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Latest revision as of 23:59, 5 July 2019

Stress Bake-off
Dramatis Personae

Jax, Sarah, Spencer

2019-07-04


"I wouldn't live with them if they didn't like cookies."

Location

<NYC> 303 {Lighthaus} - Village Lofts - East Village


This apartment is cheerful, in its way -- bright and airy, its floor plan open and a plethora of windows providing it with an abundance of light. The tiny entrance hall opens into a living room, small, though its sparse furniture and lack of clutter give it a more open feel. The decor is subdued and minimalist; black and white is the dominant theme, with occasional splashes of deep crimson to offset the monochrome, though of late myriad bright-coloured dragonflies swarm across the living room wall. The couch and armchair are upholstered in black corduroy, the low wide coffee table central is black wood and glass-topped, and a few large pillowy beanbags provide additional seating by the large windows that dominate the back wall. The living room and kitchen both hold a rather inordinate number of lamps in addition to the ceiling lights; standing lamps, small lamps on each counter, large sunlights in the corner. More often than not, they're largely all turned on, too.

Towards the back, a couple of doors lead off into bedrooms and bathroom, and to the right, the kitchen's tile is separated from the living room's dark hardwood floors by black countertops. Above the bedroom to one side, there is higher space; a ladder climbs up to a lofted area looking down on the living room. Standing in front of the partition between living and cooking area is a large fish tank: one lone Betta, blood-red, swims regally among several species of black and silver fish. A hallway beyond the kitchen leads further into the apartment. Another bathroom stands just into the hall and the farthest door leads to the apartment's final bedroom, the door usually kept shut to hold in the acrid fumes of turpentine and paints from within.

Outside in the hallway, Sarah quickly straightens her clothes and checks for the tenth time that she grabbed the to-go containers with the honeycomb toffee and not cookies. It wouldn't make for a great first impression to show up with goodies that her new neighbors can't even eat. She's dressed in faded jeans that are worn through at the knees, yellow Converse, and a black shirt that says 'PICK YOUR WEAPON' in white, along with a printed array of baking and cooking utensils. Her hair, as always, is the brightest of pastel pinks, and hopefully will stay out of her eyes. Once she's sure everything is alright, she puts on her best smile and knocks.

Spencer has been in the kitchen pulling tupperware containers from a cabinet, but at the knock he calls out, "I got it!" and disappears. He appears again next to the front door and peer out through the peephole. The child who pulls the door open looks maybe 11 or 12, spindly, tan-skinned, brown-haired and gray-eyed. He's wearing dark blue jean shorts, a green apron with an adorable cartoon cow on the chest and the word 'COWHUGGER' over a light blue t-shirt, and an expression of wide-eyed curiosity."Hi! I like your shirt!" he chirps brightly. "Who are you looking for?"

Jax is slower to arrive at the door than Spencer. He emerges from down the hall, barefoot in paint-flecked denim overalls with one shoulder strap hanging down and a purple tee shirt reading 'Y'all means ALL', the all written in rainbow text, his hair a purple and blue ombre and his eyepatch embroidered with a metallic blue dragonfly. There's a one-eyed beagle tagging at his heels -- or was tagging at his heels; Obie bolts eagerly past him at the sight of someone at the door. Crashes straight into the open door. The THUD doesn't stop his tail from wagging. "Afternoon," he offers with a dip of his head. "Can we help you?"

"Thank you! I like your apron!" Sarah chirps back, giggling some at the beagle. It takes a lot to not immediately kneel down and start petting him, but she likes to think she has better manners than that. Instead, she looks up at the man standing in doorway. "Hi, I hope I'm not bothering either of you. My name's Sarah, I moved in below you last week." She holds up the Chinese takeout looking containers. "I wanted to stop by and introduce myself, and bring some candy as well."

"Thank!" Spence actually bounces up onto his tip-toes, and shuffles aside when his father arrives, though then quickly puts a foot in front of Obie to keep him from wandering out into the hallway. "Welcome to the Lofts, Sarah. I'm Spence. That's Obie," he adds, scritching the dog under his chin with one neon green socked foot. "You can pet him, he's super friendly but will drool all over you."

"He's a complete doofus." Jax says this fondly, looking down at the dog (who is now steadily licking Spence's sock as if this will gain him passage into the hallway.) "Oh gosh! Sarah. That's right, Dusk said there was someone new. M'sorry, I'd meant to bring you down some cookies but this week's really gotten away from me. Hi," his smile is bright now, warm, "I'm Jax. You settlin' in alright?"

Sarah sees now why Flicker asked if she had met Jax yet. He's easy to like. So is Spence, but Sarah has always liked kids. Maybe because she's always closer to their size. "It's nice to meet you both. And that's fine about the cookies, I've been so busy baking cookies for other neighbors that I don't know if I would have even had room for Other Cookies. I would have brought some of those, but Flicker mentioned everyone that lived here was vegan, so honeycomb toffee seemed better."

