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~Coffee Mate~ Ch.1 Gorgeous Young Man

by fatherfig


Marge was walking; he loved walking with a warm mug of coffee in hand. The park was foggy, the air crisp and cold. As he inhaled, he couldn't help but imagine he was breathing in snowflakes or maybe ice water. There was indeed nothing like late fall. He sighed as his phone vibrated in his pocket, thinking sarcastically, 'Nothing beats family.' He used his free hand to check his phone.

Aunt Irnine: What are you bringing to the family reunion?

He felt the energy drain from his face. His family had found a way to make fall feel just as cramped as other seasons. He wasn't looking forward to the reunion and all of the prying. You're such a gorgeous young man. Where's your wife? Why don't you have a girlfriend? It would be said as if it were a compliment. Their questions were so uninspired and repetitive it was demeaning. He was expected to smile and pretend he wasn't three shades of queer.

He tried to picture the reunion in his head, but he could only think of what his aunt Irnine would say this year: Why aren't you married, Marge? Don't you know you are so handsome? She would give him that look like she was basing his worth on his answer.

He looked at his coffee and sighed as he tried to blink away his irritation. His family held reunions every year in the spring. It shouldn't have felt like a big thing that they decided to reschedule in the middle of his big move, but it was. Irnine decided to text him only a week ahead, giving him no notice. Now she was messaging him, saying he was supposed to bring something. He ran a gloved hand through his dark hair. It had started to snow again. The snowflakes slowly began to accumulate, making the sidewalk look spotted.

He sat on the frosted grass, feeling it slowly melt against his pant legs. The benches seemed too far away as he began to think. He finished his black coffee, needing the extra warmth to quiet his stomach. He had sold his car to afford the new apartment he lived in. It was just a block away from his work. It had seemed convenient at the time. How was he even supposed to get there?

His hand shook as he picked up an icy leaf that had begun to melt in his gloved palm. It was a maple leaf of some sort. He stared at it a long moment before crushing it in his palm. He had moved away from his family to feel less constricted, but now he was forced to return to them, and if only for a couple of days, it would be hell. He would have to get in the middle of them during the holidays and feel that burning sensation of a scream welling up in his guts. They were his only family, though, even if they didn't love him as he was.

He lived states away from them now, and they still expected him to make extensive trips to see them at any beckoning. Faking his death felt like a more reasonable plan every year. He flopped onto the grass, now lying flat. The drone of traffic passing the park was loud, but it sounded almost distant. He let his arms fall to his sides as his chest burned with anxiety that soon flew to his stomach. They would pack up and come here if he didn't visit them. He knew they would.

He felt that tingle of irritation travel through his body, and his cheeks reddened. He was a grown man, but they were still trying to keep tabs on him. They didn't want him to move away, and they had always judged his actions. He rose and growled harshly, "I'll still be expected to go out of my way to please you even when I die, won't I? Irnine, you would be happy, wouldn't you! Even dead! Arms stiff with rigor mortis holding out your damned potato salad!"

He heard footsteps approaching, and for a moment, he thought about continuing to sit on the ground. Maybe the guy would keep walking, but he feared he would ask him questions. He didn't feel like answering any. He rose quickly, scurrying further down the path of the park. When he stood and looked over his shoulder, he noticed a tall man walking to the bench across from him.

His outfit hung close to his body, now damp with melted frost, and Marge felt as though he likely looked disheveled and homeless. He thought it over, chuckling to himself. His hair was heavy with melted snow, and he felt on the verge of freezing. His nose was cold, and his fingers around the mug felt numb and tingly. It was definitely time to go home.

Anyway, the tall, black-haired man seemed the type to ask questions. He had an inquisitive look on his face. So Marge hurried off, passing a few people dressed in outfits more suited to winter than he thought necessary; it was only fall they should enjoy the weather. He powerwalked out of the park, but his pace drew slower as he reached the exit. He certainly wasn't going to run across the street. It was hectic. He would find a crosswalk.

After he crossed the street, he glanced at the stone-grey buildings he walked by. The windows almost blindingly reflected the headlights of the vehicles that drove past. The metal buildings cast shadows that felt like they were staring at him menacingly. A large truck drove past him, and its headlights broke the thin veil of night left between the streetlights ahead of him for a moment, but then it was gone. The motor growled angrily past, and Marge gave it a sideways glance. The city was more peaceful at night, but it was still loud.

He was glad it was fall and below freezing. Otherwise, it would have splashed him. There was no need to drive so near to the sidewalk. He took his key out of his pocket as he approached his apartment complex. He immediately regretted it as he recognized the two shifty gentlemen who occasionally tried to wait him out, sitting draped over lawn chairs outside the apartment door. He walked between them and gave them a cursory glance before plunging the key into the lock. They had stopped bickering when he approached his unit's door. It felt uncomfortable, and he was sure they would try something.

