Chapter 19:

One day, Pecan worked at Witch Cafe Camellia. Part 1

Witch Cafe Wisteria

Early in the morning at Witch Cafe Wisteria, Derry opened the cafe doors. She quickly sat behind the counter and sighed. What a trip back it had been!

Soon, Pecan arrived and nervously waved at the cafe owner. “Good morning, Derry. Welcome back,” she said as she shuffled behind the counter.

“Morning,” Derry smiled lazily. “It’s good to see you.”

“Yeah, but you’re shipping me off,” Pecan frowned. “Sorry.”

Derry shook her head. “Only... because it’s busy over there. For real... it’s not because of Barley. It’s only a day.”

Speaking of Barley, the fisherman was still sleeping in the window. Pecan directed her attention to him.

“I’ll get him in a minute,” Derry said. After downing a cup of water, she walked over to Barley. The man was sleeping so soundly.

Pecan followed Derry, ready to apologize to the man as soon as he woke up. “You can wake him up, right?” Pecan asked.

“Yes,” Derry said as she closed her eyes and then snapped twice next to both of Barley’s ears.

At first, nothing happened, but then Derry shook Barley gently. He opened his eyes rather fast and glued them onto Derry. Pecan felt bad about watching the scene as if it were some fairytale, but that was exactly what it looked like.

“Morning, Barley,” Derry sang.

Barley smiled with a confused laugh. “Well, this sure beats being woken up by my ma’, but what time’sit?”

“Sorry, Barley! It’s uh… about four thirty in the morning,” Pecan hesitated to say.

The fisherman seemed even more confused and sniffed himself.

“Our bad... but apparently Doe hit you with a strong mix of Good Rest Tea. You’ve been out for a few days,” Derry explained. “We’ll reimburse you for anything that you missed out on. Sorry about this.”

“Uh… really sorry,” Pecan grimaced, knowing she shared most of the responsibility.

Barley hopped up, looking quite distressed. “Aw, heck. S’not muchofa problem for me, but I gotta get home and let my ma’ know I’m good. She’s gotta be thinkin’ I’m at the bottom of the sea or somethin’.”

“Right. Uh… let me get your stuff,” Pecan said as she rushed to gather Barley’s things. As soon as the fisherman had his items returned, he headed for the door.

He stopped before leaving and turned to Pecan. He seemed a little uncomfortable, but he wore a genuine smile. “I might seem in a rush to get outta here, but promise it’s just ‘causea ma’. Gotta make sure she knows pops and I aren’t hangin’ out just yet. Don’t worry about it too much. At least I feel great! Ha hah!”

And with that, Barley rushed off to his home as quickly as he could.

“What a nice person,” Derry began. “Alright... we’ll deal with the rest later. You should be on your way.”

Pecan nodded and secured her bag on her shoulders. “Is there anything I should know about working over there?”

“Miits… isn’t as no-nonsense as she seems, and Camellia is hella busy, so just work together…!” Derry replied as she started setting up. “And be careful on your way.”

With another nod, Pecan apologized again and took her leave.

As she made her way to the caravans, she smiled to herself. Derry didn’t seem too upset about the whole mess, but also, she was going to Witch Cafe Camellia for once! She didn’t go to Seabirche too often, so even if it was just going to be a one-day thing, Pecan couldn’t help but imagine how fun it might be. She’d finally meet Miits and maybe get some ideas as to how Camellia seemed to be doing so much better than Witch Cafe Wisteria.

A few people were waiting with wagons so that they could transport anyone over to Seabirche, first thing in the morning. Some people were walking, but Pecan knew that she’d be late for work if she did that.

She paid the fee for a seat in a wagon and waited for it to fill with fellow travelers. She wondered why Reingale and Seabirche had to be so old fashioned sometimes. Well, it was for tourism, but that was another story she wasn’t really supposed to talk about too much.

As soon as the wagon was filled, they were off. Pecan couldn’t help but watch as the road sped by with the horses pulling them through the dusty roads. Once they arrived after a little more than an hour, everyone started to shuffle out of the wagon. Pecan waited until everyone else left so that she could hop out. She was already surprised because it was more chilly in Seabirche!

