interruptions you know I'd like to unwind Who: Alice, that ever insufferable Percy, & the lovely and totally loveable BB. What: BB is helping Alice make an advertorial vlog of her bakery and they are RUDELY INTERRUPTED. Where: Rosemary & Thyme. When: During normal business hours.
"And come toward the camera... no, actually, this might work better by the window." BB looked away from her handheld camcorder, which almost seemed like a throwback to another age despite the fact that it was brand new. Well, almost, she'd gotten it secondhand at a thrift shop, but the seller told her that it had only had one previous owner so that was basically new according to BB.
"Like, you know, make use of the light? You could be walking away from all the little scribbles and stuff, which are adorable, by the way, and then walk toward the counter, yeah? It'd show the whole shop, instead of just you and the baked goods." She put one hand on her hip, the other holding the recorder aloft as she fixed Alice with an impatient look. "Yae or nae?"
“Maybe I can like… arrange the tulip in the window?” Alice suggested, moving toward the little seats by the window and the friendly tulip Isobel had given her that was still going strong in its little pot. “I sit the tulip down and turn away from the window then walk toward the bathroom, but really it’s just so that I can get around the counter area. That’d cover the whole shop, wouldn’t it?”
They had been going back and forth about this for ages but now, late in the day and just before closing, Alice and BB were finally doing it. Making the vlog that Brittany had somehow convinced Alice would be a good idea. Alice was used to writing on her blog at this point, but getting behind the camera was something else. She gently touched a petal of the tulip before turning to Brittany with an uncertain look on her face.
BB shrugged. "Yeah, sure. Use of props. OK, pick it up and I'll give you to the count of three to go." She brought the camcorder in front of her eye again, the other squeezed shut as she focused on her friend across the room. "Smile, skittles, you don't want people thinking you're afraid to serve them. And maybe don't clutch the pot so hard, you look like you're gonna crack it. OK, ready? Three, two, one..."
She hit the record button, giving Alice a thumbs-up that she was good to start talking.
Alice opened her mouth, ready to speak, and then paused. Her cheeks grew pink and she frowned before putting the flower pot down on the windowsill. “I don’t know what to say, I feel like I’m in an infomercial.” She let out a sigh and chewed on her bottom lip before continuing. “Since it’s your vlog, wouldn’t it make sense for you to do a voice over and then, like, interview me? What do I even talk about? I mean, the shop, obviously, but I feel like I’m just going to ramble about the difference between scones and muffins and when one is more appropriate than the other.”
BB hit the stop recording button, a hand going back to her hip. "I mean, yeah, I could get some questions together. You're not an infomercial, skittles, not until you drop that pot and introduce some magical way to put it back together. You just...you talk about the shop!" She took a step forward, and then a beat back. "How about we just do a silly take, you can say whatever you want. This is about you showing off Rosemary & Thyme, OK?"
The defensive bartender hadn’t called or emailed him since he’d visited her bar, and Percy had otherwise not received any solid information from her during their meeting. While it was true that he hadn’t asked for specific enough details, he was nonetheless a bit miffed at the lack of results.
These things usually came so easily to him.
Which was why Percy had been delighted to discover Obed had a mission for him. True, the information Obed fed to him concerning Isobel’s stalker had been repulsive, but Percy had given his former--and now recent--employer his word. He’d keep it, come what may. Although Percy had only spent a brief amount of time with Isobel at the Cherry Blossom Festival, she was by far and removed the kind of individual who deserved any of the treatment this particularly grotesque Bryan figure had paid to her.
It rankled him on a deeper level, though he wasn’t quite sure why; he was not the closest of friends with the soon to be Mrs. Brandt. Nevertheless, he’d been on the hunt for information about Bryan Stations for several days now, and after an odd dream the other night, he felt more determined to deliver the stalker into Obed’s clutches.
But first, he needed a snack. Either that or a strong cup of coffee. Percy had noticed a post on the apartment complex’s forum about a new tenant’s bakery shop, and decided to stop by for a friendly visit. When he entered the building, however, he saw a familiar face he was not expecting. BB, camera in tow, was speaking to a red-headed woman Percy didn’t recognize.
He walked casually past the two of them to lean on the front counter, near the cash register.
“Mind if I order a coffee to go?” The smile on his face was akin to a fox having crept into a chicken coop with a nest full of eggs for the taking.
