(2018-12-12) Early Christmas
Mostly Ethan, Luke, and Angela talk about Christmas stuff. Kate cameos.

Java Junction

With copper light hangings, it leaves a rustic feel to the entire room. A long bar with a cash register below a sign that says Order Here boasts a display of pastries, bagels, croissants and other foods for breakfast. Sandwiches and soups and salads for lunch and dinner. On a chalk bard in colorful writing is a list of the different beverages offered as well as the prices. Numbers are given on the receipts so when called, patrons can get their order at the opposite end of the bar from the register.

Tables dot the room, wooden with simple center pieces and wooden chairs around them. Also built into one leg of each table is an electrical outlet for laptops or phone chargers. In one corner is a bean bag area with several magazines and a small book swap shelf.

While music plays softly from surround sound speakers, it is usually tuned into one of the two radio stations in the town. The country or rock, depending on what the barista selects at the time.

Ethan's at a table with some not-unattractive woman in a business suit, who is just now gathering up a bunch of stuff. He stands, they shake hands, she leaves, he sits back down, ostensibly to finish the extremely expensive 'protein plate' that he bought at the start of the meeting. A hard-boiled egg, some cheese, and a little paper cup full of nuts. Around him, people get their caffeine fixes and have coffee-shop conversations; you guys know the drill by now.

Luke ducks into the coffee shop just as the non-unattractive suited woman leaves Ethan's table and passes by him in the door. Does he look? Of course he looks, it's just a brief glance, before he bypasses the line and goes straight to claim the still-warm seat that was abandoned. "Who was that?" he asks Ethan with lifted brows, looking intrigued. He also reaches over to touch Ethan's nuts, and probably eat some.

Katherine enters, unwrapping the layers of coats, scarves, hats and mittens that normal people wear outside during the winter. She pulls her phone out of her pocket, checking it briefly before she steps up to order at the counter. Money changes hands and she steps over to wait for her order to come up, checking her phone again. It only takes a few minutes before her bagel, salmon and coffee are set on a tray. She is distracted as she moves to find a table, settling down in a chair near a window. She spreads cream cheese on her bagel and then eats a piece of the salmon before she adds sugar to her coffee.

"My side piece." Ethan shakes his head while he rattles off this lie, leaning back in his chair to make it that much easier for Luke to get to his nuts while he peels his egg. Badly. Big globs of the white come off with every fraction of shell. "Did you come in here just to steal from me? 'Cause I kinda think it's jacked up to rob your brokest friend." Of course he notices Kate with all her layers; whether or not she notices the wave that goes her way remains to be seen, since she's in her own world and stuff?

"Makes sense," Luke says of Ethan's side chick, so busy putting his fingers in all of Ethan's nuts. He licks the salt off of his thumb once he's gotten his fill, shrugging his shoulders. "I can't help it that your salty nuts are right here, Ethan, jeeze. You've never complained before," he smirks, looking up as Kate comes through the door. He, too, offers up a wave, before he looks back to Ethan with brows lifted. "Did she at least buy you breakfast? This side piece of yours?"

Katherine does see the wave Ethan aims at her, she waves back and smiles. "Hey Ethan, Luke. How are you two doing?" She asks, watching with a wince as Ethan butchers his hard boiled egg. She takes another bite from her bagel and stirs some creamer and sugar into her coffee. She stifles a laugh as she overhears some of the conversation, shaking her head slightly before she takes a drink from her cup.

"These are expensive nuts, man. And what the fuck is wrong with this egg?" Since clearly the egg is to blame, not Ethan's incompetence, now that he has accidentally broken it in half and the yolk falls out; he rolls it out of his palm and onto the plate. "Nah, she's my realtor. Or ex-realtor now, house sold. I can't stand the woman. Killer legs, though." To answer Katherine's question, he gestures at the mess that's supposed to be his food - ruined egg, BFF eating his nuts - like that just sums up everything. "I hope that bagel's doing you better than this eight dollar plate of bullshit."