As the door swung open, he heard them both rise from their seats, and a chill climbed his spine. He heard one of them grunt amusedly, "Looks like you've got expensive appliances in there, mind if we come in?"

His eyes widened, and he quickly stepped inside, pushing against the hands on his shoulders and snatching the keys. He broke free and slammed the door, not caring whether or not he caught their fingers, and scrambled to lock it as he heard them move to force it open. He slid down the door after latching it, his hazel eyes still wide with shock.

The men outside continued forcing at the door, and Marge praised that his shitty apartment had no windows. After what felt like hours had passed, he was sure they left. Yet Marge stayed sitting there plastered against the door in wet clothes, clutching his mug, listening. 'Should I call someone?' he thought in panic and dread.

Slowly, he raised his weary body from the burgundy carpet and walked to the living room space of his apartment, gently placing his cup on the counter. He then walked to his bathroom to take a long, hot shower. He briskly toweled off and wore a robe before walking to his room to change into a brown sweater, yellow jogging pants, and long purple socks.

Once seated in warm clothes on his sofa, he took a deep breath, which he let out curtly when he looked at the dirty cup on his counter. He brought the cup into his tiny kitchen. It was filled with beige and autumn tones, and he quickly washed it before making a second coffee. 'So it's nearing eleven p.m.,' he thought, 'someone just tried to break into my house.'

He heated the water in his rinky dink microwave. When he moved, he bought it secondhand, and those guys must have seen him take it in the apartment. He shook his head, adding grounds and stirring some liquid hazelnut creamer to the instant potion. He went back to his living room and sat heavily on the sofa. It was time to answer the text. He had retrieved his phone already and was now blankly looking at the text. He would try to give a polite response.

Marge: I didn't know I was supposed to be bringing anything. What do you think everyone would enjoy?

He secretly hoped she was asleep so her reply would come tomorrow while he was at work. He would be at liberty not to answer. However, he immediately saw a text bubble, three dots swirling madly as she typed.

Aunt Irnine: Marge! Why on earth are you awake at this time! I thought you had a job!

Aunt Irnine: Of course, you are supposed to bring something, that is the rule of reunions, don't you know.

Aunt Irnine: I can't make up your mind for you! You are a grown man, Marge, twenty-four years old. Think! Think! Just bring something!

Marge sighed, clenching his fist. His nails dug into his palm, and his knuckles turned a pale, peachy white. He was bringing his stress ball to the reunion, most definitely. He had a feeling that wouldn't count. He had a few days, four exactly, to get a ride to the reunion. Besides his boss at the Medieval Morning Cafe, he didn't know anyone in the city, and they weren't close enough for carpooling. How was he supposed to tell his boss? This was practically no notice! Randall would be so upset... He had to tell him as soon as he checked in. He may take it as short notice. He texted her back quickly, too angry to watch his tone.

Marge: Irnine, you texted me first. I wondered if you knew what people liked, but I should have known you wouldn't. I will get eggnog on my way there. Next year, tell me at least two weeks in advance. I do have a job; I work a late shift. I have to give my manager notice before I take a long trip. You could cost me my job because you just can't think of anyone but yourself. It looks like I'm the only one here who does any thinking.

He slapped his phone on the counter and leaned back into the soft cushions. He couldn't tell her he had sold his car, that he was almost robbed. He couldn't trust that she wouldn't try to twist it into reasons he should be held captive in Arkansas, where the rest of his family lives. She would use it to argue why New York was the wrong place to live. Not that he wasn't starting to agree that he wanted to move to a better neighborhood.

He heard the blips of several notifications and looked down at his phone. "No Irnine. Shut up Irnine!"

He exasperatedly rubbed his face. It was as if she absolutely prided herself on how argumentative she was. He knew whatever she had sent him must be irrational, yet he still returned the phone. If he avoided it, she'd try to blow it out of proportion later.

Aunt Irnine: Oh, whatever, I expected you to be responsibly snoozing! You will act like you care about your job, up late at night? The notice I gave was what you deserved. I just decided not to let you embarrass yourself this time. You should thank me, really. In fact, you were named after me. You have a lot of things to thank me for, darling. And you would know what everyone liked if you stayed put. That's not my fault.

Marge nodded, running a hand through his hair again, pulling it slightly, okay. Okay then. He frowned. The names Irnine and Marge were different. In fact, the only thing they had in common were the letters 'E' and 'R.' That was like saying muffins were named after mud. It made absolutely no sense. Did she even know what late shift meant?

