She doesn't understand why he won't just come in.
Margaret watches as he stares at the shop's sign, then he walks to the giant windows and looks through them. She pretends to be looking through the cash register whenever his eyes land on her. He then walks back to the front of the shop, rubbing the back of his head as if in deep thought.
She tries to think of ways to get him to enter.
Calling him over would scare him away, Margaret knows that much. She wants to make it seem like she had no idea he is even there.
It feels odd to her, once Margaret thinks about it. It's like trying to persuade a lost puppy to come along with you. Especially since she knows very well this puppy's got an owner.
Margaret thinks back to his favorite things when it finally hits her.
Making sure to time it perfectly, Margaret goes into the back when he's looking up at the sign. When he goes to look through the window, Margaret reappears with a decently sized slice of chocolate cake.
She places the cake on the counter and looks up into the windows to see him staring. She pretends to be surprised to see him, and she shyly waves a hello.
He waves back, embarrassed.
For a brief moment, Margaret panics. He shouldn't be there and she shouldn't be trying to get him to come in and talk to her. But if that were the case, and if it were imperative that they stay away from each other, why is he there?
Margaret didn't force him to come. Margaret didn't force him to open the door to the Coffee Shop and go to her. It's amazing how free will works.
He smiles all the way up to the counter, and Margaret smiles back.
"Hello sir, I'm guessing you want the special today?"
Margaret pushes the chocolate dessert towards him. He looks down and laughs.
"You'd be guessing right," he responds. He reaches into his pocket, but Margaret halts him.
"New customers get one free dessert," she says.
He seems pleased and Margaret hands him a fork. He takes the utensil and digs in. She wonders how far she can push before pushing to far. Margaret starts with the basics.
"I'm Margaret by the way," she says, motioning from him to sit on the stool.
He makes an amused face at her name and rubs the back of his head. It almost makes Margaret smile.
He holds out his hand and introduces himself when Margaret takes it.
"Mordecai?" Margaret repeats. She makes sure to use a teasing tone, to reassure Mordecai's she's just being silly, and he picks it up right away.
"Hey!" Mordecai feigns offense, "it's a family name!"
Margaret snickers, "Glad I'm not in your family."
Mordecai laughs and playfully narrows his eyes.
"Is this how you treat all your new customers, Margaret? Lure them in here with cake and insult their names?"
"It's company policy," Margaret says, dead serious. While Mordecai laughs she holds up a pot of coffee. "Want some?"
Mordecai nods 'yes' and Margaret proceeds to pour the coffee into a medium sized cup. She plops in two sugar cubes and one quick pour of cream and hands the coffee to Mordecai.
"How'd you know how I like my coffee?"
In that moment, Margaret feels her heart leap. In a good way and a bad way. The sight of Mordecai rubbing his head again, this time with a slightly pained expression, tells her which she needs to be careful.
She shrugs. "Just a feeling. I'm pretty good at reading people."
"Margaret, The Psychic Waitress," Mordecai sips at his coffee.
Rigby stays for Margaret's whole shift. She panics, but thankfully nothing happens and no one but a few regulars come in.
Margaret feels something solid and heavy drop inside her stomach when she thinks of how Rigby would feel about the last couple of weeks. She knows how he can get; how Rigby is really soft under all the immaturity and ego.
She knows this would kill him.
Rigby sniffs at his coffee while Margaret rubs down the tables one more time. Those coffee stains are hell to get rid of. She only has about three more to clean until she's totally finished, then her and Rigby have the entire night to themselves.
The television that sits above their heads is droning on and on about some new cleaning gadget that apparently isn't like the others. The screaming man in the blue plaid shirt swears by it. Margaret is distracted by the man's big shiny eyes for only and second, then she goes on to clean the next table.
It's almost natural to her now. Clean this table, onto the next one. Clean that table, onto the next one.
The next table happens to be parallel to the one that Rigby is seated. When Margaret leans in to aggressively scrub some mysterious stains, Rigby whistles at her.
"You rub that table down real good baby," Rigby says, smirking.
Margaret says flatly, "You are always welcome to wait in my car while I finish up in here."
Rigby shakes his head. "The view's better in here."
Margaret plops her wash rag into the little blue bucket at her feet. She takes a deep breath and sits on the stool nearest Rigby.
"It makes me feel weird when you say things like that," Margaret says.
The raccoon furrows his brows but is nonetheless smiling.
"What? The table thing or the thing about the view?"
Margaret sighs and shrugs her shoulders.
"Both. All of it."
"It's just weird, okay?"