She switches both containers to one hand so she can kneel down to scratch behind Obie's ears. "Hi, Obie. You look like a good boy. Are you a good boy?" Any attempt at not falling into baby talk fails completely. (Let's be honest, Sarah didn't try much at all.) She does, at least, talk up to Spence and Jax in her normal voice. "I'm settling in fine. The building is really nice. My sister and sister-in-law are moving in with me tomorrow, so there may be some noise from that. Sorry if there is."

"There's always room for more cookies," Spencer says solemnly, but can't quite hold his expression, breaking into a grin instead. "Eventually! He's totally a good boy. Do you have a dog? Obie is always looking for more play buddies. What kind of cookies do you like? Is honeycomb toffee made from actual honeycombs?" His eyes have, somehow, gone even bigger.

"Oh no where is my manners, do you want to come in? I guess Obie's kind of collecting a toll from you already." Jax steps back from the doorway, though the dog has flopped over onto his back straight across the threshhold to present his belly for extra rubs, tail thumping the floor. "No room? What kinda blasphemy. Anyway, it sounds like if you're gonna have folks moving in you'll have plenty of room. That's hungry work plus extra bellies."

"I don't have a pet, but this is the first place I've lived where I can have one. So maybe soon." She gives Obie a few belly rubs before pushing herself to her feet. "It's called honeycomb toffee because you put baking soda in it once its cooked, and makes it bubble up a /lot./ Once it hardens, it has all these air bubbles in it! It's really neat, I think. Want to see?"

She holds a container out to Spence as she steps into the apartment, and her eyes immediately widen as she looks around the front room. "Wow, your place is really nice. I love all of the windows. But, um. Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing them. And getting to cook for people. I've never had my own kitchen before, and it may be my new favorite thing."

"Whaaaaaat!" This doesn't sound like an /actual/ question, but Spencer looks eager enough to see the candies now. "Candy with /chemistry/ that's /so cool/! Did you make these, too?" He opens the container and digs out a candy, peering at it intently as if expecting to be able to /see/ the Science in it. "Kitchens are pretty great, so is cooking for people." He passes the honeycomb toffee to Jax. "Do you want something to drink? We have lemonade and some fruity sodas and we can make coffee or tea."

"What!" Jax's exclamation isn't quite as exuberant as Spence's, but his eye widens all the same. "That is really cool. I'm -- pretty sure most all candy-making involves some chemistry, though, honey-honey. Like ain't that what temperin' chocolate just right or figuring out how to make your caramel exactly the right amount of gooey is about?" He takes the toffee from Spencer, examining it too before chomping down on it. "Cool and tasty, that's even better. You're already putting that kitchen to good use. Where are your folks comin' in from? Has it been a while since you seen 'em? Y'all gonna need any help with the moving in?"

Sarah's answering smile is soft and pleased, happy. Nothing feels better than people enjoying the food she cooks. "I did make it. I'm glad you both like it so much. It's only a few ingredients, if you want the recipe. Lemonade sounds wonderful, Spence, thank you."

She takes a few more steps into the apartment to place the other container full of even more candy on the coffee table. "Do you mind if I take a seat? I haven't sat in an actual beanbag chair in forever. And I don't think there's gonna be that much stuff to move in. They're coming from Ohio, and I was with them until a little over a week ago-- I came ahead to get a place ready for all of us. Got super lucky in finding the apartment downstairs."

"Whoa that's true, but using stuff that fizzes has to be like. Extra chemistry points. Especially if you used beakers." Spencer mimes carefully pouring imaginary liquids with a look of intense concentration, tongue protruding slightly. Then he promptly stuffs his face with candy and, presumably not being a complete heathen despite stereotypes about his age and gender, he only answers Sarah with a close-mouth "mmrph" and two thumbs up before he -- just disappears.

From the kitchen comes the sound of a cabinet opening, then the refrigerator.

"Oh, yeah, feel free." Jax gestures to the living room invitingly, closing the door behind Sarah. "Did you use beakers?" He wanders into the living room too, perching himself on an arm of the couch. "M'glad you did find it. Housing around here can be ridiculous. S'nice with the park just across the street, there's always something to do. You got any plans for once you're proper settled in?"

"/I/ didn't use beakers, but I don't see why you /couldn't./" Sarah falls back into a beanbag chair with a foomph, slowly sinking down into it. Obie immediately goes to crawl into her lap, since there is one available so close to his height, and he is /almost/ enough to distract her Spencer disappearing.

