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Milk and Martinis

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Time in the Habitat has made little Bo a bit of an expert when it comes to solving other people’s problems with putting just the minimal bit of effort into it. She’s perfectly mannered-- almost scarily so-- politely keeping her hands around a glass of milk as the mess of a businessman by her right clings to the bar’s counter with one hand and the other holds on to a nearly untouched ice cream float that was supposed to weigh down the champagne on a half-empty glass besides him. He doesn’t even bother making eye-contact with her anymore as he presses his cheek to the cool surface they’re sitting by in their tall stools, obviously way too deep into both his story and the minimal amount of alcohol in his drink to really care about appearances anymore.

“And then he. He just...left.” Parsley pauses, and dramatizes with wide eyes. “Whoosh.”

“Whoosh.” Bo echoes, almost inaudibly. Apparently, this is a good enough cue for Parsley to continue, though he can’t will himself to stop hunching and laying on the counter. His sigh is extremely deep.

“Life is just...nuts, flower bagel.”  He laments, almost in a mumble. “One moment you’re living it up in college and everything’s easy and peachy and the other you’re...bankening and accountening and businessing and losing it hardcore twenty-four-seven.”

Bo nods to express her sympathy, though she’s very aware neither of those words is being properly used. 

“And you know--you know what else?” Parsley continues, getting agitated. “You know what else, flower pudding?”

Bo shrugs.

“It never freakin’ stops!” Parsley exclaims, his fist falling onto the counter so suddenly even Bo flinches just the tiniest bit. This gets the bartender to clear his throat roughly at them.

“Young man,” Jimothan chides, waving a finger. “Inner voices.”

While Bo waves an apologetic “Sorry” at the scold before Jimothan resumes small-talk with another costumer, Parsley just turns to press his forehead to the counter, clearly embarrassed to be put in this situation at all.

“...Ugh.” Parsley says after a moment, annoyed, but noticeably quieter. “Anyway. That’s how the cookie crumbles, I guess. Sometimes you just gotta grow.” His voice drops to something sadder. “Sometimes you just don’t… drink in enough Martin while you still can.” His ears turn a dark red as soon as the name escapes him. “—ee. Martin-ee. Martini. You got that, right?”

Bo sort of snorts to herself as she nods, and Parsley swiftly goes back to sullenly face-planting the counter after confirming his Very Heterosexual choice in drink.

If anyone can understand the pains of wanting to cling to an easier and careless past, it’s Bo. Her mouth regains a tin and tight line that any stranger could mistake as indifference, but she reaches to gently pat Parsley’s back a few times in contrasting kindness to her aloof demeanor. She couldn’t make him the cheery kid he probably used to be before the weight of the adult world fell upon his thin shoulders, but she could at least listen to his woes. Jimothan notices her quiet affection from the corner of his eye and gives Bo the dorkiest thumbs-up before resuming his conversation to the customer. Bo doesn’t really understand the gesture, but she quietly returns it with her free hand and continues her reassuring. 

A bit into the patting, Parsley half snorts— a clear sign he’s starting to fight sleepiness and a sudden snore. Bo’s pats become a little firm in an attempt to wake him up, and the young man quickly sits up to shake his head.

“That’s—whoops,” He says, holding his head. “That’s probably enough for now, huh?” 

Bo nods right away.

“Alright.” Parsley turns the stool around. “Let me just go freshen up at the bathroom and- OH GOD.”

And just as fast as he’d turned around, he turns back to face the bar, sleepy red eyes suddenly wide in alert and his entire body language tense and trembly. Bo stares at him, puzzled, and holds on to his arm as if to silently ask what’s the matter.

“He’s—He’s here.”

Bo tilts her head.

“You know!” Parsley repeats in a panicked whisper, “Him-him!”

The gardener looks over at the bar’s entrance to find a man about Parsley’s age settling down in a tiny but tall table by the window. In heavy contrast to Parsley’s perpetual paranoid look, he seems relaxed and well put-together, if a little melancholic. Bo immediately knows who he is and opens her mouth in a small o-shape. When she looks over at Parsley to ask for confirmation, she finds him dangerously close to chewing on a metal spoon for comfort. She quickly takes it from him and frowns.

“Ugh— come on, I need that right now!”

Bo shakes her head.

“Sugar honey iced tea.” Parsley mutters, anxious. “Holy sugar honey iced tea. Do you have a napkin? I need something to eat right now.”

Bo shakes her head again.

“Okay then, new plan.” He gives Bo a nervous but hopeful glance. “You stay on the lookout since he doesn’t know you. And as soon as he’s gone we’re gone, deal?”

This time, Bo raises her eyebrows way up high, her face unamused as she shakes her head one last time.

“Oh my god. Okay then. Jesus Christ on a stick.” Parsley drags his hands across his face as each panicked statement leaves him. For someone who has spent so much time hung up on the famous Martini boy, he sure as hell wasn’t prepared at all to deal with the real thing just yet. Bo personally finds the nerves more endearing than something to really be worried about, and it shows with the way she allows herself another tiny snort. Then, she touches Parsley’s shoulder to catch his attention. When she has it, she says her longest sentence for the night:

“...Maybe this is your chance to drink another martini.” 

Parsley doesn’t say anything for a moment, half-amazed he’s gotten the quiet girl to talk more than a word and half needing the long pause to let his intoxicated mind do some actual logical thinking. When he’s back to his senses, he cautiously glances over his shoulder to see if Martin had noticed him yet. His features soften slightly to find the man with his face buried into the bar’s mixology menu and can’t help himself a tiny smile.

“Oh...he’s probably trying to find coffee there.” Parsley says, almost seeming unaware of it. “Colombian, since he’s kind of a snob about it.”

The corner of Bo’s mouth turns upward; this is the most relaxed he has sounded all night. After a long moment of hesitation and several stolen glances, Parsley takes a deep and shaky breath. He gives Bo an extremely serious look.

“Okay.” He declares. “I’m going over there.”

This is received with an encouraging and enthusiastic nod, accompanied by double thumbs up. Way to go, Parsley! Sweep him off his feet!

Right as he gets off the stool, though, he remembers something and backtracks to Bo. He seems even more serious when he addresses her now.

“One thing, though.”

Bo blinks up expectantly, and right after, Parsley’s hands fall on her shoulders, his grip near desperate.

“For the love of God and everything that is good in this world,” He pleads, “Distract my dad while I’m over there. I beg of you.”

...Oh, a pointless and mundane little quest for the sake of happiness? 

Hah! Bo has those for breakfast!

She finishes her milk in one gulp before getting down to business. Parsley wasn’t going to need to ask twice.