Rigby sits up straight, understanding Margaret is serious. He says, sounding very adult by the way, "You've never minded before."
Margaret tries to flatten the wrinkles on her uniform apron. She puts her hands in her lap and looks up at Rigby. He is giving her his full attention, with his ears pricked up and his eyes focused on her.
Why does he do that? Why, whenever they talk, does he appear to hang on her every word?
"Well I mind now," Margaret finally replies.
Rigby puts up his hands. "I'll stop, okay? If it bothers you that much, I'll stop."
"No! Don't," Margaret rubs her eyes in a frustrated manner, "don't just stop because I tell you to."
"... So you do want me to keep?..."
"Understand why I want you to stop, then stop."
Rigby's eyes do a quick roll around his sockets and return to Margaret, but a tight, thin line begins to form below his nose.
"Okay, well, I just found the root to this problem. Why do I need to stop?"
"Because it makes me feel weird," says Margaret, sternly.
"Why does it, though?"
Rigby says, totally frowning now, "I think I have a hot girlfriend and sometimes I like to say it out loud. Why is that so weird?"
"I appreciate that but-"
"No seriously, Mags. Tell me what's so weird about that. I really wanna know. I wanna hear a full explanation of why I can't just... friggin compliment my girlfriend," Rigby laughs, a bit manic, and shrugs his shoulders to his neck. "I just... I just don't know how-"
"Because I don't deserve it," Margaret says.
She is louder than she intends to be. It's not a yell, or a shout, but a rushed and angry burst that visibly shakes Rigby. Margaret looks away from him. "I'm not some supermodel, Rigby."
Rigby scoffs, like Margaret has told him so unbelievable and out there, and reaches out his hand, but at the last minute he pulls his hand back and full on laughs.
"You're gorgeous," Rigby says, determined.
It does not feel good to hear that. It simply doesn't. In fact, it is the exact opposite thing Margaret wants to hear right now. And the worst part is Rigby will feel as if he's helping, because she's not going to call him out on this, and now the entire point of this conversation has been undermined and Margaret wants to... stop or go back or pull a plan b.
A soothing swell of violins pulls them from their conversation. On the television above them, the screen is black while the music plays and a woman's voice calmly, seemingly, addresses them both.
"Is it all too much? Is it weighing you down?"
As the violins' strings are lightly plucked, a human skull appears against a black background. It's one you'd expect to see in a medical textbook. Suddenly a silver chain wraps around the skull and audibly tightens.
"Do you miss your carefree days? Do you want a clean slate?"
A pair of pliers floats down into view and pulls away the links of the chain, ever so gently. Eventually the chain melts away.
"Do you need to just let go?"
The skull lights up and then in a flash, it's gone and all that remains is final swell of violins. Small white lettering spells out, in a simple yet elegant font, Momenta Iminoa Ared. Some of the letters fall away to simply spell MIA. The violins slow to a stop. The woman finally says, sounding relieved and at peace, "Because somethings are better left behind."
And then the overly joyous white dude in the blue shirt takes the opportunity to gush about some new gadget that lets you hang two hundred pound whatever-the-fuck-you-have-in-your-house-that-weighs-two-hundred-pounds-and-needs-to-be-hungs.
Rigby looks over to Margaret. He's waiting, obviously. Margaret;s not sure what for though. Does he expect to to jump up and down with tears streaming down her face? Does he want a long angry rant from her? One that will leave her foaming at the mouth and him with his worst fears confirmed?
She won't though. Maybe it kills him, not being able to know.
"How long is this going to take?" Rigby asks. He scrubs a hand along his face and speaks with sleep in his voice.
Margaret nods, eyes glued to the television.
"Not very long. I'm practically done."
Eileen doesn't call her.
Eileen refuses to call her. Margaret learns this when she corners her supposed best friend at work, away from the customers view, and demands to know why she's avoiding her. Eileen looks up at her with tearful eyes and just puts out her hands to keep Margaret away.
"You're going to hurt Rigby," she whispers, out of breath. "You're going to hurt yourself. You're going to hurt a lot of people."
Margaret steps forward, but Eileen has one finger up and her expressions changes from tearful to desperate.
"Enough, Margaret. Please. I don't... I can't be friends with you until you stop acting like this."
"Like what?" Margaret asks incredulously.
Eileen opens her mouth, but soon after shuts it closed. She pushes past Margaret and goes off to serve her customers.
That was two weeks ago.
Eileen still refuses to call.