"It's a good thing I'm getting your nuts for free then," replies Luke on the expensive nuts, looking down as Ethan fucks his egg up. "Pretty sure it's user error," he comments vaguely, grabbing another handful of Ethan's salty nuts and popping them into his mouth, chewing as he explains who the woman was. "They were really nice legs," he agrees on that point alone. When Kate asks how they are doing, he lifts one shoulder in a casual sort of shrug. "I'm good. T-minus two weeks until Hawaii and I get to celebrate New Years on the beach," he gazes dreamily for half a second, before he looks back to Kate. "How's Xavier? All his bruises healed up?"

"Boiled too long." Katherine says, watching it fall apart with a grin on her face. "The bagel is excellent, it's one of the things they do right here, besides the coffee." She takes another drink from her cup and sets it aside, taking another bite of her salmon. "Yep, he's all healed up, busy at work." She says to Luke, glancing at her phone when it makes a noise, peeking at it briefly before she puts it back on the table. "Have fun in Hawaii, I bet it's really nice there this time of year. I heard they do killer luau's there for New Year."

Ethan mumbles, "Pretty sure your face is user error," like the grown-up that he is. Since the only part of the egg he was able to actually get shell-free is the yolk, he eats that and washes it down with coffee, mmm, tongue-scraping pieces out of his teeth when he advises Luke, "Huli huli chicken. You gotta try it while you're there. That shit is - " He makes an a-okay shape with one hand. "Since you weren't smart enough to go to Puerto Vallarta."

Luke and Ethan are sharing a table, with Luke gobbling Ethan's nuts. Kate's over by the window. NPCs are doing NPC stuff.

Christmas is right around the corner, and last minute shopping has been engaged. Angela has been out doing that last minute shopping when she swings by the Java Junction, several bags in one hand with already wrapped presents peaking out of them. There's a quick note taken of those present at tables, but she doesn't greet anyone on her way towards the counter to place an order, "Double espresso, and that little yogurt parfait you've got, extra kiwi please."

Luke bats his lashes to Ethan as he leans back into his chair. "I can't take Abby to Puerto Vallarta, that's /our/ place," he reminds Ethan, "But I'll add Huli Huli chicken to the list of things to do while we're there. I'll fit it in somewhere between whale watching and throwing a fake ring into a volcano," he grins, before he glances back over to Kate. "That's good," about Xavier. "Hopefully he doesn't find himself sliding on any more 'ice' right?" He even wiggles his fingers into air quotes around the word. When Angela comes in, he throws up a wave at her. "Angela, are one of those presents for /me/?"

"One can hope, right?" Kate responds, getting to her feet and gathering up her outerwear. "I'll pass along your kind regards." She adds, pulling her coat, hat and mittens on. Her coffee is already in a to-go cup, so all she needs to do is drop her plate off at the counter on her way to the door. "Ms. Bell." She says, nodding at Angela before she waves at the wait staff. The door opens and a few snowflakes swirl in as she steps out the door.

With a jaw-dropped gawk about the ring-into-a-volcano, Ethan admits freely, "I'm so jealous right now. If Abby carries you up the volcano piggy-back? I'm gonna shank her." It was probably on his agenda to kick Luke under the table, but he skips that since Kate rushes out, and he shrugs. "'Kay." Then he kicks Luke under the table, about the presents; "Quit trying to horn in on my meal-ticket. All those presents are obviously for me." Without standing, he one-hand pulls a chair out for Angela when she gets her coffee.

"There might be a present for you and Abby." Angela replies, glancing at the rapidly departing Kate before she picks up her order and heads towards the table, setting her stuff down. "I don't think that I've ever seen her run away that fast…what did you two say to her?" She wonders, reaching into one of the bags to pull out a present, holding it out towards Luke, "For you and Abby, open before you go on your vacation."

Luke watches Kate run off with an ever-growing frown, shaking his head as he returns his attention to the group. "Whatever," he says of that situation, focusing instead on the present that is revealed. He reaches with grabby fingers, lifting it to his ear to shake it and see if he can determine what's inside. Which, hopefully it's nothing breakable or alive. "Oh, man, can I open it right now? What is it? Is it sexy lingerie for me to wear?"

Like he's baffled (he's not), Ethan relays, "Luke said my nuts were delicious. I said he should try chicken in Hawaii." He agrees with the 'whatever' summary, leaning across the space between the chairs to give Angela a get-a-room kiss hello. Then he'll pay attention to the size and shape of the box that Luke was just given, so tell us more about it, Angela. So he can guess what's in it.

