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Author's Chapter Notes:
Because someone reminded me of this story and because re-reading it made me laugh. Still sobbing over the chapter that disappeared and will need to be re-written but that's a ways ahead of here so....enjoy....again~ ;D
Noon. The busiest time of the day. Not surprising since it’s the middle of summer, the temperature reaching near ninety degrees by mid morning on most days. Located in the heart of the city, ‘Frosty Delights’ is always a hub of activity, though there are more kids now since school is out. It is also the day of your twelve hour shift and it isn’t even half over yet.

With a sigh, you grab your pen and pad from the counter as a group of men stroll inside. You recognize them on sight and only cool professionalism keeps the scowl off of your face. A customer is still a customer, no matter how rude or obnoxious they might be. These in particular make the trip on a daily basis from a nearby construction site for the sole purpose of hassling you and Miranda, your fellow waitress. Except Miranda thrives on the attention. You, most certainly, do not. Not their kind, anyway.

Skirting the counter, you make your way between the stools and booths that line the aisle. All but two booths are filled, situated near the door, and you watch as the four of them slide onto the blue leather seats. There are mainly adults in today aside from two boys, each around the age of twelve, who are seated at the counter. They are now positioned across from the construction crew and the situation makes you grit your teeth.

The boys, both regulars, each have a milkshake gripped in their hands, heads lowered as they inhale their drinks. If the day goes like it usually does, they are going to overhear things of a…questionable nature. That thought alone is enough to make you grip your pen until the plastic cracks.

Straightening your shoulders, you approach the booth with the mind set of getting them served and out the door ASAP. All four look over as you place your now bent pen to pad, no trace of a smile anywhere near your face. Grins break out all around the booth and you throw up a little in your mouth. It is really a shame that they have to be such assholes. They are all good looking, each one tanned bronze by the sun with muscles in all the right places. But they are only concerned with one muscle and have the combined brain power of a steaming turd.

And the steaming part is just you being generous.

“What can I get you today?” you ask, the words muffled because you can’t seem to relax your jaw.

“Aww, come on, sweet,“ the dark haired one, Bryce, drawls. “Don’t be like that. We’ve got nothin’ but smiles for you. Can’t you give us one back?”

“If you’re not ready to order, I have other customers-.”

“They don’t look too needy to me,” Jason, the blond nearest you, states as he turns his head to check. “Old people do a lot of things slow and eating ice cream is one of them.”

That earns a bout of snickers from his friends and glares from the people who overhear. The thought of having to deal with them again tomorrow makes the image of tossing your smock to the floor and stomping out a very tempting idea. Instead, like every day that has come before, you simply hold your tongue and wait, though the act of keeping your temper under control is getting harder as time passes. It wouldn’t be difficult to find work elsewhere but there are always going to be guys like these, no matter where you end up.

“Well, Miss Sour Puss, I guess I’ll have a hot fudge sundae…with your cherry on top. If you still have it,” Jared, the other dark haired one, says. The comment earns him an elbow and some snorts. “Though I’m guessing by that stick up your ass, you probably have barbwire around it.”

On your pad, you scribble down: F. sundae for cocksucker.

Bryce throws his head back, roaring with laughter, and the others follow suit. Yes, it is certainly a mystery why none of them get laid on a non paying basis.

Heath, the smallest and less asshole-y of them all, stops fiddling with a pile of napkins long enough to give his order. “Just a chocolate shake for me.”

“I’ll have the same,” Jason informs, throwing his arm along the back of the booth as he looks you over from head to toe with a leer.

They all make wonderful examples of why being a lesbian might be worth the effort. You turn your eyes to Bryce as you finish jotting.

“Well, since your sweet ass isn’t on the menu, I’ll have to settle for a banana split. Jumbo sized. And if you pleasure yourself with the banana before you peel it, it might add some flavor-”

The bell above the door jingles just as your lips start to move, forming an F-bomb, the sound saving your job. You glance left, the pen and pad nearly falling out of your hand when you see the trio that enters. They are regulars here, too though one might think the opposite if randomly passing them on the street because they don’t look like the ice cream eating type. If there is a type.