Marge: Thank you, Aunt Irnine. Thank you for sharing this information so late. I have to worry about it affecting my job and being jobless. Thank you for leaving me to make travel arrangements at the last second; that makes me feel so considered. Thank you most of all for having me buy something I'm not even sure other people will like to share at the reunion. I am sure I won't ever be embarrassed again. And thank you for my name; I'm sure my parents thought you were remarkable. I bet you knew them very well, Auntie Irnine, and it had nothing to do with my grandmother named Margaret.

For a moment, he regretted the text, but only a moment. Medieval Morning Cafe was the job find of the century. The theme of it was Alchemy, and it was decorated in the most unique way for a coffee shop! There were fog machines! Expresso cauldrons! The mugs were pewter, and the countertops were a finished mahogany. The place was lit with lanterns and strategically hidden yellow LED lights, but that was beside the point. It was like walking into a novel. He felt more comfortable there than anywhere else. He had chosen his service name for his name tag. It was 'Muggins,' and he had discovered that he adored being called Muggins more than his actual name!

Not to mention that she assumed his schedule was messed up. That was just rude. He worked late and early mornings. To get ready and have some time to himself. He got up when almost everyone was asleep or going to sleep. Irnine would call him antisocial, and she wouldn't be wrong. He usually slept during the day, and that was how he liked it. He had a shift from twelve p.m. until six a.m. If he went to bed now, he would sleep through his workday. What did Irnine know about that? Nothing as per usual.

He walked to the kitchen to prepare some sort of meal. Preferably something hot and crunchy. He unceremoniously scoured his tiny kitchen, placed his hot plate on the island, and plugged it into the built-in surge bar. He grabbed a nonstick skillet; it was a bit old, and the nonstick was non-nonsticky now. He placed it on the hot plate, hovered over to his brown mini fridge, took out butter and cheese, and moved back to the island. He put the items beside the hot plate, cutting off a chunk of butter before moving to a cabinet to grab light bread. He returned to his designated cooking area and sprinkled a fistful of shredded cheese onto the piece of bread before slapping another piece on top and setting it in the skillet. Grilled cheese is the 'this'll do' staple meal.

He ate it with the 'it was this or ramen' vibes one would expect. He was happy to eat it while the cheese was still stretchy and the crust crunchy. His phone made another notification sound, and he turned it off, shoving it back in his pocket. He would deal with her temper tantrum later. He had adult things to deal with, like not getting fired. He walked into his bedroom after hurriedly cleaning up and opened his dresser.

Marge was walking; he loved walking with a warm mug of coffee in hand. The park was foggy, the air crisp and cold. As he inhaled, he couldn't help but imagine he was breathing in snowflakes or maybe ice water. There was indeed nothing like late fall. He sighed as his phone vibrated in his pocket, thinking sarcastically, 'Nothing beats family.' He used his free hand to check his phone.

Aunt Irnine: What are you bringing to the family reunion?

He felt the energy drain from his face. His family had found a way to make fall feel just as cramped as other seasons. He wasn't looking forward to the reunion and all of the prying. You're such a gorgeous young man. Where's your wife? Why don't you have a girlfriend? It would be said as if it were a compliment. Their questions were so uninspired and repetitive it was demeaning. He was expected to smile and pretend he wasn't three shades of queer.

He tried to picture the reunion in his head, but he could only think of what his aunt Irnine would say this year: "Why aren't you married, Marge? Don't you know you are so handsome?" She would give him that look like she was basing his worth on his answer.

He looked at his coffee and sighed as he tried to blink away his irritation. His family held reunions every year in the spring. It shouldn't have felt like a big thing that they decided to reschedule in the middle of his big move, but it was. Irnine decided to text him only a week ahead, giving him no notice. Now she was messaging him, saying he was supposed to bring something. He ran a gloved hand through his dark hair. It had started to snow again. The snowflakes slowly began to accumulate, making the sidewalk look spotted.

He sat on the frosted grass, feeling it slowly melt against his pant legs. The benches seemed too far away as he began to think. He finished his black coffee, needing the extra warmth to quiet his stomach. He had sold his car to afford the new apartment he lived in. It was just a block away from his work. It had seemed convenient at the time. How was he even supposed to get there?

His hand shook as he picked up an icy leaf that had begun to melt in his gloved palm. It was a maple leaf of some sort. He stared at it a long moment before crushing it in his palm. He had moved away from his family to feel less constricted, but now he was forced to return to them, and if only for a couple of days, it would be hell. He would have to get in the middle of them during the holidays and feel that burning sensation of a scream welling up in his guts. They were his only family, though, even if they didn't love him as he was.

