(2018-11-12) Sugar and Snark
Yazmin and Wren form a 'professional'.. and personal… pact.
Players:
wren..yazmin..

Merrimack Homeless Shelter, Calaveras
Mon Nov 12, 2018


Just inside the doors is a former nurse's station for application in staying in the shelter. Just beyond is the dining area and kitchen for the meals/soup kitchen. The aroma isn't terrible, it seems they are serving edible food at least. Some just come to eat, others to live for a time to get back on their feet.

Two hallways, both to the left of the nurse's station, hold the rooms for the residents. A shared bathroom and shower room in each hall are available for the residents. Down each hall there's a faint stench of urine that is ever present.

===

Once a week or so, Wren comes to the homeless shelter when she feels restless… the odd afternoon, she elects to install herself into the soup kitchen to both prepare simple meals for those who require them… and also serve them. Something about being here amidst people who are down on their luck, some of whom ae trying to better themselves… feels right. There's no judgement. Suddenly her second-hand clothing and wistful expressions and quiet little mannerisms don't mean a thing. So Wren comes here weekly to make sandwiches and concoct soups and fill some bellies. The meal service is over and there are people dotted here-and-there at tables, mopping up the last precious drops of chicken noodle soup (homemade!) from bowls and wasting not a scrap.

Wren is seated amidst them, not eating, simply watching. She's close to the doorjamb separating the dining area from the entry foyer so she is fairly visible.. especially as she sits there with her sketch pad prepped. She appears to be sketching a rather animated middle-aged woman seated across from her.. who looks thrilled (seriously) to be a subject.

Yazmin pushes open the soup kitchen door without /any/ sense of superiority or distaste. She lives in a trailer with people who don't like her; she's not that far from being a regular eater herself. The tall woman in her sneakers, tights, short skirt, t-shirt (with 'Don't rush me, I'm waiting for the last minute' on it), and an old football jacket over that. All clothes at /least/ second hand. A backpack over one shoulder and her drawing pad under the other arm.

Spotting Wren, but not wanting to interrupt the art, she offers her an upnod of acknowledgement before finding somewhere to sit out of the way. She studies the faces still here…and feels the urge to draw herself. Pencil retrieved from her pack, she starts sketching.

Some of the assembled visitors and residents become aware of the arrival of Yazmin, as the tall girl goes about breaking out her own implements of art-awesomeness. Not Wren's 'model', though; she fixes beady (but kind) eyes upon the dark-haired girl as her fawn-like arms move to replicate the likeness to paper. "Make sure to give me big ol' tatas, sugar. Shave some years off." Says the older woman, her voice bawdy from years of cigarettes and carousing. Wren blushes deeply, but looks up as Yazmin arrives. She cranes her gaze in the direction of her newfound acquaintance, eyes widening with intrigue.

And also, her expression morphs slowly into a look of happiness. It's nice to see that somewhat familiar face but Wren, knowing the ways of art.. will not intrude. Not yet.

The two go on to sketch in companionable silence and once Wren passes over a 'glamourized' sketch to Betty, she smiles and rises.. collects her things.. moves to greet Yazmin proper.

"Can't help it.. I'm curious. What are you working on?"

"Hey. How are you doing?" Yazmin greets in return. It is her usual flat tone, but there is a trace of a smile at the presence of Wren. "What were you working on? You didn't give me a chance to see it before you handed it over. I'm hurt." Still deadpan, so who knows if she is…but probably not.

She turns the pad to show Wren that she has been working on a number of faces. Just faces. They're interesting faces…with histories. Character. "It's for something I want to talk to you about? When you're done." A gesture to the soup kitchen as a whole.

A little flushing of her cheeks then, "S-sorry, heh… my model wouldn't have been keen on me leaving the table, I mean…" She trails off and right on cue, 'Betty' can be seen holding the paper as if it were the deed to the ritziest place in Calaveras, showing it off to various other patrons of the shelter. "Look at these, just look at them! I had those one, a few years back~" She bawls out in her raucous way that is.. oddly infectious.

Wren reddens, "S-she asked me to draw her with big boobs and a sequin dress. I mean, I did… if it gives some happiness, right..?" Offered feebly. Clearly her work was a hit.