"Are you fucking shitting me?" was BB's immediate reply. The hand holding the camcorder fell to her side as a look of sheer murder crossed her face. "I was serious when I said you needed to stop stalking me, Percy. Now this is just getting creepy."
Alice’s eyes went wide and she was suddenly on the move, not at all liking the animosity from Britt to the customer but also a little questionably wary. Brittany had two settings when it came to people she didn’t like: the dislike was either well founded or it was just dramatic.
“We do have coffee,” Alice answered the man, glancing at him before side eyeing Brittany hard as she passed her by to make her way behind the counter. “Coffee to go and other things too. Do you just want the coffee or would you like to look around for a minute?”
BB crossed her arms petulantly over her chest, moving to sit at one of the nearby tables as Alice went to help her customer.
Shooting BB a look of complete shock and bewilderment at her crude language, Percy shook his head sadly. “Isn’t it a shame what’s happening in the world today?” he mused, turning his attention to the plucky red head. He leaned over the counter slightly and lowered his voice. “My mother would wash my mouth out with soap if I used language like that; likely even now. But I guess not all of us are meant to be sailors.” Alice’s lips quirked with a hint of a smile. With a quick perusal of the baked goods on display, as well as the cute bakeshop woman attempting to maintain some semblance of order, Percy finally settled on what he wanted.
“I’d love to look around, but I’m afraid I might not be here for long. A black coffee for the road would be wonderful, however.”
"I guess it's a good thing my mom knows soap is toxic," BB shot back, fiddling with the camcorder as it's lense was pointed at Percy's backside. It wasn't recording; instead, she was busy looking back over the sparse footage that she and Alice had shot, adding sparing glances toward the perceived interloper. "Anyway, yeah, get whatever you came for, because I'mma need you to move because we're trying to shoot something here to pull in actual customers."
Alice looked at Brittany with wide, desperate eyes before looking back at the man and offering him a smile. “Sorry,” she said sheepishly. “Let me get you a coffee, but please look around, I can grab you a snack to go if you’d like, too. Just… don’t mind my friend. Although I guess you guys know each other…” She looked between the two before frowning. “Just so you know, I’m Alice.”
“I’m not bothered at all,” he said with a winning grin. Purposely, he kept his attention focused on Alice, as if BB was not in actuality spewing brimstone and fire at him. Alice was certainly not the type of person he’d expect to be hanging around with BB, but then again, he wouldn’t have expected to find himself chatting about comics with the petite bruiser. There was a time and place for everything, he supposed.
“You’ve got a nice place here, Alice,” Percy added, having spotted a cupcake with slices of strawberries poking out from the top of its frosty dome. “I can see you’re busy with BB, so I’ll try to make it quick. I’ve got a hungry box turtle at home, and she’d love the strawberries on top of that cupcake.” He pointed at it, the delicacy trapped behind a glass container.
BB's brows rose, then sank back into the glare that had become a permanent fixture on her face at Percy's appearance in Alice's shop. There was something about the way he was looking at her, the way that BB had recognized in a hundred other boys Alice had come into contact with. If she could have, she would have tossed him right out Rosemary and Thyme's front door, and chucked the cupcake after him. She did, however, take mental note of the turtle, filing the note away for further investigation. She did, after all, still have the keys she's surreptitiously acquired during her and Daniel's brief sojourn into the weird as all hell closet in the lobby. She fixed her gaze on the camera in front of her, periodically flicking it in Percy and Alice's direction, subtly wishing such looks were knives.
Alice’s tense shoulders seemed to soften and she smiled at Percy. “A turtle?! I’ll grab the cupcake and wrap it up to go. I also have some extra strawberries if you’d like it?” Percy nodded at her suggestion. “If you don’t mind,” he all but chirped, mood improving by the minute. She was moving in her environment now, twisting as she turned to get a box to go but trying to keep her eyes from leaving Percy for long. “I was thinking of adopting a cat,” Alice admitted, something she hadn’t even told Brittany. “But a turtle sounds cute! And low maintenance.”
"Sounds like something I'd like to punt off the pier," BB muttered to herself, keeping it low enough to remain away from other ears.
“The most difficult thing about raising a young turtle is making sure they don’t eat anything poisonous. But it’s easily avoidable if you’re well-versed in turtle lore.” Percy merely smiled at Alice’s notion of acquiring a cat; in his humble opinion, felines were mostly inferior to a good, loyal dog, but if a cute lady had her mind set on a fluffy kitten, who was he to object?
Besides, perhaps BB was slightly allergic to cats. He really didn’t know, although he didn’t particularly care to ask.