He lived states away from them now, and they still expected him to make extensive trips to see them at any beckoning. Faking his death felt like a more reasonable plan every year. He flopped onto the grass, now lying flat. The drone of traffic passing the park was loud, but it sounded almost distant. He let his arms fall to his sides as his chest burned with anxiety that soon flew to his stomach. They would pack up and come here if he didn't visit them. He knew they would.

He felt that tingle of irritation travel through his body, and his cheeks reddened. He was a grown man, but they were still trying to keep tabs on him. They didn't want him to move away, and they had always judged his actions. He rose and growled harshly, "I'll still be expected to go out of my way to please you even when I die, won't I? Irnine, you would be happy, wouldn't you! Even dead! Arms stiff with rigor mortis holding out your damned potato salad!"

He heard footsteps approaching, and for a moment, he thought about continuing to sit on the ground. Maybe the guy would keep walking, but he feared he would ask him questions. He didn't feel like answering any. He rose quickly, scurrying further down the path of the park. When he stood and looked over his shoulder, he noticed a tall man walking to the bench across from him.

His outfit hung close to his body, now damp with melted frost, and Marge felt as though he likely looked disheveled and homeless. He thought it over, chuckling to himself. His hair was heavy with melted snow, and he felt on the verge of freezing. His nose was cold, and his fingers around the mug felt numb and tingly. It was definitely time to go home.

Anyway, the tall, black-haired man seemed the type to ask questions. He had an inquisitive look on his face. So Marge hurried off, passing a few people dressed in outfits more suited to winter than he thought necessary; it was only fall they should enjoy the weather. He powerwalked out of the park, but his pace drew slower as he reached the exit. He certainly wasn't going to run across the street. It was hectic. He would find a crosswalk.

After he crossed the street, he glanced at the stone-grey buildings he walked by. The windows almost blindingly reflected the headlights of the vehicles that drove past. The metal buildings cast shadows that felt like they were staring at him menacingly. A large truck drove past him, and its headlights broke the thin veil of night left between the streetlights ahead of him for a moment, but then it was gone. The motor growled angrily past, and Marge gave it a sideways glance. The city was more peaceful at night, but it was still loud.

He was glad it was fall and below freezing. Otherwise, it would have splashed him. There was no need to drive so near to the sidewalk. He took his key out of his pocket as he approached his apartment complex. He immediately regretted it as he recognized the two shifty gentlemen who occasionally tried to wait him out, sitting draped over lawn chairs outside the apartment door. He walked between them and gave them a cursory glance before plunging the key into the lock. They had stopped bickering when he approached his unit's door. It felt uncomfortable, and he was sure they would try something.

As the door swung open, he heard them both rise from their seats, and a chill climbed his spine. He heard one of them grunt amusedly, "Looks like you've got expensive appliances in there, mind if we come in?"

His eyes widened, and he quickly stepped inside, pushing against the hands on his shoulders and snatching the keys. He broke free and slammed the door, not caring whether or not he caught their fingers, and scrambled to lock it as he heard them move to force it open. He slid down the door after latching it, his hazel eyes still wide with shock.

The men outside continued forcing at the door, and Marge praised that his shitty apartment had no windows. After what felt like hours had passed, he was sure they left. Yet Marge stayed sitting there plastered against the door in wet clothes, clutching his mug, listening. 'Should I call someone?' he thought in panic and dread.

Slowly, he raised his weary body from the burgundy carpet and walked to the living room space of his apartment, gently placing his cup on the counter. He then walked to his bathroom to take a long, hot shower. He briskly toweled off and wore a robe before walking to his room to change into a brown sweater, yellow jogging pants, and long purple socks.

Once seated in warm clothes on his sofa, he took a deep breath, which he let out curtly when he looked at the dirty cup on his counter. He brought the cup into his tiny kitchen. It was filled with beige and autumn tones, and he quickly washed it before making a second coffee. 'So it's nearing eleven p.m.,' he thought, 'someone just tried to break into my house.'

He heated the water in his rinky dink microwave. When he moved, he bought it secondhand, and those guys must have seen him take it in the apartment. He shook his head, adding grounds and stirring some liquid hazelnut creamer to the instant potion. He went back to his living room and sat heavily on the sofa. It was time to answer the text. He had retrieved his phone already and was now blankly looking at the text. He would try to give a polite response.

Marge: I didn't know I was supposed to be bringing anything. What do you think everyone would enjoy?

He secretly hoped she was asleep so her reply would come tomorrow while he was at work. He would be at liberty not to answer. However, he immediately saw a text bubble, three dots swirling madly as she typed.

Aunt Irnine: Marge! Why on earth are you awake at this time! I thought you had a job!

Aunt Irnine: Of course, you are supposed to bring something, that is the rule of reunions, don't you know.

