplash

She did notice him, though, when she came out of the door, yelping in surprise as he leaned next to the opening. She didn’t have any more time to get out more than the shriek before Gerrit grabbed her clipboard and pen and tossed it to the counter. She watched the pen roll off just as Gerrit’s palm enclosed around hers and he swung her around in a spin. He pulled her close and slow danced with her to a Crystal Gayle song.

“Gerrit,” Hela protested, pushing on hand against his chest and tugging against the hand he gripped. Her heart was pounding and to say butterflies were taking flight in her stomach was an understatement. She shivered as she felt his other palm, quite warm, settle against her waist.

“What?” was his innocent reply.

Hela did not believe a minute of his wide blue eyes.

“Oh stop struggling. You love this song. You sing it whenever it comes on, you always spin around and glide through like you’re on stage.”

“Twirl.”

“What?”

“I don’t spin, I twirl,” she corrected.

“I beg pardon. You twirl,” he teased, then released her waist to twirl her around again, before catching her and dipping her back. She was laughing but when his face was inches from hers she thought in an instate he might kiss her. His eyes flashed to her open mouth then back to her eyes, but he quickly righted her and they went back to dancing, the song now a one.

“You are stressing too much, Helena, he said, using the name no one ever called her, except for close friends or family. She looked up at him ready to argue and deny it.

“Oh, no, you are not going to get out of this one. I’ve been here three weeks, and you are like a time bomb waiting to go off. Or on pins and needles. I’m not sure which, but you know you are doing amazing, don’t you?”

She stared at him. “Um.” She bit her lip. She always felt like she was falling apart. Snapping at line chefs, getting impatient with the pantry girl, ready to throw her hands up at servers who asked bizarre questions. Constantly thinking about the new menu and the changes in flow. She was mentally exhausted and she felt like she was cracking at the seams.

“You are. You’re keeping things running smooth. You’re good, Hel. You’re a whiz at plating, you can take over the line when one of the guys is in the weeds or goes down. Organized, on your toes, you leave me amazed at how you keep things flowing in this madhouse. You’re already better than you think.”

Hela couldn’t respond. She had hoped someone had noticed. Micah had been her person to work with, but even he had sometimes left her wondering if she was as good as she hoped. She and Gerrit worked well together, like she and Micha could. Quiet, handing each other things as they needed it without even a word. Notes on boards were underlined from agreements; they could bounce ideas off each other like two kids playing catch.

“Obviously you doubt yourself too much.” He gave her a chastising look, as he spun them around. “Stop.”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Obviously you don’t know how my brain works,” was her caustic reply.

“I do. More than you know.” He grinned, his eyes twinkling. “Now, what was that thing about something sweet?”

 

So part two, mostly because it was a 1200 word document. Thought it might overwhelm you all.  Like I said, I’d like someone I could relate to at night when I close. Currently I can’t relate to anyone. At least on the level I’m at. But one can dream of a dream chef and dream team and someone I might have as a close colleague. One day.

Kate

Just A little Coffee Thing – Fiction Part 1

Photo by Shotlist on Unsplash

The restaurant was empty but for Carlos polishing glasses at the bar and Johnboy mopping the front dining while Hela and Gerrit went over new ideas for the upcoming menu. Prep lists, schedules, ordering, and a menu marked up, crossed out and notes scribbled in the margins. A giant whiteboard leaned against shelves on a prep station and occasionally one or both of them would walk over and scribble something else on the entire menu written out in black dry erase marker. The notes were in red and blue; for Gerrit and Hela, respectively.

Hela had teased Carlos into playing something new tonight. The “Bread” station was on and now the two of them were humming and singing their way through 1970s classic light rock. Ambrosia, Dan Fogelberg, Randy Vanwarmer, and other smooth classics. Hela had finally parted from her whites, slipping into a loose white gauze button down, the front tails tucked into her sensible slacks. She’d pulled out the plethora of bobby pins, groaning at the release of tension from all the metal bits biting into her scalp. A sharp pencil replaced the pins, turning her mass of kinked hair into a messy bun, tendrils brushing her cheeks and neck. She’d also snuck into her locker in the office and grabbed her moka pot. She needed something better than the sludge sitting in the pot for the last two hours since the last guests had left.

She hummed to the music as she heated water on the closest gas range and rooted through the lowboy in the pastry section for her hidden stash of Guatemalan dark roast coffee. Fingers tamped down the grounds, a towel to remove the nearly boiling water. The moka pot was back on a low blue flame as she went out to the bar and snagged four coffee cups. She grabbed some spoons, a carton of cream, a ramekin of sugar, then back over to grab the now spitting pot.

