Felicity was pointedly ignoring the costumer trying to get her attention. He was a rather slimy lobbyist who had taken a shine to her. Felicity wasn’t certain how to respond to his advances. In her old life, she’d have led him on (if he was a mark) or taught him to respect her through a broken finger or two (if he was a colleague). In either case she’d have moved on in a matter of days. Now Felicity was in the same place every day and unable to take any real action against the man who came to “buy coffee”. Felicity had needed to reconsider her strategy.
Thus far, letting him down gently, telling him she wasn’t interested, and inventing an imaginary boyfriend all had zero effect on the man. Today she was trying the age old method that if you ignore a problem, maybe it will go away. Felicity was low on options. She was seriously considering falling back on some old, more permanent, methods of dealing with nuisances.
“Here’s your coffee, General.” She said pleasantly, putting the cardboard cup down between her and General Morris.
“Thank you, my dear.” The general picked up the cup but seemed reluctant to move. Felicity frowned internally. Why wasn’t he leaving? He was going to be late for his meeting. The object of Felicity’s loathing shouldered his way between Felicity and the general.
“Hey,” He leaned over the counter towards her. His breath reeked of expensive alcohol. “Can I get some sugar?” Felicity turned her back on him, mildly disgusted. “Hey! You can’t ignore me!” The man snapped indignantly, finally catching on. “I’m a paying costumer!” Something slammed behind her, Felicity whipped around.
“No! You’re not!” Felicity had thought it was her drunken stalker, instead she found Teddy standing resolutely between her and the man, his hands rigid on the counter where he had slammed them. He glared daggers at the man who’d been harassing Felicity. “You’ve been bothering her ALL WEEK. Leave her ALONE!”
“You can’t talk to me like that!” The man spluttered.
“Yes, I can!” Teddy jabbed a finger at a sign next to the cash register. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone and we are refusing service to you. Get out!”
The man set his jaw. “I’m not going anywhere.” He snarled. Felicity moved around the counter.
“I think you’d better leave, son.” General Morris said firmly. The general’s aides were on their toes, both military personnel themselves.
“Make me.” The man challenged them all. His hands curled into fists. General Morris’ mouth tightened.
“I’m warning you, son.” He raised his hands in a placating gesture. It had the reverse affect. The drunk man threw a punch. It was wild, unprofessional, and probably wouldn’t have hurt much if it had connected. It never got the chance. The fool was immobilized before he even realized he’d struck out. All around the room there were slow expressions of dawning comprehension as what they were seeing registered. Felicity holding the unwanted admirer securely in a chokehold. What none of them knew was how closely Felicity had come to snapping his neck. The man made a strangled sound as Felicity adjusted her grip to something less potentially lethal.
“I have tolerated your presence up to now as an exercise in patience.” Felicity said in a controlled voice. “But you just crossed a line.” The man tried to say something but Felicity quite literally cut him off with a tightening of her arm. “I’m not finished.” Felicity said tersely. He quieted. “Now, you are going to get out of this café, and you aren’t going to be back. Do I make myself clear?” Felicity felt the man swallow against her arm. He made a meek affirmative sound. “Good.” Felicity was about to release him when something occurred to her. She turned him towards the general. “Apologize.” She loosed her grip slightly.
“Sorry.” The man rasped, unable to do much more. Felicity turned him towards the door.
“Get out.” She shoved him away. The man stumbled as he bolted for the door. Still a bit woozy from the alcohol. There was a moment of silence as the bell rang his departure. Felicity flushed red. She’d made a spectacle of herself. Then a young woman started clapping, it wasn’t long before the entire café joined in.
“Damn, Felicity.” Teddy gaped at her, but a smile was forming as he lifted his own hands to clap. “I guess that we were being overprotective!”
“That we were.” The general laughed. Something subtle flickered in his eyes that she couldn’t catch.
She was the one who had been overprotective. She'd lashed out far too quickly and effectively to the aggression towards Teddy and General Morris for a mere barista. It might have blown up in her face, but she guess that was part of having friends.