Amelia was still behind the counter when Kya returned. She saw Kya, waved, and said something to her co-worker. Kya couldn’t remember his name, so after wandering through her mind, she decided that it should be Julian.
Amelia took off her apron, popped into the back room, emerged with her black leather handbag and walked around the counter. Amelia was wearing a fitted white button down short sleeved shirt with black stitch work details, a pleated black skirt that came to about mid thigh, and cute black flats. Technically, it was dress code for the cafe, though she was definitely pushing the edge of how revealing her clothes were allowed to be. She had her straight black hair pulled back into a pristine french roll, with a few wisps purposely left down to soften the look. Kya smirked, typical Amelia. As Leonard would say, Amelia was dressing for the job she wants, which was definitely not the one she had.
“Hey K.” Amelia said as she wrapped Kya in a hug.
“Hey Lia.” Kya said, returning the embrace. “How’s the shift treating you? Nearly given anyone else an aneurism?”
“You mean like the guy in front of you this morning?”
Kya nodded and they started walking towards the food court.
“Nah. Can you believe that guy though? I mean, we are the cafe used in movies. You can’t open a magazine without seeing pictures of the rich, famous and Super walking around holding a Noble Brew coffee cup. Our sizes are part of our brand. They’re common knowledge.”
Kya could see the fire and energy emanating from Amelia’s eyes as she finished speaking about her work.
“I love how passionate you can be about it.” Kya said.
“Oh, do you mind if we eat at that restaurant at the far end with the patio?” Amelia said with an air of affected apathy.
“Coliseum? Sure.” Kya said playing along. She knew that place was more expensive than she’d have liked to spend on a meal, but she hardly got to see Amelia because their shifts so often overlapped.
Rows of small, fast food restaurants lined both sides of the hallway. The various smells wafted and mixed together in unpleasing ways and Kya tried not to focus on it. At the end of the hallway was the entrance to Amelia’s favourite restaurant. A doorman in a suit looked down the hallway, waiting to open the door for anyone wanting to enter the Coliseum. Stopping before entering, Amelia took earrings, rings, bracelets and a necklace out of her handbag and put them all on. She then freshened her lipstick and touched up her eyes without missing a step.
“No matter how many times I see you do this,” Kya said, “I am always still amazed.”
“Gotta look my best,” Amelia grinned, “You never know when the future Mr. Bronsen will show up.”
Kya chuckled and shook her head. The doorman pulled the tinted glass doors open and Amelia entered followed closely by Kya.
Kya was glad to see that the normally busy Coliseum wasn’t too full to seat them immediately. Escorted by a young man, they sauntered to a booth over to one corner. The ambiance of the restaurant was darker, more intimate than the bright coloured LED lights of the mall. Sliding into the booth, Kya noticed the table rippled various colours where her arms, hands and fingers touched the surface.
Recognizing Amelia as a regular, the young man excused himself without saying a word.
Amelia smiled at Kya and tapped the order button on the table. Without asking Kya what she wanted, the order was submitted.
“So… You come here that often that they all recognize you?” Kya said smiling back at her friend.
“Just a second.” Amelia said gesturing with her index finger to wait one moment.
Quickly, both food and drink arrived, and Amelia, taking a deep breath, finally looked ready to chat over their meals.
“So, how are you, K?” Amelia asked over her chicken Greek salad.
“I’m alright.” Kya replied, stifling a yawn. “Tired. Shift work is hell.”
“You wanna talk shift work hell? How about this? Yesterday I opened. Today I’m closing. Tomorrow I’m closing and Monday I’m opening again.”
“I thought you couldn’t work an open after a close.”
“Actually,” Amelia smiled, like she was happy to be able to educate her friend, “the rule is you have to have a minimum of eight hours between shifts and since the mall closes early on Sundays…”
Kya knew where Amelia was heading with her thought and interjected, “So there’s your eight hours.”
“Exactly.” Amelia took a sip of her carbonated mineral water. “You had Thursday off for that big date, right?”
“Yeah, but don’t ask how it went. I would have been better to stay home and do laundry.”
“That sucks!” Amelia said with a laugh. “So, changing subjects… Did you see the commotion today? I heard the alarms.”
Kya shrugged and took a gulp of her regular ice water, then she picked up her chopsticks and shoved a piece of a Red Dragon roll in her mouth. Amelia had ordered her six sashimi, four pieces of the Red Dragon roll, miso soup and an avocado salad. Kya loved Japanese food but rarely ordered it for herself because of the price. She gave her friend a closed mouth grin and chewed the roll.
Amelia seemed to get the hint. “Well then… How’s work going? Did you see what Jacob was wearing today?”
“Jacob! That’s his name! Um, an apron?”
Amelia laughed. “I swear, I’d love to take the boy to get some real clothes. He’s such a cute thing. But I swear everything he wears comes from Level One.”
“Well, that is economical.” Kya said and then sipped at her soup.
“Anyways, as I was asking? How’s your work? You getting along with Mr. Georgetown yet?”
Kya rolled her eyes. “You are so going to wish you hadn’t asked that!”
“That well, eh?”
“Oh, Mr. Georgetown isn’t even all the problem! You know Leonard?”
Amelia nodded. “Only what I’ve heard from you.”
“He has to cause frustration on every shift. I try to be nice, you know, compliment him on his suits and whatever, but he takes a look at me and implies I dress like a hobo. What is that?”
“Well, a hobo is someone that…” Amelia said with a mischievous glint in her eye.
Kya shot a glare at her friend and then they both laughed.
“But yeah, Don walks around looking at everyone like we’re monkeys. Now that he’s got the cash for multiple supers… It’s just hell.”
“I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that office crap.” Amelia sighed wistfully. “I love working at Noble Brew. If only they’d pay me just a little bit more.”
“You mean a LOTtle bit.”
Kya nodded, “me too.”
They ate and chatted for the next fifteen minutes, and then it was time for Amelia to head back to work. When the bill arrived, Kya reached into her pocket to take out her debit card.
“No, no, K, it’s on me. Please.”
Kya sighed and accepted her friend’s generosity. “Next time, it’s on me.”
As they walked back to the Noble Brew, they continued to discuss work, their mutual friends, family, world news, and window shopped. The crowds of people were getting thicker as the day wore on, and Kya was once again feeling exhausted. Amelia took off her jewelry and stashed it carefully back in her bag, looking once again like the barista that Kya had picked up a little more than an half an hour ago.
“You still enjoying living in the apartment with Sam?”
“Yeah, after a year and a half we’re still going strong.” Amelia said.
“Sheesh! Has it been that long?”
“Yeppers. He’s so considerate. When I got home, all the blinds were closed so I could easily sleep.”
“Wow!” Amelia took a deep breath. “Do you know if he’s got a girlfriend?”
Kya laughed. “You know, I never pictured him with a girlfriend! I guess it is possible though.”