It was Tuesday morning, a little after ten. She glanced around the small café, looking past the numerous Nightstone employees, looking for redhead that always came in around now. From the way her other Nightstone regular cowed to the redhead, she figured that she must be a manager.
She knew that her coworkers hated serving the woman, with her exacting standards and volatile temper. She'd seen an outburst towards Jamie when she'd used a light coffee in the woman's drink, rather than the Brazilian blend she preferred and expected.
"Carmel mocha with chocolate shavings. Anything else for you?" She responded to the customer in front of her automatically. He nodded. "Three seventeen please." She began to make his drink as he pulled a five from his wallet. She placed it on the counter and took his money. He smiled at her and gestured for her to keep the change.
"Emily. The Bitch is here." Her supervisor was safely out of the manager's hearing, and she'd spoken softly enough not to have been heard by customers.
Emily looked up and her eyes saw the bright red hair. Several employees had already stepped aside, and thankfully, there weren't many others people nearby.
"Raspberry mocha, with the Brazilian dark roast, without the whipped cream or the chocolate. Heavy on the raspberry." The redhead snapped. She was in a fouler mood than normal. Usually, the redhead didn't request extra raspberry. When she did, Emily had heard that it was hell to work under her with her temper flaming.
"Bad day?" Emily commented as she pushed the woman's change towards her. Dribbling the raspberry flavouring into the drink, she looked at the woman.
"I'm surrounded by incompetent imbeciles who have no idea how to follow instructions properly." The woman's eyes blazed. Anyone else would back off, but Emily didn't particularly care. She thought the woman was beautiful and the thoughtful expression she gained when reading journals or newspapers when she stayed intrigued her.
"Tried written instructions? That usually helps with some people." Emily suggested.
The woman glared at her. "Stupid suggestion." Emily shrugged and poured the coffee in with the raspberry and espresso mix, mixing it with a deft wrist. She sealed the lid on and put a sleeve on.
"Sometimes stupid ideas work." Emily held out the redhead's drink to her. "I hope your days go better. If not, I can have another one waiting for you at seven." The redhead occasionally came in late, after most of the crowd has died down. "Good luck with your employees." She got an intense look, not quite a glare, before the woman swept out of the store and down the street. She watched the woman go before she turned her attention back to the job.
"How can I help you?"
She sighed and wrung out her cloth before rinsing it again. Returning to her task of wiping down the table tops and glass cases, she sprayed sanitizer onto the table surface and wiped the dried coffee off it. She knew she was going to smell like a rotting coffee bean when she got home.
"Thought you said it would be waiting at seven." She jumped when a voice sounded directly behind her. Emily banged her knee against the chair and hopped up and down, knowing she was making an absolute idiot of herself. She leaned on the table as she rubbed her knee, knowing she'd have a bruise there later. "Are you always in the habit of making yourself entertainment?" Emily tried to smile politely.
"Usually. You should see my attempt at singing. It never goes well." She replied. She hooked the sanitizer bottle off her apron and tucked the cloth next to it.
"You seem very confident for an employee of a café. Do you always make yourself familiar with the coming and going of your customers?" The business woman's eyes held more than a hint of threat in them.
Emily smiled and pushed long hair over her shoulder. "No. Most people don't interest me."
"And what about me is so interesting?" once again, there was threat in her voice. Emily sighed.
"You're an intelligent lady who happens to be stunning. What's a girl to do?" Emily paused for a moment. "Would you like me to serve your drink now?" her voice held a trace of surliness.
Instead of the disgusted or angry look she normally saw in women's faces, the redhead had a puzzled look. But there were no questions or remarks. "Yes. Same as this morning." Emily swung behind the counter and moved to make the drink. "Do you know my name," Emily saw her glance down at her name tag. "Emily?"
"No." She shrugged. "I just know you're a manager or something at Nightstone, with a nasty temper and a hard ass mentality." She twirled the spoon through the drink, some of the liquid splashing onto her hand. She shook scalding liquid and shoved a sleeve onto the cup. "On me." She said, sealing the lid and pushed it toward the redhead.
The redhead gave her another look before moving with a feline grace out the door. Emily sighed as she noticed the sway of the woman's hips.
"You have guts girl." One of the college students was rinsing one of the coffee containers. "I've heard that being a smart ass to Ms Destine can get you in a whole lot of trouble."
