for the price of a cup of tea Who: BB & Raven. What: Two friends reunite over Boba tea. Where: Volcano Tea House. When: Middle of the afternoon.
BB gently slap-shotted her precariously perched plastic cup of Boba between her hands as she waited for her friend, intermittently taking sips. She was sitting on a tall chair in the back of a busy tea house in downtown L.A., waiting for a familiar face to show herself. BB hadn't seen Raven in some time, so when she'd gotten the text that the other woman was back in town, BB had blown up her phone with responses, insistent on a meeting. They'd finally settled on the location where BB was currently set up, and she pushed herself up by the footrest to get a better view of the door, craning her head for Raven's brightly-colored hair. Once she saw the other woman, she began to wave violently, rocking her chair back and forth as she did her best to be seen and heard over the crowd.
"Rave! RAVEN! R A V E N!" BB jumped up, making the chair bounce, and nearly lost her balance in the process. She grabbed the table, her mouth grimacing, her tea nearly flying to the ground. A quick hand steadied it, and BB calmed enough to wave again, her arm nearly hitting another tea house patron on the head with the force of its movement.
As a general rule, Raven loved change. The changing of the seasons, changing her hair (currently long and wavy, with the lower half a vibrant purple), changing living spaces. But it was nice that some things never changed, there was some comfort in stability; the sun rose in the east, set in the west, Uncle Moe asked for a pack of cowboy killers whenever she was on her way, and BB had an endless amount of kinetic energy.
She weaved through the chattering crowd at the bubble tea shop, a grin on her face as she watched her friend’s limbs flail. Before she sat down she paused and opened up her arms wide, “Hey dollface, don’t bring down the house before the encore, come give us a hug.” There were a few people glaring at them and Raven grinned at them as if she were oblivious to their annoyance.
BB jumped down from her seat and closed the space between her and her friend, nearly knocking Raven off her feet through the sheer force of her hug. Likewise, the petite young woman gave no care toward the other tea house patrons, instead grasping Raven's hand and pulling her back toward their table.
"Oh my god, Rave, you have to tell me all about where you've been, what you've been up to. And I can't believe we're gonna be living together!! Well, not like together together, but you know what I mean. So spill!" She grabbed her cup, pulling it to her chest.
For a lanky, bony thing who never quite grew out of being more elbows and knobby knees than soft curves Raven had been told she gave great hugs, perhaps because she enjoyed them immensely. So she embraced BB wholeheartedly, spinning around with her as if it had been years instead of only a few months.
“For sure chikadee, let me go order real quick and we’ll catch up!” She laid a loud, smacking kiss on top of BB’s head, always happy to lord her little bit of extra height over the other anytime she could before darting around the tables towards the counter. She ordered quickly without lingering on the menu (papaya slush, with boba), paid in cash and stuffed a five in the jar before heading back to their table to wait for her drink, “I am so excited! Bought me some new camera accessories to celebrate as a treat to myself! But I’ve been exactly where you left me, but we got a new editor at the paper,” A new police chief, “A real goddamn tightass,” Who cracked down on security and made my job more tedious, “And anyway, some young know-it-alls who ain’t know shit started gettin’ on my nerves after you left. Made the good ones look bad.” Some dumb thieves got caught and soured the local waters with clientele and I was too impatient for it to get cleaned up.
“What about you, what have you been up to pretty lady?”
BB grinned and nodded and giggled appropriately throughout Raven's explanation, happy once the subject was returned back to her person. She shrugged.
"I mean, aside from the building being, like, way amazing, and apparently full of like celebs and stuff, but I guess that's not that surprising since it is L.A., not a whole lot, you know, the usesh." She sipped her tea. "V-day was great, except my date was kinda all over the place, nothing serious there but you know how that goes, no need to break into my apartment again," she continued, passing a slight glare in Raven's direction. "Other than that, just working on my articles, got a killer one coming out soon about this real estate mogul who happens to live at Pax too. Real douche canoe. Ummm, oh! So you remember that chick I was always telling you about? Alice? Well she's in the building too. Just moved in pretty recently. Like, oh my god, I'll have to introduce you two but don't make it weird, OK?" She only just slightly reddened at the idea of bringing Raven to meet Alice, as though this would be the lynchpin to make all her workings over the past decade or so tumbling down.
The girl at the counter brought her drink out to her and Raven flashed her a grin as she thanked her before popping the straw in and drinking eagerly. What? It had been a long drive!
She shrugged good naturedly at her friend’s little sideways jab, “I invade your privacy because I care, put that on my business card.” But she listened to the rest with the properhmms and sounds of acknowledgement, the prospect of celebs would be helpful for both her jobs, she also doubted people would suspect her with her living in the building. But she filed that away until later, expression going from excited at finally meeting the famed Alice to a pout in the same beat, “Excuse me! I would not purposefully make it weird! How are things going with that, still pining after your oblivious true love like Ariel and Eric?”
BB made a deflated sound, sinking into the table and pressing her forehead to it's surface.
"It's not. I mean, it kind of is," she replied, her voice muffled by the fact that she was talking into the tabletop and her face was surrounded by her hair. She sat up again, bringing her tea back to its proper landing place. "She just got here, I haven't seen her in like forever, so I'm just trying to take it slow, OK? OK. But yeah. She's on the fourth floor, wayyy below you, and damn I never realized paparazzi make enough dough to live in such a fancy apartment, I know I'm scraping by with just my studio. Or have you got a secret you're not telling me?" BB canted her head, wriggling her brows at her friend.
