Lucy finished with her customer, dropping the few pennies the man had left on the counter in the tip jar on the counter. Tossing the towel from her shoulder at the back wall where it slid down to land on the counter, she leaned back propping one of her feet against the cabinet below the register.
"Three pennies that guy left," she said, shaking her head. "Great tip. I think I'll invest my third. I bet Jonathan does something stupid like buy coffee with his."
It was a joke between them, deciding what to do with the leftover change people always left in the tip jar. It was barely even worth cleaning out at the end of the day to count up, especially when they just had to seed it again the next day to get people to put anything in it at all. That didn't even count the number of people that picked out change as though it was some sort of take-a-penny-leave-a-penny jar despite "TIPS" being written across the side in big, black, sharpied letters. Mina's friend Jonathan who was such a neat freak he was always cleaning something in the back room when all three of them shared a shift. If they had anything that passed for customers, he'd be cleaning up the tables instead, but early afternoon on a Tuesday? The were lucky to have had the one customer they had.
Lucy sighed and looked at Mina, who remained unusually silent during this little game. "What will you do with yours, MIna?"
Mina, head bent over the books she'd propped up on the back counter, still didn't respond. Brown ringlet curls, despite her best and bravest attempts at hiding them under a hat, fell around her face as she leaned her chin on knuckles and flipped the page. Lucy glared at the book. The pictures were unrecognizable though she knew Mina would have a name for each of them, and probably a half hour's worth of useless knowledge to go along with it.
"God, Mina. Do even know where we are right now?" Lucy kicked off the counter and laid the back of her hand against Mina's cool forehead, feigning worry. "Earth to miss Mina Murray. Earth would like to know if she's coming back anytime soon. Tell her that her girlfriend will miss her... but will soldier on somehow."
Mina shook her head and blinked her large, brown eyes, slowly as she focused on Lucy. A lazy smile curled her lips though she still looked a million miles away. Light years, even.
She let out a soft huff as she finally caught up with Lucy's comments. "Sorry, Luce. You know I was just studying. I will never pass Professor Van Helsing's test tomorrow if I don't sneak in a little extra time." She shook her head again, clearing her thoughts. "What were you asking?"
"Tsk." Lucy ran her hands through her hair, feigning annoyance. She'd bleached her hair months ago but she'd hated it so much after the first week she hadn't bothered to keep up with it. Now as she strained to pull a chunk down into her eyeline as she ignored Mina, she could finally see her dark roots. They would take forever to grow out at this rate. She huffed at it while Mina bent slightly to catch her gaze beyond the hair Lucy had put between them.
"I said sorry."
Lucy let go of the hair she'd been holding and waved her hand, annoyance gone from her expression and replaced with raised eyebrows. "Do you think I should cut my hair? Would I look dreadful with short hair?"
"'Course not, Lucy. You know you look good in everything." Mina's attention quickly turned back to her books, her smile the only lingering item of their conversation as her mind filled once more with biology terms.
"Well, that's true." Then she huffed and bumped Mina's shoulder playfully. "I swear, it's like you've forgotten you even have a job… and a girlfriend."
The front bell rang, door opening to admit a new customer: a woman in a dark suit, impeccably tailored. Her hair swirled over her shoulder as though it had been painted in place and Lucy grinned at her as she entered. The woman was an amalgam of Veronica Lake in a Katherine Hepburn suit and the whole thing looked amazing on her. Someday Lucy wanted to be able to pull off a look like that, without feeling like she was pretending at being an adult.
"Ooh, lovely," Lucy whispered. She tapped the counter with her nails before moving away from it, and Mina.
"I heard that."
"Good-" Lucy said a little more sharp than she meant, as she moved to the front counter. Putting on a broad grin, she greeted the woman who was, by all appearances, as wealthy as she was beautiful. Lucy took in her purse and her shoes in addition to the suit, and she wished it was more polite to just come out and ask what someone did for a living. Whatever it was, Lucy needed to be changing majors because interior design was not going to dress her like that.
"Afternoon, Miss. What can I get for you?"