"They are, Luke has very good taste." Angela agrees, returning that kiss before she shifts the other bags to the floor between her and Ethan. Maybe they are for him! The box for Luke is flat, and it does actually look like it might be the sort of box that clothes come in, and the movement inside is soft sounding, like fabric. And it's light. Like fabric. Maybe it IS sexy lingerie?!

"Ugh, guys, get a room," Luke whines about the kissing, while he's busy trying to figure out what's in the box. Shake-shake-shake, shake-shake-shake! Shake your booty..er. Box. "It's definitely lingerie. Thanks, Angela, you're so thoughtful," he beams a smile. "I hope it's lacy and crotchless. Do I have to open this in front of Abby?"

Ethan's grin is triumphant when he sits back - not because of the kiss, but because he got the desired get-a-room reaction. "It's the simple pleasures." He takes the box right out of Luke's hands, holding it up to his ear and listening to it for a second while he also shakes it. Then weights it in his hands, then shoves it back at Luke. "Banana hammock. With Rudolph on it. And matching - " He points at Luke when 'crotchless' comes out. "For Abby. You're so generous." He beams upon Angela, with the eyelashes.

"We're in a room." Angela points out with a smile at Luke, then she reaches for her cup, taking a sip from it before she shakes her head, "You do not have to open it in front of Abby, however, it is for the both of you." She then glances at Ethan, laughing, "And it is neither a banana hammock or crotchless panties, I'm afraid. It's something perfectly tasteful that you could reasonably open in front of someone's parents. However, some of Ethan's presents are not safe for parents eyes."

"Yeah, but we're not in a room with a bed and a tripod for the camera," Luke points out with a smirk, before he pouts when Ethan steals his box. "Heeeyyyy.." he starts, until the box is shoved back at him, deflating when Angela says it is not a banana hammock or crotchless. "Hmm," he frowns thoughtfully, before he starts to tear open the wrapping paper. "You'd be surprised at the things Ethan's willing to open around somebody's parents," he comments as he peels open his box. WHAT'S INSIDE?!?!!?

Ethan's eyes brighten for a second - bed and a tripod, he just mentally planned out their whole evening! - and he only tunes back in when Luke starts ripping open the paper. "He has a point. Whose parents are we talking about?" But it's a question that doesn't expect an answer, since he leans forward, full of anticipation for the big reveal.

Please tell me it's these: https://tripswithtots.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/handerpants-e1353619979784.jpg?w=228&h=185

The present is actually NICE. It is a pair of matching silk kimono style robes. Maybe not real silk, maybe it is. There is a tag if Luke is one of THOSE PEOPLE, though. The pattern is very Hawaii flowers and stuff, bright colors, those sorts of things. She glances towards Ethan, perhaps knowing right where his mind went, that smirk evident, "Your parents, or mine. Some of the things I got you were from that one place we went to on the adventure the other day."

"Oh, wow." Luke is momentarily speechless. Perhaps it's out of disappointment that there's no panties in here. Or perhaps it's because he's admiring the silk robes, his smile broadening. "These are awesome, Angela. Thanks! I'm really glad Ethan's dating you," because he's benefitting from the arrangement, clearly, and the other one would've just crochetted him something. "Abby's going to love 'em," he sticks the lid back onto the top of the box before he sets it aside, leaning his elbows on the table to flick a glance between the two of them. When she mentions the 'place', Luke looks stricken, eyes widening and bottom lip trembling as he looks to Ethan, "Did you take her to the sex shop? OUR sex shop?! You hooker!"

Ethan whistles a low, impressed tone, following it up with, "Daaaamn, Abby is gonna look fine in that." Beat. "I mean, you guys. Both of you." He says nothing more about whose parents are gonna see his presents, just pecks Angela on the cheek for being awesome and giving great presents, then moves right on to an awkward scratch at the side of his cheek, rubbing his neck afterward. "Yeah, I meant to talk to you about that, buddy. So I'm pretty sure after what we did in that store?" Surely, he means how much they spent. "It's kinda our store," his and Angela's, "now. But you and me will always have Trina's? Oh wait…"

"I'm glad that you like them, and I really hope that Abby likes them as well." Angela replies, then she glances at Ethan, reaching down to pick up one of the boxes, much smaller than what she got Luke and Abby, and sets it down on the table in front of Ethan, "You can open one, too. So that you're not left out of the present situation." As for what they did, or did not do, at the store, she is never saying.