So Margaret sits on her sofa, alone, watching Pretty in Pink, until three earth shattering bangs on her door distract her from Jon Cryer's dance to "Try A Little Tenderness".
Of course Eileen doesn't have the upper body strength to make such a noise. Rigby especially doesn't. Margaret automatically assumes it's Benson, who has probably found a new reason to bitch her out, which sucks because it's her day off and she's really sure that she hasn't done anything warranting a lecture.
Margaret hesitates getting up from the sofa, feeling much too comfortable for Benson's shit today, and continues to watch the movie.
Three more bangs on her door make watching a bit more difficult than normal, but she ignores them best as she can.
Benson must be extra super pissed at her because rapid fire bangs on her door follow after the last three didn't get her to answer. The assault doesn't stop either, and Margaret grunts as she gets up and sluggishly moves to her door.
"Okay, I get that I'm the enemy or-" Margaret starts with fatigue in her voice, but she is cut off when Mordecai mashes his mouth against hers.
Both of his hands start out caressing her face, but one inches to the back of her head while the other goes to hip.
Because it's as natural as brushing her teeth in the morning, Margaret's arms wrap around Mordecai's shoulders and pull him closer. He tastes like too much toothpaste and cornflakes but Margaret's more concerned with the way Mordecai's trying to suck her lungs into hers and how they're still standing in her doorway for her neighbors to see.
She spins herself and Mordecai around so she can close her door and next thing she knows Mordecai's got her push up against it with her arms pinned on either side of her head.
"As much as I love surprise make outs," Margaret breathes out, "I don't think we should be doing this."
"You matter," Mordecai's breathing is heavy as well. "Of course you fucking matter. And you're not another shadow."
"The other night I said I didn't... When I thought about... The metaphor. You're not just some waitress. I don't need to break out of my chains to know you're the realest person I know, Margaret. And you matter."
He goes right back to kissing her, a bit less rushed this time but still hungry and determined to make Margaret breathless.
Margaret kisses back until the very angry, attention seeking elephant in the room bears its ugly head.
"Benson," she squeaks. Wait. Margaret just squeaked. "Benson, your... boyfriend. What about Benson?"
Mordecai groans, "What about him?" and attacks Margaret's neck with his tongue.
It feels way too good in Margaret's opinion, and right now it's her goddamn moral code keeping her from reciprocating how Mordecai would like her to.
She tries one more time, "This isn't going to solve any problems you have."
That (unfortunately?) stops Mordecai in his tracks.
He pulls away, his chest rising and falling frantically, and does that thing with his eyes that lets Margaret know he's trying really hard to restrain himself.
"My problem," he says, "is that I didn't find you sooner. Margaret. Margaret. I don't know if you believe in destiny or any of that fate crap that pile on in movies but... This was meant to happen sooner or later." Mordecai is smiling wide when he moves his body close to Margaret's again. He pecks her lips. "Being with you feels so right. Like we've known each other for years... I never felt this way before."
Margaret takes a really big gulp of air and stares into his eyes. Many feelings can be pulled from Mordecai's eyes, and the fact that Margaret brings that out of him makes her drunk, but the dominant and scariest thing that she gathers from his intense gaze is pure and focused want.
"Not even with Benson?" Margaret asks, taking Mordecai's hands in hers.
Mordecai vehemently shakes his head.
"Especially not with Benson."
Margaret's grip tightens, and Mordecai stays very still. He waits for her, though Margaret's not sure it will last because the guy looks about ready to explode.
He's here. He's here with her. He's here with her and he's saying the words she always wanted to her every since October and it feels like somebody somewhere is cutting her a break. Fucking finally.
She deserves this. She deserves him. And, after remembering a certain word is floating around her head, Margaret knows she's going to get him.
"That settles it then."
They're kissing and touching again, with Margaret unwrapping the scarf from Mordecai's neck and Mordecai running his hand under her tank top and across her white feathered belly. Margaret can't suppress the gasp and giggle she lets out when Mordecai lifts her up off her feet and somehow manages to kiss her even deeper.
Margaret holds onto Mordecai tightly as she's carried away and plays with his hair as she slips her tongue into Mordecai's mouth.
She doesn't tell him where her bedroom is. Apparently she doesn't need to.
It's late, much too late to be up thinking about the things Margaret is thinking. But she can't help it.
Rigby had come over as he usually did on Saturdays. Margaret turns over in bed to see the sleeping raccoon. He looks peaceful wrapped up in Margaret's yellow sheets, almost like he belongs there. She turns back to face the wall, this time pulling some sheets on top of herself.
