Disclaimer: All rights go to those who, well, aren't me. You know, Square-soft, Square-Enix, whatever they're calling themselves now, I lose track.
Rich liked his job. It was easy and had decent pay and the tips weren't bad either. It was cool inside the parlor, and with the temperature of the beach outside around 94 degrees, he couldn't complain. Serving ice cream all day long may be slightly mundane, but it was easy, simple, and best of all, laid back. Yes, Rich liked his job.
Today was a slow day. Rich hummed a tune he would have to try out on his guitar when he got back home as he watched some little girl drip Rocky Road all down her jumper front.
He continued to watch the girl idly as he drummed a beat with his fingertips onto the counter. The door jingled, but he didn't look up. Suddenly, the girls' mother shot her hand out and grabbed the daughter, hauling the ice-cream-sticky child onto her lap. Rich idly wondered if that smelly bum from the corner down on 14th street who always screamed about Sephiroth's Return had come in again. He looked up, about ready to ask the guy to leave, when four people in (very hot looking,) black suits came up to the counter. Rich suddenly became annoyed: a smelly bum was one thing. When he left, the smell left with him. But these guys were dripping in red paint or something and it was getting all over the floor and the counter. Except for the one guy in the back of the group with the long black hair talking on the cell phone; he seemed immaculate.
A guy with flaming red hair and a wide smirk slapped his hand down onto the counter, leaving a smudgy print.
"Are you guys painters?"
The guy blinked. His face didn't change an inch, but he continued to blink for a moment before smiling wider.
"Hello there…Rich." He said, craning his neck a little to read the name tag, "I'd like some ice cream-"
"Sir," Rich interrupted, "I'm going to have to ask you and your friends to leave. You're getting that paint everywhere."
The guy's smirk widened.
"Well, Rich, the thing is, this ain't paint." He spoke evenly, but even Rich could pick up on the amusement in his voice, "This is blood. Most of it belongs to a couple of guys who are currently in the dumpster this fine establishment uses. Some of it's ours. The dudes put up one hell of a fight, you see. And as I'm sure you know, it's a damn hot day, and I and my friends," he gestured vaguely to his companions, "would like some fucking ice-cream. Wanna cool off, Rich, see."
The man and the blond woman he was with smiled, though only the woman seemed to have any kindness behind it. The bald man behind them simply stood with his hands behind his back, while the other continued to hold the cell phone to his ear. Rich suddenly felt fingers on his chin as the red head grabbed him and slowly brought them face to face again. He focuses on a spot smeared blood that traveled from an old scar on the guy's cheekbone down to his chin, marring an otherwise porcelain face.
Rich decided they did not have to leave without their ice cream after all.
The man smiled and turned to the blond woman behind him.
"I'll have mint chocolate chip, please."
"She'll have the mint chocolate chip."
"Sugar cone or bowl, El?
"She'll have a sugar cone, Rich."
"And my friend here will have…" he turned to the large bald man, who didn't move a muscle, but still seemed to take up even more space when he spoke.
"Cherry vanilla. Cone."
"Excellent. He'll have a cherry 'nilla cone." He glanced back at the bald man, then back to Rich, "Best make that a double scoop."
"Very-good-sir." Rich continued to stare at that streak of red. Didn't the man know it was there?
"And Tseng…oi! Senpai! Whatchya want?"
"Chocolate fudge swirl." The man said, without looking at the red head or taking the phone from his ear, though he still hadn't said a word into it.
"He wants chocolate fudge swirl." Bright blue eyes darted to the menu board and back again. "Oi, boss, do you want that with brownie chunks or no?"
"Does it come with brownie chunks?"
"Ey, Rich, does it come with brownie chunks?"
"Yeah, it comes with brownie chunks."
"Then I'll have it with brownie chunks."
"He'll take it with brownie chunks."
"Oh…dearie, me…"the man stepped back studied the menu board, tapping his chin. He kept missing the streak of red, though. Rich contemplated offering the man a handy-wipe, but decided against it.
"Oh, I'll go with the rainbow sherbet. Ina cone, my man. Infact, ah, I've had a work-out today, so make it a double."
"Yes…yes I believe so, Rich."
Rich punched a few keys on the register.
"That-will-be-14.67-sir." Rich turned and began to retrieve the ice cream, glad to take his eyes off that red streak. At least none of them had asked for jimmies.
But he could still here the man behind him.
"14.67…fourteen…what a rip.damn, I only got nine gil on me. Cough up, people."
"Don't worry, I'll take care of it." It was the man on the cell phone.
"Tseng is buying us ice cream! Oh boy-!"
"Oh, thank-you, Senpai!" The girl.
"-it's just like we're a real family-!"
"Thank-you, sir." The bald man.
"-thank-you, Papa Tseng!"
"Yes, Papa Tseng?"
"Shut the hell up."
"Yes, Papa Tseng."
Rich decided that an extra-generous helping on each cone was a good idea. He couldn't recall the last time he made ice cream cones that look so perfect. He shakily handed the cones to the red head, who in turn passed them on to his friends. The man with the cell phone dropped fifteen gil onto the counter.
"Feel free to keep the change." He said.
"Yeah, excellent service, Rich." The red head said, lazily licking at his sherbet.
"Thank you, Senpai!"
"You're welcome, Elena. Now lets go back. There is still work to be done."
"Aww, can't we even stick around long enough to enjoy some ice cream, boss?" Rich found himself desperately hoping they couldn't.
"No. You can eat your ice cream in the car."
"Do I get to drive?"
"No. Rude does."
"Can I at least sit shotgun?"
A sigh. "Yes, Reno, you can sit shotgun."
The conversation continued as the four turned and walked out of the store, leaving brownish-red footsteps in their wake. Rich watched them until they had passed the shop, then turned back to the little girl and her mother. It looked as though the girl had continued eating her ice cream the whole time, and had gotten most of it on her mother. The girl looked up at Rich and smiled.
"Good ice cream!" she said, giving a sticky thumbs-up.
Rich gave a thumbs-up back, and quietly began to eat the peanut butter surprise right out of the container. The clean up job that was ahead of him was going to be hell.
A/N: My first piece of FFVII fanfiction…I've done VIII, but we all know how different the two can be. And I gotta let you all know...this story came to me when the "brownie chunks" part of the whole thing sorta randomly popped into my head. Had to get it onto paper, so to speak. R&R, please…I love hearing what others think, be it good, bad, or ugly. Cheers to all who read!