“You know where you’re going?” one of the passengers asked.

“Yep, Witch Cafe Camellia.”

For some reason, the passenger pointed her in the direction of the cafe anyway, but Pecan didn’t have time to be annoyed. Or maybe it was more that she was too excited to be annoyed, but she thanked the man and made her way over to the cafe quickly.

She arrived at the cafe and found it wasn’t as pretty on the outside as Witch Cafe Wisteria was. However, at least there were camellia flowers in the window.

Pecan nervously knocked on the door, unable to hide her smile. The door opened, and amazing scents hit the apprentice’s nose. A tall woman with a white chef’s durag stood in the doorway. She wore a uniform just like Pecan’s except the vest was dark red instead of Wisteria’s signature purple. She wore one long braid that laid behind her back and her expression was a bit fierce.

“Miits?” Pecan asked.

“Yep. Good. You’re early. Come on,” Miits replied as she ushered Pecan in before locking the door behind them.

The decor was mostly dark pink, but it didn’t exactly come off as girly at all. Not that dark pink was only for girls. However, that is only to emphasize that this pink looked a bit more menacing than cutesy. Yet, it was still oddly relaxing to Pecan. The decor wasn’t what was catching her interest though: it was the food! The menu of Witch Cafe Camellia had food! Lots and lots of food!

“You have fo-- Uh!” Pecan had to stop herself. “I’m Pecan, nice to meet you. Thank you for uh… everything you’ve done. I really appreciate it.”

Miits made a small sound to let Pecan know that she heard before she clicked her tongue at the top of her mouth in irritation. “Yeah. Glad it helped. No idea how she thinks she’s gonna teach somethin’ to someone. Could hardly even teach me.”

“I’ve uh… learned a little,” Pecan said in Derry’s defense, but not really making a grand attempt at it.

“Uh huh. A little. Right, so Camellia runs a little different than Wisteria, yeah? We serve up more food than drinks here, but Derry said you’re good with drinks, so you’re gonna do that. Just help clean and do the drinks. Aight?”

Pecan confirmed her understanding and followed Miits into the back. There were two people already cooking in the kitchen. One was a lady maybe in her late thirties with a net on her head. The other was a man around Miits’ age, who had a hair net but also kept a hat over it.

“Yolanda? Minesh? Pecan. Pecan? Yolanda. Minesh,” Miits said as she pointed to each person, keeping her words short. Everyone waved at each other. They seemed to be a friendly bunch! “They don’t practice witchcraft enough to infuse magic, so they can’t help much with it. It’s just you and me for that.”

“We’re just cooking breakfast. Don’t mind us,” Yolanda laughed.

Except, Pecan was a hungry girl. How could she not mind? Just smelling everything was more than she was used to! She couldn’t help but say, “Oh man, it smells so good.”

“Y’all need to open those windows before it gets too hot in here,” Miits pointed out. Minesh opened the windows, and a beautifully refreshing breeze blew in. What a difference in temperature! Pecan could imagine passerbys smelling the wonderful scents coming from the windows and walking right on in as they obeyed their stomachs.

After a bit of chatter, Pecan heard the door to the cafe open. “Morniiiiing! Smells GOOD out there!” a voice called out from the front. Soon, in popped the head of Ama, the girl who had left Reingale quite some time ago.

“Ama?!” Pecan shouted, not sure what to feel upon seeing her there. “Uh! What the heck?!”

Ama stared at Pecan and goofily laughed. “Peeeeeeecaaaan! Hi hi!”

“Derry said you two already knew each other, so just make sure you two don’t goof around all day, aight?” Miits said, very unaware of the situation.

“You’re supposed to be… you’re supposed to be in Haridosii…” Pecan was hurt. Why was Ama there? “What was the point of breaking up if you were just a wagon ride away?”

Ama clapped her hands together to apologize. “Aww, sorry sorry! I meant to be, but I like didn’t have enough money, soooo I’m still saving up! And then I’ll be ROLLING on the river-- ocean?”