She didn’t see Gerrit watching her quietly from the whiteboard. He held a clipboard and pen where he had been marking the garnishes they had in stock and what he wanted to use next. He grinned, nearly laughing when she groaned after running the base of the pot under cold water at a prep sink. She set the pot down on a towel and marched out to the bar then came back with a shot glass. She measured out two shots of rich coffee to three cups, then glanced up in his direction.

“You want?” she waggled the shot glass in her hand and held the spout over it.

“Sure.”

She poured two more shots and added them to the fourth cup.

“Carlos! Johnboy! Espresso’s up!” She had more water simmering on the stove and she topped off her cup with that, adding a pinch of sugar and a very light dollop of cream. “Fix yours how you like,” she directed at Gerrit.

She stirred her cup while she watched Gerrit add a generous spoonful of sugar and only a splash of water. She made a face when Gerrit downed half the cup. Carlos came through the swinging doors baring a tall highball glass of peach effervescent liquid, a lime wedge suspended between the ice cubes. He handed it to Hela who tilted her head in thanks.

Gerrit frowned.

“Bitters and soda,” She clarified. “I mix my drinks.”

Johnboy and Carlos fixed their coffees and headed back out to the front of house. “I’ll have something sweet in a while,” Hela called after them, Johnboy grinning at her statement.

They went back to their notes. Carlos changed the station and a Juice Newton song played Hela didn’t see Gerrit watching her as she hummed and swayed as she wrote things down, stopping for random sips of coffee and her soda water. Nor did she see him grin as she sang a few lyrics and swayed her way into the produce walk-in…..

 

I was missing work the other day and I had this thought about how I’d love to have a good moka pot at work. A nice Bialetti, for when the sludge in the pot has been sitting for hours. Normally I use the French press, which is fine, but it’s still not quite like how I like my coffee. I’d love to have a nice Chef at night that I could work over prep, orders, and ideas, and drink a good cup of coffee. But no one I work with appreciates coffee at night quite like I do.  Oh, and part two is in the next post.

Oh, and if anyone notices my conflicting verb usage, would you please point it out. I have issues with passive voice. Bleh, and mixing my verbage.

2 AM Is For – Poem

This is something from puttering around with all kinds of thoughts in the last week and a half. From meeting this guy that I just now can’t get to know for a bit…. Thank you Covid-19, I hate you right now.  To big 1980s hair and makeup and smelling my grandparents cabin in an instant déjà vu moment. The lava soap on the counter, Irish Spring soap in a metal shower. And well, wishing for a little more than I have right now. Ah, spring is in the air. Here I go again.

2AM Is For

Smell Lava soap , a linger of a déjà vu of a memory
Stepping into the side door of the cabin’s
washroom
mudroom
bathroom
laundryroom
to the upstairs and all else room
Concrete sinks, and propane and the old wood and canned food pantry
Lingering odors
When 2 AM rolls around and the Irish Spring bubbles spiral
down the metal shower drain
spreadsheets have been left behind, sitting open on a screen
Orderly columns and rows, lists for this, itemized for that—
For standing naked in a mirror, curls bouncing on your shoulders
a nineteen eighties fashion girl, big makeup, big hair
Maybe he’s watching a film
Maybe you’re hoping for more than might be there
But you wear your hair down a little more, a little longer
Maybe he’s drinking that drink you wish you were sharing
And you dress a little more carefully
2 AM isn’t for the mundane, it’s for the magic
Past the witching hour,
When all the poets are awake
When night air slips in through screens
Taste the ice on the tongue, mountain’s metal coldness a cold cloak
To your Gypsy’s hide, it’s been tanned smoothed down soft and skin fresh
Aquamarine earrings swing back and forth
Put on a little Pharrell and dance around naked
Your unbridled you, that part of yourself you hide all day
Moonlight could be your sunlight
You are the alive in these waking hours
a longing for something to happen
when colors and magic spells flow
out of your fingers and the air shakes and shimmers around you
Spin out, spin around, dress in silks and feathers,
2 AM is the time to roost and let the whispers in
let the shimmering bubbles slide down the drain
2 AM is for…

PAD Day 13 – Last – Last Dance

Last Dance

It’s the last dance as the band begins to fade,
and the groom and bride have left long ago,
while streamers and confetti litter the floor,
and you and I spin around the dance floor.