Without even asking, she lowers herself to sit close to Yazmin. "I really like that one," She indicates one of the faces, likely an older haggard male archetype. Big doe eyes glance upwards to the other girl's face. She's about to ask Yaz if she 'comes here often' but another thought catches her fancy. "I'm done now. What's up?"

It's nice to see happiness in anyone, but especially those who have lost so much. Or never even had it. "Life is an inspiration, not a direction. If she wants big boobs…go for it. I'd like big boobs too. Though they'd probably get in the way."

A nod to the face that Wren liked. "Was thinking of using that one for a gaoler, but then I realized that was a cliche. A face like that would be better for a king. Unexpected…and saying something." Yazmin shrugs. "Or it could be a face for a princess." A glance to those big eyes before she clears her throat. "Want to grab a coffee? I should be able to afford two. I want to discuss a possible business proposition."

The other girl's words warrant a giggle from Wren, re: the boobs getting in the way bit. She glances down unconsciously at her own not-so-substantial rack but knowing of relatives who have the back pain, the fuss and muss of a big rack… Wren is not left wanting. She instead nods affirmative to casting the 'grave older man' face —- in-fact one of the residents seated across the way, a former drywaller — as a king as opposed to a gaoler.

The mention of coffee earns a slight smile and nod, "Truck should still have a hint of warmth to it if we wanna travel a bit farther, but they have good burnt coffee here too." Wren smiles slightly, but she looks as if she's ready to go. Her services are done here and it is getting busy. "You cover coffee and I'll get the pastries. Deal?" She pauses, "Because don't all business proposals involve coffee and vittles?"

"Yeah, they seem to" Yazmin nods with some surprise at the realization that all her business dealings have involved those two things. "Except the ones at the store. Did I tell you some guy wants me to draw a nude picture of me? Hundred bucks. I told him it probably wouldn't look like me…and I'll be giving the bird…but an easy way to make money." A wink for Wren. "Not that I've done it yet. Okay, let's go somewhere else."

Yazmin packs up her gear and stands, waiting for Wren to say her goodbyes. And then out into the cold and the, hopefully, warm truck. "How's life in the country?"

The combination of art and humor seem to appeal highly to Wren. There, the ghost of the teenager she must have been. Her eyes widen again, aghast, and her tone becomes jovial, "Really!?" She closes the button on her knapsack, makes sure all of her things are packed. She gives a wave to a woman behind the kitchen counter, then turns her eyes back to Yaz. "Hundred bucks? I'd be charging more if I were you. Because this is prime material." Wren offers the veiled compliment purely for the sake of kindness, and giving compliments where they are due. The 'giving the bird' bit warrants a glow to Wren's gaze, "What do we call the piece..? The girl with the golden middle finger?"

But then she pushes her chair in, says her goodbyes to a clutch of regulars who seem to know her, and indeed shows Yazmin to her older-model late 90s pickup… kept alive by a hope and a prayer. It is indeed warm and even though the thing is dated, the tires are outfitted for snow and ice. Wren isn't a slouch.

She has to unlock Yaz's door first, then amble over to get her own and pulling the heavy thing open, hoists herself up into the driver's seat. Despite age the truck starts immediately and the vents blow tepid air that will, in a few minutes' time, turn to warm. She buckles in and faces Yaz, "Things are okay. Nan and Paw are hunkering down for the winter.. things are slow. They aren't comfortable driving so it's usually me. How are things out your way?"

"That's a good title" Yazmin admits with a nod. "Could be something like 'Pin-up for a Pervert', or 'What Do You Expect for A Hundred'. I dunno, probably end up being 'Untitled Volume 6'. I don't think he's interested in the title." A flicker of a smile at the compliment. "You could charge more" she responds in kind before clambering into the vehicle and restraining herself from putting her feet on the dash.

"The job is going okay. I work at 'A Likely Story'. Bookshop. The owner is Devina Tyler. She's also a novelist. Wrote a sci-fi trilogy…I dunno if you're into that stuff" Yazmin explains. "Home…I try not to spend much time there. The study halls at the university stay open pretty late. I can usually hide under a desk to stay the night and then hit their showers in the morning." A dismissive wave of her hand at this part of her life. "Anyway, I went to see Devi…that's Miss Tyler…about adapting one of her books into comic form. She seemed keen…ended up giving me a job. But she also showed some unpublished stories to see if I would prefer those." She waves her hand in front of the vent. That initial tepid stings in the cold. "We can talk about that over coffee. What do you have on your ranch? Cows? Horses?"