Miits sighed as Yolanda and Minesh pretended not to be eavesdropping. Teen drama sure was something. “Wait, Derry didn’t tell you your friend was working here? Tch. She never tells nothin’. What’s wrong with her?”

“Uh, I’m more ticked that my ex-- or my friend didn’t even tell me that she was working here,” Pecan huffed out. Miits seemed more concerned about her own sister and shrugged Pecan’s comment off as she left the kitchen to go outside.

Despite the atmosphere, Ama wasn’t about to let Pecan’s bitter attitude spoil her day, whether being upset was warranted or not. “Hey! It’s ooookay! I’ll make… doot doot doot! Breakfast for us!”

“You can’t settle this with food,” Pecan frowned, about to walk out of the kitchen.

However, Ama dragged her ex-girlfriend right back in. “You need to EAT! Okay! I’m gonna squeeeeze in, you two!”

The two cooks chuckled and allowed room for Ama. “Okay.”

“We aaaalways cook our meals here! We take like… I dunno, maybe like just a little to cook breakfast,” Ama explained as she grabbed a skillet and cracked a few eggs in. “Aaaaand, Yolanda? Can I borrow that stuff? Aaaaand then we eat together!”

Pecan looked around the kitchen, wondering if she was supposed to bring food to cook. Wisteria only served drinks, after all. She also felt like she was in the way. The kitchen wasn’t all that large. “Uh… so should I just… uh... go?”

“NO. We’re gonna cook and eat together!” Ama said with a smile as she looked back at Pecan. “You didn’t bring food, right?”

“Well, uh… no? No one even told me--”

“H’oookay, then let me cook for you!” Ama exclaimed. Somehow, Pecan was able to take Ama’s high volume better than Doe’s, so she didn’t bother saying anything about her high energy. Yolanda and Minesh seemed to welcome it as well.

Briefly, Pecan thought that maybe Miits left because she couldn’t handle it, but she soon returned with a bunch of ingredients. “I got today’s shipment and today’s breakfast,” the woman said, squeezing in on the stove.

It really seemed like a family as they cooked and borrowed each other’s ingredients. Ama looked back at Pecan and grinned. “Hee hee. PecoPeco, I know you want to get closer than that!”

Though Ama mimed pulling Pecan over with a rope, the blonde didn’t mime with her. However, she did walk over since she couldn’t help but watch over everyone’s cooking. It all looked so good!

While she wasn’t cooking her own meal, Pecan helped pass ingredients around. Occasionally, Ama convinced her to flip a few things over with the spatula. “Oooo, Pecan is ruuuusty.”

“Am not. That’s a perfectly good egg. Look at that sausage. Perfect. Look at yours,” Pecan pointed at the sausage furthest from her, “I’ve never seen a sausage look like it’s crying. You’re letting out all the juices.”

“Why is your sausage so sad?” Minesh joked, as he began finishing up his cooking. “Wasn’t expecting to get grilled by its boss so early?”

Miits snickered, but quickly regained her composure. “Shut up.”

Not just Miits, but everyone tried not to laugh-- it was a pretty bad joke, but enough to keep folks going day to day.

Yolanda tapped on Ama’s sausage with her spatula. “Sad sausage.”

“Hey hey hey! You should all like leave my sad sausage alone! He’s had it rough,” Ama said with a fake cry and sniffle as she rolled her sausages around. Pecan couldn’t help but smile and laugh with everyone.

Once they all finished cooking, they all took their plates out to the tables on the cafe room floor. Miits, Minesh, and Yolanda ate at one table and Ama started to instinctively walk toward them as well, but she quickly switched her step and picked a table far away from them. “Over here, Pecan!”

Pecan hesitantly sat with Ama as she placed the plates on the table.

“I heard you do witchcraft now!” Ama began as she excitedly leaned forward, “What type of magical wagical wonders can Pecan cast on this wonderful breakfast? Or… hm… is that a thing? Magical food! Go!”

“Uh… I don’t know if I can do anything to food,” Pecan responded as she thought back to any other magic Derry had done. She didn’t really see her work with food.