Behind her, Mina shuffled around her books as she shook her head. The tone in Lucy's voice had been enough warning to expect her to be helping a woman at the counter. She wasn't wrong. Frowning, she piled her books near her bag on the bottom shelf, where they were supposed to be anyway. Of course, if Mr. "please-call-me-Alexander" Grayson had been in the shop, she never would've had the books on the counter in the first place. He was a kind boss, but not the kind to be taken advantage of. He admired her dedication to her studies, but had asked her more than once not to study at the counter. Lucy in her way, had been reminding her of that.
Her cheeks flamed, ashamed it had taken a little rush of jealousy to get her to pay attention. Some days she really was a neglectful girlfriend, expecting Lucy to work for the both of them, and she didn't know what Lucy saw in her. She knew Lucy would never put it that way, and had likely only been teasing, but the last thing she wanted was to push Lucy away, or lose her job for not actually doing it.
As she stood, she overheard the woman's order and she grabbed the soy milk from the refrigerator and set it on the counter while Lucy rang up the drink. The woman's cup was in Mina's hand before Lucy could get to it and she handed it to her with a smile. A dark eyebrow shot up in question as Lucy took the cup from her, and Mina merely smiled in response.
"Is Alexander in this afternoon?" The woman at the counter asked, interrupting their moment.
Mina shook her head. "No, sorry. He should be in-" she looked at the clock and made a face at how much of their shift they still had- "a couple of hours still. Try back around seven? He'll be here to set up for the open mic." Mina nodded her head towards the makeshift stage. It was just a rug and a barstool with Lucy's idea of "dramatic flair" in the form of an old curtain hung up on the wall behind it.
The woman looked disappointed, but hid it quickly. Her own jealousy disappeared completely, if this woman was chasing Mr. Grayson she was likely too old for Lucy. Not that such a little thing like age, or money, or preference had ever come between Lucy and something she wanted. Not her Lucy.
Lucy prodded Mina in the back with what felt like her elbow, and Mina gave the woman an apologetic smile. "Would you like to leave a message for him? We can… tell him you came by?"
She shook her head, though her hair amazingly refused to move with her. "Oh, no. Wouldn't want to trouble you. I'll just speak with him another time."
Mina smiled and nodded, turning around to glance at the clock again. She grabbed the lid and straw for the woman's drink and handed them to Lucy. Drink complete, Lucy slid it across the counter and gave the woman a bright smile.
"Enjoy. And there's a card there at the end of the counter if you need the phone number for the shop." She pointed at the small stack of cards in the holder next to the newsletter for the craft store next door. "In case you need to get ahold of Mr. Grayson, of course."
"Ah." The woman glanced at the cards, but didn't move to take one. "Thank you."
After grabbing her drink, she picked up a few napkins from a table and made her way to the front door. The bell rang again on her way out of the shop and Mina rolled her eyes at Lucy.
"Really? Take a card?"
"What?" Lucy grinned and reached up to tug one of Mina's curls out from under her hat. "Jealous?"
"If she's interested in Mr. Grayson? Uh, no."
Mina leaned toward Lucy and slipped an arm around her waist. "Why, should I be?"
Lucy shrugged and gave her a teasing grin as her glance slid to the door. When she didn't answer, Mina turned around and grabbed the towel Lucy had left on the back counter and flopped it down on her girlfriend's shoulder.
"Well, if that's how you're going to be."
"So you are jealous!"
"For like half a second? Maybe…."
Grinning like a madwoman, Lucy leaned in and kissed her. Just a simple kiss, short and sweet and pure, pleased Lucy. Mina sunk against her, sliding an arm around Lucy again. It was over quickly and Mina wasn't surprised to feel her cheeks were warm again, as Lucy wiped her lips with her thumb. She held it out for Mina to see the pink lipstick stain before she wiped it off on her apron.
"So, no more studying?"
"Nope," Mina grinned and stuck her hands in her apron pockets with an exaggerated shrug. "Just work for me."
"Oh... just work?"
"Mm. Work, and oh, I don't know--"
Lucy kissed her again, a quick peck on the cheek this time and reached for her apron. "Well if you're doing all the work--"
"Hey!" Mina reached out and held Lucy's arms, keeping her from taking off her apron. "I promise. Time for Lucy too."
"That's all I ask."