The day after the local werewolf Running, the Hollow Bean always opened early (or stayed open extra late, depending on how you looked at it) and was positively slammed! Pearla gave an exhausted flit of her wings, took another spoonful of saguaro cactus flower jelly straight from the jar (her own personal stash), and once more unto the breach!
The café and coffee house was packed with tens of ravenous werewolves amongst the other usual nighttime crowd. Exhausted teenagers laid flopped out on booth benches or with their heads pillowed on their arms, their corresponding adults trying not to nod off over their bacon and eggs and coffee. Older wolves had long ago repaired to the quiet and tranquility of their homes. Good thing the Day After Running was tantamount to a religious holiday so they could all go home and sleep.
Pearly tucked a soft, rolled-up scarf beneath the tousled strawberry-blonde head of sleepy Sierra Bondarich before refilling Ilya’s coffee mug. Jessica looked just about to follow her daughter into sleep so Pearla set a scone with an extra dollop of honeydew cream in front of her, for deep sleep and sweet dreams when her head hit the pillow at home.
Hurrying back into the kitchen to refill her tray with orders, Pearly took a moment to breathe out a tired sigh.
“Sounds like you need breakfast yourself,” came the booming voice of Kingsley, the Hollow’s owner and cook. He was no fairy but a large stone-skinned ogre; however, if anyone personified ‘gentle giant’, it was Kingsley. He refilled Pearla’s tray with ready, steaming orders, and then motioned with his overly large fingers for her to open her mouth. When she did, he tucked in a piece of caramelized bacon. It was sweet, a bit spicy, with a creamy crunch that made her tingle from the crown of her bun to the tips of her twinkle toes as she chewed it.
“Kingsley, what is that?” Pearly marveled, feeling invigorated beyond even magic’s norm.
“It is special recipe I am developing, for stamina and strength. But! You tell me if you start getting rash anywhere. If so, I will need to back off on seven-league peppercorn. So you tell Kingsley, yes?” And with that, he shooed her out of the kitchen so he could continue cooking.
The heavy tray balanced as thought it weighed nothing, Pearly made her way back out into the sleepy buzz of the Hollow. She set down a few plates for some electro-hobs (common nickname for Nockers these days) who had just finished the third shift at the power plant. They were eager for their homes and beds when the buses started running again in an hour. Tired Nockers were surly Nockers, however, and so Pearla never told them what that extra sweet taste was in their coffee but the charisma-spun sugar always helped to make them just a little less…them. And, plus, there were children present so if they had put up a row, a knock with her moonglass tray would have been enough to quell it.
Soon the werewolf families started to trickle out, murmuring thanks to the staff of the Hollow and leaving generous tips as they went.
Pearla and Trystan tidied up tables and set everything to rights again, the latter helping out with carrying exhausted thirteen year olds to cars if any was needed. Lillian secreted treats into jacket pockets and breathed sweet-dream kisses onto cheeks that were still childhood rosy beneath the dust of the night’s Running. Soon, the Hollow’s busy buzz fell to a light murmur as they began to prepare for the morning shift fairies to come in. When Elyria, Barton, and Jessamin arrived, Pearla, Trystan, and Lillian pulled on their scarves and jackets and happily made for home.
Upon her arrival in her tenth floor apartment, which she ironically called her ‘little bungalow’ (she loved living high up, it reminded her of her grandfae’s bedtime stories about once upon a time when fairies were tiny and lived in trees ), Pearla was greeted by the sleepy yawns of banana-leaf-eared hobcat, who then promptly went back to sleep in her corner. The fairy barista shrugged off her coat, leaving it where it fell, and, with wearied flutterings and all the grace of an exhausted cartoon princess, she fell into bed.
[Cover photo credit – https://www.pinterest.com/artofjlmeyer/]