Making a Date

Black Cypress Café – Water Front
It is anyone's guess where the street walkways end and the cafe begins. Wide board planking surrounds the large structure that is the Black Cypress Cafe. Heavy French inspired railing runs along its outer edge, punctuated periodically by openings for stairs. The cafe is large, and a considerable portion of it is outside, under the broad expanse of its thatched-in roof. Overhead, ceiling fans stir the warm air, encouraging it to move through the rafters and beams left exposed. The exterior wall of the cafe is made up largely of mesh-screened windows, tall things that let in light and air and sound and further blur the distinction between inside and out.

The shade offered by the thatched overhang offers a reprieve from the sun, not subtle in its encouragement to pause and sit and at least to have a drink. A single row of tables runs down the porch, wrapping around three sides of the cafe. Though these tables vary in size to accompany different groups of people.

The summer heat beats down no matter the weather. Be it musty, hot, or dry outside, the summer brings with it the feel of youthful energy. The sky is clear brilliant blue and there's a light breeze from the west. It's warm. The deep green leaves of the trees and bushes rustle in the breeze, which provides welcome cooling from the heat of the blazing sun.

Summer. The sky is clear, the sun bright. A gentle breeze stirs the air throughout town bringing some relief to the humid weather. This late in the afternoon the cafe is relatively empty. Late of lunch, early for dinner. That's not to say that its completely devoid of customers. There are still the random people. A couple teenagers in search of a snack, a housewife with a baby stroller sipping at a cup of coffee, if to mention only a few of the handful of patrons.

Claudia lingers in the doorway, standing between the clearly interior portion of the cafe and the section that's hard to discern as shop or walk. Hands reach up to smooth back a stray strand of blonde hair, removing the band that holds it back into a ponytail to remake it.

Arriving at a jog and not looking his absolute best, Lincoln Pierce is something of a known quantity around town and the sudden appearance of him jogging, even mid-summer is by no means "odd". The big oaf is a local football star and maybe a little bit of a goofball, but a relatively nice guy. Forehead, arms and neck all glistening in the high sun of the afternoon, he walks over towards one of the tables in front of the Black Cypress and pulls out a chair so that he can adjust his cross trainers and stretch out and catch his breath. Between movements of his chest and the flare of his nostrils he seems to catch himself up quickly, demonstrating something of that athletic prowess. Able to turn it on and off all day long.

Once the whole matter of his immediate comfort has been resolved the teenager turns his eyes to the others there, taking a seat and divesting himself of his electric green iPod which he sets on the table in front of him. Seeing Claudia as if for the first time in his life, he raises a hand in her direction to say, 'How do you?'

Claudia finishes fixing her hair, looking up towards the tables just in time to see Lincoln raise that hand. "Hey," she replies, disappearing inside for but a moment before reappearing with a tall glass of water which she delivers to the boy's table. "Doin' alright. You?" she returns the question. "Not so busy right now. Which is nice. I get you anything?"

Boy? Lincoln Pierce is all that is man, and then some. Taking the offered water he appears to mull over the question before suggesting, "I could use some company? Want to join me for a few?" he asks and pushes a chair out on the other side of the table with one of those long legs. Sitting back in his own chair he starts to sip away at his water, looking over the edge of the glass at her as he is quickly going through what has been offered. Pressing his forearm up to his forehead after a moment or two, he realizes that he is quickly drying in the summer sun and offers her another smile. "You're Claudia Ardoin, right, I think we had english or something together," he suggests hopefully trying to put all the pieces back together.

"Mm…," Claudia thinks, turning a glance over the cafe. "Suppose it wouldn't hurt," she replies, settling into the chair he pushes out for her and resituating her position to allow for resting elbows on the edge of the table, one hand used to prop up her chin. "Yeah. Only been working here for .. well ever really," she adds with a bit of a laugh. "I think I remember you. Link? Right?" the girl questions her memory of the name.

Pulling a beanie out of his pocket, Link as he has been dubbed by some, including Claudia now, finishes off the last of the tall glass of water with one considerable swallow and smiles at her. "So, how has your summer been? You still dating that um.. Todd guy?" he asks apparently mistaking her for some other girl, which could either be flattering or perhaps moderately offensive, depending on what she thinks of this Todd fella and his former or current girlfriend. Seated across from her, he seems to be spending time actually studying her face now, not in an overly aggressive manner, but as if trying to make sure he remembers her name. Not that it should be easy to forget, seeing as she has to be one of the best looking girls in town.

Claudia laughs, shaking her head, "That wasn't me," she replies, "Not sure who he's dating now. Might be the same girl, not that I can remember who she is now. But summer's been going pretty good. Working mostly, but I suppose there are worse things I could be stuck with than waiting tables here." So while uneventful, its been good. She offers over a bright smile, leaning back in her chair, letting elbows slip from the table and hands fall to her lap. "Sure you're not hungry or anything?"

