"It's Kinda Disturbing."
Due to recent references to a character that I dubiously named "Mr Pancakes", I promised a few people that I would blog an intro to the character in question, and I always do what I say I'm going to - like it or not.
This is a very rough draft, and will be subject to constant revision.
The place was named Fiddles. A dingy little café on the trendy side of town that was expensive and fashionable now that gloomy was the trademark mood of the chic. The building was distinctly Victorian, but the décor haphazard, mixing fake Edwardian furnishings with the odd placing of paraphernalia from 50‘s American pop culture. The lighting was sparse; each table had a small electric lamp, enclosed in frosted red plastic, and made for a dark and almost clandestine atmosphere. At least you could still smoke there, which is why Ash had chosen it. That and it never opened before 10pm.
“Pancakes,” Kai said, “with blueberries and cream.”
The waitress dutifully jotted the order down, and then looked expectantly at Ash. He smiled at her. She was young and pretty, and seemed like the kind of girl you might like to take on a date before talking her into going back to your place. Ash liked those kinds of girls every now and then, the way they smiled sweetly at him over glasses of champagne; which they always insisted they shouldn’t drink but did anyway. Ash ordered a scotch, and encouraged Kai to join him.
“If I have to sit here and watch you eat pancakes again, the least you can do is join me in a drink.”
“Fine, cognac.” Kai said as he flicked through documents that he had pulled from his briefcase.
“What the hell is it with you and pancakes anyway?” Ash asked, turning his attention from the waitress as she walked away with their order.
“I like ‘em, and I’m hungry.”
“You never eat anything else, as far as I can tell.” Ash leaned across the table, and whispered as though he was about to reveal a great secret. “It’s kinda disturbing.”
“Are you deaf? I ordered them with blueberries this time.”
Ash snickered as he relaxed into his chair. “Fine, don’t tell me.”
Kai put down the papers he had been reading. He looked annoyed. “It disturbs me more that you seem so hung up on what I eat.”
“It’s called obsessive-compulsive…or something like that. Doing the same thing over and over again, you know.” Ash contemplated for a moment. “Mr Pancakes. That’s what I’m calling you from now on.” Kai returned his attention to the papers. “Yup…Mr Pancakes…” Ash made a popping sound with the ’p’ in ’yup’, and drummed his hands on the table. “ So, what you got there? Better be good.”
The waitress returned with their drinks, and Ash was once more distracted as she bent over to place his scotch in front of him. Her eyes flickered briefly, recognising the calibre of his interest. She turned to Kai.
“I’ll be back with your food order shortly,” she said, and for a moment, as he glanced up at her, she seemed reluctant to walk away - as if she were waiting for more acknowledgement than the nod he had given her.
“Better bring me another scotch.”
The waitress looked back at Ash. His glass was empty.
“Certainly.” She took the empty glass and walked away.
“I could do this all night…” Ash said, watching her. “Alright, Mr Pancakes, put the papers away. I’m not in the mood for work tonight.” He gave Kai a knowing look, one he understood perfectly.
It was true, the girl had sparked his interest. However, he saw something different from Ash. He had noticed that her nametag said ’Ada’. More importantly, she looked a lot like Lilith - and she was about to bring him pancakes. He sighed and put the documents away. Aside from anything else, his momentary reverie had dissipated all motivation he’d had for dealing with business. He drank the cognac.
The light was soft and hazy, the room smoke filled. Red velvet curtains covered the windows and separated most of the booths, but from where Kai sat, he could watch several animated conversations. For some reason, the place reminded him of an opium den, and he regarded his surroundings with slight amusement as well as distaste. A picture of Marilyn Monroe pouted and winked at him. Absurdly, he felt like winking back. The cognac had warmed and settled him. It brought a different kind of awareness to his senses, as though sound, motion and taste had thickened and become heavier - more pleasurable to experience. Still, he decided, next time he would order tequila. He ran his finger around the rim of the cognac glass and smiled.
Ada returned, stooping slightly as she placed Ash’s second scotch on the table. She turned to Kai, her hand reaching for the plate of pancakes on the tray she carried. Kai’s eyes slowly drew away from his glass and met hers. Her hand trembled slightly, and she gripped onto the plate, yet did not serve it. The movement of his eyes over her was like a slowly dragged net, gathering up every detail, and almost as if his glance penetrated beyond her clothing, beyond her skin. Ada’s lips parted slightly and her neck flushed in a delicate shade of pink. The plate began to clatter on the tray and she pulled her eyes from Kai’s gaze. Without giving him another glance, she placed his order in front of him and walked away. To the casual observer, the smallest of moments had passed, and nothing unusual had happened.
Ash smiled at his companion. “Well, what do you think?”
Kai breathed in the scent Ada had left in her wake. Her blush, warming her skin, had lifted faint traces of jasmine, rosewater and musk into the air.
“I think,” he said as he picked up the cutlery. “I think I’d like to play a game.” He stared after Ada as she disappeared behind the kitchen doors, then cut into the pancakes.
“Good man,” Ash said approvingly and grinned.
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