Emily tilted her head as she took the nozzles off several empty milk containers, filling a sink with hot water. "Who this Ms Destine?"
"Dominique Destine? She's one of the most powerful people in New York. She owns Nightstone." Emily shrugged. "She's also the person you just served a free drink." Emily turned her head, her jaw slack. "You didn't know?"
"Why would I? Business was never my forte and I don't read magazines." Emily wiped off the built up milk off the edge of the plastic nozzle.
"Man, Emily, you have the worst taste in women. Only person farther out of your league would be Fox Xanatos." Emily glared at the evening shift worker.
"Who says I'm interested." She muttered.
"Keep believing that Emily." The girl dealt with the customer who wandered in.
Emily swiped her card to log off for the night. She untied her apron and shoved it in her backpack before she shrugged into her faded jean jacket. As she left, she sighed.
She really did have bad luck when it came to women.
"Hope that your missing co-worker is found soon." Emily wasn't really paying attention. She was just mixing drinks. After two complaints and a reprimand, it seemed wiser for her just to stay away from customers entirely today.
"Thanks. Jerry was a dedicated guy. He stayed late sometimes." The man replied, taking his mocha and heading past the line.
She muttered under her breath. It was pretty much all the Nightstone employees were talking about at the moment. One of the managers had gone missing a few days ago. It was one of the head of human resources. Even Emily knew that much and she didn't pay much attention to the business world. Or at least, not as much as her supervisor, who was trying to get into the Nightstone security division.
"I would like Emily to serve me." A familiar voice snapped behind her. Someone tugged at Emily's apron.
"One moment." Emily turned to her co-worker, who jerked her eyes from Emily to the front and back. "Someone wants you to serve them." Emily rinsed her hands and dried them on her apron as she moved to take over the till.
"May I help you Ms Destine?" She said, not meeting the redhead's gaze, staring at the register instead.
"Thought you didn't know my name?" The woman said, her voice curt. But it was missing its normal threatening tone.
"Someone informed me of your name. Thought I should be more cautious than to trade words with an Executive." Emily still didn't look up. Obsessed, that's what you are. She didn't even flinch at the now familiar phrase.
"Doesn't seem to have phased you in the least." The woman shifted, leaning against the counter slightly. It relaxed her entire posture, but from the way some of the other customers, being served by the other till, it didn't mean her bite was suddenly less than her bark.
Emily just shrugged in reply. "Not much phases me."
"You're braver than most of my underlings. What if I were to ruin you?" Emily shrugged, watching as the steam from the coffee wafted upwards.
"Then you ruin me. It's not like I have much of a career going anyway." She put the long spoon in the coffee, her wrist flicking it quickly with a talent only time and practice achieved.
She finally raised her eyes to meet the gaze she felt on her. Ms Destine's eyes were narrowed at her, in what appeared to be thought. Emily could only hope it wasn't hostility.
A slender hand placed a ten on the countertop and accepted the drink that Emily handed her. "Keep the change." Considering the drink wasn't even four dollars, it was generous, especially from someone of Ms Destine's reputation.
"Thank you." She mumbled, but the woman was already out the door. She shoved it in the universal tip jar. She felt a touch at her shoulder, and she withdrew from the till, allowing the younger, newer employee to return to her position. Emily just faded back to the coffee bar, and whipped out the drinks almost as fast as they were rang in.
Less than an hour later, she was hanging her backpack and her coat on hooks near her doorway, kicking off the flat shoes she always wore and flicking on the lights. The dark light lit nothing, but illuminated everything, allowing her to navigate the room without any problems. Emily placed a glass on the counter and poured dark rum into the shallow cup.
"You saw her again." The accusing voice was behind her. Emily restrained a sigh as she downed the glass, pouring herself another immediately after. "You saw her again when I told you not to!" Emily swirled the rum in her glass, staring at it for long moments as the silence grew with the tension. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" Emily heard feet hit the floor and knew that the person accusing her was standing now.
A small head bumped into her ankle, purring softly as it rubbed up against her. She picked up her kitten and held it in her arm, caressing the kitten's tiny ears. "Hey furball, you want food?"
