A Familiar Face

Big Bear Diner 
@Abraham Barlet

She thought the mountains would help clear her mind, shake away the fog and spark some creativity back into her work. It had been a fine idea until Amber remembered she didn't like sitting still and beautiful scenery was more enjoyable outside the winter months. Still, the air here had a crispness that you couldn't find in the city. She liked the stillness of the place even if the quiet unnerved her more than it gave her peace.

Following a short trail had given her cheeks and nose a red tint which stung in the cold. Rubbing them with gloved hands, Amber decided to turn back. The walk had made her hungry and a slow-to-update google map put her close to a well reviewed diner. Ah, what the heck. Why not?

Turns out yelp reviews was right. The place was popular, so popular in fact that all the ski bunnies here for their pre-Christmas vacation were crammed inside and Amber had to put herself on a waiting list. She would have turned around, driven closer into town, but then a waiter passed with a tray of huge fluffy pancakes topped with fat strawberries covered in cream. Amber had to stay.

She took a seat on a long bench, crossing one leg over the other, resigned to people watch until called. Her casual perusing halting as her eyes jumped over someone then shot back. Amber knew this person, his name on the tip of her tongue. Asha's boyfriend!

Abraham didn't come here too often. It was the bear zone, and he wasn't super keen on visiting with Levka. (Though Esperanza was always welcome company, he currently owed her lunch and felt guilty for putting that off.)

But sometimes you needed to fuck up some pancakes. So he was here, preparing to do exactly that after he...

Really sneakily finished off a cigarette. Sorry, world, sue him. Cold weather made him miss it even though coming out to smoke was a chilly bitch. So he puffed put the last of it, ground it against the side of the nearest trash can to make sure it was well out, and then tossed it in.

Then he made his way inside, knowing the trick to not fucking around here was to sit at the bar. This guy didn't wait to eat pancakes in a booth when he could crush them just as easily, entirely by himself(!), at the bar.

Unaware he'd been spotted, he approached and stood fairly near Amber, rising on his toes to see if there was a clear spot he could steal up there. But it was full enough that he'd probably have to talk to an actual waitress to be seated even there.

So he sighed, swiping a menu from a stand nearby and found a place in line.

So there were several approaches to this. Amber ran down the list as she scooted forward as discreetly as possible. She could do for the direct route, call Abraham's name and slap a hand on his shoulder as if they were long lost friends. Yeah no, she got the distinct impression he was more the flight than fight type, so surprise hugs were out too. The opportunity was too good to waste though, she really hoped he had some information on Asha, about her memory condition and maybe how to help. He might even know about that. Asha said she was telling trustworthy people and who else beside her boyfriend? Well, if they were still together. Amber definitely picked up on the lack of BF talk lately...

No harm in a little friendly chat that might turn out some nuggets of information. Amber nodded to herself, clenching her hands once before letting her expression shift to its usual open friendliness. If only a few steps she slid up next to him. "Hey, Abraham? Is that you?" Amber asked, voice rising as if she hadn't confirmed it yet.

Of all people to pick him out here, Abraham didn't expect it to be one of Asha's human friends.

He tensed a bit, not placing the voice, trying to remember who this one was as he turned to face her.

Amber. Right? Yeah. Amber.

"Oh, uh, yeah. Hi," he said, trying to sound less than entirely bewildered. How are you, Amber! Heard Asha tried to turn you into a fucking jaguar! "How's it going?"

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