The first guy is dressed in a red leather trench coat with darker velvet patches along the shoulder and rolled cuffs. His shirt is black, a round silver buckle resting against his torso, and tucked into pants that are red except for the black leather that runs from mid-thigh down to just past his knees. More red leather over black boots.

The guy behind him is easily his twin though their styles can’t be more different. He also wears a leather trench coat but the color is a shade of light blue, silver designs embroidered from collar to hem alongside the lapels. Beneath he wears a black leather vest, matching pants and brown boots up to the knees.

And last in line is the youngest of the three, wearing yet another trench coat of dark blue with red symbols along the forearms. Underneath he wears a red zip up shirt complete with a hood, dark blue pants and brown boots.

Why they wear trench coats in this blazing heat is a question that boggles your mind.

All three of them sport white hair. Not silver or grey but white like snow. Dante, the first, and Nero, the last, both wear theirs in the same fashion, bangs hanging down over their eyes, the back brushing the collars of their coats. Vergil, however, perhaps determined to be the odd duck, wears his smoothed along the sides and spiked at the top.

Three sets of pale blue eyes settle onto you as they approach. You can handle their attention any day, anytime. Oh, yes indeed.

“Well, if it isn’t my favorite waitress,” Dante exclaims, placing one gloved hand on his chest. “My heart knew you’d be here today.”

“You sure you don’t want pizza instead?” Nero scowls from the back. “Because that sure sounded like a lot of cheese to me.”

You smile, feeling your cheeks flush, as you step aside to let them pass. “Dante. Vergil. Nero,” you say to each in turn. “The usual?”

“You know it, babe,” Dante says with a wink as he passes by. “Might want to bump the Kids’ up a size, though. He’s talking with an adult mouth today.”

“Hope you’ve got enough money. The Senior citizen discount isn’t until tomorrow,“ Nero retorts, proving Dante right.

Holding back a laugh, you watch as they slide into the last available booth. Vergil sits on the side by the construction workers, alone, with Dante on the opposite side and Nero left standing. The younger man’s eyes scan the back of the store and you step forward to touch the sleeve of his right arm, careful to avoid the cast he wears.

His scowling face turns toward you, the expression softening a bit when he sees it’s you.

“I had to move your chair to the back when it started getting crowded,” you explain, slipping behind him. “Give me just a sec.”

Hurrying behind the counter, you push your way through the double doors leading into the kitchen area. Just as you enter Miranda steps out of the freezer, arms laden with containers of ice cream. One look at your expression and her cold reddened cheeks lift with a grin.

“Don’t start with me,“ you warn, grabbing a wooden chair from next to the utility room.

You turn, reaching the swinging doors just as one side is pushed in. Nero leans his shoulder against it, eyes glancing toward Miranda before settling back onto you.

“Thanks,“ he says, holding his left hand out.

You pass him the chair, studying his face and trying not to be too obvious.

“Everything okay?” you ask, lowering your voice.

He opens his mouth but seems to change his words at the last second, eyes shifting away as he turns to go. “Don’t walk home alone.”

The door creaks as it closes behind him, white hair disappearing from the window. Your eyebrows draw together in confusion. It isn’t so much the randomness of his words but the accusing tone. Like he knows you do just that most nights but he has never been here past closing and aside from here, you have never seen any of them in public. It is almost as if he came back here just to warn you.

Peeking though the window, you spot Nero as he returns to the booth, flipping the chair around backwards before sitting down. He keeps his right arm pressed to his torso, left forearm lying along the back of the chair. Dante says something, clapping the younger man on the shoulder before laughing. Nero shrugs the gesture off, giving him the bird. Vergil simply ignores them both, gaze on the bay window and the world beyond.

“Which is it?”

You jump, startled by Miranda who is now peering over your shoulder. The smell of strawberry tickles your nose and you eye her braided blond hair with amusement.

“What do you mean?”

Green eyes roll, “Like you don’t know. Which one are you lusting after? You better not say all three, either. I need a fighting chance.”

You scoff at that. She is a leggy size two with perfect hair and makeup who always knows the right thing to say. It had taken you months to warm up to her bubbly ‘I can have any guy’ attitude. To say that you have a chance over her is just laughable.