“Low maintenance is widely preferable,” he hummed while pulling out his wallet, preparing to pay Alice once she’d rung up his order. “Life doesn’t need any unnecessary complications, wouldn’t you agree?”
"Only necessary complication I want is your ass walking back out that door," BB murmured, suddenly confused by something she'd pressed on the camera. She turned it upside down, then rightside up again, distracted from Alice and Percy's conversation.
Alice glared at her friend, even though she didn’t see it, but turned back to Percy with the little box of the strawberry cupcake within. “That’s what I was thinking when I was considering what animal to adopt. Dogs are great but I just don’t think it would be fair to a dog to have me as an owner right now, I’m too busy. But a cat...at least a cat likes its alone time and by the time I’m home, it’ll be ready for me and I’ll be ready for it. It would be nice to have the companionship at least.” She pushed the box over to Percy and gave him a winning smile. “First time neighbors get their treat for free.”
His eyebrows raised with interest of multiple variances as he accepted the treat box with open delight. “You’re a Pax resident, too? I’ll have to stop by some time to thank you properly for this. Maybe you can meet my house turtle. She doesn’t bite much.” Percy shrugged, BB’s background commentary falling on deaf ears. “The companionship of a reptile might not be what you’re looking for right now, but it could be a temporary respite until you adopt a cat.”
BB's teeth ground almost audibly, and she jumped up from her spot. "OK, so, transaction finished, right? Alice, you ready to get back to filming? This stuff doesn't make itself, you know." She walked up to the counter, setting the camcorder down and holding herself up by wrapping both hands around the counter's edge. "Perce, I trust you know where the door is."
“I’d never forget where I made an entrance,” he managed to add in with a self-satisfied smirk, before Alice took the reigns.
“Brittany,” Alice hissed, glaring fully at her friend now. She looked quickly at Percy. “I am so sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with her or why she’s being so rude to my customers. We were trying to do a vlog for the bakery, is all. Do you need anything else? Please don’t feel rushed.” She glanced at Brittany again, daring her to be rude once more. BB met her gaze evenly, completely unabashed at her own behavior.
“Would you forgive me, Alice? I had no idea you two were shooting something so important.” His entire focus shifted to Alice, and he fixated her with a sheepish smile; all in all, he looked believably regretful for whatever cause he may have harmed by entering Rosemary & Thyme.
Unless you already knew him, which BB fortunately--or unfortunately--did. But he wasn’t talking to BB at the moment, was he? However, it wouldn’t hurt to speak to BB in a kinder fashion, given that she honestly had been holding an audience with Alice first, nevermind that he was an almost paying customer. Percy decided in a flip second that he would be a shining example of propriety in front of his new neighbor.
“BB, when you get a minute, I have a job offer for you. It’s a private investigation story, and you’ll be paid well.” Picking up the cupcake box from the counter, along with his coffee, Percy nodded to both of the women. “Ladies, it’s been a treat. But I don’t want to ruin your vlog shoot…”
BB's interest was piqued at Percy's offer, but her bruised feelings took the driver's seat. She picked up the camera and acted as though Percy's interruption was already gone.
"OK, actually, now I'm thinking we just focus with you behind the counter, right? The whole service industry angle?" BB popped the viewer out, looking through it as she took a step back, neatly centering on Alice and cutting Percy out of the frame entirely.
Alice let out a short sigh, but otherwise didn’t react to Brittany’s rude behavior, favoring to keep her attention on the man before her. “You’re fine, Percy, really,” Alice said with a smile, her eyes all for the customer and perhaps with a little more attention than most customers receive. “But seriously, let me know if you ever need any strawberries for your turtle! I’d be happy to help.” She stepped away from the counter, her hands nervously finding their way into the pockets of her apron. “I’ll see you around, I hope.”
“Of course you will,” Percy said with a wink. “I’m not always home, but I’ll make time for you if you’ve ever got a few strawberries laying around. You might catch me on the third floor. Have fun with your shoot, Alice.” Although BB had effectively cut him both out of her camera frame and her actual attention span, Percy nonetheless waved the cupcake box at her before turning to leave Rosemary & Thyme.
If she really was interested in helping him with his recent side project, she knew how to contact him by now. If Alice felt like depositing strawberries at his front door, he’d be pleased with that outcome as well. Either way, Percy’s primary mission for the afternoon was complete; the cupcake and Alice’s warm smile were simply bonuses.