Tilting his head to the side, Lincoln looks a little enthused that she isn't dating Todd, but he also realizes that doesn't mean she is available. Stupid hormones. "e's a short guy, blond hair, looks a little like he got punched in the stomach when he's mad. Used to play receiver for the Wolves til a year or so ago, then he stopped growing and well, you can't do much with a guy that size," he informs her sort of off the cuff, not that she was asking, but it seemed like the right thing to say at the time. "Working huh? That, that sucks, you should be enjoying your youth, that's what my uncle would tell you," he says smoothly and when she mentions food, he suddenly appears starved and reaches inwards to pat his suddenly aching stomach. Patting away at his abs, he decides, "Well, what's the most food I can get for," and he pauses to pull out his wallet, a velcro affair, "Five dollars and," he reaches into his pocket, "fifty one cents?"

"Oh right, I think I know him. Yeah." Claudia replies, nodding as he describes this Todd guy for her. A shoulder lifts in a slight shrug in response to the next comment. "Not so bad. Can think of worse places to work. Besides keeps me busy, helps pay the bills. Get days off, just not every day you know." this said with a quiet grin as she slides from chair to feet. "Probably a number three, cheeseburger, fries or rings and a drink for $4.50, but being that you know the owner's daughter might be able to get you something better if you know what you want."

"Child-support, alimony, car payments, mortgage, that kind of thing?" Lincoln questions apparently still not having escaped the shadow of his family enough to take on bills of his own. Which isn't really surprising, as he probably doesn't have a cell phone, and if memory serves, he either gets a ride with someone else or jogs wherever it is he needs to go. All the same, he appears to be teasing. "You get days off? Well where do I sign up?" he questions, and looks her over as she stands up. "Whenever you get a free day you should let me know, even a boring place like the Bayou has interesting things to do that do not involve sitting around serving tourists their BLTs," he says softly and when she suggests something to eat he once again remembers his hunger and nods. "That sounds good, I could eat like five of those. Think you can get the cook to put like two patties on that, and get me some extra fries?" he asks with a wolfish smile.

Claudia blinks. He would put child-support first on that list wouldn't he. "Not exactly, but me working means my dad doesn't have to pay someone else to do the job, so…" That should explain that. "But yeah, get a day off now and then. Surprisingly enough I even managed to get the 5th off this year. So maybe fireworks. You think? I'll be right back though, let me get that order in," she adds, tossing smile over her shoulder as she heads back inside to do just that. The doorframe however is a stumbling block, literally, the girl tripping over it though she does manage to catch herself before she actually falls. It doesn't take long put in the order though before she's returning.

"— are you okay?" Lincoln calls after her, totally oblivious to his own social stumbling and starts to get to his feet, to help her back up. But she manages before he can get there, and so, rather than look like an idiot makes his way back to his chair.

When she comes back he quizzes, "Was that fifth comment an invite, or are you wondering if I think that's a good idea?" not really believing any girl that cute would be forward enough to propose hanging out with him, let alone late at night. Not that he isn't a good lookin' kid, just not really used to positive responses. "And, does that mean you're stuck here all day tomorrow? I suppose you should be able to see some fireworks from here, and there'll be plenty of drunks to keep you entertained into the wee hours," he points out, as if that were an upside.

"I'm okay," Claudia calls back in that space, and hopefully from that he won't look like quite so much of an idiot for his offer to help. "Well it was more of a 'what do you think about it' but I suppose it could be taken as an invite… And sadly, most of the day. Like I said before, easier to have me work than some other people who like to complain about having to work holidays like that if you know what I mean." She sighs just a bit as she sinks into the chair she'd been sitting in earlier. "But yeah, the drunks can be amusing sometimes. You should come sit and watch sometime." she teases.

Scooting his chair in a little Lincoln watches her mouth when she talks and smiles just a little too much, but not so much that it's obvious. "Well, then consider it an invite from me, we'll make July 5th the new July 4th," he says with mirth and listens intently to what she has to say, nodding where appropriate, apparently fully understanding. Peering up and down the boardwalk, he settles his eyes on tourists and wonders, "I'll drop by and watch sometime, Friday nights, I assume, are a good night to come and just sit and people watch?" Teasing or not.

Claudia laughs light, nodding. "Sounds like a plan to me," she agrees. "After all, not everyone has that holiday off," as has already been covered. Its about that time that one of the other waitresses shoves a tray of food on the table between them. "Not listening for your orders now?" the other girl snaps towards her. Claudia simply ignores the tone with good nature. "Thanks for bringing it out," she replies with a smile, even if it is a bit strained. "I told Leo I was going on break." Which seems to placate the other enough as she heads off. There's an apologetic smile back towards Lincoln, "Most any day is good, but Friday is probably one of the best, yeah."

Taking the food that is put down before him, as much as it is, Lincoln starts to eat slowly. Though there is a certain amount of deliberation in this, as he doesn't appear to want to eat too fast. With the date firmly in mind, he sips at his Coke and glances skyward a few times, noting the time by the position of the sun and the low flow of traffic. Still mid-afternoon then. "Should I meet you here, then?" he asks, not certain whether she'll want to go to his place or not. "I have lots of space to hang out around my place, but it's kind of in the boonies and you're a bit more out on the bayou," he explains softly. Peering after the girl as she leaves he turns a smile to Claudia to ask, "She a sister, or one of the ones who whines?"

