A/N: Chapter contains mild cursing.
"Yea I know I'm late, traffic was terrible. Plus there was an accident at the end of the highway and the lights were messed up. Wonderful fucking day, am I right or am I right?"
"Lanners did you hear me?"
"Lanner Lanner Lana-"
"Lana, earth to Lana. Hey."
"Dude get your brain back online and stop daydreaming. Lana!"
"Eh?" Lana made a questioning sound. She set her tea cup down, there was a gentle click of porcelain against porcelain.
"Don't 'eh?' me. What was more fascinating than me outside that window, huh?" An irritated voice replied. "Don't tell me your brain actually went offline? Lana if you have me worried for nothing you're going to pay. Woman, you know my concern does not come cheap."
Phyandra had slumped into a contemptuous glare across the maple wood table waiting for her friend's response.
Within the earthy Tea and Pastry café decorated with splashes of Spring, Lana Ulanok stared at her friend Phyandra Mellivic with a dazed expression.
Inside this establishment, the swirling ceiling fan circulates the soothing herbal tea aromas, which were mixing with the pleasant scent of pasties baking beyond the counter in the back.
On their table steam from two teacups and teapots billowed gently, casting soft shadows onto the table. Along the wall, soothing light from the mid afternoon sun cast its warm rays onto both women through the windows.
Taping the table impatiently, Phyandra twitched her nose, relieving a sneeze attempting to crawl out.
Lana shook her head. "Oh. It was nothing." Looking down, she ran her finger along the edge of the teacup.
Phyandra frowned. "What's wrong with you?"
An obvious change occured in Phyandra's demenur. That slumping posture straightened then bent forward into a scowl. She looked across the table, her gaze which was heavily interrogating her friend was akin to a grumpy cat who hadn’t been fed.
Lana lifted her white tea cup printed with amber butterflies and paused an inch below her lips. She furrowed her brows, slightly tilting her head in confusion.
"Why would there be something wrong?" She asked, her eyes blinking innocently at said cat.
Phyandra scoffed. Under the table she kicked at Lana's foot begrudgingly, which got a not so happy grumble from her friend. Hearing that grunt of Lana's somewhat soothed Phyandra's mood so her tone was less intrusive.
"You tell me Miss Sassy Pants Mc Comeback?" Phyandra lifts an eyebrow in reply. "I tell you two plus two is one and you don't have an idoitic retort, not even a scoff? My girl has to be down with the plague or she's been swapped with someone else."
Phyandra crossed her arms and grumbled.
Shuffling occurs near the entrance of the café. Above the door the bell jingled, a willow waisted heavy set woman entered. She adjusted the red rimmed glasses which had slipped down her nose. Once being directed towards a seat in the back, she thanked the café employee.
Phyandra made an 'aha' sound then abruptly coughed. She bit the inside of her lip, her eyes widened in realization. She smacked her leg and sat up straight like a pencil ready to stab something.
The heavy set woman curiously glanced her way. That radiant milk chocolate skin looked lovely in the sun's glow while her dazed expression blinked repeatedly. A moment later she continued on towards the corner and made a left. Greeted by her friend reading a book she sat down with a smiling expression.
"Gasp!" Unaware of how she amused a passerby, Phyandra covered her mouth in horror. "Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?"
Phyandra leaned forward, slamming both her palms to the table. A threatening expression was carved into her face. "To hell with your second chance bullshit, give me back my friend you cheap ass, body stealing, freeloading, assassin, secret agent, snobby rich girl, piece of crap...!"
"Shut up!" Lana jumped up and arm locked Phyandra. She gave her a hard nuggy to her head. "Don't doubt that I'll turn you bald and throw you into a monastery. I'll announce to the head monk that a Eunuch had escaped from the emperor's dynasty and wanted to go peeping in a public bath masquerading as a woman with breast implants."
"Shit!” Phyandra echoed in delight. “That's not a bad idea!"
Lana's face turned dark. "Stay away from me you pervert."