"Emily! Look at me!" She took a sip of the rum, feeling her lips burn, before reaching into the frig and withdrawing the kitten's wet food, placing it on the ground next to its water. "Damn it! Stop ignoring me!" Her job done, the kitten abandoned her for the food. "You're like a bloody brick wall!" Emily sighed and finally turned to the woman standing in front of her couch, glaring at her in the dim light. "I told you not to speak to her."
"What am I supposed to do? Refuse to serve a customer?" Emily said softly, reaching for her glass. The argument she'd left this morning was the same argument she was having now.
"Yes. Get someone else to do it. Get your supervisor to do it." Emily watched as the pacing began, taking a sip of rum.
"Both of the girls on till are still learning and in training. Should I throw them to the wolves?" Emily retorted, her lips hovering over the edge of the glass.
"Get the supervisor!" The repeated words grated on her already frayed nerves. "They get paid the extra to do just that!"
"Damn it Heather, they can't handle her either! She rips people apart when she's in a good mood and she doesn't usually come in with a smile on her lips!" Emily slammed the glass on the counter that separated the two of them. The liquid sloshed over the rim and onto the flat surface.
"Do her lips hold that much interest to you?" There was a sneer in her voice and her lips. "You're so fucking obsessed that you sta-"
"I'm not obsessed!" Emily growled, glaring at her girlfriend.
"-re, every woman is a piece of ass, you bloody whore!" Heather shouted, nearly screaming when the glass flew past her to the wall behind her, the glass shards chiming softly on the ground. The kitten hissed and darted through a partially opened door.
"I am not the whore here." Emily lifted angry eyes to meet Heather's. Heather's eyes widened at the implication. "I'm not the one who has her affair inform her of her official lover's every move and every word."
"You're a brute!" Heather snapped.
"A brute. I may be. But at least I am faithful." Emily had never strayed, not once in their four years and six months together. Nor had she broken off the relationship eight months ago when she'd found out about Heather's other girlfriend of six months. "I've never touched another woman since we've been together. Can you say the same?" Emily's voice was soft. She almost hoped to hear a denial, that her long-time lover hadn't actually cheated on her.
The silence answered the question. She stared down at her left hand, the tiny tattoos on her fingers playing as she moved them. They were words written in Arabic script. She looked at the one on her middle finger.
"Loyalty indeed." She muttered. She raised her head. "Get out."
"Emily?" Heather had remained quiet.
"Get out." She gestured to the door. "Don't come back."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Heather said. There was fear in her voice.
"This is my apartment. My name on the lease, I pay the rent and the bills. This is my home and I want you to get the fuck out." Emily snapped.
"Are you breaking up with me?" Heather had a look of disbelief. "You are breaking up with me?" Heather ran a hand through her brown hair. "What do you hope to accomplish? Make yourself free for your obsession? Newsflash, she's straight. Even if she wasn't, she's not going to date such a plain loser like you. You're no one and you always will be."
"I deserve better than scraps." Emily retorted. "I'm better than a whor-" She clutched her eye, turning it away from her lover.
"At least a whore would know how to satisfy." Emily stared at Heather. "I hope you die mourning your obsession and miserably alone, you fucking nut job!" Emily leaned against the frig until she heard the door slam.
"I'm not obsessed." She muttered weakly. She eased her hand away from her eye. "I'm not." She didn't really believe her words, but she didn't want to believe reality either.
She really didn't know how to chose her women.
Emily was running a mental list through her head, looking at the list that she was writing down. She put her head on her hand, before she remembered, wincing, gently rubbing her eye. The end of her pencil tapped her paper.
"Need to change the locks." She muttered. She was pretty sure that Heather would be petty. "Need to call the manager."
"Why do you need to call your manager?" She looked up and saw Ms Destine standing next to her, a cup of coffee in her hand. It was ridiculously early, rush hour had just begun and the sun had risen a little over an hour ago.
"My building manager." Emily clarified. "Heading to work?" She glanced at the Nightstone building that was visible from her window seat at her café. She didn't work today, but it made her feel better to be among people she knew liked her. Or at least respected her.
"No." The paper cup was raised to perfectly shaped lips. A moment later, she continued, almost reluctantly. "I'm due to a meeting with Xanatos later today." Emily nodded.
"Important stuff, I assume." She said, forcing her eyes away from Ms Destine's lips.
"Not really. A business proposition that Cyberotics have for us." Ms Destine looked around, and it was early enough that the few Nightstone employees here didn't even flinch.