"Hell yeah she is," Luke says of how fine Abby is going to look in the robe, before he just sniffles at Ethan. SNIFF. SNIFF. "You never have crazy, wild sex with me anywhere, anymore. I'm beginning to think you like her more than me," he touches his hand to his heart and just sighs, pointing a faux-glare at Angela. "I know it's not true though. I still have your heart." Literally, even. But all jokes are put aside when Ethan's box is revealed, and Luke ploinks his elbows on the table, leaning in. "Is it a dick? Is there a dick in the box? Should I cut a hole in it and put MY dick in that box?"

Ethan leans across, draping his arm over the back of Luke's chair, saying in an urgent stage-whisper, "Chill, baby. This one has money. I have to keep her on the hook or I'm gonna have to start paying for shit again, and you know how cranky that makes me." He kisses the ends of his two fingers, then smooshes them onto Luke's cheek, real close to his mouth, before snatching his box away and protecting it with his body. Yes, he changed it up that quick. "Keep your dick in your pants," he says for the first time ever… He pops loose the tape on the end of the box, then pauses and brow-lifts at Angela, "Is it a whole bunch of Xanax?" He's gonna open it either way, so what's in the box?!

Angela laughs at the pair of them, shaking her head, "When are you and Abby heading on your fabulous vacation?" She is totally going to ignore the insanity otherwise, just look higly amused. This is better than television, afterall. There's a negative shake of the head when Ethan asks if it is a bunch of Xanax. In fact, there is no rattle to the box, and it is not heavy, but not light, either. There's something with weight in it in there, and when he starts to tear into the box there is another box, a small, velvet one. Like you'd find at Trina's. Inside THAT box, well, it's exactly what is expected. A ring. Flat. Gold. With some kind of inscription on it.

Luke nuzzles into Ethan's fingers, soaking in the attention, before the box is snatched away and he just huffs. HUFF! "Fine, whatever. See if I ever put my dick in a box again for you," he mumbles, but yet still watches with rapt interest as Ethan opens the box to … reveal another box. And inside THAT box? Well. There's no more jokes from Luke at all. He just stares, with big wide eyes.

Ethan should be touched or something. A woman gives you a ring, you're supposed to be touched, that's how it goes. But - after the shout of a laugh - he throws that ring on his finger and thrusts his hand out across the table, basking in its beauty, turning it so the light glints off of it and into Luke's gigantic eyes. He tries to say the Black Speech of Mordor like Sir Ian McKellen, but not being an awesome British actor, gives up halfway through and ends with, "And in the darkness bind those stupid assholes and their stupid hairy feet." Now is when he has to kiss his woman again and say, "You're seriously the best girlfriend of all time."

Angela's not even watching Ethan go on about the ring, she probably pegged the reaction to it before she even bought it. It's Luke with his big wide eyes that she's watching with the sort of bemused expression of someone waiting for someone else to faint, yell, freak out, do SOMETHING. "Again with the feet." She points out with a shake of her head before she returns the kiss, smiling at Ethan, "I'm glad you like it."

"Hold up, hold up!" Luke fumbles for his phone, getting it out of his pocket and scrambles out of his seat. He manages to turn on the camera about halfway through Ethan's half-finished speech, and it's definitely one of those shakey cam moments, especially during the parts where he leans in really close to get a good view of the ring instead of just using the zoom feature. Then, he flips the camera around to make a funny face on film, "It's the freaking one ring!!" he squeals. And that's the end of the show, guys. "That's so awesome."

"Wait, check it out." Ethan takes his new bling off and turns it so the inscription is visible, too. "You can hold it for a minute. But don't be seduced by its power." Delicately, he sets the precious on the table in front of Luke, giving him a minute to play with the ring. Under close observation. "I'm significantly less jealous about the trip to the volcano now. Thank you, baby." Where baby=Angela, not Luke (it bears mentioning).