Lana immediately released her friend and shoved her back to her seat with a disgusted expression.
Reaching over for a napkin she began wiping her hands clean and dusting off her long black sleeves.
When she glanced up she saw her friend wiggling her eyebrows. Following those teasing eyes down, Lana rolled her eyes and pulled up her shirt that had created a deep cleavage.
"Are we really friends or are you a stalker that's pretending to be a saint." Lana shifted in her seat getting comfortable once more.
Phyandra flipped her shoulder length hair and announced. "Honey I was never a saint in the first place, I'm a proud bona fide pervert. Want to see my certification?"
The two locked eyes.
One had a teasing flirtatious look. Her posture openly leaning on the table inviting the imagination, beckoning it to walk down the dark path into a sinful alleyway.
The other was indifferent and cold. The posture is straight and calm, allowing not a soul near while she transforms into a frozen wasteland. Yet if you looked closely the corners of her lips betrayed a slight smile.
Suddenly the two burst into joyish laughter.
The ambience unperturbed by the two filled the Café with life. Sounds of clicking glasses against hardwood tables came from Phyandra's side. Light conversations and the turning of book pages flowed off in the corner on Lana's end. At the bar counter, the two bar baristas glanced over and shook their heads, then returned to their work.
"So," Phyandra lifted her white tea cup printed in the same amber butterflies, but then furrowed her brows.
The cup was empty.
Lana obliged her friend, lifting the others clear teapot, refilling Phyandra's cup.
Phyandra took a short but slow sip, then set the cup down. After savoring the flavor of raspberry Hibiscus tea she opened her sharp eyes which seemed to be lacking something, something which was hard to tell but easily felt.
A feeling of emptiness.
"Are you going to tell me or am I meant to guess." She stated. It was a question but it left no room for denial. She demanded an answer without an actual demand.
Lana did not flinch at this sharp statement.
She picked up her own clear tea pot and refilled her cup. Swirling the tea, letting the stray tea leaves fall, she took a slow but long sip. She enjoyed the bitter yet sweet ocean taste from the Matcha green tea, allowing it to warm her up and stimulate her mind.
After placing the cup down she sighed. "I've just not been feeling too well. Things at home have been... chaotic and complicated."
"Your mother?" Phyandra chimed.
"Mhm." Lana confirmed with a nod. "Sometimes I wonder if I'm adopted."
"Would not be surprised, besides your faces the two of you are nothing alike. After all, she's a real piece of work while you're a blank sheet. Dating multiple men at once, acting like she's got her own reverse harem. Gosh, how many were there again? Five?" Phyandra spoke in an even tone, acting as if this were an everyday topic.
"Six." Lana stated.
"Six? She got a new one?" Phyandra was a little surprised, she'd accidently spilled a bit of her tea.
Lana grabbed a napkin and cleaned it up for her.
Lana shook her head and clarified. "No, an old one came back, Jacob. The one that tried his luck with that singer at the nightclub. You know the one down past the coffee shop near where the old ice plex was. Apparently he'd caught her with the club's owner and ran back to my mom crying and screaming 'Woe is me' nonsense."
"Damn. Lana." She leaned back. "The more I hear the more I can confirm. Your life's a TV drama." Phyandra shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. She leaned on her palm and glanced out the window. "And you my friend. You're the unwilling audience."
"Indeed." Lana sighed. She too glanced out the window, watching the passing people who seemed happy with their lives.
Lana began to wonder if any one of them had a normal life. Perhaps some were like her. At home, their life was something you'd only read about on the internet. Or perhaps it was just like everything else?
Tasteless, colorless, only waiting until it's over.
Lana quickly smacked her cheeks, shaking away those thoughts that keep managing to occupy her mind.
She quickly grabbed her tea cup and swallowed down all the tea inside. Refilling it twice over, she drank half the second refill then placed the cup down.
"Heartburn?" Phyandra teased. Which gained a glare and an eye roll from Lana. Phyandra merely shrugged her shoulders then flicked the corner of her cup.