Aunt Irnine: I can't make up your mind for you! You are a grown man, Marge, twenty-four years old. Think! Think! Just bring something!

Marge sighed, clenching his fist. His nails dug into his palm, and his knuckles turned a pale, peachy white. He was bringing his stress ball to the reunion, most definitely. He had a feeling that wouldn't count. He had a few days, four exactly, to get a ride to the reunion. Besides his boss at the Medieval Morning Cafe, he didn't know anyone in the city, and they weren't close enough for carpooling. How was he supposed to tell his boss? This was practically no notice! Randall would be so upset... He had to tell him as soon as he checked in. He may take it as short notice. He texted her back quickly, too angry to watch his tone.

Marge: Irnine, you texted me first. I wondered if you knew what people liked, but I should have known you wouldn't. I will get eggnog on my way there. Next year, tell me at least two weeks in advance. I do have a job; I work a late shift. I have to give my manager notice before I take a long trip. You could cost me my job because you just can't think of anyone but yourself. It looks like I'm the only one here who does any thinking.

He slapped his phone on the counter and leaned back into the soft cushions. He couldn't tell her he had sold his car, that he was almost robbed. He couldn't trust that she wouldn't try to twist it into reasons he should be held captive in Arkansas, where the rest of his family lives. She would use it to argue why New York was the wrong place to live. Not that he wasn't starting to agree that he wanted to move to a better neighborhood.

He heard the blips of several notifications and looked down at his phone. "No Irnine. Shut up Irnine!"

He exasperatedly rubbed his face. It was as if she absolutely prided herself on how argumentative she was. He knew whatever she had sent him must be irrational, yet he still returned the phone. If he avoided it, she'd try to blow it out of proportion later.

Aunt Irnine: Oh, whatever, I expected you to be responsibly snoozing! You will act like you care about your job, up late at night? The notice I gave was what you deserved. I just decided not to let you embarrass yourself this time. You should thank me, really. In fact, you were named after me. You have a lot of things to thank me for, darling. And you would know what everyone liked if you stayed put. That's not my fault.

Marge nodded, running a hand through his hair again, pulling it slightly, okay. Okay then. He frowned. The names Irnine and Marge were different. In fact, the only thing they had in common were the letters 'E' and 'R.' That was like saying muffins were named after mud. It made absolutely no sense. Did she even know what late shift meant?

Marge: Thank you, Aunt Irnine. Thank you for sharing this information so late. I have to worry about it affecting my job and being jobless. Thank you for leaving me to make travel arrangements at the last second; that makes me feel so considered. Thank you most of all for having me buy something I'm not even sure other people will like to share at the reunion. I am sure I won't ever be embarrassed again. And thank you for my name; I'm sure my parents thought you were remarkable. I bet you knew them very well, Auntie Irnine, and it had nothing to do with my grandmother named Margaret.

For a moment, he regretted the text, but only a moment. Medieval Morning Cafe was the job find of the century. The theme of it was Alchemy, and it was decorated in the most unique way for a coffee shop! There were fog machines! Expresso cauldrons! The mugs were pewter, and the countertops were a finished mahogany. The place was lit with lanterns and strategically hidden yellow LED lights, but that was beside the point. It was like walking into a novel. He felt more comfortable there than anywhere else. He had chosen his service name for his name tag. It was 'Muggins,' and he had discovered that he adored being called Muggins more than his actual name!

Not to mention that she assumed his schedule was messed up. That was just rude. He worked late and early mornings. To get ready and have some time to himself. He got up when almost everyone was asleep or going to sleep. Irnine would call him antisocial, and she wouldn't be wrong. He usually slept during the day, and that was how he liked it. He had a shift from twelve p.m. until six a.m. If he went to bed now, he would sleep through his workday. What did Irnine know about that? Nothing as per usual.

He walked to the kitchen to prepare some sort of meal. Preferably something hot and crunchy. He unceremoniously scoured his tiny kitchen, placed his hot plate on the island, and plugged it into the built-in surge bar. He grabbed a nonstick skillet; it was a bit old, and the nonstick was non-nonsticky now. He placed it on the hot plate, hovered over to his brown mini fridge, took out butter and cheese, and moved back to the island. He put the items beside the hot plate, cutting off a chunk of butter before moving to a cabinet to grab light bread. He returned to his designated cooking area and sprinkled a fistful of shredded cheese onto the piece of bread before slapping another piece on top and setting it in the skillet. Grilled cheese is the 'this'll do' staple meal.

He ate it with the 'it was this or ramen' vibes one would expect. He was happy to eat it while the cheese was still stretchy and the crust crunchy. His phone made another notification sound, and he turned it off, shoving it back in his pocket. He would deal with her temper tantrum later. He had adult things to deal with, like not getting fired. He walked into his bedroom after hurriedly cleaning up and opened his dresser.