“Dante’s more your type I think but they’re all fair game. I’m not after any of them.”

Then why does your stomach twist when you say it?

“Really? I could’ve swore-.”

You tear off the top sheet of your pad and hand it to her, forcing a smile. “Really, Miranda. Knock yourself out.”

She lets out a squeal that threatens your hearing before bouncing off to fill the order. You watch her go, not quite sure why you feel sick at the thought of her being with any one of them.

An older couple glances around so you push all non-work related thoughts aside and step back out into the fray just as Miranda bursts out laughing. Glancing back, you see her hold up the paper you had just given her.

“Cocksucker?” Her smile slips after a few seconds. “Them again?”

You nod, “Worse than usual.”

She shares a sympathetic look. “Let me deal with them. You see to everyone else.”

“You sure?”

“Honey, I’ve heard a lot nastier things. Try working the graveyard shift at a truck stop.”

Miranda starts grabbing bowls and glasses from a cabinet above her head. She is certainly a case of not judging by the cover. She uses what she has to get what she wants, which is attention, pure and simple but away from the public she is compassionate and loyal to a fault. In it, you might as well not even exist.

Hurrying out, you begin the routine of checking with the customers before gathering up abandoned dishes and settling bills. Miranda appears not long after, a loaded tray balanced in the air near her head.

“Wish me luck,“ she whispers as she passes by.

But which group of men will the luck be aimed at?

You just shake your head, in the process of wiping down the now empty booth behind Dante. Your head turns when you hear her greet them, glass clanking against the table top as she hands out their orders. Your hand stops mid-motion when you realize that Vergil isn’t paying any attention to her or the glass of water she places before him. His eyes meet yours over Dante’s shoulder and the world seems to tilt beneath your feet. It isn’t the equivalent of a male ‘come hither’ look. Nor is it one of dislike. It simply is. No flicker of emotion one way or the other.

Which is somehow much worse.

He is nothing like the other two; rarely speaking, even to his twin. You can count on one hand the number of times he has ever spoken to you.

Miranda’s ‘flirty’ laugh cuts through the trance you’ve fallen into, your cheeks flushing as you load your arms with dirty dishes. The stack becomes unsettled as you turn, your coordination suddenly absent and only the reflexes of working here for over a year keeps them from crashing to the floor.

Puffing out your cheeks, you count to fifteen to help calm your nerves before attempting the trek once again. In and out of the kitchen, trip after trip, with no extra time to get your mind in order. It seems like ages pass before the mid-day rush finally slows to a trickle, allowing you a moment to catch your breath behind the counter. The only remaining customers are Dante’s group, an older man reading the paper toward the back wall, and the construction crew.

Miranda is standing at their booth, in pretty much the same spot she had been in since giving them their treats. The tray is clutched to her chest like a shield, what you can see of her face sinking with a frown. She is a grown woman, capable of making her own decisions and if she wants to tolerate their macho bullshit-

She turns, preparing to walk away, when Bryce takes hold of her wrist. When you see the wince on her face, enough is definitely enough. Job or no job. This is an ice cream shop for fucks sake.

You stride over, slipping past Nero’s chair, and step between Miranda and the booth. “I’m gonna have to ask all of you to leave,“ you say in an even tone, hand in one of the pockets of your smock with a death grip on your pen.

Just in case.

“Sorry, sweetheart, but we’re not done yet,” Jason informs with a smirk. “Why don’t you shuffle back into the kitchen and wash dishes like a good woman should?”

Bryce laughs, still holding Miranda’s wrist. “Don’t make the dyke mad, J. I hear they fight dirty.”

“You learn that by watching your mom?” you ask sweetly.

The question is out before you can stop it. The smile vanishes from his face quicker than lightning, complexion flushing in anger just as fast. His beefy hands slam down on the table top as he rises to his feet.

“Why you stupid bitch!” he snarls.

Broad shoulders covered in blue.

You blink, mind trying to catch up with this new development. It had taken Vergil all of two seconds to slide from his seat and place himself between you and the hostile group. Miranda’s gasp of surprise is a bit delayed but completely understandable. Vergil is literally close enough that his back grazes your chest with each intake of breath.