"You…" Angela starts to almost tell them both just how easy it is to find replica rings, but then she just shuts up and smiles like the hero of the hour. "You're very welcome." She replies, then reaches for her yogurt to start picking at it, "Did you get Abby anything other than the trip, Luke?"

Luke sends a text to somebody (Abby, probably) which likely contains the video he just made, before he's back into his chair, just in time to have the ring slid over to him. There's a quiet gasp, followed by a very dramatic: "One ring to rule them all.." as he lifts up the precious into the light to admire the inscription. There's some very clear reluctance to return the ring to Ethan, but he does. Eventually. Then it's back to Angela that he looks, nodding as he retrieves his phone from his pocket again. "I got her a charm bracelet," he says to her, holding up a picture with said charm bracelet on it. It's silver, and there's already a few charms dangling from it - a glass of beer, two kittens, and a little race car. "I uh, got it before all the murders happened at Trina's, so… you know."

Ethan did offer the ring, but his palm is out way before Luke is ready to return it; he's a second away from turning into a nasty monster when he gets his shiny back. Happily, he puts it back on and admires it some more while Luke tells the tale of the charm bracelet. "I told you not to tell anyone that's where you bought it. I said to say you got it from a totally alive guy." He clucks his tongue against his teeth, sharing a look with Angela; "Kids these days just refuse to listen."

"I'm not sure your buying the bracelet is the cause for the murders, so I'm sure you are fine." Angela assures Luke, glancing at the picture, "It is pretty, though." She tucks a spoonful of food into her mouth before she shrugs at Ethan, one corner of her mouth kicking upwards. She's polite, and doesn't respond until she's swallowed. "I'm sure that every bit of advice was solid advice, too."

"Yeah," Luke says of the murders, frowning as he puts his phone away. "I thought about buying a different one? From like, a still alive person, but.." He shrugs his shoulders. "I hope she likes it. Plus, bonus? I can just give her charms to put on the bracelet if I run out of gift ideas." Ethan's commentary earns him an eye-roll. "I'm not going to tell Abby where I got it. I mean, I doubt she'll ask anyway."

Without actually saying he thinks she's wrong, that the purchase totally led to the murder, Ethan manages to convey that with a doubtful look between Angela and Luke. "Really? 'Cause… hey, this ring is awesome, Angie, where'd you get it?" He shrugs. "Is how that scenario plays out. Stick with 'totally alive guy,' or figure Abby's cool enough not to care?" And, yes, he blossoms under Angela's praise, like he believes she meant it. <3 "Are you gonna give it to her on the beach or something?"

"Tiffany's." Angela replies when Ethan asks her where she got the ring, which is probably a lie, considering it was not a Tiffany's box at all that it was in. And everyone knows they have their own boxes. She finishes her yogurt, setting the empty glass aside before she leans forward, propping her chin on her hand, "With flowers and champagne?"

"Uhh, well, no, because we're going to be in Hawaii /after/ Christmas, and she should have something to open, right?" Luke promptly feels concern for his ultimate plan of just wrapping this bracelet in shiny paper and giving it to Abby, scratching at his cheek. "I mean it'd be awful not to get her anything for actual Christmas, and .. do you really think I need flowers and champagne? To give her a charm bracelet?" he says this part to Angela.

"I thought you were gonna be there for Christmas." Ethan's mental timeline is all jacked up now, and he spends a minute frowning about it, looking ceilingward like he's trying to make order out of the universe. It helps to have a sweet ring to turn on his finger while he does this. "Or you could go back to my idea with the Rudolph banana hammock. Put on the bracelet, put on the hammock, tell her to open her present, sit back and reap the rewards of your generosity." He leans back in his chair and opens his hands at the table, bestowing upon them the awesomeness of his plan. "Your idea would be my second choice," he adds to Angela importantly.

"I thought you were going to be there for Christmas, too." Angela backs up Ethan's timeline, a brow lifting upwards, "However, if that is the case, then yes…you should give it to her before going. Otherwise she might worry that you didn't get her anything at all, and that's never good." She glances at Ethan, her brows wagging at him for a split second before she points out, "Flowers and champagne are romantic I hear."