THe girl appears to be going through some set measures to coax the truck into life. Wren does so in the manner of an old pro: just the right things to toggle, the right amount of time to wait.. when to goose 'what' and how often. The truck — some sort of arthritic and cranky Chevy — snarls to life and both it and the girl seem to share a rapport. Then, leaving it to idle and acclimate, Wren turns her dark eyes in the direction of Yazmin as she listens. 'Home'; how Yazmin seems to loathe it. Wren cannot call her house a palace but it's safe and calm. Is she at the point in the friendship where she can offer Yazmin a safe place to escape to? Not yet, lest she make the taller girl uncomfortable. Maybe the offer yet shows in her expression though.

Easing the truck into gear — it's a standard — Wren coaxes it out onto S. Main. She's very clearly listening with interest though unfortunately she knows little of Devi's work.

"We can definitely talk.. I'm curious! I.. uh… I don't live on a ranch, I'm afraid. Not q-quite so interesting," A beat. "It's just a cozy rancher, where my retired Nan and Paw settled t'il I came to their doorstep. There's a few cherry trees and some nice gardens… no cows or horses."

"It's called a rancher but it's not a ranch? Maybe they should call them ranchettes? Or, I dunno, houses" Yazmin replies in her deadpan way. The art of car starting is lost on her; like she would ever be able to afford even something like tis. But it is good when it starts. And the heater reaches the warm stage.

"Cherry trees are pretty. Shame they only flower for a week or two" Yazmin muses as they drive. "Got a place in mind?" she asks, changing the topic to a coffee place. "I think I'm still allowed in most of them. No matter what they say, they can't ban you for glaring at people." She purses her lips in thought before nodding. "I looked it up."

"Your grandparents? That was nice of them." Yazmin doesn't know who her parents are, much less grandparents. "Anyway, I'm going to do an adaptation of one of these short stories…and use it as a basis of new stories. I was wondering if you wanted to help. The money will be…non-existent. But we don't do what we do for the money."

"Yeah, it took me a bit to differentiate." Wren admits, cranking the gearshift and rather competently easing the old truck onto a rather slow back road. "I'm thinking.. maybe Maude's?" Se offers offhandedly, since knowing where they are going — and the price point — is important. The eatery, an older diner, is exactly that: simple, to the point, feasible for a pair of not-well-off art students. Wren is so used to the route that she only has to pay… say, 80% attention to the drive.

A chortle at the 'banned due to glaring' bit and she shakes her head slowly, eased back in her seat, a slight thing against a ragged backing of an old captain's chair in an equally old truck.

"Nan and Paw are… they're good people. But soon as I can I want to be on my own. I.. can't be living with them forever. That's not the way it's meant to be. and—" Then Yazmin's proposition causes her to ease off, eyes huge in her face. A swift glance to the other girl before she's watching the road, "I-I don't need to be paid… would the author be okay with.. l-like, my jumping in? Because that sounds amazing."

"I mentioned to Devi that I was going to ask this awesome artist I knew if they wanted to help. Didn't really get an answer but I think it'll be okay. It's unpublished work, so Devi doesn't want people to know about it until it's released, so it'll have to be a secret. What you see. What you draw. You okay with that?" Yazmin nods about the coffee shop. "Maude's will be fine. They run tabs…and I can outrun most of the waitresses there."

Yazmin bounces along as they drive. It may be flat roads but the suspension has seen better days…and may have even left during one of those days. "Head out on your own? Cool. That would be nice" she agrees, staring out at the world going past before her eyes alight on the driver once more. "Cost a lot though. Where are you going to get the money from?" A pause. "You have great eyes by the way."

"Well, count me in.. I mean.. I don't have much else on the go. I would love to help. And work together." Wren admits, her brow furrowing. "But before I'm good for anything, getting out alone, I need work." She sighs gently as lights pass them by in the cab of the truck, far and few between. Her navigation is effortless; seems she's a regular of the eatery.