“Boys. Boys. There’s no need to get your panties in a bunch,” Dante says, rising to his feet.

Nero is also standing.

You and Miranda cast a glance at one another. The tension makes your skin prickle as does the feel of Vergil’s coat as it brushes against you. Taking a step back, pulling Miranda with you, you try to clear your muddled brain but all you can think about is the husky cologne that has clogged every one of your senses.

Judging by Bryce’s expression, he is figuring the math: four muscle bound construction workers and three…whatever they are’s. He is clearly betting on his crew.

The rest of his friends stand as you tug Miranda down the aisle. As soon as you pass, Nero blocks the path as a last line of defense sort of thing, appearing more than ready for a good brawl.

“The only thing that’s gonna get bunched is your face, pal,“ Bryce sneers. “That bitch insulted my Mother-.”

“And I’m sure she was a fine, upstanding woman,“ Dante remarks with a dry tone. “Women with prison tats usually are.”

Bryce comes to the misguided conclusion that he is fast enough to get past Vergil. He attempts to charge, head lowered and shoulders hunched, but Vergil takes hold of his arm, spinning him. Bryce yelps as his arm is forced behind his back, hand now between his shoulder blades as Vergil flattens him against the nearest wall. Picture frames rattle, Miranda clasping your hand as Jason becomes the next in line.

From behind you the older man reading the newspaper turns a page, not even bothered by the drama unfolding a few feet away.

Jason faces off with Dante as Bryce continues to sputter insults.

“Can’t believe you fucks wanna get hurt over those two. No piece of ass is worth it.”

“Then you’ve obviously been getting the wrong kind. Just because your buddies aren’t satisfying you doesn’t mean you can take it out on these lovely ladies.”

Jason’s hand slips around to his back pocket and both you and Miranda tighten hand holds. He doesn’t have time to pull anything because one side of Dante’s coat shifts and Jason’s face goes deathly white.

“Let go of that knife or things are about to get real serious,” Dante warns.

Though his tone is still playful, the threat comes across loud and clear. Even Bryce is quiet as everyone waits to see what will happen. The only sound is a crackle as another page of newspaper is turned.

Inch by inch, Jason’s hand lowers back to his side, eyes filled with raw hate.

“Good choice, my man,” Dante boasts. “Now, lets follow that one with another and have a manly walk-and-talk. Outside.”

Heath and Jared look to the others though Bryce really isn’t in a position to make any group decisions since his face is still acquainted with the white and blue striped wallpaper. Jason appears as though he is trying to think of the solution for world peace; face scrunching into a deep scowl with beads of sweat rolling from his temples. He finally lets out a snarl before turning on his heels. Vergil yanks Bryce toward the door, not releasing him until both are outside, where he almost stumbles into the street due to a shove.

Dante motions for Heath and Jared to go first, a smile lifting his features. When they slide free of the booth, keeping him in view the entire time, Dante throws Miranda a wink from over his shoulder.

“See ya tonight, babe.”

You watch them leave, Nero following close behind. As soon as the door shuts, Miranda rushes over to one of the booths, crawling across a seat on her knees to peer out of the window.

“You have a date with Dante?” you ask when you hear her sigh.

The blond laughs, finding amusement where you find none. It is hard not to feel jealous but you tell yourself that it’s out of loneliness and not because of anyone in particular.

“I wish. I’m gonna have to work on that angle. I heard what Nero told you so I thought I would ask him to walk me home. Well, walk us home.”

“You did what?” you demand, incredulous.

She turns so that she’s sitting in the booth, bringing her hand up to look at her nails. “Relax, girl. I think he was gonna turn me down until I mentioned that you and I live in the same building.”

“Since when do you wait on me after closing? You’re always snagging rides and leaving me here to lock up by myself.”

“Since now and Dante could end up being a very interesting ride if you catch my drift.”

“Alright, stop talking now,“ you mutter, heading for the kitchen.

Your hand is still gripping the pen and when her laughter follows you into the kitchen, the casing cracks in two.
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