It was a normal day at the Cup and Sorcerer coffee shop. The usual bustle. The usual patrons. Fiona was working the register. Two men in their early 30s whom she had never seen before entered, maintaining a joking conversation between themselves as they approached the counter.
"Welcome to the Cup and Sorcerer," she greeted them with a smile. "What can I get you gentlemen?"
One of the two glanced her way and froze, as the other ordered, "Can I get a HOLY SHIT!?" The one speaking exclaimed as he got a look at Fiona.
Fiona blinked in surprise at this, but kept her smile.
From a table on the other side of the shop, Fiona heard a familiar voice: "They don't serve shit of any denominational sanctity here." The others at her husband's table chuckled at his interjection. "I've asked," he concluded.
"Quiet, you," Fiona smirked at the table, then returned her attention to the gentlemen.
The first one had a look on his face that seemed to indicate his mind had stopped functioning. The second one appeared to have just figured out a difficult problem.
"What? What's going on?"
"Sorry," the second said. "You-- um. You just look like-- uh..."
The first got hold of himself and smacked his friend's shoulder, never breaking eye contact with Fiona. 'Yeah, uh, we just want two large coffees, cream and two sugars. And a bagel. Toasted, please. Yeah."
"All right," Fiona nodded. "Your total is $8.53."
Fiona called back into the kitchen. As she prepared their drinks, she heard them arguing quietly.
"I'm telling you, it's her," claimed the second
"It can't be."
"I'm certain, bro."
"Dude, why would a porn star be working in a coffee shop?"
"People have day jobs!"
Fiona suddenly realized what this was about. She felt a blush rise to her cheeks. She glanced over at her husband. He gave her a sly wink. He couldn't have heard what they were talking about.
"Here you go, guys," she told the men, handing them their coffees and a bag with their bagel. She hoped they would take the hint and take the order To Go.
"Thanks," the first said as he took the bag and read her nametag, "Fiona. I'm Rick. And my idiot buddy, here, is Mike."
"Hi," Mike chimed in. "I'm sorry you just look SO much like this chick on an ACEFANS channel we get. You know Acefans? It's an amateur--"
"Oh, I know Acefans," Fiona interrupted.
"Cool, cool," Mike continued, "Because, like, you look SO much like this star on LoriLand, named 'Fifi FunThrall'."
Fiona's blush deepened. "Do I, now?"
"Totally," Rick added, leaning on the counter. "Like, a LOT."
Fiona took a breath and smiled, "That's flattering."
Mike nodded, "Yeah, 'cause she is TOTALLY gorgeous!"
"I bet she'd love to hear that," Fiona replied.
"Hey, would you mind if I got a picture with you?" Rick asked.
"Me too?" from Mike.
"I don't think that would be a good idea," Fiona answered, trying to remain calm. She glanced over to Alan. Her husband had stopped paying attention to his group and was focused on Fiona.
"Why not?" Rick wondered.
"Well, the thing is, I don't like having my picture taken," Fiona explained.
"Aw, come on, man. Just one pic," Rick pushed.
Alan caught Fiona's eye, rested his head on his left fist, and tapped the back of said fist while giving her a questioning look. She returned a subtle "no" gesture and a similarly subtle "come here" signal.
"I said no," Fiona said firmly.
"Aw, come on, man."
"Hey, fellas," Alan appeared next to his wife, draping an arm around her. "The lady said no. If she has to say it again, you won't be coming back."
"Oh, sorry, dude," Rick said. "No need for that. We were just asking. We're going. Thanks for the coffees and stuff. See ya."
The men walked out the door. But Mike just had to stick his head back in the door a second later to say, "See ya in LoriLand, Fifi!"
Alan and Fiona chuckled as they watched them go.
"How'd you do that?"
"I've got an in with the management," Alan smirked. "Are you all right?"
"I am now," she smiled, turning into him and wrapping her arms around him.
After holding her a moment, he muttered in her ear, "So I take it they recognized you?"
She nodded into his shoulder.
"How's it feel?"
"You don't have to answer that," he told her, rubbing her back. "But if you want to talk about it, I’m here."
The next day, Mike returned with a blonde woman in her 20s. To Fiona's relieved surprise, he limited his interaction with her to ordering his and his companion's drinks, then returned to their table, sitting with his back to her.
After a whispered exchange with her companion, the blonde suddenly looked at Fiona with recognition. She immediately stood and approached the counter.
"Uh. Hi," she greeted shyly.
"Hi," Fiona greeted back.
"So, uh, are you who I think you are?" the young woman asked quietly.
"It depends," Fiona replied, smiling softly.
The blonde practically bubbled over with excitement. "Oh my gosh, it is you! Fifi, I am such a huge fan! I can't believe I'm talking to you right now! I'm Rachel, by the way."
"Nice to meet you, Rachel," Fiona chuckled, feeling herself flush. "Thank you so much."