She lends further thought to Yazmin's further words and Wren, despite herself — never wanting to pry — is intrigued. Indeed the suspension has seen better days but Wren wears the look of a girl who is simply used to the ride. "I want to stick close to Calaveras." Said easily as she chances a swift glance to Yaz, "My.. I'm not ready to be away from my family." Ie. her mom. "Even to just get an apartment somewhere, here… and work… even if it's a hole in the wall… I'd feel better. Someday." Admitted to the other artist. "What a—-" Then the remark about her eyes. Wren flushes slightly. "T-thanks.. Mom's eyes, I'm told. Only hers were the bluest blue. I don't even know if I have my dad's eyecolor… maybe it's skipped a generation. Paw has green eyes like mine though." Beat, "I appreciate it.."

"Great, glad we can work together" Yazmin smirks in her way. "When do you think we can start? You know, getting into the details." She looks out the window and points down the street. "I think there's a park there. I had to get a job to make some money too. My scholarship goes to my 'family' once the tuition fees are paid. They're not really keen for me to leave since they won't be able to grab the checks first."

"I'm glad you're not heading off to Denver straight away" Yazmin smirks. "What kind of work do you want to do? You don't know your dad either? You have very expressive eyes. Definitely windows to the soul for you. And it's a kind soul. And I'm gonna stop talking before you blush even brighter."

The willowy girl looks troubled.. though luckily in the shadows of the drive the expression isn't entirely evident. Her family may have been tragically cut short and her dad — the sperm donor, basically — MIA.. but those who remain at least help one another. Wren turns her head to look upon Yazmin again for a few seconds, really studying her. "I dunno… I have nice eyes, but you've got the best of a c-couple of worlds, I think. Nan would say I have a kind face… but you have the cheekbones." A little half-smile, spoken like a true artist. "The take-charge, take on anything cheekbones." Wren is about to say that her friend's features would be neat to draw, but thinks better. It's not her way to be excessive.. but she's earnest.

"You'd better charge that dude m-more than a hundred, all I can say."

They arrive to the eatery and Wren eases the cranky vehicle into her usual stall. "I.. don't know my father. He and Mom had an agreement.. he didn't want kids, mom wanted them but d-didn't wanna tie him down. So they parted ways."

It is obvious Yazmin does not know how to react to such compliments. Though her flustered look is not that different from her deadpan look. She has to look away for a moment. "Thanks." That's the right thing to say? "I have no idea where, or who, they came from." Yazmin isn't as shy and retiring as Wren, so she flat out asks, "Mind if I draw you one day? You could definitely be a model…for one of the characters I mean. And…umm…a model in general."

Thank goodness they arrive at their destination, Yazmin clambering out and grabbing all her stuff. "That sounds mature of both of them. Don't usually know of such sensible decisions. I guess neither of my parents wanted a kid. I was straight into foster care. Don't feel sorry for me. It worked out for the best." Obviously.

===

Maude's 24/7 Diner, Calaveras

Chrome trim, red vinyl, and black-and-white checkered floors; the aesthetic of Maude's is classic, All-American and very 1950's. The walls are covered in a scattered mess of Hollywood memorabilia and vintage ads. One advertises 5 cent 'malts', and there's a few classic Coca-Cola signs. A polished dining counter makes up the left half of the well-lit eatery, lined with shiny swiveling stools, while the other portion is all booths. In the back, near the bathroom hallway, is an old school jukebox, looking like it's really from the 50's or 60's. And that's Maude's for you: While the look of the place is pretty traditional and gimmicky, it's also completely genuine: This burger joint has been standing since the 1950's. A Calaveras classic!

===

Aw, what a bundle of awkward. They're still getting to know one another, yes? Has to be it. Wren, however, blushed with abandon at the compliment and she continues to do so now. Windows to the soul? Nice eyes? Somehow such words dealt by a voice typically borne of snark just feels even more genuine. Wren warms and doesn't look terribly uncomfortable.. not in her usual way. "A-all the better to make the look your own." Re: not knowing where, and from whom, traits came from. "I mean, I can relate.. m-my dad must've been white, too. I'm a regular paper wallflower." She's trying to be funny, closing her door and waiting for Yaz to join her. She will then lock the doors. Then, she straight-up freezes as her new friend asks to.. draw her? That is a huge compliment. "I would… really like that. Any way to help the cause. We can make a day of it. You draw me, I'll draw you." Said frankly. How's that for a pact?

Regarding the decision of her parents, all Wren can do is smile sadly. "I wish Mom could've had a happier life at the end.. but she did the best she could. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, either. Aren't we j-just the pair?"

