It’s barely 7 am and somehow the place is already packed. College kids, hipsters, families and god only knows who else, fills the place with a shit ton of noise and takes up every fucking table. Mickey grumbles as he pulls the doors open already glaring down the people hovering in the doorway. They don’t move as quickly as they should till the black haired man is using his elbows a bit harder than necessary to part the crowd.
He spots the table in the corner and smirks. The small table is covered in dish-ware, extra napkins, and other coffee shop essentials along with the single chair shoved into the wall right next to it. While the rest of the crowd hovers over the other patrons, attempting to make eye contact with their current residents, Mickey starts to clear the table, shoving everything into the closet hidden behind the sign before throwing his jacket and bag on the back of the chair. He can feel the eyes of the people behind him. A quick glance over his shoulder and a pointed glare gets them all back to staring down the other tables.
A cup of coffee is slammed down onto his newly acquired table. Mickey doesn’t even look up as he holds up a few bills and feels them snatched out of his hand. That’s why he likes this place. He remembers the first time he even walked in to the small coffee shop. Mickey used to avoid every new fancy looking business that popped up in his neighborhood. He even shot up a few with his brothers that brought out the swirly lettered signs a little too soon as the neighborhood “transitioned”.
A lot of shit had changed. A lot of it hadn’t.
The first time Mickey walked into the coffee shop a year ago the place was only half as packed as it was now, but the two people behind the counter still looked ready to drop dead. He gave the menu a confusing once over before just ordering a coffee.
“Thank fuck,” the girl behind the register let out, causing Mickey to huff out a laugh.
He raised his eyebrows when she snatched his money out of his hands before looking her over. She had dark hair, bangs, and pale skin, but when she looked him in the eye, as she handed over his coffee, her brown eyes made his shoulders droop. That wasn’t the first time Mickey would admit to himself how much he missed his sister, but it was the thing that got him to actually pick up the phone and make sure the bitch wasn’t dead.
That was a year ago. A year ago that he just stumbled in not quite knowing what to do after signing his divorce papers. He still ran with his brothers and his dad, making sure the collections got done, making sure no one else fucked up too badly, while somehow staying one step ahead of the cops. Without his fucking wife’s hand always in his pocket he had enough money for his own shitty apartment and regular cups of coffee made outside of said shitty apartment.
Mickey now popped into the place almost every other morning. The baristas, Sam (the Mandy Clone) and Kenny, seemed to be relieved for Mickey’s need to be left alone with his thoughts in the beginning. The refills came quickly and no small talk was made. 2 months later when Mickey brought with him a few sheets of paper and a pencil he almost cringed when Sam came over to refill his cup. Her eyes only glanced at the paper and his poorly drawn scribbles, her expression not changing, before walking away.
After that it took about a month of Mickey waiting till his second cup to pull out more pieces of paper and start sketching. 3 months after that he didn’t give a fuck. 6 months after that Sam lingered at his table after refilling his coffee.
“You do commissions?”
Mickey looked up with one eyebrow raised.
“Commissions. Draw shit for people who pay you.”
“Who the fucks gunna pay me for this shit?”
Mickey just blinked at the other brunette. This was the most outside of his coffee order that they had ever spoken. Kenny had tried a couple of times to ask him what he was drawing several months back, but it didn’t take long for the guy to get the hint. Sam never said a word until now.
The girl shrugged with the coffee pot still in her hand.
“I want a new tattoo and I think your shit is good, that’s why.”
Tattoo? The fuck?
Someone liking what he drew was one thing. Someone wanting what he scribbled on their body till they died was a whole other level of ‘what the fuck’, but before he could even respond she was heading back over to the counter.
“Just think about it,” Sam called over her shoulder and surprisingly enough Mickey did.
Now the grumpy barista’s right upper arm had Mickey’s version of the Chicago skyline, complete with ‘Fucked for life’ spelled out in the lit up windows in all black and grey. It only took Kenny a week of longingly looking between Sam’s fresh tattoo Mickey’s table for the stocky man to cave and ask,
“The fuck you want then?”
He charged him twice as much for the stupid idea of a dragon breathing out bullets. He charged triple when the owner of the coffee shop asked if he’d draw some shit to hang in the place. It wasn’t anywhere near what he’d make running shit with his brothers, but some cash making its way into his pocket by legal means felt good for some reason.
He had one of the pieces done with two more to go. “Southside themed” is what the stocky blonde owner had requested. Mickey wanted to ask if that meant he was suppose to draw a fucking forty spilling out onto trash under the El, but Kenny shaking his head behind the woman left Mickey to just raise his eyebrows instead. Better to get paid first. Though the first one, now framed near the front, was of a broken down house next to the El, complete with passed out homeless person near the bottom of the piece, if you were looking closely enough.