Not /disappearing/ disappearing. She can only assume the sound of movement in the kitchen is Spence himself, and Jax does not seem worried. Sarah blinks at the spot where Spence was for a few seconds before Obie shoves his head under her hand and demands pets. Well, that is certainly more important.

"No real plans, yet. I think we have to figure out what it's like to - actually have a place to live in first. It's been almost spooky, having something so big be mine."

Spencer re-appears, in almost the exact same spot from which he vanished, but carrying two tall glasses swirled with translucent colors and filled with lemonade, each with its own rainbow-colored steel straw. "Maybe it'll be easier and less spooky when your people get here. Do they like cookies?" He hands one to Sarah and offers Jax the other. "Your toffee is really good can you teach me how to make those please I would totally use beakers."

"Thanks, sugar." Jax takes the glass of lemonade, downing a good third of it in one long pull. "I'm aware there's people who exist that don't like cookies like -- intellectually, but it still seems real fake to me." Briefly he tenses, hand curling tighter around his glass as not far outside the window there's a loud whistle-CRACK. Someone getting started early on the fireworks. His teeth click against the metal straw. "-- also it's gonna be like that all night, this neighborhood gets real over the top with it. But," he advises, with a bit of cheer, "the roof is a great place to catch like two different shows."

Sarah takes the glass with a quiet word of thanks, proud of herself for only jumping a little when Spence reappears. "I wouldn't live with them if they didn't like cookies, and I would love to teach you how to make it!" The firework startles her more than Spence did; she feels like she lifts out of the beanbag chair for a moment. Somehow, she manages to not spill lemonade over herself, Obie, or any furniture. "Oh, gosh, it is--"

She really should buy a calendar, between not realizing when Pride was, and now today.

"Thanks for letting me know. I'll probably stay inside, though. It's always too loud for me."

Spence doesn't jump at the fireworks, though he does tuck himself firmly into a corner of the couch. "Yeah, it is. Are you okay?" His eyes are wide with concern this time. "It's gonna be so loud later, even if you're inside." He squints out the window critically. "Pa's fireworks are so much better."

"I got some pretty great noise-cancelling headphones, if you need to borrow 'em." Jax offers this with a small smile and a glance towards the window. "It gets real loud for me, too. I love the pretty lights, but the banging -- noooot so much." He turns a little bit inward toward the sofa, curling his arm loosely around Spence's shoulders. "You're biased. -- There's also gonna be a cookout on the roof but, um. Same problem, with the fireworks. It'll be a little earlier so maybe they won't be so so bad, if you want to stop up for --" His brows crease. "I already done forgot what I was making for it."

"I'm okay." She manages a small smile to aim at Spence. "I just forgot what day it was. Moving has me all turned around, I guess. And that's so kind of you, Jax, but I think I'll be fine. I'll find something on Netflix to watch, and probably bake through it so. You and other apartments may be getting more food."

She finally takes a sip of lemonade, or what's meant to be a sip. It's really good lemonade. By the time she comes up for air, there's another whistle-POP outside, thankfully farther away. Sarah's shoulders hitch up near her ears for a split second, but she relaxes again fast enough. "A cookout does sound nice, though... Do you remember if it was an appetizer or a dessert?"

"Ginger tofu? Or is that marinating for tomorrow?" Spence leans up against Jax, looking up at the ceiling as if expecting to see the answer written there. "Probably like three kinds of cupcakes. I'm being super lazy and making veggie kababs." He seems very pleased about this last point, only flinching slightly this time at the distant explosion. "Oh! You could bring up what you stress bake maybe. It'll be like a stress bake-off."

"I'm only making two kinds of cupcakes," Jax protests somewhat distractedly. His arm tightens around Spence's shoulders, briefly, at the next pop. "But I meant what was I gonna cook. It could be the tofu. I could do -- Oh no!" He gets up again, eye widening. "What time is it, the tofu is for spring rolls I don't think I'm gonna have the rolls and all the cupcakes ready in time." He's bouncing away from the sofa, dashing off to the kitchen.

Stress Bake-Off was absolutely the new name of her imaginary band. She'd have to remember to tell Angie. "Maybe. I think it would depend on--" Whatever it may depend on will apparently have to remain a mystery. Sarah cuts herself off as Jax jumps to his feet and heads to the kitchen. Obie must take this as a sign that some kind of food is ready, because he scrambles off of Sarah's lap to follow his owner. "Do you need an extra set of hands?" she calls. "Or should I get out of your hair?"

Spence doesn't seem too surprised by Jax's somewhat more mundane disappearing act. "That's just how he cooks," he reassures their guest. "He'll get it done in time, but maybe he will want help?" He hops up and follows Obie, waving Sarah along. "C'mon, either way you should come take a look, cuz if you like kitchens, you're gonna love ours."