His work attire was much different than what you would assume of a cafe employee: a linen smock apron, a dark green tunic, brown jeggings, a dark brown cloak, and thin, knee-high brown leather boots. The outfit was finished with a black and white corset. He tugged the strings just enough to take the baggage away from the tunic and smock, fitting them to his already decent figure. The way the cloth bagged gave him the perfect male hourglass, making his upper chest seem wider. On the cloak, he rubbed a finger over the large neatly embroidered letters, 'Muggins.' He was now a cafe alchemist, a damn good cafe alchemist.

He took out his long-spiraled cocktail-stirring bartender spoon and strapped it to his thigh to finish the look. He meant business, coffee business.


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Sun Jan 15, 2023 6:48 pm
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GengarIsBestBoy wrote a review...



This story was pretty funny and I really enjoyed reading it! I can relate to the main character being aroace and not wanting to get married. I think the funniest part for me was the part about the non-stick pan being “non-stickity” or the line about grilled cheese. One thing that kinda bugged me though was that some of the sentences had really complex wording that could’ve been made more simple and clear, and there were some formatting issues and sentences that went on too long. Overall, though, really great story! (This is my first review so idk how to to the thing where it quotes the actual writing)




fatherfig says...


Thank you!



GengarIsBestBoy says...


No problem!



fatherfig says...


It was rewritten :D



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Fri Dec 16, 2022 8:29 pm
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Shady wrote a review...



Gem! I am here at last, as promised, in honor of Team Chicken Heist for this lovely Review Day! I can't recall if I've ever reviewed for you in the past or not, so if not, just a summary of my style: I tend to start with specifics in a line-by-line critique of what stands out to me, both positive and negative, and then end with my overall perceptions of the piece and if I have general suggestions for it. Let's jump on in!

He would have to get right in the middle of them during the holidays, and feel that burning sensation of a scream welling up in his guts.


I really liked this line, so this felt like an appropriate time to point out that I really like the imagery that you use! The descriptions of how he feels about his family, particularly the ones talking about the physiological stress of it all, are very relatable and perfectly encapsulate what it's like to interact with a toxic family. It really helps the realism of this piece and makes it relatable and therefore interesting.

I also really like how good of a job you're doing of working in lots of different sensory experiences to the description. I feel like I have a really solid mental image of the setting, which is hard to do, especially in such a short amount of time. Major props to you for managing it!

A low, deranged sound tore from his throat and he rose, slightly astonished that it came from him. There was no one else around him. It was true. It was his sound. The energy came back, and he burst into hysterical laughter. It wasn't really even that funny to him, but he had pictured Mandy's pickled expression. The face she would always make when she felt outsmarted

He heard footsteps approaching, and for a small moment he thought about staying there, lying on the ground, looking half crazed. Maybe they would keep walking; he feared they would ask questions. He rose quickly, scurrying further down the path.


You've got him rising twice ^^

Once firmly seated in warm clothes on his sofa he looked at the dirty cup on his counter a moment before rising from the couch.


So this is fairly minor, but I've noticed you use 'rising'/'rose' quite a bit ^^ I suggest perhaps mixing it up a bit. He could stand up, jump up, push himself to his feet, roll off the couch, etc. lots of options. And, honestly, they may even help make it more showing rather telling? Like "rising from the couch" is adequate to convey the action, but not so much the mood like one of the other options might be able to show if he were to 'wearily push himself to his feet' vs 'rise from the couch' you know?

He brought the cup into his small kitchen, it was filled with beige and autumn tones.


Honestly not sure whether "it" is referring to the cup or the kitchen here. I feel like the kitchen would make more sense but the way I read it at first was referring to the cup. Either way, it's a bit ambiguous.

So it's nearing eleven p.m. he thought to himself, I need this to calm my nerves.


Minor formatting thing, but if you italicize thoughts it's easier to tell that they're thoughts immediately. Not absolutely essential, but it's a pretty well-known/respected custom, and I'd suggest it for clarity ^^

Aunt Mandy:

"Marge! Why on earth are you awake at this time! Of course you are supposed to bring something, that is the rule of reunions don't you know. I can't make up your mind for you! You are a grown man Marge, twenty-four years old . Think! Think! Just bring something!"


Another minor formatting critique, but the texts are a bit... clunky? I don't know. But I feel like either indenting them or italicizing them or both would help. If you wanted to get really extra, you could even use one of those fake text generators and do fake screenshots lol but definitely not necessary to go that far. I would suggest at the very least italicizing the texts though to make them stand out more.

