Talesin took him to a fuzzy white sofa in the back of the cafe. It was to the left of the bar, where a black-haired man wearing a bunny ear headband was preparing drinks. In front of the sofa was a glass coffee table.
“Have a seat,” Talesin said.
Louis obeyed and sat on the sofa. As soon as he touched it, he realized how soft it was. His body sunk into the cushions, which felt like fluffy clouds. He pressed his back into the sofa and closed his eyes.
He felt Talesin sit next to him. “Comfy?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Louis said. He opened his eyes again.
“So, what brings you here?”
“I heard about this place from a friend, and it’s been a while since I’ve gone on any kind of date, and I’ve never been to a cafe like this, so I eventually got over my anxiety and decided to come here.”
“Mmm. Did your friend tell you about our famous chocolate milk?”
“They put whipped cream and chocolate syrup on top of it. Want one? Drinks are free.”
Louis’ mouth watered. “I’d love it,” he said.
Talesin leaned to the left and waved at the bartender. “Jerry! Two milks!” When the bartender gave him a thumbs up and started preparing the drinks, Talesin turned back to Louis.
“So, is it really that good?”
“It is. Why else would it be the very first thing I bring up?”
“I’m expecting the world’s greatest chocolate milk,” Louis said. He peeked over at the bar. The bartender had already poured two large glasses of chocolate milk, and was spraying perfect cones of whipped cream on them.
“You won’t be disappointed.”
A moment later, the bartender came to their couch with two beautiful glasses of chocolate milk. They looked like milkshakes, and the chocolate drizzle on top of the whipped cream made them look even nicer. He put them on the glass coffee table.
“Thanks,” Talesin said. The bartender nodded and walked back to the bar counter.
Louis picked up the glass. He brought it to his lips and took a swig. He tasted the chocolate syrup first, then the fluffy whipped cream, and finally, the rich, delicious chocolate milk.
“Like it?” Talesin asked after taking a sip of his own glass.
“Why isn’t all chocolate milk this good?”
“I think the whipped cream really does it.”
“True. So, what brings you here?” Louis asked between gulps. “I mean, did you grow up dreaming of working at a host cafe, or…”
“It wasn’t something I dreamed of, but you know, I am an incubus, and this is just the sort of thing I’m good at. I mean, look at me.” Talesin gestured to himself. “I look pretty good. You usually need to look good to work as a host in one of these places. It just makes sense.”
If Talesin weren’t so damn hot, Louis would have thought that Talesin was being a bit too prideful of his looks. But if anything, just saying he looked good was an understatement.
“Speaking of the cafe, what’s up with that receptionist? I saw him sleeping when I came in.”
Talesin sighed. “Yeah. He does that sometimes. I don’t want him to get reprimanded, so I have to be the responsible one and wake him up every now and then. But it’s easier than it seems. He gets tired around sunset every day, and I always keep an eye on the clock, so I can usually give him a good wakeup petting before anyone notices. Cats really like being petted, and catboys are no different. It’s the best way to wake them up.”
Louis was starting to get interested. Was Talesin also a cat owner?
“I have this really big cat named Pringle,” Louis said. “He’s this huge British Shorthair who loves falling asleep on me when I’m on the couch or in bed, and I don’t ever want to kick him off me, so I just give him a little ear rub and he wakes up and gets the message.”
“No kidding! I have a cat too. Bastet is this brown, fuzzy… prankster I guess? I don’t know what kind of cat he is. I’m not big on breeds. He’s super energetic and gets into a lot of trouble, but you just can’t stay mad at him.”
“Does Bastet run around at 3 AM? I have a hairless Sphynx cat named Gollum who sleeps at just about every hour of the day, and then breaks the land speed record every night.”
“He does!” Talesin laughed. “We should take them to the park and race them.”
“I think I’ll have to pass because I’m never up at 3 AM.”
“Me neither. I’m usually passed out and exhausted on my bed by then.”
“Exhausted? Every night?”
“I love this job to bits, but wow, it gets tiring. Talking and drinking for eight hours a day, almost nonstop. I arrive here at four and leave at midnight. And, I sometimes have to take care of my coworkers and make sure they don’t slack off. Rough schedule, but hey, at least I have a lot of fun here. I’ve met lots of great people.”
“How do you find time for dinner?”
“I get fast food when I leave on work days. I usually skip the drinks since I drink about a dozen glasses of things per day. You can get overhydrated, you know! Thankfully, some of the water just evaporates through my wings, so I can drink a lot.”
“What’s it like having wings?”
“Wings are tasty, but I’m bad at cooking them. I usually order them from pizza places.” Talesin held back a snicker.
“The other ones.”
“Honestly, they’re not as cumbersome as they might seem.” Talesin leaned forward, giving his wings space. He flapped them, kicking up a light breeze around the couch. “I can’t fly with these, but they’re really flexible. I can stash them under a shirt, or press them against the back of a chair, or all kinds of things. They’re mostly for decoration. I think they make me look sexier.”
“Hey, you don’t look that bad yourself.” Talesin smiled. “Honestly, it’s your hips that really do it.”
“Really?” Louis glanced down at his jeans. “That’s the best part of me?”
“The rest of you looks great, but I mean, those hips, and maybe those thighs… wow , I just love them.”
“Huh. I… um, thanks.” Louis blushed. “Uh, back to the cooking discussion. Do you ever have time to cook something nice for yourself? The fast food around here can be pretty awful.”
“I have weekends off, and I try to make home cooked meals then. I’m not great with meats or pastries, but I can make just about anything else.”
“Pastries? You won’t believe it, but I have this amazing lemon bar recipe. It’s the best.”
“The best? Whenever I try to make it, the crust and everything just ends up all wrong. It tastes terrible and crumbles strangely. Any tips?”
“Honestly, you just have to follow the instructions and it should turn out fine. What recipe do you use?”
“Just a regular recipe I found online.”
“Hmm.” Louis leaned in and gave Talesin a seductive smile. “I might need to come over sometime and show you how to cook.” Immediately, Louis regretted it. Did he step over the line? Was this too flirty? He blushed again. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”
“It could be fun,” Talesin said. “I am tempted by sweets…” When Talesin smiled, Louis instantly felt his confidence skyrocket.
Louis and Talesin finally finished their chocolate milks.
“Good stuff, isn’t it?” Talesin asked.
“You were right about the chocolate milk! It’s great.” Still riding his wave of confidence, Louis decided to bring up the subject again. “I wonder how it would go with lemon bars?”
“Hmm. You know, I don’t normally go out with clients, but sometimes I do. Maybe it would be nice to learn how to cook. Maybe if you wanted to come over tonight, I could muster the energy to stay awake for just a little while longer tonight and try those delicious, delicious lemon bars.”
“I don’t know if you can tell, but I really fucking love lemon bars. I’ll find any excuse I can to make them.”
“So, my place a half hour after midnight tonight?”
“Sure, why not? I’d like to meet Bastet. And maybe in addition to the cooking, we can do other things.” Louis was excited. Was this really happening? If it was, he was looking forward to it.
“Maybe he’ll be up early and you can watch his chaos. And honestly, I’d be quite interested in the other things too.”
The two of them laughed and went back to talking.