The disco ball is spinning slowly flashing lights,
and Charlie’s eating another piece of cake,
while Janice takes off her heels and rests her feet,
we are all a little dead on our feet.

But I’ll spin you in your fancy dress,
and my bow tie is hanging around my neck,
while Brian’s cumberbund is hanging on a chair,
Brian’s resting in that open chair.

The band’s song is tired and losing steam,
but I’ll hold you a little longer more,
because this night is just for the two of us,
so let’s just dance, the two of us.

 

Last dances, last rites, last kisses, last moments… There’s so many last things. I kept having Frank Sinatra’s The Last Dance playing in my head today. One of my favorite songs. So many ideas, but nothing took off quite so much as thinking about a last dance of the night, when the band is playing a tired song. You know the kind. They are in movies and shows and they make the dancing seem tired and such, but I always find it kind of funny. And women are taking off their shoes because their feet are tired.  Guys look sexy in their tux, with the jacket off and a bow tie losened and hanging around their neck.  Women’s hair falling. It’s kind of cool.

Kate

 

Flash Fiction : Owen and Rena

The song changed to Rod Stewart’s raspy voice crooning a classic Billy Holiday  love song, but before Milo could swing Rena into another dance, Owen tapped him on the shoulder.

“May I cut in?” he asked.

Milo grimaced slightly at Rena, but relinquished his hold on her.  Rena almost laughed at his expression, but before she could, Owen’s warm hand encompassed  hers.

Rena  braced herself for an agonizing three minutes and was thoroughly surprised when Owen guided her into a nice slow dance.  Not a standard two-foot shuffle, but a dance that moved them around the dance floor.

Rena glanced up through her lashes at his face.

“I’ve surprised you, haven’t I?”  He questioned.

Rena thought of denying it, but that wouldn’t be very fair.  Plus, she was a terrible liar.

“Yes,” she said simply.

Owen chuckled. ” I think you underestimate me too much.”

When Rena colored slightly at his truthful statement, he chuckled again.

“I don’t mean to make you blush, however you do it so beautifully, I won’t say I’m sorry.”

Rena cleared her throat.  “Where did you learn to dance?”

“My grandma.  She thought it would e a good thing for me to know.  Ya never know when It’ll come in handy.  ‘Specially when you are impressing a woman.”  Owen spun her around and when she landed against his chest, she was breathless.  She couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled past her lips.

“Very true,” she said, the lame statement making her wince inwardly.  She had suddenly lost her composure, viewing Owen as a potential, even though she wasn’t quite sure why.  All she knew was she wanted to impress him a little.  Which meant her mind had left her.

She stared at the open neck of his plaid shirt and tried to  come up with something witty.  Impossible.  Her mind was blank, and the more she tried, the worse it got.  Instead, she started noticing how Owen’s palm rested on her waist; how he smelled of laundry soap and a hint of gasoline; and she also noticed how small she felt in his arms.  He was so tall.  Lanky.  Lean.

He was everything Milo was not.  He was not sophisticated.  He didn’t have all the smooth social graces that usually attracted Rena.  However, he was charming in his own way.  Quiet, gentle, and just a little bit different.  He wasn’t classically good looking.  His face was long and lean, somewhat rugged.  But he had amazing blue eyes.  And his voice was deep and raspy.   He was sort of a contradiction.

And Rena had no clue what to think.

 

I have this novel I have been writing for ages.  Literally ages. I started it twelve years ago.  Rena (pronounced REE na) used to be named Kate.  Ha ha, I know, I was modeling her after me.  And novel is a joke too as it’s random bits of stuff I’ve written. Milo is modeled after Milo Ventimiglia whom I was crushing on when I was 18. (Hey, I loved Gilmore Girls)

 Owen.  Well Owen is modeled after a guy who is interested in me in town.  He’s a logger.  He’s charming in his own way, but his life isn’t quite what I need.  However, it does make for good fiction.  And this little piece I may

or

It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook
Image via Wikipedia

may not use at some point, but I was listening to Rod Stewart’s The Great American Songbook cd, and I flashed to this. ( I really love this cd, even though it got a lot of flak, and my father makes fun of it. Sure, it’s not Buble, but it has some of my favorite old tunes on it)  It was fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it.

Signing off
~Kate

A Christmas Dance

"Dance with me," he requested, holding out his hand.

“Dance with me,”  Scott requested, holding out his hand.  He pulled Claudine into his arms and guided her in time to the soft Christmas music issuing from the speakers. 