He texted her back quickly too panicked to watch his tone.


Uh oh *monkey covering eyes emoji*

"Thank you aunt Mandy.


omg the passive-aggressive emoji xD I love it

He might loose his dream job because of this! Medieval Morning Cafe was only the job find of a century.


So this is something that was bugging me, but since he said it so explicitly here, it felt like the time to bring it up. It's really odd to me that he's never seemed to actually consider... not? going? to the family reunion. If you don't have a car and you do have a job, you tend to miss things -- especially on short notice. I know if someone texted me right now summoning me to a family reunion in three days, I wouldn't be going. And I do have a car and am heading into a weekend so I'd only have to take one day lol I have responsibilities and a life of my own and people have to respect my time and boundaries if they want access to me (I actually *also* have an aunt with Mandy vibes who is pressuring me to come to visit her over Christmas -- and I lied through my teeth and told her I can't get off work xD like my parents only live like an hour away from her -- but we don't do combined Christmas things -- and I'm absolutely going to visit them next week but when my aunt brings it up I just keep saying my boss is a jerk and won't give me time off since it's a new job even though that is a blatant lie and I'm taking three days off).

So, I could definitely see Mandy being pushy given how you've set her up and not respecting his boundary (*glares at my own aunt*) and being really unbearable about it if he said he wasn't coming. But it's weird to me that he hasn't even seriously considered not going, even to himself. He seems willing to sacrifice his "dream job" to go see a family he clearly doesn't want to see. Why?

I think the "why" needs to be more clearly explained in the text. Like... is it social anxiety? Because even if he's afraid of letting his family down, you'd think he'd at least be thinking about skipping even if he didn't say so to Mandy. And why not lie? Like, wait 'til the day of and say his car broke down or he had a water leak in his apartment or something? I just feel like he's not considering his options. Which is weird since he clearly doesn't want to go. If he really wanted to go I could see him trying this hard to show up, but he doesn't.

a linen smock apron


Aprons are generally required to be kept at the workplace ^^ That's an incredibly minor nitpick lol but where I used to work it was considered a potential sanitary issue for employees to take their aprons home so they were all laundered together by a third party to be sure they were clean and not mixed in with anyone's gym socks or something lol it'd be more realistic for there to be a communal bin of aprons that he takes one from each day and a to-be-laundered bin he puts them in at the end of the shift and/or a hook for him to keep his own apron if it's still clean -- but still kept in the shop rather than transported back and forth.

He took out his long spiraled cocktail stirring bartender spoon and strapped it to his thigh.


ick ick ick that definitely stays in the kitchen unless it's just a prop

In fact he had so much confidence he walked right by the men who tried to rob him not twenty minutes before.


It was way longer than twenty minutes ago xD he stayed on the floor a full five minutes before he even stood up, then he sat in existential dread, did dishes, argued with Mandy, showered, made food AND ate, and got dressed. This was like, an hour, minimum lol

~

Okay! I really liked this chapter, dude! You did a ton of things super well! I really like the descriptions you weaved in really masterfully -- using various different senses to really paint a full picture of what was going on and what Marge felt about it. You did a really great job of setting up his personality, too, and his interactions with his toxic family and the internal struggle that comes with that.

Also, the coffee shop idea is so cool?! That's the most amazing uniform and concept ever and I would very much like to go there to write and drink a latte and enjoy the ~ v i b e s ~ I love that so much. It also sets up his personality well in that he's interested in working somewhere like this -- clearly a nerd at heart, and it makes him even more endearing.

Super good! Have you written/posted any more of this story? I am notoriously bad at keeping up with novels (I am like... two dozen reviews behind on ones I've promised to people >.>) but definitely let me know please when you post the next piece of this! I'm super interested to know where this goes!

Hope this helped!

~Shady 8)




fatherfig says...


Thanks and this is super helpful!



Shady says...


Yay! Glad I could help ^-^



fatherfig says...


I will definitely update you !



Shady says...


Yay, sounds good! I got caught up on 15 of those reviews I mentioned I was behind on today, so closer to being able to stay caught up ;) granted I still have 11 I owe, but shh I'm working on those now



fatherfig says...


It was rewritten :D



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Sat Nov 26, 2022 4:39 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...



Hilarious, and wonderful! I totally act like Marge whenever Halloween arrives! Nobody can stop me when I’m in costume. As for Mandy..wow, she sounds so annoying and inconsiderate. I just…wow. But Marge dressing in costume, working at a coffee shop themed after fantasy, screaming into the abyss? I think we could get along. I hope to see more of Marge’s adventures. (and his attempts at finding peace).

I wish you a lovely day/night.




fatherfig says...