Ama gave a reassuring nod. “Okay! That’s okie dokie! I have a spell!” She then shot her hands above Pecan’s plate, wiggling her stubby fingers around in preparation.

That shocked Pecan. Was Ama also learning witchcraft? Maybe she was as good as Doe was. That worried the witch apprentice.

However, such thoughts quickly washed away as Ama chanted, “Oh magic eggs… crying sausages! Make Pecan not hate meeeee!”

With a loud snort that she tried to hide, Pecan lightly smacked her hand against the table, “You can’t solve this with food and fake magic either!”

“Darn-- okay, I know I know. I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do,” Ama said as she took a bite of her food. Pecan stared as she anticipated the explanation, but Ama made it clear that it would come in due time once she said, “Pecaaan, you need to eat so the spell works while I explain it!”

So, Pecan reluctantly tasted the food. As she expected, it was really good! “You’ve been uh… practicing a lot here?”

“Sure have!” Ama said after swallowing a piece of sausage. “Everyone’s been teaching me a lot of things here!”

“So you’ve been here all this time…”

Ama nodded hesitantly. “Okay... okay okay okay. Let me explain. So I came here to take the boat, right? I had enough for the wagon-- you rode the wagon too right?! Wasn’t it fun?!”

“Yeah! I hadn’t gone on one since I was a kid-- wait, back on track,” Pecan said. She was trying not to get pulled into Ama’s pace too much.

“Okie okie. So I got here and WHADDYA KNOW?! I couldn’t pay for a ticket to cross the port! The shaaame! So I’m just saving up! I’m almost there!” Ama told her story with so much animation that Pecan almost got lost.

Unfortunately, the explanation wasn’t exactly helping Pecan understand Ama’s actions too well. “Okay but uh… I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me that you were here though…”

The slightly chubby girl smiled but ate another bite of her breakfast as she thought, prompting Pecan to eat more as well. “Wellers… to be honest, I didn’t want to really… hmmm… how do I say this? Come on Ama! Use your words!”

“Sounds complex,” Pecan said simply as she ate more of her meal.

She was being a little sarcastic and Ama caught that, yet Ama replied to it seriously.

“I guess it kinda is? It’s just… mnnn… when I left, you were like super proud of me for like… DOING something!” Ama began as she looked down at her shoes. “Aaaand… mnn… I dunno I felt like you would think I was silly for not thinking everything through.”


“And... yeah. That’s it. I’m REALLY sorry...” Ama said, still looking down.

Pecan stared at Ama dubiously. Perhaps if it was someone else, she wouldn’t have accepted such a reason, but Ama was a little different.

“Wow, I can’t believe you even cared about what your ex thought. Wow,” Pecan said in a deep, mocking voice. A voice she hadn’t used in so long.

Ama pouted as she crossed her arms. “Hey! We’re only exes because you didn’t want to come with me!”

“Well, yeah. I didn’t have money for a ticket,” Pecan pointed out. “And uh... I thought you did? I thought you thought it through and everything.”

“SEE? You had high expectations! Ahh!” Ama exclaimed, flailing about.

Pecan laughed, “Yeah. I expected common sense.”

Ama frowned but couldn’t get mad because she knew Pecan was right. She hadn’t planned any expenses except for her wagon travel fee. She perked up and started swinging her legs. “Ooh! I’m common sense-ly renting a place! You want to move in?”

“Uh, I work at Wisteria, silly. How’s that common sense for me?” Pecan answered.

“Oh. Yeah. Hmmm okay, so common sense is telling me that you’re saving up too, right?? If we BOTH save up enough, are you up to going to Haridosii?” Ama asked.

Pecan thought for a while. “Uh... maybe. Maybe I’ll save up to actually get the degree so I don’t have to move. I kinda like it in Reingale.”

“Hmmm, okay! We’ll see when we get there, right?” Ama smiled.

Smiling right back at her, Pecan said, “Right.”

With the high tension dissipated, they would soon start Pecan’s day of working at Witch Cafe Camellia.