Mickey put on his headphones and pulled out the current piece he was working on. The headphones weren’t connected to anything. He preferred the lull of noises that came with changing crowds, but as he kept drawing he found out unfortunately people thought that meant he wanted any Tom, Dick, or Harry to talk to him about their random piece of shit family member who also draws. Headphones were preferable to having to deal with shit heads every other hour.
By the time Mickey looked up to signal for his 2nd refill the crowd has died down and only a few of the other tables were still occupied. He was about to lose himself again in the drawing when a flash of red outside the window caught his eye.
Mickey tried his best to look down again as the tall redhead walked through the door, but gave up as the object of his attention started to subtlety stretch as he waited to order. The guy was jacked. Mickey let his eyes wander over EMT uniform as he squeezed his pencil a little too tight. Fuck, he needed to get laid.
Mickey had been watching him for months whenever the fuck decided to make an appearance. The redhead would be in at exactly the same time everyday for weeks before dropping off the face of the earth and then randomly be back to his regular routine. Strolling in at 12:30 for a midday coffee order.
At least Mickey thinks it’s a coffee order.
It might be some other fancy shit judging by the way Sam’s face seems to scrunch up as she types it into the computer. She always melts into a rare smile when she looks back up the man though. Mickey can’t blame her for that. No way he could stay pissed at a fucking face like that either.
Yeah, he really needed to get laid.
It had been a few weeks since he had a chance to find a quick fuck in an alley behind a bar he was sure none of his family had ever heard of. Not having to sleep next to the commi bitch was an improvement, but there was no way he was taking anyone back to his place, too risky. The couple of times he allowed himself to crash at some rando’s for the night he’d have to deal with their pissy attitude when Mickey would immediately start dressing once they were done. Too many whiney bitches and a few actual fist fights later, (some fairies could pack a punch, who knew?) Mickey was back to his alley routine. A routine that unfortunately was constantly getting interrupted the last two weeks by his Idiot brother Iggy.
A lot of things had changed this past year. A lot of things hadn’t.
The brunette shook his head as he focused away from the hot red head still waiting on his order. Tonight. It didn’t matter what the fuck Iggy fucked up this time, tonight Mickey wasn’t going to cover his ass. He tried his best to focus on the drawing in front of him only to tighten his grip as he retraced the same line over and over. He waited, patiently, for the bell above the door to signal the sexy fuck was gone, but no such relief came.
Instead, to Mickey’s horror, he heard the unmistakable sound of someone pulling out a chair at the table next to him. He looked up to see the man he’s salivating over settling in with his drink and pulling out his phone.
He quickly shifted his focus back to the paper in front of him. He willed his hand to move off the same god damn line and just draw something else. His ears strained for every little movement of the man next to him as he bit his lip and finally got his hand to move to another part of the drawing.
Mickey pulls out his phone as he glances over the text message his brother sent. He barely gets through the first sentence before Iggy’s name pops up on the screen. Fucker has no patience.
“Did you collect from Sanchez last week?”
“No, Sanchez is on your shit. The fuck would I be the one dealing with him?” Mickey grumbled as he lifted his free hand to rub at this forehead. Iggy really needed to get his shit together. He let his brother babble out his excuses for a few minutes before loudly sighing and looking to the ceiling.
“Fuck Head, it isn’t that hard! Who do you think handles this bullshit when you don’t? You think this is some fucking sitcom where everything turns out fucking peachy keen?”
The barely concealed laugh to his right is quickly suppressed, but before Mickey can have the sense not to look over he sees the redhead’s blinding smile hidden behind his drink. He is still looking directly at Mickey and fuck are his eyes green. The attractive fuck has also decided for once to take his damn EMT jacket off and Mickey can finally tell how broad his shoulders are. His arms are huge as well. All of this new information Mickey only gets from his periphery, forcing his eyes to remain on the green ones that still haven’t looked away.
“I said, Dad needs all the cash by 6 today…”
That snaps him out of the fantasy of the arms attached to the sexy piece of shit in front of him, pinning him against a brick wall, back to the piece of shit still rambling in his ear. Mickey raises his eyebrows and man finally looks away. Mickey keeps his eyes on him though, just long enough to see the red bleed from his hair down to the rest of his face.
“Of course he fucking does. Fine, but I’m not doing this shit again Iggy!”
Mickey doesn’t wait for his brother to respond before hanging up and gathering his paper. He places his mug on the counter, trying his best to not turn around and see if the redhead chanced a second glance. There is no way Mickey is that lucky.
He gets through the door, but his will caves as he passes by the window and looks to the back of the cafe. Again he’s met with green eyes and smile even wider than the one before. This time it is Mickey who can’t help his flushed face.