"Nope, definitely for New Years. It's like you guys don't even listen to me," Luke sighs dramatically, before he turns his head to listen to Ethan's instructions. Charm bracelet first, then banana hammock. Yep, he's got it. "I don't know if the bracelet is wide enough to fit around my dick," he says mournfully, before he looks back to Angela and smirks. "I don't think that works with him. Ethan, Angela wants you to give her flowers and champagne," he says this last sentence really loud, and kind of slow, to help it sink in.

Ethan makes a loop out of both hands, thumbs to thumbs, fingers to fingers, and contemplates the size for a second. Then, "Just don't clasp it, I guess," with a serious nod, problem solved. Of course he saw Angela wagging her brows at him, and of course he thought she wanted him to wear a banana hammock for her, so of course he has to look confusedly at Luke's ESL reiteration. "She does? You do? Why?"

"I do?" Angela glances at Luke, her brows raising upwards at him before she laughs, "I really don't." She assures him, a hand reaching out towards Ethan's hand, patting it lightly. "Don't worry. I'm still your whiskey and Xanax girl." She then leans back, arms crossing over her chest with a laugh, "Honestly, though. You should buy /Abby/ champagne and flowers."

"Good point," Luke says of not clasping the bracelet, before he exchanges a glance between them. "Xanax and whisky, really? I mean, I hate to do the whole, channeling my girlfriend thing but.. you probably shouldn't mix those two things together," he says sagely, in his best Doctor's voice, and then he shakes his head at Angela. "Abby's a beer kinda girl. I could do flowers and beer?" he thinks about this.

Ethan shifts uncomfortably in his seat, squinting one eye closed tightly for a second. "Yeah. Sometimes, you kinda have to mix them. Or it just doesn't have the same… Y'know what? Let's just focus on the Abby-thing for now." He drops an arm across the back of Angela's chair, nodding happily 'cause they're so in sync about the whiskey-and-xanax > champagne-and-flowers. "Here's what you do, show up with the champagne and the flowers, but have the beer already in the fridge. Then, after a token sip of bubbly, you have the beer to fall back on. You look like a romantic bastard, everyone gets a beer, win-win."

"It'll be fine. We'll call 911 if anything goes wrong, you don't have to worry. We won't call you." Angela assures Luke, smiling at him before she glances at Ethan, a brow arching. There is a very long, considering look given to him before she looks at Luke, "I think you're wrong, he totally understands the flowers and champagne thing."

"Gee, thanks. I'll have you know, just the other day? I rescued a pug who ate all his owner's Prozac," Luke says to Angela, being very proud of this fact. "But also you probably shouldn't call a vet when you need medical attention. Although I'm really surprised Xavier ate those dog pain pills I gave him.." He considers this, shrugging, and grins over to Angela and Ethan both. "Ethan's smarter than he looks."

"Can you just give people dog meds? Like, you have that power?" Ethan stops, 'cause even he heard that his tone was a little too hopeful there, clearing his throat and putting on his stupidest smile for them. "Ethan's what-now? I thought we were talking about Luke and the banana hammock and the beer and roses. What color roses are you thinking? 'Cause I lean toward red, they look the most Christmasy."

"You can, most of the medication is actually the same as human, just different doses and stuff." Why does Angela know this? Maybe this is her xanax secret!!! "Roses….I vote for the red or white, maybe even both. Arrange them like a candy cane…somehow." She glances once more at Ethan, sighing dreamily at him before she leans in to press a kiss against his cheek.

"I mean, no, Ethan, I'm not going to give you dog medicine," Luke sighs at his friend, shaking his head back and forth. "I can't abuse my power like that. Not unless your car 'accidentally slips on ice,'" Yes, he's using air quotes, "And you 'get run off the road but don't want to call the police' because you were 'not getting a blowjob from a hooker'," he explains.

Ethan gets told he's not getting any drugs and - despite getting a kiss and the dreamy eyes from Angela - he smacks his palms down on the table. "Well, goddammit. That was a waste of my whole afternoon, then." He stands up, mumbling something about finding a best friend who will give him dog-drugs, "and maybe a blowjob from a hooker, too. You're becoming very square in your old age, sir, good day to you." With a shake of his finger at Luke. He storms off in a huff, grabbing his jacket and stuff and flouncing out the door. Though he runs back in real fast to kiss Angela before he runs off again.

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