"The one who whines," Claudia replies, turning her own glance after the girl likely to make sure she's out of earshot before it's said. "Heaven forbid she break a nail or anyone but her take a break." There's a teasing hint to her tone as she comments, turning her green-eyed gaze back towards the boy across from her. "Can meet up here if you like, then head over to the park or something. I'd say we could hang out here but I think my dad checking in every five minutes might get a little annoying."

"Do you have a car?" Lincoln inquires, trying to formulate a plan.

Claudia shakes her head, "Have a license. No car, though I just might be able to borrow my mom's," she replies.

Lincoln seems to make a decision and nods a little, "We can meet here then, and we'll walk somewhere, or if I can get one, I'll get a car. No promises though. You know, if I thought I'd be picking people up, I'd have worked at getting a car," a pause, "Not that I have a lot of time, with practice and everything." Shrugging more to himself than to her, he continues to eat through his meal, applying plenty of ketchup and having no problem finishing the entire meal and then some. Taking out all five dollars and fifty cents, he pauses for a moment and points out, "That's like a twenty five percent tip, I can't imagine she'll shun me if she sees me in school." Referring to the girl who brought out the food.

Taking a deep breath, he asks, "So, you work here, what else do you do?"

Claudia nods, "Not to worry, walking's not so bad all the time. We'll just hope its not raining," she comments with a smile. Rain would just be the icing on the cake to ruin all their plans. "I told you," she adds, giving a shake of her head for the money presented. "On the house. And I wouldn't bother too much with her anyway." There's a pause as he forms that last question. "Work here?" she replies in jest with a touch of question, "When school's in session I write for the paper some. Drama club, in a production group over in Toulouse too. And you're saying practice keeps you busy, anything else interesting?"

"Oh, I run everywhere, but usually, and here is a guy's secret, number forty-eight, 'Don't make girls run," Lincoln shares with all sincerity possible, followed by a smile. Pulling the money back towards him, he stuffs it into his pocket and continues to watch her, "You write for the paper? That's cool. Have you ever wrote anything on the team?" he asks, possibly wondering if she knew him better than she had let on. Pierce has been mentioned as much, and probably more than, any other member of any of the other sports teams in the area. "Drama club, like Fiddler on the Roof? I'll tell you a secret if you promise not to tell anyone."

Claudia chuckles, "Well I appreciate that," she comments in return to the remark about making girls run. "Don't know that I'd do very well with that. But the paper, yeah, though not so much on the sports thing," she adds in answer to his question. A nod follows for the next, "We even did that one a couple years back," Beat. "Oh?" she inquires, crossing arms on the tabletop as she leans forward. "Secrets, huh?"

"Is that a promise?" he asks.

Claudia nods once. "Promise," she agrees.

Lincoln leans in, which is easy considering how tall he is, that he is practically five inches from her face. Close enough that she might start to get the idea that he is about to try something, and not actually tell her a secret. "I really like some musicals," he says very quietly, and almost as if letting it out of a cage, some dangerous animal. The thing said, he leans back slowly, watching her as he does. "Between you and me, and I'll never admit it to another soul until the day I die," he says softly with a smile. "If I thought I could do it without looking you know," he wiggles his hand back and forth, "Less than masculine? I'd probably have come to see one of your productions, but I'd never live it down without, you know, a really good reason."

Claudia pulls back unconsciously. That's just a bit too close for comfort it would seem, but when he shares that secret and sits back its all she can do to keep from laughing. A bit of a giggle does escape her lips, smile dancing all the brighter for her amusement with his admittance. "Well…" she starts, "They aren't -all- musicals you know," she points out.

Smirking, Lincoln nods a little and says, "Well, you can only expect so much out of a guy, Claudia, I'm only one guy. Maybe two, if you fit them sideways," he points out and glances down at himself, as if trying to imagine how two guys might be fit inside him. "Well, I bet Leo whoever that is, and your best friend over there," he says, nodding towards the other waitress, "Are probably going to start getting annoyed that you're sitting out here all afternoon with me."

Claudia nods, "Yeah," she agrees with a bit of reluctance. "Was starting to think that too. Leo is usually annoyed anyway. He's just lazy though, so its not like me taking a break is any worse than him 'working' all day. And she," there's a pointed nod in the direction of the other girl, "is hardly one I'd call a best friend. Was nice talking to ya though," she adds as she finds her feet once again. "Later?"

When she mentions the other two, Link glances at them in turn, doing his best to remember these things. Guy secret number seven: Remember what girls tell you, they like it when you listen. "I'll see you here on Thursday, say around six?" he proposes and stands up as well, looking down at her across the table. Pushing the chair back in, he makes busy with his hands, straightening up his plate, putting his empty glass on the plate and sweeping a bit of salt onto the wood below with the edge of his hand. Automatic cleaning sort of motions that he barely even notices he is doing.

"Sounds good," Claudia agrees, "Six it is then." A smile flickers as he moves to clean up. "Just leave it, that's Leo's job," she notes. A glance about reveals that late afternoon is becoming later and there really are things that should be done before the dinner rush starts in, which might already be happening. "I've really got to get back though." That said she's off.

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