Margaret wonders if Rigby wouldn't be too mad if she woke him. Just to talk to him and hear his voice. Not that it comforts her; Rigby always sounds annoyed with her.
But it's better than the silence and she needs a distraction.
Margaret runs her hands up and down Rigby's back. He unconsciously presses against her hands and mumbles pleasantly. Margaret takes the opportunity to start softly talking.
"How are you feeling?"
Rigby does not answer. Margaret moves closer and presses her body against him.
"You seemed really stressed when you came over," Margaret tries again.
Rigby mumbles something about Benson and park funds, but goes back to arching and cooing at Margaret's touch.
She genuinely enjoys moments like this. Moments were it's just them two and they search and touch to drag out the desired noise from the other. It was like a game.
Margaret lets her hands get a bit more curious and she can hear Rigby take in quick breaths.
Margaret whispers into Rigby's ear, "Are things at the park okay?"
Rigby shifts his body so Margaret can touch all of where he wants to be touched. He says nothing notable, just more mumbles about Benson.
She starts kissing behind Rigby's ears. A low growl hums in Rigby's throat. Margaret lets him take her hands and put them where he wants them.
Margaret wants to try one more time before things get more intense, before Rigby realizes, so she whispers into Rigby's ear for the final time that night.
"How's Mordecai doing?"
Rigby turns around to wrap his arms around Margaret's shoulders. He nuzzles her neck and mumbles on about Benson.
She closes her eyes. Margaret breathes deeply. She really does like when they're like this. It makes her feel needed.
Margaret puts away a dirty coffee mug but freezes when she sees Mordecai standing at the bottom of the Coffee Shop's stairs looking at her expectantly.
"Hey," Margaret snaps her fingers, making it appear that she was trying to remember Mordecai's name. She pretends to give up. "guy..."
Mordecai laughs and walks up to Margaret's counter.
"Looks like your psychic abilities are better than your recall, Mysterious Clairvoyant Waitress," Mordecai teases. "It's me, Mordecai."
"Not ringing any bells," Margaret shrugs and tries to suppress a smile.
"I had a chocolate cake some days ago?"
"Lots of random dudes come in and eat our cake."
"You made fun of my name and made me feel bad about myself?"
"Company policy!" Margaret says, pointing a finger at Mordecai.
Mordecai laughs, "So you do remember me!"
Margaret finally puts the mug away, and when she makes sure her boss was no where in sight, she pulls up a stool and sits to be eye to eye with Mordecai.
"I could never forget such a character," she says.
She feels her cheeks burn, which is either from smiling like a idiot or blushing redder than her own feathers. Mordecai's smile falters a bit when he really looks into her eyes, and soon he's rubbing the back of his head.
"So... Margaret, right?"
"Yes?" Margaret asks, a bit too eager.
"I've been debating whether or not to come back here since our last little exchange."
Margaret's not really listening as much as she should. She just gets the tiniest little thrill out of hearing Mordecai say her name. It's so new and yet so familiar. Margaret's just glad that hasn't changed.
"Why? Was the cake too dry? 'Cause I didn't make it," Margaret jokes.
Mordecai shakes his head, "No the cake was delicious."
"Oh. Well in that case I and I alone made that chocolate cake."
Again, Margaret is able to get a laugh from Mordecai, and it's the best feeling in the world... well... second best feeling she ever got from Mordecai.
"No," Mordecai says, trying to be completely serious, "I think I really like this place. But I've only been here that one time, right? But every time I look at the sign or I look through that window... I get this feeling..."
Mordecai trails off but is looking at her, wanting her to understand what he's saying. Margaret nods her head, because she does understand.
She understands all too well.
Margaret laughs weakly, "Maybe you sense the lingering spirits."
"You'd know better than me, Miss Chloe. Despite the feeling or ghosts or whatever, I couldn't stay away," Mordecai says as he begins to remember something. "Plus, I need a peace offering for the old ball and chain."
"Girlfriend?" Margaret asks.
"Boyfriend, actually," Mordecai says, subtly watching Margaret's reaction.
Obviously Margaret is anything but shocked.
"Oh," she smiles and makes her eyes go wide, "what a lucky guy."
They share a smile. Margaret reaches out and pats Mordecai's hand. He appreciates it, she can tell, but the oddest expression shows up on his face.
He nervously laughs, "There goes that feeling again."
Margaret retracts her hand and awkwardly laughs with him.
"A side effect of me reading your mind."
They both ease up, and Margaret later convinces Mordecai to order some coffee cake and tell her about this supposed boyfriend.