Artiste in Action

“I don’t know how much longer I can deal with this,” Martin said, striding into the White Hart. “I’m going to lose my mind.”

Mrs Tuesday raised an eyebrow. “We don’t want an insane vampire running around.” She handed over an Americano. “What’s your wife done this time?”

“Callum got placed in an art show,” Martin grumbled. “I told Lady Freydis that it reflected well on her, but she’s insistent that she learns to ‘do art’ better.”

Mrs Tuesday frowned. Martin usually handled his marriage to the erratic and absolute ruler of York’s non-normal community with devoted ease. Seeing him so rattled was worrying. “What sort of art?” Mrs Tuesday asked.

Martin looked hunted. “She’s been reading books, and you know what she’s like when she reads books.”

Mrs Tuesday tapped her fingers on the counter. The shop was quiet but it was early yet with only a couple of werewolves checking out the dog treats. “Lady Freydis is late,” Mrs Tuesday said. “And that’s worrying.”

Martin shook his head. “She’s obsessed with being a barista. The most powerful creature in York and she makes coffees.”

“Maybe she needs some books about coffee,” Mrs Tuesday said.

“She’s read all of them,” Martin said wearily. “Believe me, I’ve checked.”

Lady Freydis swept in, unhampered by her armfuls of bags. “Martin, darling, could you fetch the rest from the taxi?” She disappeared into the back room. Martin briefly cast his eyes up to heaven before striding out to the taxi. Mrs Tuesday grinned as he stalked back in with another armful of bags.

“I’ll leave these here while I fetch the rest,” Martin bit out, dumping the bags next to the till and turning back to the door.

Lady Freydis wandered out, tying on her apron. “I thought that I should show support for Callum’s efforts,” she said airily. “And I’ve often been told that I have an artistic side.”

“The brownies always comment about your artistic displays around the coffee machine,” Mrs Tuesday said. The shop’s cleaners grumbled about the dried grasses and ribbons being in the way but it was a comment.

“I am very artistic with coffee,” Lady Freydis agreed. “But I should support Callum.”

Mrs Tuesday picked her words. “You’re a good prince to have such care of your people,” she said. “But perhaps you should encourage Callum rather than outshine him. You could sponsor a display of his work as support while concentrating on your skills with coffee.”

Lady Freydis shoulders slumped as she looked at the supplies. “I read the books to understand Callum,” she said. “And they are so pretty. But it isn’t coffee.” She ran a tender hand over her coffee machine. “Why are there no more books about coffee?” she asked plaintively. “I wouldn’t have to buy art supplies if there were more books about coffee.”

Martin strode in with another armful of bags. “Maybe you can make pictures with coffee,” he suggested, dumping them next to the collapsing heap near the till.

“Maybe you should write a book about coffee,” Mrs Tuesday suggested, ignoring the sudden look of horror on Martin’s face. “After all, you know all about the stuff.”

Lady Freydis took a deep breath and smiled happily. “That’s a perfect idea!” she said. “I’ll start at once.” She hesitated. “Well, after I’ve made all the coffees.”

You can find the full story from the beginning here Back at the White Hart

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