"If we're gonna talk, feel free to sit." She gestured to the seat opposite her. It reminded her to make sure that she got rid of Heather's dining room set. She'd never really cared for it, but Heather had loved it, which is why she'd bought it. She didn't want it now.
To Emily's surprise, Ms Destine sat down, setting the coffee down in front of her. "Why do you need to talk to your building manager?"
"Recent break up with my former lover. I need permission to change to locks." Emily knew the manager wouldn't be up for at least another hour.
"Is he the man responsible for your eye?"
"She can throw a mean right punch when she's mad." She knew that it would take a while for her to get used to an empty apartment. She missed the quiet pause and the thoughtful frown when she looked down at the pad of paper.
"Are you a lesbian?" There wasn't hostility Ms Destine's voice, per say.
"I believe that's the word used in reference to my sexuality." Emily didn't look up as the chair scraped back and footsteps left. She sighed and put her head on the table.
"This isn't my day at all." She muttered.
She didn't look up when hands rubbed the tense muscles of her shoulders, thumbs caressing her neck. "You look like you haven't slept." The morning manager, one of her friends, said from behind her ear. "Trouble at home?" Emily turned her head to reveal her black eye. "Heather?"
"Yup." She muttered. Fingers dug into her shoulders, the pressure easing one of the knots there. "Damn, too bad you're a guy Mark."
"And too bad I'm married." He smirked and patted her back before sitting across from her, where Ms Destine had sat. "You okay?"
"Aside from tired, hurting, and having horrible taste in women? Perfect." She muttered. "I didn't know Ms Destine was homophobic." She'd said it before she'd thought about it.
Mark gave her a sympathetic look. "She's never said anything on the topic really." Mark kept up on the business news. "Give up your obsession with her Emily. It won't end well."
"Mark! Need your help here." Mark sighed and gave Emily a little wave as he went to the supervisor calling him.
"Obviously." She said. "Two different worlds and all that jazz." She tucked her long hair behind on ear and picked up her pencil, jotting down two words.
"Hello Detective." Demona barely bite back a snarl to go with the spat words. She never liked this human. Never liked how she seemed to have stolen her clan from her claws. To say she hated this human more than most wasn't a stretch.
Not in the least.
But she wasn't here to kill or harm the detective, for once.
"What do you want Demona?" Eliza had her gun ready in her hand, aimed directly at Demona. A wise precaution, if almost useless against her.
"Domestic abuse is illegal, if I am not correct Detective?" Demona's tail lashed with her fury, bashing it against the ledge of the human's small apartment. Eliza hadn't moved in all the years she'd known the human, which was sheer stupidity, but in this case, handy.
"Of course. The courts usually settles it in civil." Eliza replied.
"Then why aren't you doing your job?" Demona snapped. "A worker was hit by a partner, yet, nothing seems to have been done. People barely acknowledge it. Gargoyles would protect their own!"
"Like you do? You've tried to kill your own clan!" Eliza snapped. "And why would you care? Just one less human."
"I don't. You humans are so incompetent that you need every little thing written down, and yet, even with the backing of the masses, very rarely does anything get enforced." Demona spun and dove into the sky, eyes glowing red. It didn't matter that worker had a black eye, human violence never bothered her, but it disgusted her knowing a mate, a current mate, had done so. Knowing the law was against her.
Demona snarled again and banked hard to the left, around a building and towards Nightstone.
Emily sighed, shoving the last box out into the hallway before she closed the door and threw the bolt and flip lock into place, as well as the chain lock. She knew the chain lock wasn't really a deterrent, but the others would be. She really didn't want to deal with Heather. She'd already fought over the phone twice, ignored six calls, and deleted three emails. She'd read the first, but the other two she'd didn't. She just deleted them.
"Fuck." She muttered, collapsing onto her well worn couch. Leaning back, she rested her head against the back, staring at the ceiling. She wished she hadn't had to deal with this now. It was just such a shitty thing to deal with.
The landlord had understood, having an younger brother go through nasty break-ups with boyfriends, so he'd change the locks and after Friday, she'd no longer be welcome in the building. So Emily would be safe.
Alone. But safe. Hurting, but safe from who knew what.
"One bad person outta of my life, one obsession to go." She muttered to herself. She doubted she could get over it as easy as saying it, but she could hope.