Marissa smiled distractedly at the tiny woman dressed in traditional Iranian clothing who’d just ordered one of her “micro brews.” Talbot’s Peak was no Mecca of civilization, but they did have a diverse enough population that a burka was not so rare as to stop conversations. The smile was because of what the woman ordered.
Marissa loved coffee in all its forms and kept a small stock of specialty roasted beans for her mad experiments, as Mooney put it. She listed the various specialty cup-at-a-time brews she had mastered on her menu but usually the only people to drink them were her and Mooney. Even as busy as she was, the idea of brewing up a cup of Iranian qahwa was enough to bring a smile to her lips. Quhwa, sometimes called “the wine of Islam,” was one of her very favorite. The technique for roasting the beans for that Middle Eastern brew had been developed in Iran hundreds of years ago.
She watched to woman take a seat at the window as she pulled out her tin of special, home-roasted beans. This batch was a few days old. She almost wished she had enough time to roast some fresh. It was kind of silly, really, but the idea of making a drink for someone from Iran tickled her fancy; she couldn’t help wanting to impress. She was also a bit nervous. If someone were to know if she had gotten it wrong, this customer would.
Dorri watched the blue haired woman grind beans for her order. What a surprise to find a drink of her homeland so very far from home. Lexor had mentioned she should pop in for a cup of coffee in the shop below his apartments, saying “the monkey child” did a decent job of her day craft.
What an odd thing for him to say, she mused. This woman was odd, true, but she was obviously no child. Dorri had no idea what to think of him calling the running of this coffee house as a day job. She had to admit that part of her confusion was probably linguistic. Women didn’t have “jobs” in her home land. They sometimes had professions or trades, but never something as temporary as a job. The scent of very fresh coffee filled the air of the comfortable little shop with the smell of warm grass and caramel—the smell of expertly roasted beans at the peak of ripeness. This blue-haired woman, odd though she was, was clearly a craftswoman, not a common day laborer.
Dorri was a little surprised by the wide variety of species in this business. There was an even blend of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores—humans included. In her many centuries of life, she had never known the three to co-mingle so freely. Humans were probably not aware of it, but they had always ended up grouped with omnivores. They didn’t like to think of themselves as animals, but they were definitely apes, just not shifters. Where you found one type of feeder, you usually could find a shifter of the same type. There was a huge population of bear, raccoon and other omnivorous shifters in this area, though like the humans, they lived completely separate from the imported shifters.
Except for the local bats. That one had Dorri confused. Why would the smallest mixed eater species co-mingle with carnivores? She had seen one actually in the process of forming a mate-bond with a coyote last night! This was such a strange town. She could see why her Lexor chose to remain here, now that he had told her what to look for. She realized now that she had been foolish to let her father break them up. She had never found a male who could fire her blood the way her Egyptian scoundrel could. She sipped the excellent cup of coffee as she pondered the centuries of loneliness she’d endured because of her youthful need to do as her family directed. She was no spring kitten anymore, though. And she was here, in a place where all things seemed possible. Maybe, just maybe, she could convince Lexor to give her another chance at the happiness she’d let slip through her claws.