"You're welcome. And thank YOU. Seriously. My boyfriend and I watch your channel all the time. It's become our little tradition on date nights, you know? Your performances are just... mesmerizing."
"I appreciate that," Fiona replied.
"Listen, do you mind if I get a picture?"
Fiona's eyes went wide and her smile faltered.
"Is that okay?"
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"Please, Fifi? I promise not to put it online or anything."
"Rachel," Fiona said softly, "it's not you. It's just, well, I try to keep my public and private life separate, you know? Here, in this shop, I'm Fiona."
"Of course. I'm sorry," Rachel apologized. "I totally get it. I'll respect that."
"Thanks," Fiona smiled. "And I'm flattered, really."
"Yeah, sure," Rachel smiled back. She pointed at a pastry in the display. "Can I get one of those?"
Later, after the store had closed, Fiona was doing the books in the office while Alan mopped the kitchen. The phone rang.
"Cup and Sorcerer," she picked up, "This is Fiona."
"Fiona, it's Lori. Are you at home?"
She was about to answer in the negative, then laughed. "You called the shop phone, love."
Lori snorted. "I mean, when will you be home? I need to talk to you guys."
"Not long. Is everything all right?"
"It's fine," her friend replied, but she could hear excitement in her voice. "Just some news I want to share. Can't really do it over the phone."
"Fair enough," Fiona smiled. "We'll see you at the house in about a half hour."
A half hour later, Lori was waiting with a bag of Chinese takeout at the front door as the couple pulled up to their house. "What's going on?" Fiona asked as Al let them in.
"I just got a message on our request page," Lori replied as she hung up her jacket.
"What's that?" Alan asked.
"On the site," Fiona clarified. "It's an admin thing. Clients can ask for certain acts or scenarios."
"Like an order form," Lori explained.
"But that's not important right now," Fiona finished with a straight face. There was a second or two where all three held onto the deadpan expressions before the giggles broke out.
"I meant," Alan asked as the laughter faded, "what was the request?"
"A couple subscribers want a dinner party scenario. I and a "husband" character are entertaining guests, two girls and another guy, with Fifi serving us. We end up seducing her and making her join us."
Fiona and Al had moved into the living room and were sitting together on the couch. Fiona sat cross-legged and leaned forward in anticipation. "So, since the request was on the LoriLand channel, I assume the end result will be either a general orgy or both of us getting three-wayed?"
"That's how the scenario reads," Lori agreed.
"Okay. Sounds pretty good."
"Sure," Alan nodded. "Do they have a preference for creators to bring in to play the other characters?"
"That's the thing," Lori replied, "the guys making the request want to play the husband and the other male lead, and their girlfriends playing the rest of the cast."
"Oh," Fiona nodded, a bit surprised.
"You're sure about that?" Alan asked.
"Very. I would have rejected it out of hand, except for how much they offered to pay for this."
"How much?" Fiona asked.
Lori named a figure. Fiona's jaw dropped.
"That's," Alan did a quick calculation in his head, "almost the amount your channel makes in two months."
"I know," Lori grinned.
"Who are these people?"
"Their profiles said they were regular subscribers. Only for the last couple months, though."
"Subscribers with a lot of cash to blow," Fiona observed.
"Mike said they've been saving up for this," Lori stated.
"A guy named Mike and his girlfriend recognized me in the shop the other day. And he came in with his friend Rick the day before."
"Rick's the name of the other subscriber on the request."
Alan and Fiona's eyes met. "Shit."
"Yeah, it sounds like they were checking you out."
"I don't feel very comfortable about this, love."
"I wouldn't normally ask," Lori assured her. "But this is a lot of money. Alan, what do you think?"
He grimaced. "While the money's tempting, I'm with Fiona. We should decline."
Lori considered for a moment, then nodded. "Okay. I'll send the rejection and let you know when we get a reply."
She tapped out the response on her phone and sent it off. While digging into the food Lori brought, her phone chimed.
"Who's that?" Alan asked.
"Message from Mike. He says he gets why we said no and they understand, but that they want to double their offer."
Alan sighed. "That's a lot of money, but I'm still not sure... Fiona?"
She considered for several seconds. "Tell them our decision stands."
"Okay," Lori agreed, and sent the reply. A minute later, Lori got a message. After opening it, she read it aloud: "'Please do not make a decision tonight, but we would like to make a final offer of triple our original.'"
"Triple," Lori confirmed.
Fiona and Alan exchanged looks again.
"That's almost half your channel's yearly revenue," Alan told his wife.
Lori glanced at her phone and noticed another message had appeared. Since the app was already open it had been silent. "Please come and have lunch with us tomorrow, so we can discuss this in person," and named a restaurant in town.
Fiona's mind raced. She felt a bit uneasy about it, but the money...
"What do you think?" she asked her husband.
"I'm with you, whatever you decide," he told her.
Lori put her phone away without mentioning the additional message. "I think we should table it for tonight, like they asked. We can talk about it again in a day or two."
"That sounds good."
"All right," Lori agreed. "Let’s eat."