They were the only ones at the informal party dancing.  Everyone else had been chatting around the coffee table as fragrant cups of steaming coffee were handed out in delicate china cups.  Trays of sweets were passed around on large trays.  Luscious tarts, elegantly decorated sugar cookies, and rich morsels of English toffee, covered the trays.

She had been sitting in a pine green velvet chair next to the large white pine Christmas tree  bedazzled in stunning turquoise and cranberry balls.  Lavish, glittering snowflakes hid among the branches while crystal icicles dripped from the branches.  While the tree could have been considered very patriotic, it’s very essence was luxurious and elegant.  The little twinkle lights sparkled and caused the faceted ornaments to send shimmering light across Claudine’s gown.  The flame colored gown of silk Georgette  sparkled  as she sat apart from the gathering of people.  The lights even made her sable hair light up with little twinkles.  She looked hauntingly beautiful.  She also looked hauntingly sad.

 Lost in her thoughts, Scott had hesitated, not wanting to intrude, but a crystal tear, caught in the corner of her eye, like a delicately placed diamond, demanded he remedy the situation.

Claudine danced silently, her thoughts troubled by his closeness.  She had been lost in thought when his deep voice and outstretched hand had brought her crashing back to reality.  She wasn’t sure why she had accepted his request.  He disturbed her in ways she couldn’t explain.  She wasn’t sure how she felt about him other than she was always on guard.  A feeling of helplessness always centered in her chest when he was near.  As if she didn’t know what to say next.  Or what he would say.

“Are you better now?”  he asked gently.

“Of-,” her voice broke and she cleared her throat.  “Of course I am.  Why do you ask?”

Her tone was defensive and he smiled at her prickly question.  His hand held her’s loosely, while the palm of his other rested on her hip, just a touch possesively.  He wanted to pull her closer, but thought she might object.

“You seemed to somber a bit ago.”

“Was I?  I can’t remember why,” she mused.

“Well, the tears are gone.”

“Tears?”

“You had one caught,” and he touched the corner of her eye with his fingertip, her lashes brushing feather-soft.  “Right there.”

“Oh.”  Her voice was soft.  “Certain Christmas music always seems to make me a bit misty eyed.”

“Hmm,” was all he said.  He didn’t believe her.  He gave into temptation and pulled her just a little bit closer.  He grinned as he heard her breath hitch.

“Do I bother you?”  he questioned.  He felt he knew the answer, and his suspicions were confirmed as her emotions warred and flashed across her face.  He felt her fingers clench in the wool of his forest green pullover.  Her pansy brown eyes grew big and round and a faint flush of rose spread over her cheeks.

“I do, don’t I?”  he said in amazement.

She stared resolutely at the collar of his white shirt.  She wasn’t sure what she’d blurt out if she looked up into his coffee-colored eyes.

“Yes,” she finally muttered.

“Pardon, can you repeat that?  I didn’t hear you,” he asked as he inclined his head closer to her mouth.

“Yes!” she hissed.  “You do bother me.”

“Why?”  He looked down into her eyes, now glittering with more unshed tears, as if the admission had cost her.  He thought she might not answer, as she kept silent for a long while, her lush mouth compressed in a tight line.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, eventually.

“I don’t bite, you know.”

“I’m not so sure of that,” she muttered in reply.

His laugh was low, but rich and full of body.  It swirled around her, and she felt the vibrations travel through her body.  The motion made her breathless as tingles of awareness moved through her body.  She glanced up at him through her lashes, eyeing him carefully.  She must have given something away; she wasn’t sure what, but before she could protest, his mouth settled on hers, ever so softly.

He kissed her gently, lingeringly, and when he pulled back, it was his turn to have troubled eyes.

“Whoa,” he murmured.  His eyes searched her’s, feeling a blaze of something hit his gut as she inclined her head closer to his.

He kissed her again, then spun her around as the music continued to play softly.

 

 

Like I mentioned over on Escaping the Inkwell, I’ve been inspired by Emilie Loring right now.  This bit of flash fiction came after listening to some really nice instrumental jazz Christmas music.  I just pictured this grand old home, with a large living room, decked out in gorgeous Christmas decorations, a la Martha Stewart.  From there, I wondered why someone would be dancing.  Well, of course, me being the romantic I am, I needed a guy and a girl.  I’ve been playing around with names, and Claudine seemed nice.  Scott is a name from a Loring, so I borrowed it.  I borrow names all the time.  I’m terrible at name hunting.

So, if you can picture it, there they were, dancing.  Picture Kevin Kline’s line to Meg Ryan in French Kiss.  “And we’re dancing.”

Signing off

~Kate