"It's a deal. Mutual drawing" Yazmin nods, before eyes narrow. "Is this a date?" she asks in her deadpan way that leaves meaning up to whoever is listening. Tease? Serious? Who knows? "That's the thing about wallflowers, they're often the prettiest thing in the room. I have no idea what color my dad was…or my mom. I'm guess one was white and one was black. Just a guess" she states flatly. "I was so surprised when I realized I wasn't white" she smirks, "Could have knocked me over with a feather. Not many people of color in this town, you'd think it would be easy to figure out who one of my parents was. But they probably left town. And there was another reason I don't go looking. Oh yeah, that's it, I don't give a fuck about them."

Yazmin pushes open the door for her fellow artist. "Quite the pair" she nods in agreement. "They might start calling us 'Sugar and Snark'. Can you guess which is which? Find us a booth? What kind of coffee you want?"

Here's the beauty part about Wren; she may be shy and unsure and questing for something but she is sure of one thing: orientation. In her case, lack thereof.. of a defined direction. Long story short, Yazmin's words.. even if in jest or serious (??) … color the girl's face once more. However true to Wren fashion, the direct compliment — re: wallflowers — has HER at a shy loss for words. Her expression and eyes say it all and she slides her keys with their scuffed fob into her purse. "They .. your folks.. don't matter. You're here and you have a good friend in me. And it sounds like Devi is in your corner too," A quirky smile. "But I'm here. And—"

The door is pushed open and Wren's shoulders shake lightly with laughter. "Sugar and Snark! I.. like it." She looks down at her feet in their scuffed boots. "Would you like mutual drawing to b-be a date?" Asked a touch shyly, without judgement. She leads the way to her favorite booth. "I take my coffee dark, with just a splash of cream."

"Dark and with a splash of cream? Like your women?" Yazmin smirks…though it almost becomes a laugh! "I might have white with lots of sugar" she adds with that smirk becoming a sly smile. Does she want it to be a date? The pressure is on now! Yazmin has never been one to back down from the tough questions, though she does usually answer them with snark. But this time, when she replies, "Yeah…I would", it is without any of that casual mocking that comes so easy to her. Okay…that's moved things along. "I'll get the coffee."

Yamzin moves quickly to the counter rather than hear Wren say she was just joking about the date thing. It was nice to have a friend. Hopefully, Yazmin will be able to keep this one…her first? She returns with the coffees, placing them on the table before slipping into the booth. It looks like Wren hasn't run away.

What is Wren's type? Does she prefer guys? Girls? Is it strange that she really just prefers a good heart, regardless of the wrappings? She's never really had much of a chance to weigh in on her feelings, especially with all that happened… but suddenly as Yazmin snarks with her and she (Wren) is kinda flirting in return…. it's something to pay mind to. Yazmin's response to the very deliberate coffee innuendo (Wren surprised herself) loosens a bright laugh from the typically subdued girl's throat. "I—" Regarding the date, but Yazmin is up and moving to the counter. This gives Wren a moment to really watch the other girl and indeed observe what she likes about her. There something in the vulnerability of.. wondering if something is 'true' or just a joke. Wren can see this in Yazmin, even in how quickly she moved before Wren could speak onwards.

So the elaboration is waiting for the taller girl, upon her return. "I've.. never dated before. L-like ever. So if you're going to go on a date with me y-you have to know that I am a total newb." She hasn't run away; she isn't joking!

Yazmin shrugs at Wren's honesty - she does shrug at a lot of things - as she sits opposite her in the booth. "You think my sparkling personality gets me a lot of dates?" she sniffs at herself before finding a kinder smile for Wren; Yazmin isn't even sure where it came from. "I'm new myself" she admits softly, before her bluster is back. "We can blunder through it together." A sip of her coffee. "Yep, white and lots of sugar was the way to go." Totally talking about the coffee.

"You're more of an expert with digital art, yeah?" Yasmin tries returning to work talk before she starts to blush. "I was thinking we might even do this as website only, so that would be a help. I'll draw, paint, and then scan it in, and you can fix it up. And do your own drawings too. You better with backgrounds or character work? I want us to work together, you know? But also change our styles dependent on what the story needs at that point."

