So .2

She sipped her drink loudly. It was a call to attention of sorts. Not that she need to try too hard for that. The table was a four seater, and it was at capacity plus one. There were three mimosas, being just dropped down, still sparkling and Tilly (bless her heart) had ordered a Bloody Mary. Kathy was the only person just straight up rocking a screwdriver, and whoever had made it went light with the orange juice.

“I think I’m going to end up pulling off another hat trick,” Kathy said, after the sip. She licked her lips.

All five girls were rocking large sunglasses, the kind that covered much more than just the eyes. It was face armor, against the sun and unwanted male leers. Also, everyone at the table was nursing a hangover, some more serious than others.

“With Ben and co?” Prima asked. She was one of the mimosas, and after her first sip she rested the flute against her temple. The cool glass felt good and she looked good in the pose. Everyone at the table had a fine view of themselves as the sunglasses acted like a wall of mirrors surrounding the table.

“Mhm,” Kathy nodded and used her straw to play with the ice in her drink. It was nearly empty and it had just arrived. “Chris and I went to see some terrible improv show last night. God, we both needed drinks after, and I was so depressed, I needed to get laid.”

Her tone was harshly blasé, but the truth was Kathy had been seeking the carnal company of Chris for quite some time. She felt odd pseudo-admitting it out loud, but she had been lusting after the guy. She had to focus on the her throbbing headache to keep from smiling constantly.

“It was that bad? The show?” Tilly hadn’t even touched her drink yet. She was contemplating the menu with a serious look, eyebrows stitched together in concentration. Kathy nodded, wide eyed, though nobody could see through her dark, reflective lenses.

Caitlyn was also wide eyed, her gaze bounced from girl to girl as they spoke. She was the youngest, least experienced (in life), and most interested in the brunch as an event. This was only her second invite to the club.

“What’s a hat trick again?” She asked, eyes darting about he table. “Like in soccer? I don’t understand.”

“You pick out an apartment consisting of three roommates,” Kathy explained slowly, as to a child, “and through means both deceitful and cunning you contrive a way to bang them all.”

“Not at once,” Prima assured Caitlyn, whose mouth was agape, though no one could quite pin a single emotion to her face. It seemed like somewhere in between horror and awe, with a little bit of confusion sprinkled in.

“I thought it was just sleeping with three different dudes in three separate nights,” Tilly was nearly making love to her Bloody Mary. Her hangover must have been worse than Kathy had originally thought. A little speck of red had appeared just under the frames of her glasses, probably caused by overzealous sipping.

Snow, who hadn’t spoken yet, reached over and wiped Tilly’s face for her. “Oh, no babe, it’s five guys in five days and they call it an ace.”

“No, an ace is just taking the virginity of five different dudes,” Kathy said, then, turning to Caitlyn, “not all in one night.”

The girls continued to discuss the intricacies of dating and hooking up. They touched on the finer points, if you will. Kathy gave minor details about her escapades from last night, both sexual and food related; Prima discussed, at decent length, the pros and cons of breaking up with her long term boyfriend Taylor, and everyone listened; Snow geeked out about how her and her Yoga instructor were reading the same book, (again!); Tilly recovered through her drink, saying little; Caitlyn took everything in with silent admiration and wonder. After their first round of drinks, (Kathy was one up on them) they ordered food. The waiter was someone new, not the young girl who had sat them.

“She was just the hostess. The replacement hostess. We’re a couple of staff down. I guess some people party too hard on Friday.” He flashed a smile. “My name is Da’Vonte. You ladies need anything to eat this afternoon?”

“First,” Kathy threw a cursory glance around the table, just mechanically. She caught a nod from Prima, and she ordered, “Let’s get two pitchers for the table. Are those still on special?”

“Till three,” Da’Vonte offered, “you’ll just make it.”

“Superb,” she replied. And the gang of young women all placed brunch orders, hardly looking up from their menus. Caitlyn was the only one that looked at Da’Vonte as she was ordering, glancing up after every read menu item, as if she wanted to gauge his reaction, to make sure she was saying everything correctly. She ordered a brunch special that came with sausage and bacon, two eggs (she asked for scrambled), a piece of toast, and two biscuits with white gravy. She substituted the sausage for a bowl of fruit, and wanted to make sure the toast was wheat; she said she didn’t care if there was yellow in her eggs and laughed a little, and Da’Vonte humored her with a laugh and a grin. She let out a ‘whew’ as she finished ordering and blushed as she handed the menu back to him.

“Gosh, our waiter was kind of cute,” Caitlyn offered up to the table. The other four of the girls were swiping through texts and snapchats. Kathy gave a lone grunt. Prima, without looking up said,

“I didn’t notice.”

***

As he headed toward the bar, Da’Vonte tried to catch Kim’s eye. He stared at her, and as he got closer she felt his gaze and looked up. He winked.

“Two mimosa pitchers for table four,” he said, walking past the bar and into the back. She smiled wide.

“Gotcha babe.”

“Hey, we’ve got burning ears here.” Da’Vonte said as the door swung shut behind him, throwing a point with a finger to the lone customer sitting at the bar. It was a scraggly looking white boy in a pink tank top and light lager glued to his hand. He waved at them without taking his eyes of the TV. It was football coverage. He drank deep from his pint glass.

“Oh, Christ,” Kim laughed. “He’s just like his brother. Clueless.”

“What about my brother?”

“Shut up, Reese,” Kim said, laughing and shaking her head, pouring the pitchers.

The back of the restaurant was hot and the kitchen was hopping. Noah, tall, thin, bearded and bespectacled was having a conversation in broken Spanish with the head chef and scribbling in a notebook. He was trying to explain an order for chicken enchiladas but with the chicken on the side.

“Yo, your bro is taking up bar space.”

“I saw him,” Noah said finishing an order ticket and ripping it violently off. “No se, Jorge. Pero el pollo en el lado.”

“He knows too much,” Da’Vonte said, throwing his order ticket to the line. He started loading a service tray with ice cups not yet watered.

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“I don’t know.”

One Hummingbird was a small restaurant, and the kitchen reflected this fact. Still, it was established, and situated downtown, so it was frequently busy. They served brunch all week (by popular demand) but the weekends were the worst. Saturdays usually ended up being a stream of hung-over folk representing a wide range of ages. Millennials, baby-boomers, Gen Xers… they all carried their own hang-ups and drama shows in with them. Working for a somewhat ritzy, lunch and dinner establishment was great because you generally pulled in decent tips; it wasn’t great because those tipping you were typically terrible people. Da’Vonte and Noah had spent many a night at the O.H. bar, complaining about their rude customer base and at the same time extoling the recent gentrification of surrounding neighborhood. They had both grown up less than a mile from the establishment.

Da’Vonte remembered when he was a kid, if someone had called into One Hummingbird for a reservation they would have been laughed at. They didn’t even have a host back in the day; no bartender gave enough of a shit to bother with reservations and nobody was asking for them. Ten years later, some Sundays they would have a hostess with her ear glued to the phone, constantly taking down orders, reservations, complaints, questions about the menu, etcetera. Today was that kind of day. Shelly, their bushy-eyed, bright-tailed, eighteen-year-old, undergrad hostess had called in sick. Kim swore she had seen the girl at Johnny’s Joint last night chasing tequila shots with a Corona. They got through the afternoon regardless.

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