It was rewritten :D



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Sun Nov 06, 2022 12:16 am
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Spearmint wrote a review...



Hiya gem, mint here for a review, as promised!! ^-^
So first off, I absolutely love the title. Coffee Mate is a famous creamer brand, and coffee is definitely a major part of the story... and yet it could also refer to the way Marge's family is pushing him to find a mate... Just. It's perfect. :D
Marge is also fabulous. :> His sarcasm and passion for coffee and various other traits really bring him to life, and I can already tell that he's a protagonist I'm going to wholeheartedly root for. So great job with writing his character!!

Okay, and now for some specifics...

Marge was walking; he loved walking with a warm mug of coffee in hand. The park was foggy, the air crisp and cold.

Ahh, this description is amazing! I want to walk in the fog with a warm drink too. :3

He sat down on the frosted grass, feeling it melt against his pant legs. There were benches, but he liked it better this way.

Hm, is there a specific reason he likes it better? Does it feel more real to him than sitting on a bench? Does Marge have any memories associated with either grass or benches? Just curious, because it isn't really explained! ^^

He yelled out to no one in particular, "Would I still be expected at the reunion post mortem? Carrying potato salad in my casket!"

Agh, I could really feel Marge's frustration in this line. :/ The "potato salad in my casket" is so sarcastic (xD but also :'( ), and I think it contributes nicely to describing Marge's character and situation. The poor guy just wants to live his life, but his family's overly clingy and nosy, and he vents through sarcasm/text arguments/yelling in the middle of a park (honestly, valid).

At the end of his shower he briskly toweled off and put on a robe before walking to his room to change into a brown sweater, blue jogging pants, and purple toe socks.

Just a nitpick here-- I think it'd flow better if you simply said he changed into comfortable clothes or something, unless the exact articles of clothing will be important later! (For example, the purple toe socks are mentioned later, so they can probably stay. =P)

He hoped that she was asleep; so her reply would come tomorrow while he was at work. He would be at liberty not to answer. However quite immediately he saw a text bubble, three dots swirling madly as she typed.

Why is this so relatable? T-T

"Mandy you texted me first and you are still awake answering me; don't tell me it's a surprise. Also, is this a newly released rule? Last year I hadn't heard of it. I was just asking if you knew what people liked, never mind Mandy, I will get eggnog on my way there. Next year tell me a month in advance or at least two weeks, I have a job. I have to give my manager notice before I take a three days trip to drive to another state stay a day and drive home and not show up for work. If I don't get fired when I tell him today I will be very lucky."

Okay, so this is another super small thing, but right now I'm just imagining this gigantic text bubble on the phone screen. xD Both Marge and Aunt Mandy seem to text in paragraphs, which might work to get all of what they say across for the story, but is rather unrealistic in real life, I think? Perhaps you could either have them split up their messages into multiple messages, or specify something about how Marge wrote more than he usually would when texting because he was frustrated with his aunt? Just a thought! C:

Thank you 🙏 aunt Mandy. ... I bet you knew that, and knew them very well Auntie Mandy. It had nothing to do with my grandmother named Margaret I'm sure.

XD I love Marge's sarcasm. Amazing.

Medieval Morning Cafe was only the job find of a century. The theme of it was Alchemy, it was decorated in the most unique way to a coffee shop!

Omg, that place sounds so cool !! 0.0

He was in main character mode, petty thieves didn't make his radar. The second theif spoke up saying, "Damn did he get taller?"

This part-- just-- XDD Marge has the power of medieval-themed coffee on his side now. Nothing can stop him, not even thieves! (He should totally be a bartender by night/early morning, coffee superhero by day or something. xD)

Overall, this was a wonderful start to a novel, gem! You've got a solid introduction of Marge here, as well as some setup for a conflict between him and his family. I feel like you could try having Marge remember a specific family reunion for some sections, instead of having him just reminisce on reunions in general? (Just to make things a little more lively.) But it was a fantastic read, and I can't wait to read more of Marge! =P Thanks for sharing, and I hope you have a fabulous day/night!! <3




fatherfig says...


Thank you%u2764! I appreciate all of the feedback!!!



Spearmint says...


Of course!! =D



fatherfig says...


It was rewritten :D



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Tue Nov 01, 2022 3:47 am
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Spearmint says...



ahh so I did skim this before... but omg xD Your love of coffee really shines through, gem <3 And poor Marge... Aunt Mandy sounds so annoying, lol.

And this line:

He was in main character mode, petty thieves didn't make his radar.

XDD Love that for him.

Will review this when I have time! (Probably by this Sunday~) Thanks for the wonderful story!! =D




fatherfig says...


C=




That smells like the inside of a tropical rainforest.
— Yoshikrab's friend