Then, another smile.. but it's not a huge one. It's the essential Wren expression; it serves best to soften her gaze, making those dark green eyes appear as shiny as beach rocks. Yazmin's admittance to being 'new' only endears the prickly girl to Wren even moreso, but she's too shy to really say much or do much beyond simply watching the snarky artist with a look that is both surprised and touched. Yazmin's bluster returns and so too does Wren's shyness, but her smile remains as she lifts her coffee and sips. She looks and sounds a lot happier. "I-I'd like that.. Sugar and Snark, huh?" A soft chuckle into her drink.

Yaz's query lifts her gaze up and back to her, "I've done a lot of illustration.. straight-up pencil to paper to inking… played with watercolor… but I'm no stranger to working with a good editing program." A blush, "W-when I was at school… I can't really afford a computer. But if I had access, I could reacquaint myself quickly." Talk of art and it's nuances chases away all inklings of nervousness. "I could definitely do that. We could swap out sometimes; I draw… are you comfortable with editing? If not I really don't mind wearing that hat." Between having her first ever date teed up and a project at hand.. Wren looks jazzed.

"I can give the digital stuff a go as well" Yazmin nods, she is attending the college doing a Fine Arts degree so she should know how! Even if she doesn't spend much time in class. "We have to be careful though. What we're working on is top secret. No one can see what we're doing, okay. Just you, me, and Devi." A glance around the diner to see if anyone was listening. Nobody looks interested…but that's how spies would look!

Yazmin even tries another smile at talk of 'Sugar and Snark'. "We should sign our art with that name. Neither of us takes precedence over each other. Both share the good and the bad. What do you think?" A nervous bite of her lip before she clarifies. "A professional union is what I mean." That coffee looks good and she hides behind her mug once more, eyes shifting from side to side.

Pulled into Yaz's wariness at people honing in on their plot, Wren's eyes also lift and case out the room. Cripes, the way they look around, they look more suspicious than any eavesdroppers. Cheekbones reddened, Wren looks back to Yaz.. "I won't say a word, promise. It'll probably be easier for me to work on things in the evenings, especially if I find work at a place that needs help with days. But I want to be available.. and helpful. Let's do it!" She exclaims, calms, quiets herself with another deep swig of brew. Her eyes are positively starlit, they're that bright.

"I think we have ourselves a professional handle. That's perfect." Then she has to go and make it perhaps a little more awkward for Yaz by extending one lithe but warm palm. "Shake on it?" And if Yaz takes that hand, Wren will hold hers longer than necessary.

"You still need to find a job, could be night work" Yazmin points out. "And, when we publish and get famous, we'll make plenty of money." Because some of the highest earners in the world are graphic novelists. A hand. What's she supposed to do with that? Oh…that's right. Yazmin does forget social norms often and doesn't subscribe to them. She subscribes to 'Snarky Bitch Monthly' instead. Her hand reaches out to shake Wren's. "It's a date…deal." And she doesn't seem to be in a hurry to let go either.

Publish. Get famous. Wren's eyes begin to glow again, and she looks down at the tabletop briefly. "It's what Mom wanted, y'know… l-like… for me to use my art. To love my work." One of those elusive mentionings of her mother. Wren would have mentioned that the woman was deceased, but very little beyond that. "Graphic novels and art are the way to go." Wren lends voice to that consideration, looking up and smiling into Yazmin's eyes, her fingers giving the prickly youth's hand a squeeze. She will not hold on for too long so as to not make her uncomfortable. "I'm excited, Yaz.. thanks for this. It's the first time that I've let myself be excited for art in a long time…"

Okay, so six months is not too long.. but when you're still grieving, it feels like forever.

"You're doing me the favor" Yazmin points out, fingertips trailing over Wren's as their hands part. "I'm glad your mom would approve." Would she approve of dating a girl? Best not to ask. "Hey, weren't we getting pastries with this coffee?" she teases before pursing her lips in thought. "Can I come out to your place to do our drawings? Or would it be too cold out there?

The thought of who would approve or wouldn't doesn't even cross her mind. Celia, a single mother, wanted only for her daughter to be happy and fulfilled. Her grandparents…? Hard to tell. They are loving but given to letting Wren come and go as she pleases. But without hesitation or a second thought she says outright to Yaz, "I can get the pastries. And you can come out to my place anytime.. sometimes the buses are pretty awful. You let me know when and where to pick you up and you can stay as long as you'd like." Wren smiles, before rising to stand and do the walk to the counter. Is that a definite skip to her step…?

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