Raven let go of her drink momentarily to reach over and pat her friend on the head, making what she was pretty sure were the correct sympathetic noises. Truthfully, the needed fancier apartment (though not the best that the place offered of course) was a mix of easier rooftop access, more notice if there was some sort of raid from down below whether it was the police or someone else, and space for her odd collection of mementos. Quick, and quiet as a mouse, she intended to use the fire escape more than her front door late at night.
But BB didn’t need to know all that, “I didn’t know you knew what slow meant, I guess she must be more than just ‘The Chase’ for you” The air quotes were definitely, totally necessary, thank you. Raven shrugged, “I’m good at saving money? And I expect some of my ragamuffin cousins and siblings to be crashing at my place randomly, so I can assure you, it’s for my sanity.” Her accent, only vaguely tempered by travel, lengthened some of the vowels, turning the Is into ahs and softness to others.
"Oh my god, I don't even know what I'd do if Gus or [Resheph] suddenly showed up," BB said, sipping long suddenly on her tea before settling her chin on a closed fist. "I definitely don't have the room, but hopefully they'd at least say something before just showing up at my door. Ugh, I hadn't even thought of that." Of course, she hadn't thought of it because it was incredibly unlikely to happen; both of her brothers had never shown the slightest interest in staying for longer than necessary when visiting, and her parents always got a hotel. She shivered at the thought of having to entertain in such close quarters for longer than a day or two. "And yeah, no, it's not just the chase, Rave, it's... I don't know. It's not important." For once, BB's unflappable jaw shut tight on the topic of Alice, finally switching to just her tea and other things.
"So what've you got going workwise? Any good stories for me? Don't tell me you've been selling to someone else, Rave, you're breaking my heart."
Raven couldn't help the grin on her face even as she sucked a wad of tapioca into her mouth, and she took a moment out of politeness before speaking, “My family has a strict calling ahead is never necessary unless you're expecting a cooked meal, sharing is caring in the LeBeau clan.” It was her justification for stealing little mementos from her friends to remember them by, that and she wanted them. Raven had never really needed to reach very far for reasoning on her sticky fingers.
Her face scrunched up in concern at BB, “Don't you lie to me, you ain't got the heart for it, it obviously is. She must be somethin special, when are you gonna have us both over for dinner?” concern for her friend didn't cancel out her weasling habits when it came to food.
At the question of work she shrugged, “Probably not going to get the best recommendation from the last guy I worked for so I'm probably going to try for some freelance stuff here, nothing all that exciting. One of the reasons I decided I'd been in DC too long.” Another long drink, “You still doin the same work?”
BB's head bobbed, looking almost like one of those drinking birds that dipped its beak into a cup placed before it. "Good ol' Thirty Mile Zero, keepin' the people hip to the happenings. Trying to let them give me one of the bigger assignments like El Chapo, but I guess I gotta prove better numbers first. Last thing I did was this ridiculous video I found on Billy Bob Thornton's Twitter where he was giving Angelina Jolie tips about what to do with that ridiculous tattoo she got on her back, did you hear about that? Supposed to bind her to Brad. You think I should try something like that with Alice?" The joke fell a little flat, BB covering it with another sip from her tea. "But seriously though, if I hear about something, I'll let you know. Always good work for a legendary pap like yourself."
Raven rolled her eyes even as she glared down at a few stubborn balls of tapioca that were evading her straw and pulled out her cell phone, a heavily modified blackberry that was a christmas present from her cousin Ivy. The girl got so much business in house she never needed to look elsewhere to pay the bills, “Yeah I got sirius radio to listen to on the drive and made myself listen to…” She undid the passcode, fingerprint scanner and pattern so she could get into the phone and show BB the app, “Gossip Bitches 24/7 Radio? It kept me alert with annoyance when I got tired. I think you shouldn’t get any ink for someone who isn’t blood related to you.” Some people even said getting ink for a partner would jinx the relationship.
“I’ve always admired your drive, if you need help busting whatever juicy story you find let me know, I got your back.” If nothing else because the challenge would be fun, but also because BB was one of Her People, even if she still was kept in the dark about some things.
She gave her friend a considering look as she thought about the Alice Issue, “You know, my favorite grandaddy used to say women were like orangutans covered in honey.” She said it like she was layng out a bit of great wisdom before going back to chasing after the Boba.
BB stared at Raven as though there was more to the sentence. When none came, her confused smile said it all.
"And?" She shrugged, spreading her hands wide, doing her best to keep from laughing. "You're gonna explain that, right? Are you saying she's an orangutan because she's a redhead? And that she's sticky? Because I gotta say, Alice won't like either of those descriptions."
“Huh?” Raven glanced up from her quest, a confused look on her face as if it was BB being the absurd one.
Finally she shrugged noncommittally, “Oh, he never really bothered to explain his metaphors, but I just figured that it meant they were strong and complicated to get involved with? I dunno, he considered all his kids and grandkids as forms of entertainment.” Her head tilted to the side as if she were listening to something that her companion wouldn’t be able to hear, “You know, in retrospect that might explain some things about my romantic history.”
She reached out to poke BB, “I didn’t even know Alice was a redhead, not sure if you showed pictures? I dig redheads,” She gave a saucy grin, “Just girls, redheaded guys not so much.”
"Hey now," BB replied, fixing Raven with a mock glare. "I called dibs, like, ten years ago. Just apparently no one got the memo." She settled into taking a deep drink of her tea, studying her friend's hair. "So how long you planning on sticking around for?"
Raven fixed her friend with a skeptical look, “Now, do I look like a woman with a plan? I’m here right now, that’s the only thing I know for sure.” Could be she left when the work dried up, but she had already gotten a few bites in the area, or could be she would leave next when if she got the itch to.
BB grinned wide, raising her tea to tap against Raven's in a mock toast. "This is why you're my girl, Raven."